Diet and Nutrition

IN THIS SECTION

Many well-publicized “diets” claim to be the best and the healthiest. There may be a popular diet out there that works for you, but most likely you’ll need to refine the guidelines to suit your unique needs. Working with a skilled nutritionist, developing and trusting your intuition, listening to your body, and maintaining day-to-day discipline will help you dial in an eating plan that satisfies your taste buds and meets your body’s nutritional requirements.

Blood Sugar Balance
Relaxed balanceRegardless of the diet you follow, the primary goal should always be the same: maintaining good blood sugar (glucose) control. You can achieve and maintain optimal health only when you are on a diet that promotes hormone balance; that balance depends on a steady blood sugar level. Eating the proper combination of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates regularly and in moderate amounts helps to sustain that balance.

Clinically speaking, blood sugar control occurs when insulin and glucagon, two hormones produced by the pancreas, are in balance. Carbohydrate consumption and the resulting rise in blood sugar induce the stimulation of insulin, the hormone responsible for lowering blood sugar and storing excess blood sugar as fat. Protein consumption induces the stimulation of glucagon, the hormone that promotes the mobilization and utilization of fat for energy and, in the process, raises blood sugar.

Insulin and glucagon are antagonists, meaning that the secretion of one acts to balance or modulate the effects of the other. Above-average levels of insulin caused by a diet high in sugar, processed foods, and unhealthy fats is associated with almost every disease known to mankind, especially cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Signs of low blood sugar consist of headaches, brain fog, shakiness, fatigue, worry, carbohydrate cravings, and lethargy.

Signs of high blood sugar consist of anxiety, racing mind, nervous energy, headache, difficulty thinking and concentrating, and cravings for protein or fat.

If your blood sugar is low, you will mobilize cortisol to break down muscle, organ, and bone tissue—not fat—to ensure that a constant supply of blood sugar is delivered to your brain and the rest of your body. In effect, your body digests itself to continue operating. If your blood sugar is sustained at high levels, metabolism becomes chaotic and blood vessels may become damaged, which in turn creates a cascade of undesirable events. Stable blood sugar levels, on the other hand, form a strong foundation for hormone balance and homeostasis.