Balancing Your Blood Sugar Levels On A Vegan Diet
Getting your blood sugar levels correct can easily be managed through a vegan diet. Alessandra Felice shows us how it’s done… Glucose (the sugar in our blood) is essential to health because it’s required for the formation of ATP, the energy molecule in our bodies, which is necessary for every organ and cell to function. The two key hormones for blood glucose regulation are insulin and glucagon. When blood sugar is high, such as after a meal, insulin is released and helps to bring glucose circulating in the blood from the breakdown of food into the tissues for use and storage; when blood sugar is low, glucagon is released to break down glycogen (stored form of glucose in the tissues), causing the blood sugar to rise again. The body tries to maintain a constant balance between the two to function properly. But a state of continued elevated blood sugar can have a very negative effect on it as the body must release a consistent stream of insulin into the bloodstream to maintain healthy sugar levels. This will cause the tissues to become what is known as “insulin resistant”, due to the constant exposure to insulin, which causes more and more insulin to be released to remove circulating sugar that keeps rising as tissues are not responding to insulin anymore. Besides potentially contributing to diabetes, heart disease and other chronic metabolic diseases, long-term blood sugar imbalance may contribute to other conditions like increased fat storage in the abdomen, which is also dangerous for heart health and also cause inconsistent and poor energy. Balancing blood sugar is essential for our mental and physical health! Let’s take a quick look at what items or habits are best to reduce or eliminate to avoid blood sugar spikes. Avoid refined sugar and refined carbohyd Continue reading >>
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Insulin Resistance And Weight Gain
Hormones are powerful and you should not take them lightly. Several hormones may either speed-up or impede your weight loss success. Insulin is one such hormone. Resistance to insulin causes diabetes and weight gain. Escaping insulin resistance can give you control over your blood sugar and your weight too! What is Insulin? But, what is insulin? What does it do? Insulin is a hormone released by your pancreas - an organ in your abdomen. When you eat, your body senses that and signals your pancreas to release insulin. Your body releases insulin in response to glucose, amino acids and fats in your meals (1-3). But, its secretion is highest when you eat sugary foods. What Does Insulin Do? After its release, insulin assists the entry of glucose from your food into your body cells. Think of insulin as a key that unlocks the door for glucose to enter into your body cells. When your system gets loaded with glucose, it causes a shift in your metabolism. It slows down the breakdown of fat. More importantly, it starts the synthesis of new fat. Insulin redirects excess glucose into fat cells and triggers ‘adipogenesis’- synthesis of fat (4-7). No wonder sugary stuff is so fattening! Insulin Sensitivity vs. Insulin Resistance Insulin sensitivity is the term for how your body responds to insulin. If your body is ‘sensitive’ to insulin, it means everything is on the right track. The key is turning the locks just fine and there is no need to worry. But, things become different when ‘resistance’ replaces ‘sensitivity’. When you become resistant to insulin, it means the key is not turning the locks the way it is supposed to. Glucose is not entering into the cells and fat synthesis is on the rise (8). Insulin Resistance - Cause or Consequence? The link between insulin resi Continue reading >>
7 Foods That Spike Blood Sugar
1 / 8 7 Foods That Spike Blood Sugar If you have type 2 diabetes, you know about the importance of making healthy mealtime choices. But just as important is staying away from the wrong foods — those that can spike your blood sugar. That's because simple carbohydrates, like white bread and sugary soda, are broken down by the body into sugar, which then enters the bloodstream. Even if you don't have diabetes, these foods can lead to insulin resistance, which means your body's cells don't respond normally to the insulin produced by the pancreas. Here are seven foods you should avoid for better blood sugar control. Continue reading >>
Nature's Best Sugar Blockers
You may have heard that whole grain products are high in fiber. However, the starch in grains quickly turns to sugar and overwhelms any blood sugar-blocking effect the fiber might have. Of course, all fruits and vegetables contain sugar; that's what makes them carbohydrates. Nevertheless, most contain proportionately more soluble fiber than sugar, so they don't raise blood sugar as much as grain products and other refined carbohydrates do. Keeping blood sugar steady is an important tool for preventing insulin spikes, which can lock fat into your cells and prevent it from being used for energy. The substance in our diet that's most responsible for these blood sugar surges is starch. But the good news is you can blunt the blood sugar-raising effects by taking advantage of natural substances in foods—like fiber in fruits and veggies—that slow carbohydrate digestion and entry into the bloodstream. You can tell which fruits and vegetables have the best balance of fiber to sugar by looking at their glycemic loads (Not sure what that means? See Glycemic Impact 101.). All of the carbohydrates that have been associated with increased risk of obesity or diabetes have glycemic loads greater than 100. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables with glycemic loads less than 100 have been associated with reduced risk. Thus, you should avoid fruits or vegetables with glycemic loads higher than 100, even though they contain soluble fiber. Fruits and vegetables whose glycemic loads are between 50 and 100 are themselves acceptable to eat, but they release enough glucose to nullify their usefulness as sugar blockers. The best fruit and vegetable sugar blockers are those with glycemic loads less than 50. It takes about 10 grams of fiber to reduce the after-meal blood sugar surge from a s Continue reading >>
