Monthly Archives: November 2011

Sugar Problems: Dr. Slagle Hypoglycemia Article

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

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.
-depression
-nervousness
-aggressive
-hostile
-antisocial
-irritable
-angry
-impulsive
-violent feelings
-behaviour
-fatigue
-weakness
-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
-poor concentration
-confusion
-indecision & forgetfullness
-anxiety, fear & worrying
-difficulty sleeping, especially with
-awakening in the middle of the night & unable to return to sleep
-rapid pulse
-sense of internal trembling
-digestive disturbances
-crying spells
-fluctuating mood & personality throughout the day
-feeling better right after eating
& worse upon arising or 2-6 hours after eating
-uncoordination or staggering
-muscle pains
-twitching or jerking
-leg cramps
-numbness or itching of skin
-blurred vision
-sighing or yawning
-gasping for breath or feeling like not getting enough air
-nightmares
-night terrors
-blackouts

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.

Sugar Problems: Dr. Slagle Hypoglycemia Article

This excerpt is 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

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.
-depression
-nervousness
-aggressive
-hostile
-antisocial
-irritable
-angry
-impulsive
-violent feelings
-behaviour
-fatigue
-weakness
-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
-poor concentration
-confusion
-indecision & forgetfullness
-anxiety, fear & worrying
-difficulty sleeping, especially with
-awakening in the middle of the night & unable to return to sleep
-rapid pulse
-sense of internal trembling
-digestive disturbances
-crying spells
-fluctuating mood & personality throughout the day
-feeling better right after eating
& worse upon arising or 2-6 hours after eating
-uncoordination or staggering
-muscle pains
-twitching or jerking
-leg cramps
-numbness or itching of skin
-blurred vision
-sighing or yawning
-gasping for breath or feeling like not getting enough air
-nightmares
-night terrors
-blackouts

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. For more about this see

http://www.thewayup.com/conditions/chypoglyce.htm 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.

 

Weight Loss & Maintenance Tips to Keep on Track

I found the basics of the list below somewhere, but can’t remember where,  so thank you to the source whoever you may be  I’ve also added some of my own since as Sugaraholics we have some special concerns.

I found that as soon as I quit weighing often and tracking my food most days, I would begin to get in trouble.  Weighing regularly means that you must keep in mind the nature of the 1-3 pound weight fluctuation on any given day and look at the overall trend. For instance, if I eat cured ham, a high salt food, I will easily weigh 3-4 pounds more the next morning. Most people weight about 2-3 pounds more in the evening that first thing in the morning.  So, to avoid becoming a slave of the scale, remember it can be affected by what you eat, the environmental pressure, and many other things.  For me, the scale is a tool, and each morning I step on my scale, it is a reminder of what I have worked hard to achieve and what I want to continue to do.

Tracking my food is also essential for me. I have a hearty appetite, even when I’m sick; the only times I have not wanted to eat were the very few times when I was depressed about something serious, and when I get an upset stomach.  I suppose having a good appetite is a good thing in the grand evolutionary scheme of things, but for someone who has to watch every bite that goes in, it can mean I easily can eat more than I need without really over-eating as most people understand it.  So entering my food and watching the counts of calories, carbs, protein, fat mount up, reminds me that while I might enjoy eating three ounces of nuts, in order to lose or maintain I can only eat one ounce.

Also, my regular tracking shows me the potential problems, like foods that I need to keep an eye on; for instance, if I start eating too much of a particular food that may create cravings, and the triggers vary for each person. Recently, I noticed that I was adding carrots far more than I ever had before, and since carrots are fairly carb rich for people like me, I have to remember to use them as a little flavoring, but not allow the calories-carbs to build up in using them. Lots of people get into this with 80% or more dark chocolate, which is low sugar, but can still create cravings for carb sensitive people.

You might want to compile your own list of things you know you need to do, and you can modify it as you go along.  The one thing that seems absolutely certain is that the main reason people fail to maintain their weight loss on paleo-low carb diets is that they gradually go back to the habits that got them over-weight and/or unhealthy in the first place.  Stephen Gullo called in the FQ Principle, when first the Frequency, then the Quantity, of problem foods increases.  Having a few tips under your belt means you won’t fall into that trap.

