Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hypoglycemia/ pre-diabetes

Both of these conditions are a collection of very similar symptoms and very similar results if left untreated: Type 2 Diabetes.
In a normal person, the digestive track converts food into nutrients that are ready to be absorbed by the cells, and to glucose. Glucose is what the cells use for energy and is, on a molecular level, a sugar. Extra glucose is stored later as fat.
The body releases insulin when it knows there is food present. Insulin is the tool the body uses to take the glucose into the cells.
Type 1 Diabetes (“Juvenile Onset Hyperglycemia” or “High Blood Sugar”) is when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, so the cells can’t absorb the glucose, and the sugar in the blood just gets more and more concentrated (like syrup). This can be deadly, and is treated with diet and medicines.
Type 2 Diabetes (“Adult Onset Hyperglycemia”) is when the cells become resistant to insulin. They actually refuse to use it. This means they can’t take in glucose (and the body then turns that extra glucose into fat and saves it for later. This is why people who start having blood sugar issues start to get fat. Blood sugar problems come FIRST and fat is a symptom that something is wrong). In some ways, this is actually an immune system dysfunction. The cells treat insulin like a foreign invader to fight against. Untreated, the ultimate result is the same as with Type 1 Diabetes; poor circulation, starvation of the body (such as feet falling off, the pancreas being too damaged to produce insulin, and eyesight being lost), and ultimately, death.
Sometimes this can be treated with drugs, but all drugs have side effects and these are often worse in the long run than the disease.
Pre-Diabetes (or as it’s now being called “Metabolic Syndrome”) is when the body begins to have trouble processing insulin but not yet at the level to qualify as Diabetes. It’s a warning shot and will progress into full-blown Diabetes if left unchecked.
Hypoglycemia (or “Low Blood Sugar”) is when the body kicks into overdrive and produces too much insulin, resulting in too-quick absorbance of glucose and a roller coaster effect on energy, moods and brain function.

Diabetes has been diagnosed since 500BC, but there is a definite upswing in cases today. Where it used to be a rare disease, now 1 in 3 Americans have some sort of blood sugar issue. We don’t know quite what is causing this, though the leading suspects are:
·                    Vaccinations (we know that every country that institutes a vaccination program, especially including the Measles, Mumps, Rubella shot, has a diabetes problem within a few years).
·                    High Fructose Corn Sugar- it’s in EVERYTHING (checked the label on your sweet corn lately?), and is just not processed like real sugar. HFCS is the main sweetener in our sodas. It is a well-known fact that the higher you soda consumption, the more likely you will develop blood sugar problems
·                    Real sugar (again, it’s everywhere!)
·                    White flour- one of the chemicals used to bleach flour white is also used to GIVE lab rats diabetes in order to search for a cure.
·                    Vitamin and mineral deficiency- we do know diabetics tend to be lower in some of these than non-diabetics, but we don’t yet know which comes first; the deficiency or the disease.
·                    Sedentary life styles- our bodies were made to move. Sitting for hours on end is not natural.

Genetics do play a role, but are obviously not the full cause.

Symptoms for both Pre-Diabetes and Hypoglycemia are:
·                    Weakness or fatigue
·                    Poor concentration
·                    Poor coordination
·                    Anxiety
·                    Sweating, chills and clamminess
·                    Shakiness or Trembling
·                    Pale skin
·                    Confusion
·                    Headaches
·                    Hunger and nausea
·                    Irritability or impatience
·                    Nervousness or anxiety
·                    Anger, stubbornness, or sadness
·                    Lightheadedness or dizziness
·                    Blurred/impaired vision
·                    Nightmares or bad dreams
·                    Sleepiness
·                    Pounding heart; racing pulse
·                    Tingling or numbness in the lips or tongue
·                    Passing out

There are two different kinds of blood tests used for official diagnosis; blood glucose and A1C.
The blood glucose tests are either fasting or not and measure the amount of glucose in your blood at this minute. Sometimes they have you fast overnight, take blood, drink a special, super sweet drink, wait 1-5 hours, and take you blood again to compare how your body is processing glucose.
The A1C measures the amount of glucose your blood cells have been exposed to over the course of that last three months. I really think the A1C is the far better picture of what is really going on in your body.
Many doctors still don’t recognize Hypoglycemia as a real condition. But I have known too many people who have had the above symptoms (while not having test result indicating diabetes) and had dramatic improvement from changing to the diet I list below for me to not believe in it.

