Episode 30: Using Blood Sugar Data To Empower Your Health

PYP 30 | Plant-Based Diet


You may have heard that blood sugar is bad and that we need to eliminate it from our diet. However, without real sugar that comes from fruits and vegetables, your body will not be able to generate energy to build muscles, develop your immune system, and keep your entire body healthy. What’s worse, starving ourselves from natural sugar will trigger our body to consume the sugar stored in some of our organs like the muscle or liver, and they will be in danger of wasting away. Sugar gives you cellular energy to make life go on. On today’s show, Haylie Pomroy breaks down some of the myths we believe about blood sugar issues. She also discusses the importance of checking our blood sugar data several times during the day to create a true prescription for health. Tune in and learn the best times to check your blood sugar, how you can use sugar efficiently, and many more.


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Using Blood Sugar Data To Empower Your Health

I am here to break down some of the myths that we believe about blood sugar issues and rebuild the truth of how you can use food as a prescription to stabilize your blood sugar, reverse pre-diabetes, and even diabetic situations. How we can heal the body and stop dealing, instead of healing. You may have heard that blood sugar is bad and that we need to eliminate sugar as a whole from your diet. Without sugar, real sugar, the kind that comes from fruits and even vegetables, your body will not be able to generate energy.

That's not energy so that you can do things. That’s cellular energy so that you can build muscles, create an immune system, and your entire body can be healthy and helpful. Without sugar, you consume the sugar that we store in our body in either the muscle or in the liver and those tissues will gradually waste away. You'll find yourself easily fatigued, all those individuals that do those low-carbohydrate, low-fruit diets. That's because we're starving our bodies of natural sugars.

Individuals that do those for a long period of time can get depressed. If we completely deprive our bodies from sugar, we’ll die. Energy is incredibly important for a successful and happy life. I'm not talking about energy to get up in the morning and run your kids around or to pull off that next meeting. I'm talking about it on a cellular level. The energy that next time you create a new cell, it's a healthy cell. The energy that tells your body to send nutrients to the brain from memory and cognition. The energy that's required to break down cholesterol, rebuild bone, and stabilize blood sugar.

Refined Sugars Weren’t Born Bad

That energy comes from the metabolism of sugar. You can have all the money, possessions, and fame in the world but if you don't have energy, metabolic energy, cellular energy, the energy to get up in the morning, to relax and contract your lungs to breathe, and to remind your heart to beat, you can't enjoy any aspect of life. It's definitely true that refined sugars, the white sugars, are bad for health. They weren’t born bad. They got bad by us putting them through a chemical process a lot of times using chlorine and a lot of other harsh chemicals to extract all that was good about them in the first place.

PYP 30 | Plant-Based Diet

We have taken fruits and created fructose. We've taken corn and created corn syrup. We've taken cane sugar and created refined white sugar that is killing many Americans. We're all aware of that. Healthy sugars, the sugars that we get from complex carbs like rice, wild rice, quinoa, and oatmeal. Those are valuable for our bodies. Yet, many people aren't able to metabolize them so we've made those the bad guys. We get natural sugars from fruit. You can believe that when I talk about mangoes, grapes, or bananas, we can taste the sugar and enjoy that process in our bodies.

Sugar stimulates energy and blood flow to the brain. That's one of the reasons why we get excited when we consume sugar. It’s also why we can see kids bouncing off the wall when they consume too much refined sugar. The refinement process of sugar allows it to get delivered into the bloodstream rapidly. They’re shuttled into the wrong places like fat cells, certain aspects of the brain, and even into the certain smooth muscles of the heart.

Many individuals metabolically are having a problem with those sugars. They’re having a problem breaking down sugars that are not just refined but also those that come from the complex carbs like grains and from fruits. Maybe you weren't aware of the fact that there's also a lot of vegetables that have sugars. Beets, carrots, and potatoes have sugars. Anything that has a complex carb can be converted into sugar. Our body takes all of those foods and breaks them down and creates those healthy sugars to create cellular energy.

It's not that the body is getting too much sugar. It's that the body starts to have a problem if it can't metabolize sugar. It's true. If we do a ton of those refined sugars over and over again, our body constantly creates a hormone called insulin. The insulin becomes resistant or fatigued. Therefore, our body can't deal with those sugars. Those refined sugars can create a bad situation very fast. Many individuals have a hard time even processing the healthy sugars, the ones that come from the grains, the fruits, and the vegetables. When that's the case, our health starts to decline.

This is not caused by the fact that our body can't utilize those foods. That's the process. No one ever gained weight because they eat too much oatmeal or too many apples, or got diabetes because they ate one too many mangoes. Those foods can become a stress when the mechanism that allows the body to take sugar and convert it into cellular fuel goes off. Those dysfunctional metabolic pathways can happen in many different areas of the body.

Dysfunctional Metabolic Pathways

When the body can't control sugar, there is dysfunction in one or more, sometimes hundreds, of the different metabolic pathways that control sugar metabolism. They aren't on a cellular level realizing the benefits of the natural sugars that they eat. What we find and many of you can probably relate to this, especially if you have metabolic syndrome, diabetes, or pre-diabetes, you find that your body craves sugar. There's a reason for this. That's because you're not realizing the benefits of actually consuming those natural sugars.