Tweet Insulin sensitivity describes how sensitive the body is to the effects of insulin. Someone said to be insulin sensitive will require smaller amounts of insulin to lower blood glucose levels than someone who has low sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity varies from person to person and doctors can perform tests to determine how sensitive an individual is to insulin. How does insulin sensitivity affect people with diabetes? People with low insulin sensitivity, also referred to as insulin resistance, will require larger amounts of insulin either from their own pancreas or from injections in order to keep blood glucose stable. Having insulin resistance is a sign that your body is having difficulty metabolising glucose, and this can indicate wider health problems such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels may also be present. By contrast, having a particularly high sensitivity to insulin can also cause problems for people with type 1 diabetes, particularly young children. Why is insulin sensitivity important? Low insulin sensitivity can lead to a variety of health problems. The body will try to compensate for having a low sensitivity to insulin by producing more insulin. However, a high level of circulating insulin (hyperinsulinemia) is associated with damage to blood vessels, high blood pressure, heart disease and heart failure, obesity, osteoporosis and even cancer. Periods of stress and illness can both introduce short term periods of reduced insulin sensitivity. In most cases, insulin sensitivity should recover once the stress or illness has passed. Can high insulin sensitivity be problematic? Generally speaking, having a good sensitivity to insulin is a sign of good health, however, there are times when a higher sensitivity can be problematic. For people with t Continue reading >>
10 Ways To Balance Blood Sugar Naturally
Blood Sugar Balance in Plain English Before we get started with tips to balance your blood sugar, I want to cover some basic blood sugar terms that I will be using in this discussion. Blood sugar/blood glucose – Glucose is the form of sugar that is in our bloodstream. Glucose is the body’s preferred source of fuel. Insulin – the pancreas secretes insulin, a hormone that shuttles glucose from the blood into body cells. It knocks on the cell and says, “Open up, I’ve got some glucose that I need to get out of the bloodstream so take it and use it for energy.” Insulin resistance – When we consume a large amount of refined carbs with very little fat and protein, our blood sugar spikes very high and the pancreas frantically overcompensates with insulin release. This overcompensation of insulin eventually causes insulin resistance, which leads to Type 2 Diabetes if poor dietary practices are continued. The good news, however, is that it can an be reversed through a healthy diet that balances your blood sugar. Glycogen – Glucose that doesn’t enter body cells is taken to the liver where it is converted to glycogen. This is a form of stored sugar that is broken down to stabilize low blood sugar levels between meals and during the night. It is healthful for the body store of glycogen, but stress and hormone dysfunction deplete our ability to store glycogen and this can contribute to blood sugar imbalance. Hyperglycemia – Hyperglycemia is another term for high blood sugar. It is normal to have a spike in blood sugar after a meal, but chronically high blood sugar causes severe health issues. Hypoglycemia – Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar. Glycogen, the sugar stored in the liver, is responsible for raising blood sugar in-between meals and should prevent hypoglyc Continue reading >>
10 Ways To Increase Insulin Sensitivity For Better Fat Loss
Your insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism are directly correlated to your body composition. Impair your body’s ability to efficiently store glucose, and you’ll be fighting an uphill battle against fat loss. Here are 10 ways you can increase insulin sensitivity and make it easier to change your body composition for the better. Eat Low-Glycemic Carbohydrates The glycemic index measures a given food’s impact on blood glucose levels. High-glycemic foods cause a rapid rise in blood glucose, which results in your body releasing large amounts of insulin. The constant bombardment of insulin on your cells causes them to become insensitive to insulin’s effects over time – meaning more and more insulin is needed to achieve a similar result. Eating a low-glycemic diet can improve glucose uptake and increase your insulin sensitivity . Here are 100 healthy foods to eat that will all have a minimal impact on your blood glucose. Make Exercise Part of Your Lifestyle Exercise causes a reduction in blood glucose and plasma insulin levels for days after physical activity . One of the main mechanisms for why this happens is the translocation of GLUT4 in fat and muscle tissue. GLUT4 transports the glucose from the food you eat into your cells. When you exercise, a higher number of GLUT4 translocate to muscle cells as compared to fat cells – resulting in a better ability to store glucose in muscle tissue without the presence of insulin. Drink Green Tea Similar to exercise, green tea significantly reduces glucose uptake by fat tissue, and significantly stimulates glucose uptake in muscle . Green tea improves insulin sensitivity by increasing GLUT4 translocation in muscle tissue. EGCG is a catechin antioxidant believed to be responsible for the majority of tea’s hea Continue reading >>
