A lot to learn from this excerpt from Priscilla Slagle, MD, writing in article titled Hypoglycemia, Sugar is Not So Sweet:
[I] speak from my own experience & that of working with patients for 38 years when I say SUGAR IS NOT SO SWEET!
Even small amounts of sugar can spell trouble for people who are allergic, diabetic, hypoglycemic, anxious, depressed, yeast or infection prone, or nutritionally deficient. Excess sugar can create a health danger to anyone. Many are hooked on sugar & unknowingly, profoundly influenced by it.
What constitutes excess- The average American consumes almost 130 pounds yearly, constituting 25% of their daily calories, with sweet drinks making up 25% of that intake. This is excess.
Most people have no idea that their intake is that high, as we are surrounded & filled by hidden as well as overt sugars. If you read labels, you’ll notice how omnipresent sugar is coming under many names besides sugar–corn syrup, corn solids, fructose, sucrose, glucose, dextrose, etc Try buying a cereal, canned or frozen vegetables, canned beans, bread, sauces, ketchup; & you’ll find sugar, sugar, everywhere. It sells products, as the taste as well as the effects have proven addictive. Even laboratory animals will choose sugared food & water over their non-sweetened counterparts when given the option.
Sugar, white flour, other refined carbohydrates, & alcohol are nutritionally useless & capable of affecting our health, minds, behavior, & moods. They provide “empty calories” that can only convert to energy when certain vitamins are present. Those vitamins must be obtained from other more nutritious foods or from supplements. Indulging in too many of these empty calories without enough nutritious foods to help with their metabolism will push you into a negative nutritional state.
Besides being an addictive drug, large amounts of sugar is actually toxic to our systems. Vitamins B1, B2, & B6 are needed to detoxify & metabolize it & can be thus depleted. Sugar increases magnesium & calcium excretion in the urine & decreases overall magnesium absorption from food. Excess sugar contributes to amino acid deficiencies, because sugar & amino acids compete for absorption in the intestines. Specifically the influx of the amino acids tryptophan & phenylalanine are inhibited by sugars. High sugar intake undermines your immune system, can decrease the white blood cell count, leading to lower resistance to colds, flu, & other infections..
Hypoglycemia is a condition of abnormal sugar metabolism resulting in low blood sugar. It can paradoxically be created by eating too much sugar or refined carbohydrates. I also see it associated with adrenal insufficiency, intestinal malabsorption, liver disorders, pancreas disorders, & low progesterone levels. Deficiencies of certain amino acids, as well as chromium, manganese & potassium can also cause hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is also associated with numerous other less common syndromes & disorders of metabolism.
How does eating too much sugar actually lower blood sugar levels- Sugar is rapidly absorbed & the body reacts with an outpouring of insulin which causes the blood sugar to go down. Fine tuning with just the right amount of insulin can be difficult: if the blood sugar drops too low, the body pours out growth hormone, glucagon, cortisol & adrenaline to push it back up. This can cause a further release of insulin & the seesawing process continues until hopefully equilibrium is established. The adrenaline output can cause a jittery, anxious feeling. When the blood sugar is low there can be significant fatigue. In fact excess sugar is one of the most common causes of fatigue. But there are numerous other possible symptoms associated with sugar abuse.
SYMPTOMS OF BLOOD SUGAR INSTABILITY
The list is long & as follows.
-exhaustion, especially after not having eaten for several hours
-faintness or dizziness
-tremor or sweats
-headache, especially in the
morning or when going a long time without food
-indecision & forgetfullness
-anxiety, fear & worrying
-difficulty sleeping, especially with
-awakening in the middle of the night & unable to return to sleep
-sense of internal trembling
-fluctuating mood & personality throughout the day
-feeling better right after eating
& worse upon arising or 2-6 hours after eating
-uncoordination or staggering
-twitching or jerking
-numbness or itching of skin
-sighing or yawning
-gasping for breath or feeling like not getting enough air
You can see the potential problems are numerous. If you regularly eat sugar, or drink alcohol, have a family history of sugar-related problems & have at least ten or more of these symptoms, you may want to proceed with your own self-help program to correct this, or with appropriate testing, if you want further confirmation.
WHAT ARE THE TESTS FOR HYPOGLYCEMIA-
The most confirmatory test is the 6 Hour Glucose Tolerance Test. I usually do not order this in my practice because it can be gruelling & exacerbate symptoms. Generally if blood sugar instability is suspected we change the diet & add blood sugar stabilizing supplements, then wait for improvement.
……If an individual does not want to give up sugar without proof of it causing their symptoms, we then order the test. A saliva test called the Adrenal Stress Profile from http://www.gsdl.com can be indirectly indicative of blood sugar instability.
WHAT IS A BASIC CORRECTIVE PROGRAM-
We eliminate sugar, fruit juices, white flour products, & alcohol. Caffeine is decreased to one or no servings. A varied healthy diet is prescribed, often with frequent snacks rather than large meals. It is important to combine protein, complex carbohydrates, & fats whenever possible. Basic supplements are a good multivitamin mineral, extra B Complex, Essential Fatty Acids, & a combination free from Amino Acid Formula designed for blood sugar stabilization. The more severe the symptoms, the more other supplements we might add & that list is included in a previous reference in this newsletter. When malabsorption is part of the problem, we add Pancreatic Enzyme Support.
Hypoglycemia is an old problem which goes through fads of getting & not getting much attention. Actually, with modern diets as they are, the problem is even worse than before & likely even less recognized than before. Of course, as adults we are all responsible for the health choices we make–unfortunately children don’t quite have the same privilege unless they have very health-responsible parents.