Healthbeat: Beat Your Sugar and Starch Addiction… Here’s how…

I have to share with you a fabulous article from Prevention Magazine. Now don’t roll your eyes… hey, every little thing we can do to preserve our health is worth it, right? These are LITTLE changes that can help you beat the sugar and starch addiction (yes, addiction… America is addicted to sugar, and I’m no different. I am struggling to stop my sweet tea (and it’s not very sweet, I make “sweet tea” with 3 tablespoons of sugar for 2 quarts)… I find I don’t want to drink it… sigh… BUT tea is good for you, so I bought a mint plant and pluck off a section and place it in the glass and smash it with a spoon to release the wonderful mint flavor… at least that adds a different flavor!). Here are a few things YOU can do… this is adapted from the Prevention Magazine article adaptation of The Sugar Blockers Diet: Eat Great, Lose Weight–A Doctor’s 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Lower Blood Sugar, and Beat Diabetes–While Eating the Carbs You Love, by Rob Thompson, MD, with the editors of Prevention (Rodale, 2012). 

Have a Fatty Snack

Have a fatty snack 10 to 30 minutes before your meals. Reason: You remain fuller longer. 

At the outlet of your stomach is a muscular ring, the pyloric valve. It regulates the speed at which food leaves your stomach and enters your small intestine. This valve is all that stands between the ziti in your stomach and a surge of glucose in your bloodstream. But you can send your pyloric valve a message to slow down.Fat triggers a reflex that constricts the valve and slows digestion. As little as a teaspoon of fat–easily provided by a handful of nuts or a piece of cheese–will do the trick, provided you eat it before your meal.

Start Your Meal With A Salad

 Reason: It soaks up starch and sugar.

Soluble fiber from the pulp of plants–such as beans, carrots, apples, and oranges–swells like a sponge in your intestines and traps starch and sugar in the niches between its molecules. Soluble means “dissolvable”–and indeed, soluble fiber eventually dissolves, releasing glucose. However, that takes time. The glucose it absorbs seeps into your bloodstream slowly, so your body needs less insulin to handle it. A good way to ensure that you get enough soluble fiber is to have a salad–preferably before, rather than after, you eat a starch.

Eat Some Vinegar

 Reason: It slows the breakdown of starch into sugar.

The high acetic acid content in vinegar deactivates amylase, the enzyme that turns starch into sugar. (It doesn’t matter what kind of vinegar you use.) Because it acts on starch only, it has no effect on the absorption of refined sugar. In other words, it will help if you eat bread, but not candy. But there’s one more benefit: Vinegar also increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin.

You should consume vinegar at the start of your meal. Put it in salad dressing or sprinkle a couple of tablespoons on meat or vegetables. Vinegar brings out the flavor of food, as salt does.

Include Protein With Your Meal

 Reason: You won’t secrete as much insulin.

Here’s a paradox: You want to blunt insulin spikes–but to do that, you need to start secreting insulin sooner rather than later. It’s like a fire department responding to a fire. The quicker the alarm goes off, the fewer firefighters will be needed to put out the blaze.

Even though protein contains no glucose, it triggers a “first-phase insulin response” that occurs so fast, it keeps your blood sugar from rising as high later–and reduces the total amount of insulin you need to handle a meal. So have meatballs with your spaghetti.

Nosh on Lightly Cooked Vegetables

 Reason: You digest them more slowly.

Both fruits and vegetables contain soluble fiber. As a rule, though, vegetables make better sugar blockers, because they have more fiber and less sugar.

But don’t cook your vegetables to mush. Boiling vegetables until they’re limp and soggy saturates the soluble fiber, filling it with water so it can’t absorb the sugar and starch you want it to. Also, crisp vegetables are chunkier when they reach your stomach, and larger food particles take longer to digest, so you’ll feel full longer. Another tip: Roasted vegetables like cauliflower can often serve as a delicious starch substitute.

Sip A Glass Of Wine With Dinner

 Reason: Your liver won’t produce as much glucose.

Alcohol has unique sugar-blocking properties. Your liver normally converts some of the fat and protein in your blood to glucose, which adds to the glucose from the carbs you eat. But alcohol consumed with a meal temporarily halts your liver’s glucose production. A serving of any alcohol–beer, red or white wine, or a shot of hard liquor–will reduce the blood sugar load of a typical serving of starch by approximately 25%.

That doesn’t mean you should have several drinks (especially if you have diabetes, as multiple drinks can cause hypoglycemia). Not only does alcohol contain calories, but it also delays the sensation of fullness, so you tend to overeat and pile on calories. Be especially mindful about avoiding cocktails that are made with sweetened mixers–yet another source of sugar.

Save Sweets For Dessert Only

 Reason: All of the above.

If you eat sweets on an empty stomach, there’s nothing to impede the sugar from racing directly into your bloodstream–no fat, no soluble fiber, no protein, no vinegar. But if you confine sweets to the end of the meal, you have all of the built-in protection the preceding rules provide. If you want to keep blood sugar on an even keel, avoid between-meal sweets at all costs–and when you do indulge, don’t eat more than you can hold in the cup of your hand. But a few bites of candy after a meal will have little effect on your blood sugar and insulin–and can be quite satisfying.

 Bonus Sugar Blocker: Move Your Body

 There are other ways of blunting sugar spikes, and exercise is one of the best. Your muscle cells are by far the biggest users of glucose in your body and the target of most of the insulin you make.
When you exercise, your muscles need to replenish their energy stores, so each cell that you work out begins making glucose “transporters.” These sit on the surface of the cell and allow glucose to enter.In the meantime, while cells are still making the transporters, they also open up special channels that allow glucose in, independent of insulin. So to reduce sugar spikes, try going for a walk after eating.
Here’s a quick QUIZ to see if you’re at risk for Diabetes. I know sometimes you just don’t want to know, but this is one time you need to know. If you know you can prevent things from getting worse and turn things around!
Now with all that being said, it’s not really that hard. Have a small salad with some sort of fat (cheese, avocado, etc.), and a vinaigrette (any type of vinegar and olive oil). Then for your meal have a lean protein and a lightly cooked veggie. Sip a small glass of wine if you drink wine (not a reason to start drinking if you don’t). If you’re going to eat a sweet, have it after a meal as dessert, then… take a walk! Even if it’s just around the block. Leash up Fido and make his day!
Catch you back here tomorrow!

4 thoughts on “Healthbeat: Beat Your Sugar and Starch Addiction… Here’s how…

  1. This was awesome. I actually saw this and was going to order the book, but I figured I’d probably never read the whole thing. So, this was great … summing it all up gave me a great head start here. Thanks so much. (BTW … I really love your blog. The picture of San Francisco is amazing.)


    1. Well thanks! Great tips, and tips that are easy to follow! We’re doing it each night… hard to believe that sugar is such a strong addiction… whew! Glad you enjoy the blog!! Come back to visit soon…


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