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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blood Sugar Concerns Start Long Before Diabetes

Do you know if you have elevated blood sugar levels? According to the American Diabetes Association, over 160 million American adults may have elevated blood glucose, putting them at increased risk to serious health concerns. Blood sugar is the basic fuel that all cells in the body use to make energy. In an optimal state, the body maintains the blood sugar level in a fairly narrow range: not too low (hypoglycemia) and not too high (hyperglycemia). Stability is important because imbalances, particularly hyperglycemia, can cause serious health problems, including metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Even short spikes or dips in blood sugar levels can cause symptoms that can impact daily living.

Control what you eat to control blood sugar levels. Insulin is a hormone that responds directly to what you eat. Among its many roles, insulin regulates fat metabolism and controls blood sugar levels. A leading diabetes research center and other recent guidelines recommend a daily macronutient ratio of approximately 40% carbohydrates, 30% proteins, and 30% fat to help manage blood sugar levels. Just as important: the proteins should be high quality; the fats should be primarily "healthy" monounsaturated fats; and the carbohydrates should optimally be slower to digest (like fiber-rich fruits and vegetables). Calorie count is also important, because shedding excess weight can help bring your blood sugar levels back in a healthy range.

Exercise and nutritional support can help. Exercise helps your cells take glucose out of your blood, so it's helpful in controlling blood sugar levels. Plus, it supports muscle growth and retention to burn more calories and maintain a healthy weight. Medical foods and targeted nutraceuticals may provide nutrients like key vitamins and minerals that support insulin and blood sugar control. They may also provide ingredients like slow-digesting carbohydrates, fiber, and branched-chain amino acids (found in proteins) to provide enhanced support.

Schedule an office visit to discuss nutritional and lifestyle therapies to help you manage blood sugar levels and promote overall health.

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