Secret formula to be happy and lean

Along with not feeling well, the body has to work harder when sugar moves out of range.

Along with not feeling well, the body has to work harder when sugar moves out of range.

by Dr. Alan Christianson — 

The secret formula to being happy and lean is 70-100 mg/dl — that is it. Now that you know the secret, here are more details. The numbers reflect the ideal range of your blood sugar. When there is too little, your brain and muscles cannot work at their best. When there is too much, even for a few minutes, lots of bad things can happen.

Your blood cells are little discs that rush around in your blood vessels. They leave the vessels through tiny openings to carry oxygen to your body. When your blood sugar level gets too high, sugar sticks to the outside of these cells. Have you ever used a misting bottle to spray plants or your hair? Now consider how well maple or corn syrup would work in that bottle if it had been sitting unused for a week.

That is exactly what happens to your whole body when your sugar levels get too high. The blood cannot flow where it is needed. This lack of blood is bad everywhere, but some parts of your body are affected sooner than others. Your brain, tendons and liver are especially vulnerable.

Along with not feeling well, the body has to work harder when sugar moves out of range. Hormones, such as cortisol and insulin, are used to push the sugar levels up or down. They work to control blood sugars, but if a high level is needed, the body can become stressed and overweight. This is because hormones do not fine-tune sugar levels but instead make them bounce above and below the normal range.

Insulin is a storage hormone and the more of it produced, the more apt you are to store calories around your belly. Cortisol is a stress hormone. The more of it the body produces, the more likely you are to feel stressed, tired and anxious. The more your blood sugar swings up, the more it drops down, creating sugar cravings.

If you can keep your blood sugar in the tight range of 70-100, you can have great energy levels, a reduction in belly fat, lower risk of chronic diseases and fewer cravings for sweets.

For most people, an initial step is to consume a high-protein breakfast. If your protein source is from four pastries, you may end up with 20 grams of protein but at the cost of too many calories. The foods that give you the most protein per calorie include seafood, poultry, lean meat, cottage cheese, nonfat unsweetened Greek yogurt, eggs and unsweetened protein powders.

The traditional Japanese breakfast diet consists of fish, vegetables and some rice. If you tried to sell them on pancakes, butter, syrup and juice for breakfast, they would be shocked. Somewhere along the way, Americans got the bad idea that the best way to start the day is with dessert or nothing at all.

The magic amount of protein is 30 grams. If you get it, your blood sugar will stay much steadier throughout the day.

Here are some high-protein options:

  • 1.25 cups of unsweetened nonfat Greek yogurt = 30 grams
  • 1.5 servings of VegaPro™ vegetable protein powder = 36 grams
  • 1 egg plus 1 cup liquid egg white = 32 grams
  • 3.5 ounces of chicken breast = 30 grams
  • 4 ounces of salmon = 30 grams

If you have some combination of fatigue, food cravings, insomnia, anxiety, headaches, muscle pain and poor short-term memory, consider that your blood sugar level could be the cause. If you would like to get more lean and focused, consider stabilizing your blood sugar levels. Should you need help, doctors can evaluate your insulin, cortisol and blood sugar levels, then come up with an individualized plan to give you greater health and smoother aging.

 

Alan Christianson, N.M.D., has been practicing at Integrative Health in Scottsdale, Ariz., for more than 14 years. He is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease. 480-657-0003 or www.integrativehealthcare.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 32, Number 4, August/September 2013.

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