Both high and low blood sugar are best treated with diet. Though there are some medications often prescribed for pre-diabetes, they tend to speed up the detrition towards full-blown diabetes.
The advice given by doctors to treat Hypoglycemia is to carry candy in your pocket and when you feel bad, pop a few in your mouth. This sounds logical; your blood sugar is low, so you eat sugar to bring it up. The problem is that doctors are not nutritionists. In fact, nutrition is not a required course to become a doctor. Many have no more nutrition knowledge than anyone else who watches the evening news. In other words, as knowledgeable as they might be in doctoring, this is not their area of expertise and this is bad advice.
Eating sugar when you blood sugar is low will cause even wilder swings in your symptoms, and will put even more stress on your body, wearing it out that much quicker. There is a better way to treat your symptoms.


When choosing what to eat, the general advice (blood sugar problems or not) is to pick those things that do not have ingredient labels (i.e. roast, fresh spinach), over things that do have labels.
When you must choose foods with labels, choose the one with the smallest ingredients list. For example:
·                    Adam’s Peanut butter
§  peanuts
§  salt.
·                    Jiffy Peanut butter
§  roasted peanuts
§  sugar
§  molasses
§  fully hydrogenated vegetable oils (rapeseed and soybean)
§  mono and diglycerides
§  salt

The more ingredients you understand the better, too. In the above lists, I know what sugar, molasses, peanuts and salt are. I don’t know what “fully hydrogenated vegetable oils, mono and diglycerides” are (at least, I didn’t without Googling it).
These are just basic, “eat healthy” guidelines. If you are having blood-sugar issues, however, you have a few more guidelines you need to follow; a more careful diet to watch.

1.   You will eat protein every two hours throughout the day to keep your blood sugar level. Protein digests slower than sugars do and keep your sugar levels even longer. No more roller coaster.
2.   Eat the same amount of carbs as protein at meals (half a cup of rice? Eat half a cup of chicken, too).
3.   Eliminate sugars and as many breads and grains as possible. When eating bread, eat 100% whole grains if you can. It digests slower and has less effect on glucose levels.
This can be hard, since those with blood sugar problems often crave sugar worse than other people do. But it is important to view sugar as the low-level poison that it is to our systems. It might taste good in the short term, but it will make us sick later. Pay attention to how you feel half an hour after eating a desert and you will notice this.

All foods fall into one of these categories:


Eat one every two hours, beginning when you first get up (preferably before your feet touch the floor), hungry or not. View it as medicine and choke it down however you can. Proteins are:
·                    All meats (dead animals, fish or land)
·                    Eggs (high in GOOD cholesterol).
·                    Dairy that doesn’t have “cream” in its name (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc).
·                    Nuts and legumes (these are so high in carbs they are borderline. Some people process them like proteins and some like grains. Pay attention to how you feel half an hour after eating them to know which one you are.)

It doesn’t take much, just a tablespoon of peanut butter, one small slice of cheese, half an egg, etc. About 3-5 grams of protein, actually.

Make a habit of carrying protein with you everywhere you go:
·                    Put a pack of peanuts in your purse
·                    Carry little, wrapped cheeses in your pocket
·                    If nothing else, carry high-protein meal bars in your glove compartment (these are often high in carbs/sugars as well as protein, and the protein is usually derived from soy which is a phyto-estrogen [not good for men or women with estrogen-overload symptoms]. However, they are better than nothing in an emergency and keep well for long term. They can also make a nice alternative for desert when everyone else is having cake or cookies.)


All you want.
·                    Anything that is green straight out of the garden except sweet peas. If it is green because of food coloring (such as M&M’s and Skittles) it doesn’t count. J
·                    All squashes.
·                    Anything else that counts a real vegetable


Breads and grains:

Eat the same amount or less at each meal as you eat protein (i.e. if you eat one cup of  potatoes, you must eat one cup of steak).
As much as possible, eat whole grains, not white flour (white flour is listed as flour, wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and enriched flour on labels. Whole wheat is always listed as “100% whole wheat”). “White” grains (including rice) are digested almost as fast as sugar and so affect glucose levels much the same way. Whole grains (including brown rice) are digested slower and so don’t send your blood sugar levels onto a rollercoaster. These include:
·                    All breads of any type (including tortillas, chips, breading on chicken nuggets, etc)
·                    All grains (rice, corn, oats)
·                    Sweet peas
·                    Most people process root crops (potatoes, carrots, sweet potato) like breads, though a lucky few treat them like veggies. Watch how your body responds when you eat them. Do you feel tired or cranky half an hour after eating them? Or can you see any difference?


