Dear Health-conscious Friend,
Naturally Achieving Better Blood Sugar Balance
If you watch any television, you’re probably familiar with the “part of this healthy breakfast” ads. They’re usually pushing some brand of cereal or another starchy breakfast food.
In fact, if you look at most of the breakfasts in those ads, they all look a lot alike. They have the cereal, toaster waffle/pastry or other starchy food front and center. Usually, it’s flanked by toast, juice, and milk. Once in a while, there will be a little fruit nearby.
What’s wrong with these breakfasts? They’re loaded with calories, but not much else. And new research from the University of Missouri (UM) shows they’re far from your best choice.
But first, what’s the problem with carbohydrates? After all, you need them to survive, right?
You may need carbs, but you don’t need the kind found in starchy, sugary foods like pancakes and most breakfast cereals. Even most cereals advertised as “made with whole grains” don’t contain all that much whole grain.
The carbs in most of these starchy breakfast foods cause big spikes in your blood sugar levels. Your body responds by setting loose a fold of insulin to bring your blood sugar back down.
Eventually, this yo-yo cycle of ups and downs can rob you of the ability to control your blood sugar. When that happens, your risk of heart trouble – and many other health problems – skyrockets.
So what really is a healthy breakfast? Scientists at UM set out to answer this question
They gave a group of women one of three breakfasts for four days in a row. One of the meals was a typical “part-of-this-healthy-breakfast” option: pancakes. The other two were protein-based, but with one about 30% higher in protein than the other.
All three breakfasts had about the same number of calories (about 300) and the same amounts of fat and fiber. But they affected the volunteers’ blood sugar very differently.
Pretty much anything you eat will cause a rise in blood sugar. But the protein meals caused much less of a spike. That means the women who ate the protein-rich breakfasts maintained better blood sugar control.1
Some nutritional supplements – such as garlic extract and Gymnema sylvestre – promote healthy blood sugar levels, too. But if you want to take even greater control, a protein-based breakfast is a good place to start.
Another secret for blood sugar control is even easier. Just eat more salad.
Because they’re loaded with fiber, fruits and vegetables can help you keep your blood sugar under control. But not all fruits and vegetables are equal at the job.
Doctors at England’s University of Leicester compared several studies on blood sugar control. Most of the studies lumped all fruits and vegetables together. But they found a few that went into more detail.
When they looked at these studies, they found that people who ate more green leafy vegetables cut their risk of serious blood sugar problems by about 14%.2
Blood sugar issues tend to crop up as we age. But taking simple steps like these can help you keep them under control naturally.
Yours in continued good health,
Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
1 Chew, J., “Consuming High-Protein Breakfasts Helps Women Maintain Glucose Control, MU Study Finds,” University of Missouri News Bureau. Apr 29, 2014.
2 Carter, P., et al, “Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis,” BMJ. Aug 18, 2010; 341: c4229.