5 Incredibly Powerful Eating Tips That Boost Insulin Sensitivity Naturally
Food provides information to the body. Protein influences everything from muscle growth, appetite control right through to hormone production. Fiber feeds the bacteria in our guts which play a role in the health of our immune system. Carbs influence blood glucose and exercise performance. Vitamin C protects against the damaging effects of high blood glucose and oxidative damage. Salt influences water retention. etc… We could go on forever. The nutritional components of food serve many different roles within the human body. This article aims to highlight 5 key nutritional aspects of food have been shown to improve the action (or sensitivity) of insulin, resulting in improved blood glucose management in people with diabetes. Before we go into details – it is important to understand a few key terms surrounding insulin and diabetes. Key Terms Insulin is a key hormone involved in the use and storage of fuels within the body. Insulin sensitivity refers to how effective the hormone insulin does its job in the body. This varies between individuals and is reduced in people with diabetes. Insulin resistance is when muscle, liver and fat cells do not use insulin properly. As a result, glucose builds up in the blood, overflows into the urine and is excreted out of the body, never fulfilling its role as the body’s main source of fuel. Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by different degrees of insulin resistance, where not enough insulin is produced, or the current insulin produced does not work effectively. Disorders in insulin production and signalling can have widespread and devastating effects on the body’s organs and tissues if left uncontrolled. Therefore, it is important that people with type 1 diabetes (who produce next to no insulin) have an unin Continue reading >>
Human Growth Hormone And Insulin Are Friends
Hormone balance, and the cycle by which our hormones are regulated, is very complicated. That’s why we have doctors who specialize in endocrinology. This article is intended as a basic explanation of the function of a few hormones and their interactions within the human body, as well as how nutrition/exercise affect their production and utilization. That said, hormone manipulation through diet and exercise does NOT account for a great deal of your results – you should focus on getting better at exercise, eating enough, and recovering properly before you lose sleep over whether or not you have optimal HGH or insulin levels. Insulin vs. HGH I’ll get down to brass tacks and make myself clear: insulin and growth hormone play antagonist roles against one another. When one is elevated, the other will be low. That does not, however, mean that their functions are all that dissimilar; they’re both responsible for growth in different ways and looking at them as synergists is much more productive. We want to find a way to make the best of insulin’s ability to pull nutrients into cells, but we also want to elicit the muscular, skeletal and neurological growth that (as the name implies) growth hormone is responsible for. Intraday nutrient cycling is the best way to do this. Understanding why is complicated as all heck, but we’ve tried to make it easy to digest (Get it? Digest? Haha?) Before we continue, I am going to ask that you take a look at our articles on insulin and leptin, as well as the sleep tutorial. They’ll help you understand some of the terms in this section and get a better idea of what’s really going on behind the scenes. Growth Hormone and IGF-1 Growth Hormone (GH) is a hormone responsible for cellular growth in the human body. Throughout the day, GH Continue reading >>
A Simple Trick To Improve Insulin Sensitivity And Trigger Fat Loss
Many things contribute to insulin sensitivity: training, single nutrients, exercise, lifestyle… You just can’t be lean and healthy without being sensitive to insulin. What is insulin sensitivity? Insulin sensitivity is simply how the body reacts to the physiological effects of insulin produced after a meal. Basically to be insulin sensitive means one requires smaller amounts of insulin to lower blood glucose levels than someone who has low sensitivity. One important thing to know is that all foods will stimulate insulin, but not equally. Fats have very little impact on insulin. While proteins only have a moderate one. Actually, some proteins like whey are more insulinogenic than white sugar. But those are more the exception than the rule. The foods that trigger the most insulin release are those that contain carbohydrates in the form of sugar and starches. What does elevated insulin do to your body? Well, too much insulin, too often, over a too long period of time lead to fat gain, obesity and insulin resistance. This is the preliminary stage of type 2 diabetes. So you want to lose fat faster? Work on improving your insulin resistance. Of course, having a stable blood sugar is essential for health as well. A simple dietary intervention Science has identified one very simple and underestimated food to both reduce your insulin response to high carb meals and lose body fat. Acetic acid, otherwise known as plain old vinegar. Studies on rats (1) have recently made interesting headway into explaining the mechanism of action. In addition, human trials have proven that vinegar consumption is not just useful in the animal models. The very first study on the metabolic impact of vinegar dates as far back as 1988 (2). Since then, many studies have followed that concentrated on Continue reading >>
Diet Dos And Don'ts For Diabetics!
