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old message Stevia, Xylitol Sugar alternatives ... Darrell Miller 06/09/05


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Date: June 09, 2005 06:15 PM
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Subject: Stevia, Xylitol Sugar alternatives ...

Xylitol

Stevia

Sugar Solution by Kristin Daniels Energy Times, January 4, 2002

Sugar Solution by Kristin Daniels

Low blood sugar-a blood sugar recession-can make the good times recede. While you can't live without blood sugar, too much or too little wreaks havoc on your body and mind. And when blood sugar dips low enough to cause hypoglycemia you may feel like your emotions have been shredded. Knowing how the body regulates blood sugar allows you a measure of control in keeping blood sugar in the proper groove, and makes life a little sweeter. Hypoglycemia occurs when you feel dragged out because of low blood sugar. Ironically, this low blood sugar syndrome may be caused by an overabundance of sugar in your meals and snacks. Those who point to hypoglycemia as a widespread problem claim that up to two of three women in America suffer from hypoglycemia. That would make it an epidemic of monstrous proportions. In a survey of 1000 folks complaining of hypoglycemia, published in the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation's winter 2000 edition, researchers found that low blood sugar sufferers complained of hypoglycemic discomforts in several main categories: 94% of the people in the study reported nervousness, 89% mentioned irritability, exhaustion affected 87%, depression struck 86% and drowsiness hit 73%. Other miseries included fatigue, cold sweats, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), rapid heart rate, blurry or double vision, confusion, sudden hunger, convulsions, sweating, sleeping problems, paleness, muscle pain, memory loss, crying jags, fainting and dizziness.

Body of Evidence
Hypoglycemia may result from munching endless sweets and never exercising (physical activity improves your body's handling of sugar). Many sufferers of hypoglycemia may view it as a disease, but the experts pigeonhole it, technically, as a condition or syndrome. R. Paul St. Amand, MD, Professor of Endocrinology at UCLA, points out that "in certain people, the body is unable to process carbohydrates without adverse consequences. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is the name often used to denote a whole disease. But more accurately it is only one of a cluster of symptoms that together make up a syndrome." According to herbalist Cynthia Hartson, ND, at Better Health Chiropractic and Natural Family Health Care in Mission Viejo, California, when you eat too many processed foods you set yourself up for a big fall in blood sugar. "...As with many conditions out there, you don't catch diseases, this one or any; you create an environment in your body that allows these symptoms (and conditions) to occur." Your body breaks down carbohydrates, including those in vegetables, fruits, breads and grains, into simpler sugars. As these carbohydrates pour into the blood in the form of glucose, cells in the pancreas secrete the hormone-like substance insulin. Insulin is supposed to persuade cells to take up this in-flow of glucose and use it as fuel. But if, during this process, blood sugar drops too low, the pancreas releases glucagon, which stimulates the release of glucose into the blood to bring blood sugar levels back up. Overindulging in sweets and processed foods may upset this blood sugar balancing act. Americans consume about 120 pounds of sugar per person annually, a voluminous avalanche compared to preindustrial times when we only took in about seven pounds a year. When you eat your way through this much sugar, Dr. St. Amand claims, your body's "...excess amounts of carbohydrates (generate) an overproduction of insulin. As your blood sugar drops, your brain tunes out. Because a massive amount of carbohydrates drives your insulin and glucagon down, the fats (stored as carbohydrates) in your body can't be released (for energy) and you crave more carbohydrates." As you continue to consume large amounts of carbohydrates, the pancreas secretes greater amounts of insulin to properly transport the excesses of circulating blood sugar. Eventually, every time you eat sugar, your pancreas may release excessive insulin, which drives and keeps your blood sugar low enough to make you feel like lying down in a corner and telling the world to go away. And there's more bad physiological news: Your adrenal glands respond to this stress by producing adrenaline and dumping it into the bloodstream in overabundance, causing anxiety, trembling and panic attacks: frequent signs of a hypoglycemic reaction. Adrenaline is supposed to stimulate the liver to release glycogen (stored sugar) to get your blood sugar back to a functioning level. But once again, as your sugar cycle degenerates, the pancreas increasingly produces more insulin to drive down your blood sugar level. Your blood sugar may drop and stay down.

Numbers Game
Many conventional doctors dismiss hypoglycemia as an illusion. But Dr. St. Amand states that doctors are "hung up on numbers." The glucose tolerance test, typically used to diagnose hypoglycemia, is based on numbers and the numbers often don't add up. Signs of hypoglycemia typically show up to two to three hours after a meal or snack containing lots of processed foods, when there is a rapid release of sugar into the small intestine, followed by rapid glucose absorption into the bloodstream and the consequent production of a large amount of insulin. These reactions occur so rapidly and unpredictably that catching them in a glucose tolerance test is often impossible. (Of course, see your health practitioner if you suffer persistent health problems that may be caused by a serious underlying condition or disease.)

Diary of a Maddening Condition
Keeping a food diary can help you discover what foods set off your hypoglycemia. Be honest, and record everything: your food, drinks, even breath mints! Note the time you eat, the time you sleep, the exercise you do, and your moods to see what triggers low blood sugar. Once you identify your triggers, remove them. When recommending ways to dodge hypoglycemia, Dr. St. Amand says, "It is not what you add but what you remove" that's most important. Items that often cause problems include:

  • * Sugar (obviously) of all kinds: table sugar, corn syrup, honey, sucrose, glucose, dextrose or maltose.
  • * Starches such as potatoes, rice, pasta and processed white breads.
  • * Fruit juices.
  • * Caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate and soft drinks), which intensifies the action of insulin. The National Hypoglycemia Association says that foods which many hypoglycemia sufferers find to be helpful are those high in soluble dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates: whole grains, legumes and vegetables, which may be absorbed more gradually than processed items. Slower carbohydrate absorption may help prevent the major swings in blood sugar levels that foments hypoglycemia. Eating smaller meals and snacking often may ease blood sugar fluctuations. Incorporate fats into your snacks to decrease the flow of carbohydrates into your bloodstream and decrease carbohydrate cravings. Whole-wheat crackers with natural peanut butter, vegetables dipped in organic olive oil, packaged nuts and seeds, rice cakes, and soy cheese may slow sugar absorption. Your food diary should also record your activity level, the amount of water you drink, and indicate the times you feel stressed. While your diary may show that the stresses and lifestyle items that most frequently trigger your hypoglycemia are different than those that cause problems in others, you will probably discover that exercise significantly helps to dispel low blood sugar discomforts. Exercise tones your muscles, improves circulation and aids in digestion. It increases circulation and helps your muscles metabolize sugars more effectively.

    Review Time
    Ask your relatives to find others in your family who suffer diabetes, hyperinsulism or hypoglycemia. Roberta Ruggiero, president of the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation, Inc., and author of the book The Dos and Don'ts of Low Blood Sugar (Lifetime), notes that genetics plays a large role in reactive hypoglycemia. "In a survey of confirmed hypoglycemics," she states, "it was found that approximately 64 percent of them had one or more family members who had been diagnosed with diabetes." If you know someone in your family suffers this kind of problem, you can find it helpful to see what works for them to relieve the discomforts of low blood sugar. And you can share with them what works for you. Together, you can slip the shackles of hypoglycemia and sweeten your days.

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