Regulating Blood Sugar
You are probably saying to yourself “What the heck is Syndrome X?” Is this some new-age made up disease to try and get me to spend more money on medications and tests that I don’t need. You are smart to be cautious in this day and age as the media is constantly bombarding us with this disease and that disease that no one ever heard of and a whole new line of drugs that you “have to” take if you want to live. Syndrome X is a “disorder characterized by a cluster of associated health problems that together increase the risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease”. These problems always include insulin resistance and one or more of the following factors: glucose intolerance, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and being overweight. These would be considered the symptoms. Syndrome X has to do with glucose and insulin activity, and is considered along with hypoglycemia, increased insulin secretion, and type II diabetes to be a progression of the same illness……a malady caused by the Standard American Diet (SAD). Yes, that may seem shocking to you but today people consume so much sugar, unhealthy fat, fast food, junk food, refined and processed foods that they are causing themselves to suffer debilitating diseases that make their old age miserable if they indeed make it to old age!
Glucose is a simple sugar, also known as blood sugar. This is the primary fuel for all of our body’s cells. Insulin is a hormone made in and secreted by the pancreas. Insulin helps the glucose (blood sugar) to get from the bloodstream into the cells, where it is burned for energy. The levels of glucose and insulin in a healthy human body go up and down throughout the day, always staying in a compatible range of each other. The problems occur when your levels of glucose and insulin are out of a normal range in the blood. If your pancreas is not producing enough insulin you may have type I diabetes. If your body’s cells become resistant to insulin and do not take the glucose into the cells you may have type II diabetes. When your blood sugar levels are abnormally low you may have hypoglycemia. When you consume highly refined carbohydrates as your major source of calories, you overdose the body with glucose. This is damaging to the kidneys, and other organs including the pancreas. The pancreas is then burdened with having to release huge amounts of insulin to counteract all of the glucose in your bloodstream, as it attempts to lower your blood sugar levels. After years and years of this the body will start to lose its ability to deal with all this glucose. After time insulin becomes less effective and the cells become more resistant to insulin. Insulin also promotes the formation of fat, so the more insulin that is released in excess, more fat is produced in excess. Being a fairly sedentary society, not burning off all the excess glucose leads to weight gain when fat cells take over and the muscle cells can no longer keep up with burning the excess glucose. Ultimately both insulin and glucose levels remain high and this is a prescription for Syndrome X, diabetes and heart disease. As our diets degrade year after year, humans become fatter and fatter and this vicious circle is killing us literally.
Unfortunately in our society when blood sugar levels are off, cholesterol and blood pressure are high most people try to fix this with prescription medications rather than changing their diet and lifestyle. Insulin resistance is the birthplace for diabetes and cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance can be prevented through diet and exercise with no drugs needed. Syndrome X (indicated by insulin resistance) is a nutritional disease caused by the over consumption of refined sugars and other carbohydrates, by adjusting the diet you can alleviate Syndrome X and in turn diabetes and heart disease. There are also lots of natural substances to treat diabetes and cardiovascular disease that do not have the drastic side effects of modern prescription medicines.
There are several diet principles to consider here:
- Avoid refined carbohydrates, including white sugar (and other sweeteners), white flour and white rice.
- Eat foods in their most natural and fresh state as possible.
- Emphasize non-starchy vegetables as your primary source of carbohydrate.
- Keep your intake of nutritious carbohydrate-dense foods moderate, depending on your health.
- Avoid soft drinks, fruit juices, alcohol, and other highly processed drinks.
- Eliminate omega-6 rich vegetable oils from your diet and use cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil instead.
- Enrich your diet with omega-3 fats whenever you can.
- Steer clear of trans-fatty acids, which are found in deep fried foods, margarine, and foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils.
- Eat some protein at every meal and snack.
I recommend a diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans), healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds), quality protein (lean meats and fish), and limited use of dairy products. I would also recommend no sugar, junk food, fast food, bakery goods, boxed or canned foods. Generally think when shopping of sticking to the outside perimeters of the grocery store where you find fresh foods, and skip the mid-section where you find processed, refined foods. I personally think it is worth the money to buy organic at the health food store or one of the many health conscious grocery stores now available. By limiting the additives and preservatives that your body has to deal with the easier it is for your organs to perform as they are meant to.
As for supplements I always suggest a good multi-vitamin and mineral complex, fish or flax seed oil, and antioxidents. Exercise and a healthy lifestyle are very important in all aspects of Syndrome X, and can be a fun way to get back to enjoying life and having the energy and vitality that you once had.
Submitted by Tricia @ Nutrition by Tricia