Home > Get Ahead > Living > Health his is the concluding part of a two-part series on diet tips for the diabetics, by dietitians Priya Khanna and Seema Tarneja: Part I: Diabetics, heed these diet tips! Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder in which the body fails to convert sugars, starches and other foods into energy. Many of the foods you eat are normally converted into a type of sugar called glucose during digestion. The bloodstream then carries glucose through the body. The hormone, insulin, then turns glucose into quick energy or is stored for futher use. In diabetic people, the body either does not make enough insulin or it cannot use the insulin correctly. This is why too much glucose builds in the bloodstream. There are two major types of diabetes: 1. Type 1 This is popularly known as Juvenile Onset Diabetes. Here, the body produces little or no insulin. It occurs most often in childhood or in the teens and could be inherited. People with this type of diabetes need daily injections of insulin. They must balance their daily intake of food and activites carefully with their insulin shots to stay alive. 2. Type 2 Also known as Adult Onset Diabetes, this occurs around 35 to 40 years. The more common of the two types, it accounts for about 80 per cent of the diabetics. Here, though the pancreas produce adequate insulin, body cells show reduced sensitivity towards it. Type 2 diabetes is usually triggered by obesity. The best way to fight it is by weight loss, exercise and dietary control. Sometimes, oral medication or insulin injections are also needed. ~ Symptoms of diabetes Here are a few: Extreme thirst and hunger Frequent urination Sores or bruises that heal slowly Dry, itchy skin Unexplained weight loss Unusual tiredness or drowsiness Tingling or numb Continue reading >>
3 Tricks To Support Healthy Blood Sugar And Insulin Sensitivity
Diet trends seem to change every month or at least every year, and now that low-fat diets are “out” (for good reason!), you’ve probably heard over and over again that carbohydrates are perhaps the WORST thing you can eat when trying to lose fat or transform your body. I’ll save the fascinating facts on fats and why they’re important to consume for another article; for now, let’s focus in on carbs and their effects on your body and weight-loss efforts. It all starts with a hormone known as insulin. To keep it simple, when you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into simple sugars, which are then released in your blood. In response, your pancreas releases insulin. Insulin has numerous functions in the body, especially for metabolism, but the most important for this article is to help your body process, utilize, and store blood sugar. Let’s say you eat a high-carbohydrate meal. Insulin is released to “partition” blood sugar to its final destination—either muscle tissue (to be stored as energy) or fat cells (as body fat). Unfortunately, due to years of consuming a diet full of processed, blood-sugar-spiking carbs and sugars (often a result of eating a low-fat diet), most people are not nearly as sensitive to insulin as they could be. So while insulin should be a huge asset to your body transformation goals, it often becomes a total fat-loss and health-derailing nightmare. The result? Dramatically reduced fat burning (insulin turns fat burning “off”), increased blood sugar levels, and increased fat storage (insulin turns fat storage “on”). But that’s not all; this can lead to poor performance, reduced sleep, slowed recovery, and muscle soreness. Not good. Editor’s Note: 6 Veggies That Cause Fat Gain Ideally, when you consume carbohyd Continue reading >>
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What Is Insulin Resistance?
