Friday, July 30, 2010

Why is Sugar Unhealthy?

July is National Ice Cream month, and what better way to celebrate than indulging in a few scoops? Americans love ice cream, and on average, we eat 5.7 gallons of it every year.  Although delicious, ice cream is full of fat and sugar. Consuming too much sugar -- and carbohydrates, which break down into sugar -- not only causes unstable, fluctuating blood sugar levels, but also causes the body to store the excess sugar as fat. These factors can play a part in developing Metabolic Syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome in the United States is estimated to affect 32% of the population. It is characterized by increased waist circumference, hypertension, elevated fasting glucose levels and insulin resistance. People with impaired insulin function are at a greater risk of developing life-threatening chronic diseases, including heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in the United States.

Insulin resistance is when the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin. Your body demands more insulin to help glucose (sugar) enter cells, which your cells need for energy. When you consume too much sugar, the pancreas must produce more insulin to keep up with demand. Eventually, the pancreas fails to meet the body’s need for insulin and glucose builds up in the bloodstream.

Based on my clinical experience and research, the best method of diabetes prevention and the prevention of pre-diabetes symptoms known as Metabolic Syndrome is a healthy, low-glycemic index diet combined with regular exercise, stress-relief, and supplementation with a variety of natural compounds. These supplements are aimed at balancing blood sugar, increasing your cell's insulin uptake, and reducing inflammation.

A healthy diet, void of processed carbohydrates, is a major weapon in battling Metabolic Syndrome. Healthy eating is a lifelong process of nourishing our bodies, minds and spirits. Instead of deprivation and rigid dietary control, healthy eating ought to be viewed as the regular consumption of a wide variety of nourishing, whole foods, accompanied by positive attitudes toward eating wholesome meals that together provide us with the ability to rejuvenate and rebuild. There is overwhelming evidence supporting an organic, whole foods based diet full of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, as a means to better health. What defines “whole foods?” Whole foods are foods that are available in their original form, minimally processed and/or refined, and not containing additives of any kind. Whole foods consist mainly of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains (not hulled or polished), legumes, and raw nuts and seeds. Animal products should be organic and eaten in smaller portions.

In my practice, I suggest a comprehensive metabolic formula that is specially designed for people who are pre-diabetic and diabetic (marked by a fasting glucose above 95 or 100), or those patients with a family history of diabetes. This unique formula contains a blend of ingredients - including Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs, and medicinal mushrooms – that have been shown to help improve such metabolic symptoms as insulin resistance, fat and sugar metabolism, and cravings, thereby helping to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. If you are concerned about metabolic syndrome, using a comprehensive formula may promote healthy cholesterol and blood glucose levels, promote reduction of fat absorption, support healthy insulin levels, and help to fight sugar cravings. Using this effective formula with a mindful approach to eating a healthy diet is a strong start towards maintaining healthy glucose metabolism, a healthy weight and a more energetic lifestyle.

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