By Michael A. Smith, MD
We can’t say it enough: The typical American diet pretty much equals refined sugar. Sugar dominates our food chain, from processed foods and cereals to packaged meats and even canned vegetables. In fact, the average American consumes more sugar in one year than our ancestors did in a lifetime.
Obviously, the best thing to do is try to eliminate sugar from our diets. Now this may sound good in theory, but actually doing this is nearly impossible for most of us.
So, aside from eliminating sugar, what else can you do to minimize the damage? Consider supplementing your diet with these sugar busting nutrients. Combined, these nutrients can help control blood sugar spikes, improve sugar metabolism, and restore insulin sensitivity.
Vinegar Prevents Dangerous Sugar SpikesIn a 2005 study, researchers set out to test white vinegar’s effect on blood sugar spikes after the study subjects ate white bread. What they found was this: The subjects who drank white vinegar while eating white bread reduced postprandial (after-meal) responses of blood sugar and insulin.1
In 2004 another study, published in Diabetes Care, found similar effects in people with diabetes or insulin resistance when they consumed a vinegar solution before carb-heavy meals.2
Based on the mounting clinical evidence, people battling the effects of high blood sugar should at least consider adding white vinegar to their diets.
Lipoic Acid Restores Insulin SensitivityOverwhelming evidence now suggests that lipoic acid may play a role in protecting against metabolic syndrome — a constellation of risk factors that often precedes full-blown type 2 diabetes. According to an exhaustive review of experimental studies, lipoic acid reduces blood pressure, reverses insulin resistance, improves lipid profiles, and improves weight.3
Another study showed dramatic effects when administering lipoic acid to improve insulin sensitivity in overweight adults with type 2 diabetes. Lipoic acid produced significant improvements in insulin sensitivity after just four weeks of supplementation.4 The results of this study may have important implications in treating metabolic syndrome and diabetes moving forward.
Chromium is FDA Approved for Treating DiabetesNot that we trust the FDA too much, but they somehow got this one right. This quote is straight from their website5: “One small study suggests that chromium picolinate may reduce the risk of insulin resistance and, therefore, possibly may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.”
This statement made by the FDA of course comes as no surprise to us. We’ve noted for several years now that studies confirm that low chromium levels are linked with increased blood glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol, and an increased possibility of diabetes and heart disease.6,7
Cinnamon Boosts Sugar Metabolism
According to one government expert, “The polyphenols found in cinnamon may function as antioxidants, potentiate insulin action, and may even be beneficial in the control of glucose intolerance and diabetes.”10
The Newest Sugar Buster on the Block … CoffeeOne of the reasons we might have such a hard time controlling blood sugar doesn’t come from our diets but rather from inside of us — our liver.
Your liver is able to produce blood sugar when you need it, specifically when blood sugar levels get a little too low. When this happens, your liver can do two things:
- Break-down stored sugar in a process called glycogenolysis.
- Create blood sugar from fats and protein, in a process called gluconeogenesis.
Coffee beans contain chlorogenic acid which decreases sugar creation by the liver by inhibiting glucose-6-phoshatase. It also inhibits digestive enzymes in the gut which can help to minimize after-meal blood sugar spikes. In one particular study, researchers were able to show that blood sugar decreased with increasing doses of a green coffee bean extract, standardized to 50% chlorogenic acid.11
Your Personalized Sugar Busting RegimenWe’ve talked about a 1-2-3 approach for managing sugar problems, such as avoiding any white foods, becoming more active, and eating dark colored fruits and veggies. But, for many of us, that may not be enough, considering what your liver does to undermine your efforts. Here’s what we suggest:
- If a sweet tooth is your problem, consider drinking 1 oz. of apple cider vinegar with 6 oz. of water every time you indulge your craving. Also consider adding chromium to your regimen.
- If you love starches, add lipoic acid and cinnamon to your regimen for improved sugar metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
- If you don’t eat sweets or starches but still have a sugar problem, consider adding a coffee bean extract to your daily regimen to slow down the liver’s attempts to make sugar.
- Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Sep;59(9):983-8.
- Diabetes Care. 2004 Jan;27(1):281-282.
- Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2007 Mar;16(3):291-302.
- Hormones (Athens). 2006 Oct-Dec;5(4):251-8.
- Diabetes Care. 1983 Jul-Aug;6(4):319-27.
- Diabetes Care. 2004 Nov;27(11):2741-51.
- J Agric Food Chem. 2000 Mar; 48(3):849-52.
- Phytomedicine. 2010 Nov;17(13):1027-32.
- J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Jan 14;52(1):65-70.
- Effect of Green Coffee Bean Extract (GCE), High in Chlorogenic Acids, on Glucose Metabolism. To be presented at the 29th Annual Scientific Meeting of The Obesity Society, October 2011: Poster Number: 45-LB-P, Assigned Poster Category: Single Dietary Component/Gut/Lifestyle.
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