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Uh-oh, your energy is expiring…

BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2016-04-14

Long after I stopped eating refined sugar, and that afternoon walk to the nearby bakery was a distant memory, I still suffered the 4pm risk of an energy outage.

You know the one I’m talking about, right?
Your body feels heavier.
There’s still a stretch of the day in front of you.
The tasks ahead become foggier as you struggle to keep your head off your folded arms or attempt to convince your kids that it’s “quiet time” so you can lay down.

And the idea of making dinner seems as monumental as climbing Kilimanjaro‎.

Back then, my solution to restore energy was peanut butter.

That’s right, peanut butter!
(It’s now a substance that’s gone by the wayside right alongside the refined sugar.)

My structured work day ended at 4 o’clock and with spoonful after spoonful (after spoonful) of peanut butter, right from the glass jar.

It wasn’t until I was faced with the rude awakening that I had adrenal issues (as well as thyroid imbalances), that I realized the importance of the energy expiration.
Even though I hadn’t eaten refined sugar in years my blood sugar still mattered.

It’s been a long journey to climb my way out of the jar of peanut butter. But I hear from thousands of clients and customers every year that are still stuck there – not in the peanut butter, per say, but in the mid-day crash and burn.

Either they quit the afternoon sweet binge only to find themselves slip-sliding back into old patterns. (Repeat. Repeat.) Or they feel confident that they’re doing their diet perfectly yet can’t find the missing piece to restore energy.

Newsflash: The missing piece is flowing right inside you.

It’s your blood sugar!
And, speaking of blood sugar, I’d like to invite you to join me next week for a free online program where I’m honored to be presenting alongside 30+ other experts in The Diabetes Summit.

Tune in to The Diabetes Summit to learn how to regain control of your blood sugar so you can optimize your health and your energy.

You likely know that blood sugar imbalance plays a role in diabetes, which we’ll explore in-depth together next week during The Diabetes Summit…

But do you know that blood sugar swings are also a major trigger in heart disease, cancer, candida, adrenal fatigue, and autoimmunity?

Personally, I keep a keen eye on my blood sugar.
It’s one thing in my health routine that I’m always tending to, to fuel my busy life and to help me to manage my autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s).

Blood sugar balance is a key step to sustainable health for all of us!

It affects your mood, your weight, your mechanisms of hunger, your hormone balance and your immune system. (yes, it’s pretty much at the root of all those complaints!).

Blood sugar affects every single chronic condition you’re looking for help with, from migraines to irritable bowel troubles to brain fog.

When blood sugar is out of whack for too long it can lead to disease states like hypertension, Candida and persistent internal inflammation (all underlying factors for the things that ail us).

Managing blood sugar is a BIG DEAL!

It’s one of the core basics for good health.
But just what is blood sugar?
Let’s take a moment to discuss some blood sugar basics…

Blood sugar is basically the sugar – or glucose – in the blood. And glucose is the elemental factor of every single carbohydrate you eat.

Once the carbohydrate has worked its way through your digestive system, been reduced to a simple sugar such as glucose, and reached the bloodstream through the process of absorption, it’s taken to the liver where it’s either distributed to the cells for energy, or stored for later use.

Because of the liver’s limited storage capacity, any excess carbohydrates are converted to and stored as fat. (Yeah, no thank you!)

It’s your sweet liver that helps regulate your blood sugar levels.

The more complex the carbohydrate, the slower the food moves into the bloodstream, allowing the liver to take up its sugar-load without becoming overwhelmed.

And this brings me to the Glycemic Quotient that you may have heard about.

The Glycemic Index is a ranking of carbohydrates according to how quickly glucose – that simple sugar molecule – is absorbed into the bloodstream. (As you’ll see, slower is better.)

The Glycemic Index (GI) compares the rise in blood glucose caused by 50 grams of carbohydrates in any particular food to the rise in blood glucose caused by 50 grams of pure glucose.

As an example: pure glucose has a GI of 100 (our baseline). Here are the GI for some other foods we think of as starches:

  • white bread has a GI ranging from 70 to 90

  • a baked potato has a GI of 85

  • a yam has a GI of 42

According to the Glycemic Index model:

  • Low GI = 55 and under

  • Medium GI = 56 to 69

  • High GI = 70 and above

Unfortunately, this ranking system was found faulty because something like carrots have a high GI, and we know they have many other health benefits.

Carrots are packed with fiber and nutrients.

These factors slow the breakdown of the sugars in the digestive system. This allows the liver ample time to do its thing. Take away that fiber, as you do in a glass of carrot juice, and you are indeed left with mere sugars.

In response to concerns with the GI rating system, a revised ranking system was developed to speak to how quickly sugars are absorbed physiologically ~ not just looking at the sugars in the food, but instead the sugars in relation to all of the food’s constituents, as well as the ways in which it moves through the processes of digestion.

This revised system is essentially distinguishing between the carrot and the carrot juice (both have the same sugars, but one contains fiber and the other does not).

This improved system is called the Glycemic Load (GL).

The load considers the total amount of rapidly absorbable carbohydrate (starch or sugar) as well as the GI.

Glycemic Load = GI x grams of carb per serving / 100

According to the Glycemic Load (GL) model:

  • Low GL = 1 – 10

  • Medium GL = 11 – 19

  • High GL = 20 and over

Let’s examine the Glycemic Load (GL) of some common foods:

  • Almonds 0

  • Carrots 3

  • Blueberries 6

  • Honey 10

  • Quinoa 13

  • Sweet potato 17

  • Dates (dried) 18

  • Bagel (white) 23

  • White rice 26

  • Raisins 28

A food like a whole grain or a carrot may have a relatively lower GL because the amount of starch or sugar in that food is mitigated internally by the fiber and nutrients that will slow its delivery into the bloodstream.

The bottom line is that if a food has a high GI but is packed with fiber it will have a lower impact on blood sugar and well-functioning insulin levels.
In the everyday regulation of health, what is it that we want?

One of my core principles is to eat fat, fiber & protein at every meal or snack to ensure the slower delivery of nutrients into the bloodstream for sustained energy and blood sugar control.

On top of that, we want to choose foods that are slower to digest. These are better assimilated into the body’s tissues. They have an inverse effect on blood glucose and corresponding inverse relationship to diabetes, heart disease, weight issues and cancer.

They also have the sweet ability to help us thwart those sweet tooth CRAVINGS!

The Glycemic Load of a green plantain = 12.15

The Glycemic Load of raw honey = 14

The Glycemic Load of an apple = 11.4

The Glycemic Load of agave (not a fan) = 9.6

The Glycemic Load of coconut sugar = 1

Now let’s figure out what all this means for you!

Join me next week for The Diabetes Summit and my discussion of “A Functional Approach to Nutrition for Blood Sugar”, and let’s find out why blood sugar balance (and balance in general), can sometimes seem so elusive.
During my talk with Dr. Mowll, you’ll learn:

  • foods to choose to support blood sugar balance and improve your mood and concentration

  • why poor gut health is linked to blood sugar imbalance and what you can do to change it

  • empowering tools you can use right away to help manage diabetes and improve your blood sugar balance

I’m live on April 23rd but you’ll want to register now for The Diabetes Summit so you can hear my colleagues and peers presenting earlier in the week on this highly important topic.

Together we’ll tune in to what it takes for you to find smooth sailing all day long (sans the afternoon cookie, coffee or spoonfuls of peanut butter!).



P.S. Your simple To-Do list this week includes:

  1. consider the glycemic quotient of your favorite foods

  2. sign up for The Diabetes Summit (it’s free)

Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.


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