Blood sugar issues plague the U.S. at epidemic rates, and blood sugar dysregulation causes some pretty crazy emotions.
These emotional swings happen so often that hangry is now a common term and plastered all over everything from coffee mugs to pillows. No really, Google it.
A lack of ready glucose causes a state of panic in the body. The body clamors to tell us that it needs fuel, and it needs fuel fast.
We then get snappy, irritable, fatigued, and sometimes manic.
How many times have you snapped at children or co-workers because you had to get ‘this last thing done’ before you could re-fuel?
How Blood Sugar Works (simplified)
When carbohydrates come into our body through food, they’re converted into glucose. The glucose is shunted into the bloodstream so cells can be fed.
The hormone insulin is then released from the pancreas to move the glucose into the cell where it can be used as fuel. Any excess is converted into a stored form of energy for later use through the liver.
Between meals, as our glucose levels naturally fall, the liver produces glucagon to start the process of using stored energy back into ready-to-use glucose.
The Adrenal Glands
The adrenal glands are the back up emergency system. In a healthy person with ready access to foods, the adrenals should never be a part of blood sugar regulation.
When blood sugar levels fall too low, the adrenal glands are signaled to release adrenalin. Adrenalin helps kick the body into gear to convert stored fat and protein into quick energy.
Using adrenaline to regulate blood sugar is extremely taxing on the body not to mention on our poor already exhausted adrenal glands.
The overall concept is pretty simple, but our modern nutrient-poor diet over the last few generations has caused drastic changes to the process.
Do you often wake up between 2-3 am either wide awake or sweaty and shaky?
That’s a symptom that your liver can’t produce the necessary glucagon needed to raise glucose levels while you sleep.
The Modern Diet and Blood Sugar Levels
Americans – or US citizens if ‘Americans’ is your pet peeve – consume more than 150 pounds of sugar each year. If you’re reading this, you’re likely not even close to that number.
That shows you just how much sugar some people eat and drink to bring up the average.
Take a look at this article about how a week of groceries looks around the world to show just how far we’ve come from our natural diet. It’s pretty sobering.
If you look at the image above, you’ll notice that in addition to the sugar added to many of our foods, we also regularly eat foods that have a natural form of sugar or simple carbohydrate in them.
Milk, juice, grains, and fruit all contribute to the carb overload. Add that to the coffee that contributes to blood sugar dysregulation, and it tells a scary story indeed.
Dysregulated Glucose Levels
It’s theorized that normal glucose levels should follow a bell curve and stay within 80-100 mg/dL at all times. I say theorized because it happens so rarely that it’s hard to say what our bodies have done naturally throughout history.
In my nutritional therapy program, I had to know certain ‘big ideas’ for each module of health that I studied. One of the big ideas for blood sugar regulation is
Never before in the history of mankind have we had an emergency need to lower blood sugar.
How insane is that? We are force-feeding our bodies so many carbohydrates, mainly refined ones, that it causes an EMERGENCY need to lower blood sugar. It’s no wonder Type 2 diabetes is an epidemic.
Thankfully, most people can reverse this condition when the blinders of misinformation and denial are lifted. We’ll talk more about that in later posts, and maybe get some input from hubby who has been through the process.
Overconsumption of carbohydrates
- Leads to reactive hypoglycemia
- Insulin resistance
A Proper Diet
A good rule of thumb for a healthy diet is to eat only whole foods, properly prepared and get them in a general ration of 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbohydrates.
Because we are all different, those ratios will vary quite a bit and change over time as our bodies needs change.
I still have a fatty acid deficiency and compromised digestion and feel better when I eat a larger percentage of fat than protein.
You can use the above formula to find your bioindividual ratio.
Sugar Blues by William Dufty
Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life by Nora T. Gedgaudas CNS CNT
The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health and boundless energy by Mark Sisson