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  • Christophe Fien

SUGAR SHOCK: TAMING THE GLUCOSE ROLLERCOASTER FOR LASTING ENERGY AND HEALTH

Updated: Apr 24

Why is Glucose so Important?



Glucose, often referred to as the "fuel of life," plays a vital role in our bodies. As the primary source of energy for our cells, glucose powers essential bodily functions and enables us to carry out daily activities. It serves as a key player in metabolism, providing the energy needed for brain function, muscle contractions, and organ performance. Glucose also contributes to maintaining stable blood sugar levels, which is crucial for overall health and well-being. While excess glucose can be harmful, it's important to recognize the significance of this essential fuel and strive for a balanced approach to glucose consumption to support optimal bodily function.


How Plants Create Glucose?



Plants create glucose through the process of photosynthesis. Using energy from sunlight, plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water from the soil. Within specialized cell structures called chloroplasts, chlorophyll molecules capture sunlight and convert it into chemical energy through a series of reactions. This energy is then used to combine carbon dioxide and water, producing glucose and oxygen as byproducts. Glucose is stored in various parts of the plant, such as fruits, roots, and leaves, serving as a source of energy for growth, development, and reproduction. Through this remarkable process, plants play a crucial role in producing glucose, which not only sustains their own survival but also serves as a foundation for the entire food chain.


How Glucose enters our Bloodstream



Glucose enters the bloodstream through a process called absorption. After we consume food, particularly carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks down complex carbohydrates into simpler molecules, including glucose. In the small intestine, glucose is actively transported across the intestinal lining and into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, glucose is transported to cells throughout the body by the hormone insulin. Insulin, released by the pancreas in response to elevated blood sugar levels, helps facilitate the uptake of glucose into cells, where it can be used as an energy source. This process allows glucose to be delivered to tissues and organs for various metabolic processes, including energy production, storage, and utilization. In addition to insulin, other hormones, such as glucagon, adrenaline, and cortisol, also play roles in regulating blood glucose levels and ensuring glucose is appropriately distributed to cells when needed. Overall, the absorption and transportation of glucose into the bloodstream are essential processes that maintain proper blood sugar levels and provide the body with the energy it requires to function effectively.


What happens to our body when we experience glucose spikes?


When our body experiences glucose spikes, it means there is a rapid and significant increase in blood sugar levels. This can occur after consuming a meal or beverage high in carbohydrates or added sugars. Here's what happens in the body during glucose spikes:


Insulin Response: In response to the rise in blood sugar levels, the pancreas releases insulin, a hormone that helps regulate glucose levels. Insulin signals cells to take up glucose from the bloodstream and convert it into energy or store it for later use.


Energy Storage: During a glucose spike, excess glucose that is not immediately needed for energy gets stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. However, these storage capacities are limited, and if they become full, the excess glucose is converted into fat and stored in adipose tissue.


Energy Crash: After a glucose spike, the rapid release of insulin can cause a subsequent drop in blood sugar levels, leading to an energy crash or feelings of fatigue, irritability, and hunger. This can trigger cravings for more high-carbohydrate or sugary foods, perpetuating a cycle of glucose spikes and crashes.


Long-Term Health Risks: Repeated glucose spikes and chronic high blood sugar levels can have negative implications for health. Over time, it can lead to insulin resistance, where cells become less responsive to insulin, increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It can also contribute to inflammation, weight gain, and an increased likelihood of developing cardiovascular diseases.


Managing blood sugar levels and avoiding glucose spikes is crucial for maintaining optimal health. This can be achieved through adopting a balanced diet that includes whole, unprocessed foods, limiting added sugars, practicing portion control, engaging in regular physical activity, and considering mindful eating habits. These strategies help maintain stable blood sugar levels and promote overall well-being.


Why is it paramount to keep our glucose curves as flat as possible?


Keeping our glucose curves as flat as possible, meaning maintaining stable and balanced blood sugar levels throughout the day, is important for several reasons:


Energy and Mental Focus: Stable blood sugar levels provide a steady supply of glucose to the brain, which is the primary source of energy for optimal cognitive function. When blood sugar levels fluctuate significantly, it can lead to energy crashes, difficulty concentrating, and mental fog.



Appetite Regulation: Fluctuating blood sugar levels can disrupt the body's hunger and satiety signals, leading to increased cravings, overeating, and difficulties in maintaining a healthy weight. Keeping glucose levels stable can help regulate appetite and support healthier eating habits.


