Energy, Weight, Cravings and Blood Sugar

Simon G Brown has studied macrobiotics since 1980 and authored many books, including Modern Day Macrobiotics, Macrobiotics for Life and Practical Wabi Sabi.

In past issues of the magazine Simon has introduced us to Macrobiotics, Wabi Sabi, Meditation and more.

This month Simon tells us all about Feng Shui for Business Success

One of the biological changes we experience every day is our blood sugar levels. This can influence our physical energy levels, the way we use our mind and our emotions. Variations in our blood sugar can create cravings for sugary foods and eventually determine how much fat we carry.

Essentially some of the food we eat has sugars or carbohydrates and these are absorbed into our blood to be used for energy. If our blood sugar levels are too high we secret insulin to absorb the sugars into our muscles and if we are not using the sugars to fuel physical activity the sugar is converted to fat.

One interesting phenomena of the way food influences our blood sugar is that certain foods raise our blood sugar much faster than others. When our blood sugar rises quickly we secrete insulin to speed up the absorption of sugar into our muscles to reduce the risk of high blood sugar levels damaging cells within our body. Excessive use of foods that raise our blood sugar quickly can eventually damage our eyes, teeth and lead to diabetes and obesity.

Sometimes we produce too much insulin when our blood sugar rises quickly bringing our blood sugar down too far and then find we experience strong cravings for something sweet to bring it back up again. So a breakfast that raises our blood sugar quickly can result in a midmorning sweet craving, another at lunch and then again at teatime and so on. When our blood sugar goes through a series of highs and lows throughout the day we can introduce a chemical instability to our body that might eventually impair the health of various cells.

To enjoy consistent energy levels we could experiment with eating foods that raise our blood sugar slowly, allowing us to maintain elevated blood sugar levels without having to control our blood sugar with insulin. In theory this would encourage more consistent moods, more stable emotions, reduced sweet cravings, greater internal chemical and biological stability and ultimately better health.

The biggest influence on how quickly the natural sugars in food elevate our blood sugar is cooking. The higher the temperature and the longer the food is cooked for, the quicker that food will raise our blood sugar. So for example a boiled potato (100C) will raise most people’s blood sugar slowly enough to be safe for a diabetic person managing their condition through diet. Fried potatoes (180C) reach a much higher temperature than boiling and raise our blood sugar at a rate that could be too fast for someone with diabetes. Baked potatoes (200C – 300C) can raise our blood sugar almost as quickly as refined sugar.

In addition the more refined a food is the quicker it appears to raise our blood sugar. For example brown rice would be acceptable for someone managing their condition through diet, white rice would raise blood sugar too quickly. Similarly white bread raises our blood sugar much quicker than wholemeal bread.

This would suggest that a diet high in natural, living, whole foods such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains would raise our blood sugar slower than one high in refined grains along with baked and fried foods. Any foods with added sugar, alcohol and coffee can also raise our blood sugar quickly.

So if you want to experience more consistent blood sugar levels try eating lots of salads, fresh fruit, bean soups, steamed vegetables, lightly boiled vegetables and pickles along with nuts and seeds as smacks. Fish, eggs and meat have little effect on our blood sugar. For grains you could try rye bread, barley in soups, brown rice, quinoa or corn on the cob with salads. Drink herb teas, water and fresh vegetable juices.

Simon G. Brown
22 Belsize Square
London NW3 4HT
+44 (0) 20 7431 9897

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