Today's tip is on hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Hypoglycemia affects both non-diabetics as well as diabetics.It has been considered an early sign of adult onset diabetes, although I am not completely convinced that this is always true. If you have ever felt weak at the knees, sweaty and somewhat disoriented about two hours after eating something sweet, you probably have had an episode or two of hypoglycemia. It is a very unpleasant feeling and if your blood sugar gets low enough you can get into serious trouble.
Brief synopsis of the biochemistry.
Most hypoglycemia is a result of eating table sugar (sucrose). Human biochemistry can handle complex carbohydrates very well like the potato and rice. But it does not do so well when the sugar is "refined" / extracted and processed into a molecule like sucrose from sources such as sugar cane. The molecule sucrose is one glucose molecule hooked up to one fructose molecule.
The other way to become hypoglycemic is to be on a low carbohydrate diet. However, these symptoms are usually not the acute hypoglycemia symptoms that one gets from eating simple sugars. They more often manifest as chronic depression from insufficient blood glucose for the brain.
Fructose short-circuits glycolysis.
When the body attempts to digest sucrose the fructose short circuits the glycolytic pathway for the glucose. Glucose is not metabolized as fast as it would be if there was no fructose in the bloodstream. Because of this, the body perceives more glucose than is really present and excretes more insulin than is necessary. Soon all the fructose is metabolized, followed rapidly by the metabolism of the glucose. Then, because of excessive insulin, the blood glucose is lowered more than it should be and you really begin to feel disoriented, clammy and weak at the knees.
What to do on the immediate basis.
Ingestion of some readily absorbable sugar such as found in orange juice, is standard therapy for hypoglycemia. This will raise your blood sugar and you will begin to feel better. Eating more sucrose will also raise your blood sugar but doing so only starts the whole cycle all over again. Best not to get low blood sugar / hypoglycemia in the first place.
What to do to keep from getting hypoglycemia.
The simple answer is to avoid sugar. I know this is easier said than done. When I quit meat and dairy it was easy and I have never missed it. When I quit Pepsi and candy such as Mike and Ikes, it was very difficult. Sugar is extremely addicting. I felt so much better without it however, that it has really been worth it. I don't miss the extra weight from the sucrose nor the episodes of hypoglycemia. Also, it is much easier to keep my running mileage high since I quit sugar.
One more thing I don't miss is the ongoing destruction of my vascular system caused by sugar. Adult onset diabete smellitus is a "polite and very confusing" term for "sugar toxicity."
Today's Health Tip:
To avoid hypoglycemia stop eating any simple sugars.
Be sure to read the labels of any processed foods carefully. While whole grain brown rice is no problem, refined products like brown rice syrup can cause hypoglycemia.
Biochemistry Fourth Edition Lubert Styrer
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