In North America, the average man woman and child consumes about 180 pounds of sugar every year. And much more than that in the poorer city areas.
When sugar enters your system, your pancreas will produce insulin. Insulin causes your cells to open up and receive the sugar, which is burned for energy. (This is the simplified version.)
After you’ve spent years eating a high-sugar diet, your pancreas has become highly sensitive to the presence of sugar. So whenever it detects sugar, it overproduces insulin.
Because there’s too much insulin for the amount of sugar in your blood, the insulin rapidly uses up all the sugar and the result is… low blood sugar… which is accompanied by an energy crash. You’ve completely run out of puff!
To review, the cycle is: eat sugar, have a burst of high energy until the sugar is all used up, then crash. Sugar… high… crash. Sugar… high… crash. It’s like a never-ending roller coaster ride. Up, down, up, down.
Since it is the sugar in your blood stream that affects the amount of oxygen carried to your brain, low blood sugar can express itself not only in fatigue, but in depression and even psychosis.
The Natural Health approach to resolving a hypersensitive pancreas is to give it a total break from the thing that has been stimulating it to manufacture insulin: all sugars.
That’s ALL sugars. White sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, maple/corn and all other syrups, dextrose, sucrose, maltose, fructose, dextrin, glucose, lactose, maltose, treacle, xylose, sorghum, etc. A lot of “Sugar Free” foods have sugar alcohols in them, for example, maltitol and sorbitol.
If your low-energy condition is severe, you’ll do well to also omit the foods that convert into sugar. Such as fruit and potatoes (they’re high in starch, which turns into sugar) and grain products like bread. Bread, muffins, pastries and the like all have a high GI (glycemic index) which means they readily convert into sugar in the body.
This restricted diet doesn’t have to be permanent, but your pancreas does need a rest from over-production, and by avoiding the foods that stimulate it, it can relax and your energy levels will, in many cases, return to normal. After that, you’ll be able to have the occasional small shot of sugar without going into the energy roller coaster effect.
If your energy levels run like a roller coaster, these changes should help.
1. Eat a nutrient-rich breakfast that includes protein and healthy fat.
2. Eat something every 2 hours or so, to keep your blood glucose levels steady between meals. Such as veggies and a home-made dip, or a handful of raw nuts (except peanuts), seeds (sunflower, Chia, pumpkin and Quinoa come to mind) or beans.
3. Eat protein with every meal because it releases energy slowly. good quality free-range eggs provide protein, good cholesterol and healthy saturated fat. Nutritional yeast is a significant protein source that is easy to digest.
4. Eat foods that are low-GI. A handy memory aid is that vegetables with a low glycemic index typically grow above the ground (for example, greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower) while veggies that grow below the ground (like potatoes, carrots, beets) are usually high-GI and should be kept to a minimum. Unfortunately that above/below the ground guide isn’t correct all the time. And there’s not a simple memory trick for fruit, but you can find charts online that list the low GI fruits and veggies.
5. Avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates, and sugary drinks.
6. Avoid artificial sweeteners (they have the same effect that sugar does).
7. Avoid stimulants like alcohol and coffee (they “stimulate” the body rather than feeding it with nutrition).