If someone has insulin resistance, their body does not respond properly to the hormone insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas. When we eat foods containing carbohydrate they are broken down to glucose (a term for sugar) in the blood. The normal function of the hormone insulin is to transfer glucose from the blood into the liver and muscle cells, to be used as energy, and managing our blood glucose levels. In people with insulin resistance, the muscles and the liver resist the action of insulin, so the body has to produce higher amounts to keep the blood glucose levels within a normal range. Insulin resistance is more common in: People with a family history of diabetes People who are overweight (particularly around the stomach area) People who are physically inactive Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) Ethnic groups (e.g. Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders). A person with insulin resistance has a greater risk of developing Type II diabetes and heart disease. Insulin resistance is detected by blood tests that your GP or specialist may order. If you have insulin resistance, following a healthy lifestyle can reduce your chances of developing Type II diabetes. Studies have shown that combining: Healthy eating Regular physical activity can all help reduce your risk of Type II diabetes in the years to come. These lifestyle changes were shown to be at least as effective as a common medication used to treat insulin resistance. Smart eating tips for improving insulin resistance If you are overweight, losing some weight will improve insulin resistance. Eating smaller portion sizes, being more physically active and eating less energy dense foods (‘extra’ foods) can assist with weight reduction. Physical activity is not only beneficial for weight Continue reading >>
Does Dairy Raise Insulin Levels And Increase Diabetes Risk?
Selected for you this week: A blogpost on the association between dairy consumption and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, by Greg Miller. Every week, we bring you valuable quotes from around the web on yogurt. The incidence of Type 2 diabetes (T2D) in the United States is high – so it’s not surprising that people ask whether specific foods, like dairy, can increase their risk of developing this disease. To give a complete answer, we need to take a step back and educate our clients about what happens in the body when we eat. As with every food, when dairy foods are eaten there is a rise in glucose, or blood sugar, which the body uses for energy. This results in the release of insulin – which is a normal, healthy response to a meal. Insulin unlocks the body’s cells to let glucose in so it can be used for energy. Insulin helps regulate blood sugar. When its job is done, blood levels of insulin go back down. In healthy people, a rise in insulin after eating does not increase the risk of T2D. Here is additional information on insulin. Once everyone is on board with a basic understanding of the physiology and role of insulin in the body, here are a few other points to consider in your response to this question about dairy foods and insulin: Some people with pre-diabetes or T2D have blood levels of insulin that rise above the normal range. But this has nothing to do with any particular food or meal. Rather, this is a chronic condition in which the body is not using insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is linked to overweight/obesity, physical inactivity and poor diet. The great thing about dairy foods is that they contain both carbohydrate and protein to help regulate blood sugar. When dairy foods are eaten, blood sugar ri Continue reading >>
Fruit For Diabetes – Is It Actually Safe To Eat?
If you are living with diabetes, you've probably been told to minimize or eliminate your intake of fruit because "fruit is high in sugar." And if this is the case, maybe you refrain from eating fruits because it causes your blood glucose to spike. Attracted by the smell, color and taste, you may find yourself asking a simple question: "Should I avoid fruit in the long-term? And if so, will I ever be able to eat fruit again?” It turns out that this ant-fruit message is a perfect example of pseudoscience at its best. A recent study published in PLOS medicine tracked the health of 512,891 Chinese men and women between the ages of 30 and 79 for an average of 7 years, in order to understand the effect that their diet had on their overall health (1). We like these types of studies because they are: For those who did not have diabetes at the beginning of the study, those who had a higher fruit consumption were 12% less likely to develop diabetes, compared with those who ate zero pieces of fruit per day. The researchers found a dose-response relationship, which means that the more frequently these nondiabetic individuals ate fruit, the lower the risk for developing diabetes. Amongst those living with diabetes at the beginning of the study, those who ate fruit 3 times per week reduced their risk of all-cause mortality (death from any cause) by 17%, compared with diabetic individuals who ate zero pieces of fruit per day. In addition, researchers uncovered that those who ate fresh fruit 3 days per week were 13-28% less likely to experience macrovascular complications (heart disease and stroke) and microvascular damage (kidney disease, retinopathy and neuropathy). Even though this study was observational, the results of the study have profound implications for people living with Continue reading >>