- Frustrated with your lack of energy during the day?
- Struggling to lose weight?
- Finding yourself desperately wanting a nap after a meal?
- Having problems with focus and short-term memory?
- Craving sugar, foods, and beverages you know are not good for you?
If these problems describe you, you most likely have DYSGLYCEMIA (blood sugar regulation problems). And as it turns out, how you start your day largely determines how your blood sugar and insulin levels will respond over the next 24 hours. Follow my three simple tips every morning, and you will set yourself up with a fat-burning, brain-optimizing, energy-to-spare advantage.
AND these same tips can help you lower your cholesterol and triglycerides, and help prevent you from developing Type II Diabetes. Read on.
Let’s take a brief moment to review how blood sugar (glucose) and insulin work. Your body converts the carbohydrates you eat into glucose, which is one of the main sources of fuel for the cells in your body and brain (oxygen being the other critical fuel component). The pancreas excretes a hormone called insulin, which transports the glucose from the bloodstream into the cell where it can be used to make energy.
When you eat complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, your blood sugar levels rise gradually, and your pancreas has an easier time balancing how much insulin is needed to keep it stable. But if you flood your body with simple carbohydrates (sugars, breads, pastas, and even fruits,) the pancreas goes into high gear and excretes a surge of insulin. This causes your blood sugar levels to abruptly fall, and can leave you feeling fuzzy-headed, irritable, and exhausted (typical symptoms of reactive-hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar).
There are other problems with these insulin surges. For one, they are a signal to the cell that there is plenty of glucose for energy, so it’s time to start storing. In other words, insulin surges trigger the body to start storing fat.
Another other problem is that an insulin surge will drop your blood sugar to a low level, causing you to feel hungry again, and triggering a craving for something that is high in simple sugars. And then the process starts all over again.
After many episodes of this vicious cycle, your cells simply stop responding to insulin altogether. This causes your blood pressure to rise, and your triglyceride and cholesterol levels to soar. This is what is known as insulin resistance, or “Syndrome X”.
If you refuse to do something to stop all this madness at this phase, you are almost sure to develop Type II Diabetes.
So what should you do to stop the excess fat storage and get your energy back? It’s simple, really: start your day by balancing your blood sugar.
If the vicious cycle never starts in the first place, you won’t have to fight an uphill battle the rest of the day (or the rest of your life).
Here’s what you do:
- Make sure you eat within 1 hour of waking up (even if you don’t feel like it).
- Your breakfast should contain mainly high-quality protein sources.
- Avoid having caffeine on an empty stomach.
If you suffer from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or insulin resistance, it’s likely that you don’t feel like eating anything when you wake up. Most of my patients tell me that eating first thing in the morning is the last thing they want to do. They’d rather just have a cup of coffee, or a glass of juice, or even soda, and wait a couple of hours until they feel hungry.
This is one of the worst things you can do. Juices, sodas, and even coffee will spike your blood sugar levels, requiring an exaggerated insulin response. As your blood sugar plummets, your brain is sapped of the fuel it needs to do its many jobs (paying attention, remembering where you put your keys, performing your job duties, staying awake, etc.).
So eat something within an hour of awakening to stave off that blood sugar crash. But you can’t eat just anything. A breakfast high in carbohydrates (cereals, toast, bagel, juices, fruit, etc.) will also send your blood sugar to the sky, and insulin has to come to the rescue again.
Make sure you have a high-quality protein meal to start your day right. You don’t have to eat a large portion, but you do need to eat some protein within one hour of awakening to set your blood sugar and insulin on the right track. Some good options are:
- Eggs or egg whites
- Turkey bacon
- Cheese (preferably raw)
- Yogurt supplemented with branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) or protein powder
- Collagen hydrolysate (find this at Your Supplements)
- Protein shake
Even a spoonful of natural peanut butter is better than nothing.
Of course I always recommend foods that are organic, minimally processed, and as fresh as you can find.
Another important note: THESE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT FOR CHILDREN AS THEY ARE FOR ADULTS, especially if your child has developmental delays, learning disorders, ADD/ADHD, or struggles with childhood obesity. Many of the habits that we battle as adults start when we are young.
And remember that your brain needs a steady source of glucose — not wildly fluctuating sugar levels — in order for it to do its job properly. So these recommendations are critical for anyone struggling with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and any other neurological disorder.
There you have it: three simple tips to help you lose weight, have more energy, and have better brain function. While this certainly is not an exhaustive list on how to balance your blood sugar, it’s a great way to start.
I can’t wait to hear from those of you who put this into practice and reap the rewards!