Our bodies have a complex system that prioritizes the maintenance of proper blood sugar (glucose) levels. Ideally, when we eat food, or when we fast (more than 3-4 hours without food), the organs within this system are happily at work. The blood glucose levels are regulated and we experience consistent energy, mood, clarity of mind, etc. throughout the day. Sounds pretty nice, right? Well, why is it that so many people fail to experience such blood sugar stability?
This week, I want to discuss the foundation of blood sugar handling by shining the spotlight on the culprit that has caused so much disruption to this system: STRESS.
I touched on this when discussing the foundation of digestion. Stress comes in many forms which spike blood sugar levels: sugar, refined carbohydrates (flours, breads, and pasta), excess healthy carbohydrates (fruit, freshly pressed juice, or whole grains, beans, and legumes), and lifestyle. Dietary stress causes more glucose in the blood than the pancreas and liver can handle effectively. Lifestyle stress causes the adrenals to release hormones which signal a spike in blood sugar levels--our bodies’ “stress response.”
The pancreas, liver, and adrenals can become worn out and our cells become insulin resistant. This can happen at any age, as is evidenced by the increase in childhood obesity and diabetes. If you look back in history, you will see that never before in mankind have we had an emergency need to lower blood sugar as we do today. Clearly, it is the refined foods and stressful habits that have created this issue.
What is the solution? For many, the answer is complex because a host of other symptoms and issues have resulted from the dysregulated blood sugar. However, you can start by reducing the stressors discussed above, increase your healthy fats (avocado, grass-fed butter or cheese, olive oil, coconut oil, flax seeds, etc) which provide a longer burning source of fuel than sugar, and only eat when you are hungry (so that you don’t “over fuel” your glucose tank.) Also, if you have a lot of lifestyle induced stress, exercise is a great support! If we use the glucose and burn it for energy, then we won’t ask our pancreas and liver to turn around and store it as fat. The RESTART classes which I teach, are all about giving the body a break from sugar, and allowing the blood sugar handling organs to heal. It is amazing how quickly the body can recover when treated properly.
So, knowing this, I would encourage you to not compare your diet or lifestyle to others. Don’t determine “how good” or “how bad” your level of stress is. Instead, focus on how you can better heal and maintain this essential system. What is your game plan?