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The Pre-Diabetes Epidemic
A recent CDC report stated that nearly 1/3 of the American public (79 million) are pre-diabetic and over 90% of them (73 million) are not aware that they are pre-diabetic. (1, 2)
New research is suggesting that fasting blood sugar levels still within the “normal range” are putting folks at much higher risk for blood sugar-related issues such as weight gain (mostly around the belly), brain fog, fatigue, joint pain, cognitive and chronic health issues. Scary, right? (1, 3, 5)
All is not lost! You can take control of your blood sugar by monitoring your blood sugar levels at home with an inexpensive OTC glucometer. Nowadays a blood sugar monitoring calculator can be purchased for $20-50, including test strips. At LifeSpa, we offer a hospital-use-approved Glucose Meter Kit that includes everything you need to get you started.
The simplest test is called a Fasting Blood Sugar Test. This is a blood sugar sample taken when you first wake up in the morning. The result is a great screening number because the blood sugar tends to be higher in the morning, and this is one of the first indicators of rising blood sugar and pre-diabetes.
Instant Blood Sugar Feedback
If you go out to dinner and have a glass of wine and dessert, you may wake up the next morning to find that your blood sugar level is much higher. If you eat supper early and go to bed early, you may find the morning fasting blood sugar is lower. If you stay up late, the morning blood sugar level rises. If you go to sleep stressed, the morning blood sugar will also be higher.
By self-testing morning fasting blood sugar, you can begin to hone in on a diet, lifestyle, daily routine, and stress-management program that works for you and your blood sugar levels. Don’t wait for your annual visit to your doctor to be gently slapped on the wrist for eating too many desserts.
You can get daily positive or negative feedback on whether you are living a healthy lifestyle and eating a healthy diet by simply checking in with your morning fasting blood sugar levels.
Who Should Do This
Anyone who is carrying extra weight, has blood pressure concerns, is under stress, craves sweets, has brain fog, is fatigued, and those at risk for cardiovascular issues, cognitive, or chronic health issues.
Fasting Blood Sugar Goals
Twenty years ago, the “normal” fasting blood sugar was 120mg/dL. Research suggested this number was too high, so over the years, the normal fasting blood sugar dropped to 118, then 115, then 110, and today it is at 100mg/dL. However, the latest studies are telling us that the normal ranges are still too high, and the public hasn’t been told this important information yet! The new normal fasting blood sugar should be 85mg/dL. (1,3)
In one study, folks who had blood sugar levels just above 85mg/dL had a 40% increased risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke. (1,3)
In another study, published last August in the New England Journal of Medicine, folks who had blood sugar levels between 90-95mg/dL — which is still in the normal range — had an increased risk for Alzheimer’s. (4)
Check out the label on your favorite nutrition bar and you will find it loaded with sugars. Just because they are date sugars, molasses, honey, dried mangoes, raisins, or fruit concentrates doesn’t mean they are healthy. They are still an overwhelming blast to the pancreas and blood sugar.
Take a bag of dried mango—a good example because it has a medium amount of sugar compared to most fruits. Many of my patients used to go through one of these bags in a day, or even one sitting!:
- Whole mango = 13g of sugar
- Dried Mango (at the same weight as whole mango) = 75g sugar
One of the most common and efficient ways to deliver a massive sugar surge to the body is to drink a sweet beverage. Many folks try healthier beverages which often just package sugar with a healthy-looking label and marketing. Let’s look at exactly how much of the sweet stuff is packed into the drinks that keep us going.
- 12oz Protein Drinks = 43g of sugar
- 12oz of Cola = 10tsp of white table sugar
Your Best Defense is Your Diet
The best strategy to avoid (and, in many cases, reverse) pre-diabetes is with a diet free of simple and refined sugars. Try to avoid all sugars, sweeteners, and the high-sugar content.
If you are going to eat shorter chain or higher glycemic index foods such as corn, white rice, wheat, or potatoes—try not to eat them at night and try to have them in the natural state rather than a refined version like corn, potato chips, or non-sprouted breads. Also, eat these carbs with a protein source so they are not just unopposed sugars entering your bloodstream.
Try to make three meals a day count. Make them balanced with a starch, like a whole grain, lots of green veggies, and a protein source such as fish, eggs, tempeh, nuts, seeds, or meats. It is all about whole unprocessed foods and making each meal balanced, three times a day.