Hay House Radio Episode Recap
- Episode Name: “Blood Sugar Balance and Diabetes Nutrition”
- Live Broadcast: September 11th, 2018 at 12:00 pm Pacific Time
Episode Summary Re-cap
Is there anything you can do to prevent or reverse diabetes?An estimated 422 million people worldwide have diabetes and this number continues to rise rapidly. Pre-diabetes is also on the rise with an estimated 470 million cases expected by the year 2030. What is happening with our blood sugar levels? Did you know that your willpower, decision-making, moods, and energy are linked to blood sugar levels? How can you tell if it’s time to pay attention to your blood sugar balance? And is there anything you can do to prevent or reverse diabetes? Clinical Nutrition Consultant, Nora Gedgaudas joins Heather to reveal how your diet can impact your blood sugar levels and metabolic health! Special Guest: Nora Gedgaudas
Nora Gedgaudas is a board-certified nutritional consultant and a board-certified clinical neurofeedback specialist with over 20 years of clinical experience.
A recognized authority on ketogenic, ancestrally based nutrition, she is a popular speaker and educator and the author of the best selling book, Primal Body, Primal Mind, as well as Rethinking Fatigue.
Her newest book, Primal Fat Burner: Live Longer, Slow Aging, Super-Power Your Brain, and Save Your Life With A High Fat, Low-Carb Paleo Diet has been lauded by best selling author and journalist, Nina Teicholz as “a unique and profound contribution to the field.”
Lessons from Our Ancestors
The common belief that humans rely on blood sugar as a primary source of energy is a myth. Nora Gedgaudas shares that very few tissues in the human body rely on glucose and you don’t have to consume sugar and carbohydrates to meet those needs. In fact, there is no established scientific evidence showing that we need them.
Many of us recognize that sugars include all natural and artificial sweeteners, along with refined sweeteners like fructose (and high fructose corn syrup), sucrose, glucose, etc.
Carbohydrates can get confusing though because they include (1) utilizable carbohydrates (sugar, and starches like bread, flour, grains, rice, and starchy vegetables like potatoes) and (2) non-utilizable carbohydrates, which is fiber (found in the non-starchy vegetables, like lettuce, kale, collards, green beans, etc., that Nora recommends for optimal health).
Our ancestors started eating animals and fat. In fact, we have evidence of stone tools that were used by our hominid ancestors to clean meat and marrow from bones 3.4 million years ago. Nora also shared that 2.5 million years ago, our ancestors were hunting as their primary source of nutrition.
Where things get interesting is the fat. Nora jokes that humans traded a big gut for a big brain. In fact, humans have more of a taste for fat than any other mammal alive. The human brain tripled in size quickly as our ancestors ate fat over our evolution. The brain is 80% fat. Your nervous system relies on fat. Cholesterol is also key for brain health. Fats are responsible for cognition and it served to make us human. Sugars and starches did not factor much in their diet.
How Blood Sugar Gets Out of Balance
In Nora’s book, Primal Fat Burner, she says:
We all have a sweet tooth. It is as basic to our constitution as thirst. And for more than 99 percent of the time we have walked this bountiful planet, our sweet tooth has served us well and helped us to survive.
But what happens when food manufacturers take advantage of this primal sweet tooth? Most processed foods – at least 75 percent – have added sugars. Even more contain flours and starches. Sugars and starches are foods that Nora says create “rocket fuel” – a type of energy that burns quickly for an emergency, then leaves just as fast as it shows up. It’s not sustainable and even worse, it creates a blood sugar roller coaster.
In fact, Nora tells us that all sugar in the blood stream does damage called glycation.
How does glycation happen? Sugars (glucose and fructose) combine with proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids (fats), resulting in impaired functioning or inflammation. This leads to aging.
These days, people are over-consuming carbohydrates in the form of sugars and starches (e.g., bread, flour, sugar, grains, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, fruit, and don’t forget artificial sweeteners!). Nora warns that consuming carbs in excess results in an insulin response that stores the excess in your liver as glycogen. If you exceed the amount of glycogen your liver can store, it is stored as triglycerides in your fat cells. Now that you understand this process, it’s easier to see how overeating sugars and carbs can contribute to NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), which is rapidly rising today.
If you have elevated triglycerides, Nora says, it’s a sign that you have too many carbs in your diet, NOT a sign of eating too much fat.
Blood Sugar Spikes vs. Sustainable Energy
Over time, if you continue eating excess carbs and sugar, your body begins to rely on it. Nora describes this with a great metaphor: the wood burning stove.
Carbohydrates and sugar are like kindling – small sticks or paper. Typically, you’d use these to get a fire started, but imagine if you were to fill your wood stove with kindling only. You’d have to keep a vigilant watch on the stove and fill it with handfuls of kindling to keep the fire going. In this case, how could you go about your daily life and activities or even sleep, without constantly needing to feed the fire?
Now, what if you put in some big logs? Those big logs burn slowly, allowing you to go about your day, sleep through the night, and not worry so much about feeding the fire. The big logs are healthy fats.
“With carbohydrates and sugars, you are enslaved,” says Nora, and “with fats, you have freedom.” And it’s not just freedom to get things done or sleep. There’s also freedom due to the way fat fuels your brain.
Fat: Food for Your Brain
Fat has 2 times the calories per gram as proteins and carbs, and provides four times the energy. Since your brain is mostly fat, it thrives on healthy fats in your diet.
Some healthy fats include organic:
- Grassfed and pasture fed animal protein
- Grass and pasture fed animal fats like: beef tallow, chicken schmaltz, lard, duck fat, goose fat, and organic cultured ghee.
- Unrefined plant oils like: extra virgin olive oil, macadamia oil, sesame seed oil, avocado oil, and raw cacao butter
- Nuts, seeds, and nut and seed butters provide good protein fat (nut and seed flours can make great grain flour replacements too!)
- Full fat coconut milk
What’s the Deal with Ketones?
The human brain can run on ketones (water soluble molecules of fat), which can cross the blood brain barrier. In fact, your brain runs better on ketones and most people adapt well to a healthy ketogenic diet. This is why many people report feeling more energized, clear, alert, focused and satiated when they switch to a ketogenic diet. This requires changing your diet by focusing more on healthy fats, a moderate amount of protein, and non-starchy vegetables.
How to Balance Blood Sugar with Nutrition
Along with good healthy fats, Nora recommends plenty of green, non-starchy vegetables and animal protein. Here is what some typical meals could look like:
- Mixed green salad with chicken thighs (use extra virgin olive oil or macadamia nut oil and raw apple cider vinegar to make a dressing)
- Grassfed burgers in a lettuce or cabbage leaf wrap (instead of a bun) with green beans, drizzled with cultured ghee
- Omelet with sautéed Swiss chard
- Bone broth soup with vegetables
- Vegetable stew (made with non-starchy vegetables) with coconut oil
- Lamb chops and steamed broccoli drizzled with ghee
- Snack options could include: Nut or seed butter, two hard boiled eggs, organic grassfed beef jerky.
To learn which foods to choose to reduce brain fog, anxiety and depression, read Nora’s suggestions here.
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Tune in Next Week
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