Blood sugar levels play an important role in how we feel and if we will be at risk of developing certain chronic and potentially deadly illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. A lack of or an excess of blood sugar (glucose) can be devastating to body processes. For this reason, the body strives to maintain blood sugar levels within a narrow range through the coordinated effort of several glands and their hormones.
The body responds to the rise in blood glucose levels after meals by secreting insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin lowers blood glucose by increasing the rate that glucose is taken up by cells throughout the body. Declines in blood glucose can cause the release of adrenalin and cortisol by the adrenal glands. If there is a chronic imbalance in blood sugar, it can cause a state of insulin resistance. This is when insulin is being constantly released, but it’s just not able to do its job.
Insulin resistance is the key underlying factor that leads to weight gain and the inability to lose weight. As fat cells in the abdomen grow in size or number, they secrete a number of compounds that dampen the effect of insulin, impair glucose utilization in skeletal muscle, and promote glucose production by the liver. The net effect of all of these actions is that they severely stress the body’s blood sugar-control mechanisms
Do you have insulin resistance?
I’ve developed this simple, yet effective, test to help you determine if you may be in an insulin-resistant state. To determine if blood sugar issues may be a factor in your life, choose the correct response and add up your total.
|Sign or Symptom||No||Mild||Moderate||Severe|
|Waist circumference is larger than your hips||0||1||2||3|
|Difficulty losing weight||0||1||2||3|
|Difficulty sleeping throughout the night||0||1||2||3|
|Irritability if a meal is missed||0||1||2||3|
|Feeling tired or weak if a meal is missed||0||1||2||3|
|Dizziness when standing suddenly||0||1||2||3|
|Poor memory or concentration||0||1||2||3|
|Feeling tired an hour or so after eating||0||1||2||3|
|Feeling shaky at times||0||1||2||3|
|Vision blurs on occasion||0||1||2||3|
|Depression or mood swings||0||1||2||3|
|Frequently anxious or nervous||0||1||2||3|
|Numerous skin tags||0||1||2||3|
|Slow healing of sores||0||1||2||3|
Less than 5: Blood sugar issues are not likely a factor.
6-15: Blood sugar issues are a likely factor.
More than 15: Blood sugar issues are extremely likely.
Using a continuous glucose monitoring system, Canadian researcher Michael Lyon, MD, was the first to document that most people with weight problems go through their days with remarkably fluctuating blood sugar levels, which can lead to insulin resistance. Lyon and I call this “increased glycemic volatility,” but we most often refer to it as being on the blood sugar roller coaster.
When Lyon and I started working with people with type 2 diabetes, we discovered that stabilizing blood sugar levels was the key to not only improving their diabetes, but also is a safe and effective weight loss method. Together, we wrote a book about this concept called Hunger Free Forever (Atria Publishing, 2008).
Lyon has since published more than a dozen papers in peer-reviewed journals documenting the positive effects of using a unique fiber known as PolyGlycoPlex (PGX). This ingredient, which is available in capsules or in granular form, is produced from natural, soluble plant fibers (xantham gum, alginate and glucomannan). Via a special process, these fibers bind together in a way to make PGX the most viscous and soluble fiber ever discovered. What that means is that all of the health benefits linked to soluble dietary fibers—including stabilizing blood sugar levels—are significantly magnified with PGX.
In addition to using PGX, to correct glycemic volatility, it is important to avoid foods that cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels. Refined sugars, white flour products, junk foods and other sources of simple sugars are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar and severely stressing blood sugar control.