By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
May 17, 2017
- Artificial sweeteners are a metabolic disaster in the making
- The truth behind whole grains and fiber
- What defines a “healthy” fat?
As far as maintaining healthy blood sugar is concerned, the classic interpretation is pretty straightforward. Cut down on your sugar and carbohydrate intake. Avoid processed foods. Get more fiber, eat more whole grains and add more healthy fats.
While this logic is sound, some of it may be sabotaging your efforts to avoid metabolic syndrome and diabetes. And if you’re already having glucose problems, it could be making matters worse. In fact, you could be heading toward a metabolic meltdown.
For example, one of the most common mistakes I notice among my patients is choosing foods and beverages that are sugar-free. This sounds great in theory. But not all great ideas result in smart choices.
You see, the majority of foods that claim they’re “sugar-free” do it for a reason. They want to attract your attention by making the food sound healthy. But it doesn’t mean these products don’t have something more dangerous lurking in them.
Most of them contain artificial sweeteners. And the sad fact of the matter is this:
Regular consumption of these fake sugars greatly increases your risk of type 2 diabetes. The risk is so serious that today experts recommend adding health warnings when it comes to promoting artificial sweeteners as “healthy” sugar substitutes.
This is why the only sweetener I recommend to my patients is natural stevia. Unlike sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, it actually has a positive effect on your weight, blood sugar and insulin response.
The Truth behind Whole Grains and Fiber
These days, it seems like everyone is racing to eat more grains and boost their fiber intake. This is another great idea. But once again, it’s easy to be led astray. I see it every time I go to the grocery store.
Shelf after shelf is filled with cereals, breads and other products claiming they contain whole grains. But if you actually read the label, you’ll usually find that the actual amount of whole grains in them is negligible – just enough to put the claim on the label.
Worse, most of them are weighed down with sugar, corn starch and other added ingredients. These foods are definitely not blood sugar or diabetes-friendly.
I also have to mention that today’s whole grains aren’t anything like nature intended. They’ve been scientifically engineered and hybridized. And most of them contain gluten. This protein often triggers inflammation – an underlying factor in the development of diabetes.
If you want to add more healthy grains to your diet, I suggest amaranth, buckwheat, millet or quinoa.
There are also plenty of other (healthier!) ways to get more fiber in your diet. In particular, certain plant-based foods contain “fermentable fibers”.
The concept behind them is simple. During the digestion process, the bacteria in your intestines ferment them. This process produces fatty acids that help regulate your body’s glucose production.
As a result, foods containing fermentable fibers may offer protection against obesity and diabetes. Beans, cabbage, yams, Jerusalem artichokes and other vegetables fall into this category. Just begin to add these foods slowly, but consistently. Too much too quickly will generate too much fermentation or gas.
Are You Getting More than Your Fill of Inflammatory Omega-6 Fatty Acids?
A lot of common foods contain healthy-sounding omega-6 fatty acids. And it’s true. Your body needs omega-6s. But these days most folks are getting around 20 times more of them than is healthy.
At these levels, omega-6 PUFAs are highly inflammatory and promote obesity. Both of these factors contribute to your chances of developing metabolic syndrome, or worse, type 2 diabetes.
Vegetable oils, salad dressings, margarines, fried and packaged foods are all typically high in omega-6 fatty acids.
You’re better off avoiding these products. Instead, opt for fatty foods that are truly healthy – ones that are known to quench inflammation, promote a healthy metabolic response and stimulate weight loss.
Some of these include cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, tree nuts, avocados and fresh wild-caught fish.
Fagherazzi G, et al. Chronic Consumption of Artificial Sweetener in Packets or Tablets and Type 2 Diabetes Risk: Evidence from the E3N-European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Study. Ann Nutr Metab. 2017;70(1):51-58.
DeVadder F, et al. Microbiota-generated metabolites promote metabolic benefits via gut-brain neural circuits. Cell. 2014 Jan 16;156(1-2):84-96.
Simopoulos AP. An Increase in the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio Increases the Risk for Obesity. Nutrients. 2016 Mar; 8(3): 128.