Yours in the on-going work,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Weight loss & maintenance success tips:
Avoid sugars, starch, artificial sweeteners
Weigh daily                                                                                                                                     Know calorie & carb counts
Journal food (I’m a fan of Livestrong.com)                                                                    Weigh/measure food
Learn portion sizes
Nurture support (spouses/partners/kids are very important)
Exercise for good blood flow to brain and for muscle strength
Be accountable                                                                                                                                Don’t make excuses
Persistence is key
Envision your goals
Positive mindset
Make better choices
Maintain motivation
Exercise for better health- mind and body
Be passionate to lose
Think thin
Practice better habits like no eating while watching TV.
Choose health over immediate gratification
Make health and weightless a priority                                                                                     Remember you want and deserve to be healthy, lean, and fit.

A Respite

I took myself off for a much needed short retreat in order to recharge my brain, mind, spirit, self; i.e., the whole me.  For years I was unable to get away for “me time” though I strongly felt the need for it. Now with just my husband and myself at home, and with his support, I can go off to the lakeside cabin in the Poconos and live in great simplicity, spend my days free of any demands of work, house, family, community.  I often use a portion of this time for a few days of fasting* to clean out the debris accumulated over the long portion of my life when I was ingesting far too many pesticides, herbicides, and of course the ever present sugars.  I grew up among orchards where DDT was heavily in use, and fasting is one way of helping to eliminate such toxic substances from the body. So for a week I had only mineral water, and weak green tea, and felt the freedom I’ve come to enjoy in not having any time spent on food. I do admit that this is far easier when in a place where there is no food, but I have done several short fasts at home with no problem.

My point in this post, though, is not about the fasting, but the reflection time I had which gave me a chance to really look back at the last few years and review the path I’ve been on as my body was changing so dramatically, and all the hard work at regaining control.

In general I think our need for control, or sense of control, is often mainly a form of self-deception, but when it comes to one’s body and health, then exerting control seems to me a very good thing. I am the only person who puts food into my mouth, or sends me to exercise, or to do most things. As I have written before, my most challenging times were when I listened to the people saying things like: have some cookies-ice cream-pasta, etc, life is too short, enjoy it; being too strict is a set up for failure; you have to have carbs for good health; and other such platitudes in support of the SAD status quo. I learned that this was really about having the deprivation mindset, and, as long as I felt deprived, I continued to try to eat “just a little” then suffer the devastating consequences.

During my retreat, as I read and wrote, I reflected that the biggest achievement for me in this area of health was accepting that my brain/body react to sugars-starch-most artificial sweeteners just like an alcoholic’s brain/body react to alcohol, and no one would be so stupid as to tell an alcoholic that a little is okay, or that life is too short to not have some champagne or a highball occasionally.  Once I had that as a given, it became my security, then my certainty that finally I had both the knowledge and the tools to get on with my life and not have constant cravings interfering with my days, and the constant struggle with weight. What freedom!

Socrates said that the greatest lesson in life for any person is to “know thyself.”  I personally believe this is the greatest spiritual lesson, and it is also the greatest practical lesson for how to live life more fully. I feel healthier and happier and more productive now now than at almost any time in my life.  Life is once again truly joyful, for I don’t every day get up and look in the mirror at what seemed my greatest failure, and the one that was apt to lead me to an early death if it continued unchecked.

The Buddhists teach that our suffering comes from desire or attachment to things that we cannot have, but they also teach that we are not exempt from trying to learn the source and nature of our condition, be it physical or mental.  My life will always have plenty of ups and downs, but at least I don’t have to go through it with a foggy brain, an overweight body, and that deeply felt sadness that I was not living as fully as I might.

Well, I could go on, but mainly I want to encourage anyone reading this that whatever supposed deprivation some people might think I have in terms of food, I have so much more in terms of feeling good about myself again. I finally don’t have to worry about the food part any more; I just do what works for me. That’s enough.

Yours on the path,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

 

*Note: Fasting, as in water only, should only be done after you learn something about it, not just on a whim, for then you will understand the physical processes, and also enjoy it more for understanding the benefits. Weight loss is not normally one of the benefits, though, since the metabolism is lowered during the fast, and though a person will lose about a pound a day, as soon as you begin to eat, even if you are careful and eat well, most people will quickly regain the weight. I do know of a couple people who lost weight and kept if off by maintaining a very strict low calorie, low carb diet for many weeks after. But the main value of a fast is the cleansing and giving the digestive system a rest.