High blood sugar is fast becoming the leading preventable killer of maturing individuals. In addition to the 26 million Americans with diabetes, more than a third of the general population is now pre-diabetic. When fasting blood glucose exceeds 85 mg/dL, the risk for degenerative diseases and death rise dramatically. After-meal glucose "spikes" inflict silent damage to cells via multiple mechanisms and have been linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, kidney failure, and retinal damage. In aging individuals with "normal" blood sugar readings and "normal" glucose-tolerance tests, heart attack risk increases by 58% for a 21 mg/dL increase in after meal blood sugar. And for a similar after meal increase, risk of cardiac death increases by 26%. That means that if your blood sugar surges 63 mg/dL after a meal, your risk of cardiac death or stroke increases nearly twofold.
In terms of natural supplements, green coffee bean extract has been shown to neutralize a key enzyme that facilitates after-meal glucose surges; one study produced an extraordinary 24% drop in after meal blood sugar in just 30 minutes. Coffee consumption has recently been associated with a decreased risk of developing type II diabetes. A beneficial compound in coffee called chlorogenic acid has been credited with coffee's glucose lowering effects.
ARE ALL SUGARS EQUAL?
Sugar intake in all its forms has increased rapidly over recent decades. This mass consumption of sweets has shown a strong correlation to a wide array of lethal diseases.
The processed food industry wants you to believe that fructose is a natural, healthy sugar derived from natural plant sources. The sweetener industry spends tens of millions of dollars each year to advertise fructose as a healthy alternative to refined sugar. Consequently, American consumption of high fructose corn syrup rose by more than 1,000% in the last 20 years, an increase that parallels the rapid rise in the obesity epidemic. High fructose corn syrup represents over 40% of caloric sweeteners added to foods and beverages. In reality, fructose is a harmful toxin that is a key factor in the development of metabolic syndrome in America today. Excessive fructose is responsible for increased abdominal obesity, insulin resistance and hypertension. It also increases your risk of abnormal lipid profiles and inflammation. In fact, the highest consumers of sugar sweetened beverages have a 20% increased risk of cardiovascular disease. And, like other toxins, fructose is metabolized in the liver, where it is converted into excess lipids (lipogenesis) and uric acid, a major contributor to hypertension.
Overconsumption of high glycemic carbohydrates produces internal glucose, and type II diabetes (see page on Blood Sugar & Diabetes). There are natural supplements available at your local health food store, that can slow digestion of starch fragments/sugars, including sorghum, mulberry leaf extract and phloridzin. Combined, mulberry leaf extract, sorghum extract and phloridzin work on numerous key mechanisms to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce blood glucose levels, safely escort glucose out of the body, and reduce the creation of new glucose in the liver. However, the most natural approach to diabetes avoidance is avoidance of sugars in your diet. Drinking only water goes a long way to cut back on sweets ingested, as does elimination of desserts. People who consume adequate protein at every meal find their carbohydrate/sugar cravings easily diminished.
While all sugars can increase insulin, today we have many options that may be less damaging than corn syrup and other toxic and chemical sweeteners. Most natural foods do not grow in little paper packets, so those artificial sweeteners should be avoided. Local honey and stevia may be alternatives that you may want to consider, or training your tastebuds not to crave sweets at all.
Remember: glucose=insulin=gene alteration (possible cancer)