Insulin Sensitivity: Consistently high blood sugar levels and frequent spikes can lead to insulin resistance, where cells become less responsive to insulin. Insulin resistance is a precursor to type 2 diabetes and can increase the risk of developing this chronic condition. Maintaining stable glucose curves helps improve insulin sensitivity and reduces the risk of diabetes.


Long-Term Health: Chronic high blood sugar levels can contribute to various health complications, including cardiovascular disease, kidney problems, nerve damage, and inflammation. By keeping glucose curves flat, we can minimize the potential long-term risks associated with sustained hyperglycemia.



Stable Energy Levels: Stable blood sugar levels provide a consistent source of energy to the body's cells, allowing for sustained physical activity, improved stamina, and reduced fatigue. Fluctuating glucose levels can result in energy crashes and decreased physical performance.


Maintaining stable glucose curves is best achieved through a balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates, fibre-rich foods, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Regular physical activity, stress management, and mindful eating practices also contribute to stable blood sugar levels. By keeping our glucose curves as flat as possible, we promote overall well-being, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and optimize our body's energy and metabolic functions.


Why eating fibres and especially before proteins and carbs can reduce your glucose levels?


Eating fibres before anything else can help reduce glucose levels for several reasons:


Slowing Down Digestion: Dietary fibres have the ability to absorb water and form a gel-like substance in the digestive system. This gel slows down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, including glucose, leading to a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream.



Lowering Glycemic Response: Foods rich in dietary fibres, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, generally have a lower glycemic index. The glycemic index measures how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. By consuming high-fibre foods before other carbohydrates, it can help reduce the overall glycemic response and prevent spikes in glucose levels.


Increasing Satiety: High-fibre foods are typically more filling and contribute to a sense of fullness and satiety. This can help regulate appetite and reduce overeating, which in turn can help maintain more stable glucose levels.


Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Diets rich in dietary fibres have been associated with improved insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity refers to how responsive cells are to the hormone insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. By improving insulin sensitivity, dietary fibres can help the body better manage glucose levels and reduce the risk of insulin resistance.



Gut Health Benefits: Dietary fibres act as prebiotics, providing nourishment for beneficial gut bacteria. A healthy gut microbiome is essential for optimal digestion and nutrient absorption. Emerging research suggests that a healthy gut microbiome may also play a role in glucose regulation and overall metabolic health.


Incorporating high-fibre foods into your meals, particularly before consuming proteins and other carbohydrates (in this particular order), can help modulate the release of glucose into the bloodstream, promoting more stable glucose levels and supporting overall health.

It is important to note that individual responses to dietary fibres may vary, and it's best to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized dietary recommendations.




Surgical nutrition



Proper pre- and post-operative nutrition is often underestimated in the context of plastic surgeries. However, nourishing your body with appropriate vitamins and nutrients plays a significant role in supporting optimal healing and speeding up the recovery process.


During surgery, the body undergoes substantial stress, and it is not uncommon to wake up feeling nauseated and with a diminished appetite. Hence, consuming easily digestible foods prior to the procedure becomes crucial. Incorporating omega-3 rich foods into the pre-operative diet is beneficial as they provide essential fatty acids that offer immune support and possess anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, including high-fibre foods is advisable, and maintaining proper hydration through the consumption of water or electrolyte-rich natural drinks such as coconut water or watermelon water is essential.


For instance, following a tummy tuck surgery, it is recommended to include non-gas forming foods such as beets, cucumbers, and carrots, which aid in minimizing bloating. Foods that promote the production of nitric oxide, such as Swiss chard and spinach, are also beneficial. Furthermore, a post-operative diet should also consist of foods that are high in protein and calories but low in fat, such as low-fat Greek yogurt, eggs, beans, nuts, fish, and lean meats.


If you are seeking in-depth knowledge about glucose levels and strategies for maintaining balanced blood sugar throughout your daily life, I highly recommend this enlightening book that left a profound impact on me. Please note that I have no affiliation with the author, Jessie Inchauspé, but I genuinely believe that her research and work offers extremely valuable insights into this subject matter.


The Surgical Nutrition section draws inspiration from Kylie Amanda, MS, RD, who is an established and recognised expert in the field of surgical nutrition.

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