God’s natural deserts. These are full of natural sugars. Natural or not Hypoglycemia/pre-diabetes process them like manufactured sugars. Some Hypoglycemia/pre-diabetes can eat one or two a day. Some can’t eat any, ever without getting sick.


Actually not a concern to Hypoglycemia/pre-diabetes. Fats help to regulate the metabolism and slow the processing of blood sugars, making it easier to control how you feel. These include:
·                    Butter
·                    Anything with cream in its name (except ice cream which has enough sugar to move it to the sugar category).
·                    Anything with oil in its name.
·                    Lard, shortening
Now, the God-made fats (butter, olive oil, naturally occurring animal fats, coconut oil) are healthier. They have vitamins and minerals necessary for good health. Man-made fats (shortening, veggie oils) are bad for you. They are lacking in vitamins, clog your arteries, and raise your risk of cancer. So choose healthy fats, but don’t worry about limiting them in your diet.


Sugars are like poison to a Hypoglycimic/pre-diabetic. Avoid them as much as possible (though a very small serving once in a while won’t really hurt. Life is too short to not have a small piece of cake at your child’s birthday party. Just leave off some other bread in the same meal). They are listed on labels as:
·                    Sugar
·                    Anything with syrup in its name
·                    Anything with –ose in its name (dextrose, maltose, etc. Look at the label on your salt. Sugar is added to some salts to keep them from clumping.)
·                    Maldextrin
·                    Molasses
·                    Agave nectar
·                    Honey

Actually, all carbs (sugars and breads) badly affect blood sugar. They digest quickly and raise the glucose level too fast for the body to really handle.
Not all carbs are created equal, though. Sugars enter the blood instantly. Breads and grains more slowly, whole grains the slowest, though still much faster than proteins or fats. This “roller coaster” effect of carbs puts undue stress on the pancreas and the rest of the body. It wears it out.
Artificial sugars (Equal, Sweet-N-Low, Splenda, Sucralose, etc) aren’t much better. They make you crave even more sweets and mess up your metabolism while raising your risks of cancer.

Stevia is, at present, an unknown. This is a plant from South America that has been used by the natives for years. They don’t have any higher rate of blood sugar problems or cancer than the rest of us. Coke Cola is using it in a line of their sodas now in Japan. So far there doesn’t seem to be any side-affects, but it’s too early to really tell yet.


Blood sugar problems can be scary and frustrating to deal with sometimes, but it is possible to control them.

My grandmother had a non-cancerous tumor on her pancreas that prevented it from producing insulin. This diagnosis came at forty years of age. She lived to be eighty, a full, long life, by following this diet.

My mother was diagnosed with Hypoglycemia while in her thirties. Through diet alone she has controlled her blood sugar and is no worse today (at age seventy) than she was in her thirties. There has been no further decay. She still tests a having normal-to-low blood sugars.

I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic with my eighth baby. A strict adherence to the above diet led to no complications related to blood sugar (except that she was 10.8lbs! Birth was fairly easy though).
With my ninth child, I stayed very strictly on the above diet from the very start. I also had A1C tests every three months beginning at my first pre-natal visit. My test results went from borderline between pre-diabetic and diabetic to very nearly “normal” by his birth. He was my smallest baby (8.0lbs) and had no blood-sugar-related complications. I also weighed 20lbs less by my six-week post-natal checkup than I did before I got pregnant.
Today, three years later, though I’m not as strict as I was while pregnant, I am keeping my A1C numbers and my hypoglycemia symptoms fairly normal through this diet.

I have witnessed many, many people who were very sick talk with my mother about their blood sugar, change their diet, and immediately (sometime within minutes) drastically improve their health (i.e. 6 month long headaches disappearing immediately after eating their first protein snack).

You see, it is possible to control your blood sugar through diet. It is possible to lead a normal, healthy life.

And you are worth it.


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