Around 2-3 hours after a substantial breakfast, you might start to feel hunger pangs again. Welcome these sensations with open arms, but reach for a piece of nature’s candy – fruit. Biscuits, sugary processed snacks, and coffee laced with sugar are not just empty calories; they create the Sugar High, Sugar Low effect.
When the blood sugar rises Insulin is released and mops it all up, but now our muscles and most importantly our brains have been using up the glucose, so now it needs to come out of storage again. There’s hard and fast evidence that a high glycaemic diet directly leads to Type 2 diabetes, and research released in March 2013 showed that a low glycaemic diet can reverse the changes. Research done in my own clinic (Figure 1) has shown that putting a patient on a low glycaemic diet for 5 months reduced his insulin requirements from a high of 38 units/day to a low of 6 units/day, without an appreciable rise in his glucose levels.
So, not only is having a gentle rise and fall in the blood sugar levels healthy, it actually protects against metabolic dysfunctions. The above graph refers to one patient who has been controlling his diabetes with insulin for over fifty years; after 150 days, he is almost at the point where he can control his diabetes with only his diet – the way we had to before insulin came onto the market. During the same period, he has been able to lose three kilos, and all without eating any ‘diet’ food.
There’s no such thing as a diet food. All the food we eat is converted into glucose, and then reconstituted into the different parts of our body. This may seem like extra effort, but it does protect us from prionic diseases. Regardless of the types of food you eat, it boils down to a balance: if you eat more calories than you burn, your body will store the unused energy as fat. A hypoglycaemic diet can really help here, as the slow release carbohydrates will maintain a moderate blood glucose level; you won’t experience the sugar high, sugar low.
The production of calorie-poor foods is a multi-billion dollar industry. When we consume foods that taste sweet, the body releases insulin in preparation for a climb in blood sugar. However, these ‘diet’ sugars contain no available calories, and so the blood sugar actually drops, which encourages overeating. This generally means we continue eating more of the calorie-restricted food, worsening the problem.
The best foods to eat are the meals you make yourself. Processed foods contain higher levels of fat, sugar and salt than meals made at home. The danger of the processed diet foods is that we take what was intended to be an occasional treat as a regular staple. No-one is suggesting that you need to wear a hair shirt every day of your life – if you want to have an occasional treat, go ahead. The diet will still be there in the morning.