Your body is always wanting those sugars. You might find that you can't stop eating it. If you're tired or fatigued, you crave carbs or you crave fruit, or fruit makes you feel better. That doesn't create a problem if your metabolic pathways are balanced. If you're using a food prescription, that helps the body to metabolize sugar and convert it into that incredible energy. You have a problem because your body can't metabolize sugar. If that's your problem, don't be frustrated, angry, or feel like you don't have good willpower.

If by 6:00 PM or 4:00 PM all you can do is consume carbs, it's because your body is trying to tell you something. You crave sugar because you have a blood sugar issue. You have a blood sugar issue because you're not metabolizing sugar. It’s interesting. I'm definitely disturbed by all of the artificial products that are out there being sold in the name of diabetic food. You'll find them in the drugstore. They're right there next to the blood sugar testing strips. There's nothing in them that can potentially make your body healthier. Nothing that could potentially make your body create balance and those metabolic pathways. We're selling foods to individuals that have blood sugar problems based on what they don't have.

The big selling point is it doesn't have sugar. It's sugar-free. It's a substance that can help create homeostasis. It's a substance, nutrients, and micronutrients that can create the healing of the metabolic pathways that can allow you to stabilize sugars. Those things contain hardly any real food ingredients. It's all devoid of nutrients. Remember, metabolic pathways are all nutrient-dependent, whether you do or don't metabolize sugar, or it's in the form of a mango, orange, oatmeal, or M&Ms. Whether you don't or do burn that sugar for energy, stored as fat, build it as muscle, smooth muscle of the heart, or deliver it to feed the brain, it is completely determined on what nutrients are on board at the time.

What you do with sugar when you consume sugar is completely dependent on the nutrient value in your body, the food that you put in it, and the nutrient reserves that you hold on a daily basis. Whether you have a good vitamin D level or storage, you have good muscle mass, or you have fabulous bone density determines whether you take those M&Ms and convert it to fat or take those M&Ms and convert it to energy. It can determine whether you take that mango, apple, or carrot and reap the health benefits of it.

Stabilizing Blood Sugar

When we're looking at a prescription to stabilize blood sugar, there are typically two things that we do. We use pharmaceuticals that help inhibit sugar production, helps inhibit sugar absorption, and allows the body to pass sugar more efficiently through the urine. There’s a lot of diabetic medications out there. We also use medications that are insulin-based, which helps shuttle sugar up into the cell more efficiently so that it doesn't hang out in the bloodstream because that's where it causes all the problems.

When it hangs out in the bloodstream, it creates stickiness in the blood which can lead to poor circulation in the hands, feet, and eyes. That's where we see many vision issues. It can correlate with a lot of confusion, memory, cognition, and depression issues. That's why we see a lot of individuals with metabolic or syndrome X having issues with anxiety, depression, uncontrolled perspiration, and all the central nervous system regulators can go off.

When it hangs out in the bloodstream, we can have fatigue and weight gain. We can feel confused. We can have an increase in pain because the same hormone that regulates blood sugars is formulated from the same building blocks and the hormones that regulate our anti-inflammatory hormones. What are we going to do? We have to create a prescription that helps to repair the metabolic pathways that are responsible for taking sugar in any form and converting it to energy. That takes sugar in any form and allows it to be stored in the smooth muscle, help deliver nutrients to the brain, and support the liver.

Working On Our Metabolic Pathways

With the paradigm shift, natural sugars, food-based sugars, and non-adulterated refined sugars can be and are a very important thing in your health, if you can metabolize them. We've got to work on the metabolic pathways that take sugar and convert it to fuel and energy that can allow it to be taken up into the cell. We do this by using food. In the fast metabolism food prescription, we're going to go through a specific food program that helps support the pancreas which produces our insulin, helps support the proteolytic enzymes from the pancreas then helps break down the food to get those micronutrients to us.

All those metabolic pathways that are going to provide us health are micronutrient-dependent. No matter what you eat, whether it's healthy or not healthy, what you're going to do with that is completely dependent on your micronutrient playing field and what you have going on from a micronutrient perspective because that determines which metabolic pathways are open to closed, sped up, slowed down, or how your body adapts to that healthy or unhealthy food.

It's why I always used the equation E + M = H. It’s eating plus what you do metabolically that can evoke health. You can eat the best food in the world or the worst food in the world but if you don't do what you need to do with it metabolically, that is going to be the end result of what happens in your health. Whether you're going to flourish or you're going to flounder, or you're going to create disease or you're going to create an abundance of health.

Unfortunately, because diabetes is an epidemic, it also seems to be this big cash cow for manufacturers. There are even lotions out there that have a special label on him that says, “For the diabetic.” There's nothing special in that. They’re trying to find this huge population of people that have a very serious chronic disease and capitalize on that. Instead, we should be offering our diabetic patients, clients, and friends food that can allow the body to take sugars out of the bloodstream and convert them into energy.

I always say that diabetes is like a leak in the roof medicating and not feeding. The National Institute of Diabetes has stated that diabetes is a disorder of metabolism. If we medicate and we don't heal the metabolism, it's medication like insulin or metformin, which can be lifesaving. If we don't also feed and nourish the body, it's like putting a bucket under a hole in the roof to support the leak. It's not even a bucket, it’s a sponge. The sponge might go in and soak up some of the water or soak up some of the blood sugar.

It might help the body void a little bit more quickly. It doesn't have anything to do with the actual hole in the roof. It doesn't have anything to do with what's broken in the body. When we're talking about blood sugars, it's the body's ability to take the sugar and convert it to energy. It certainly isn't fixing anything, because if it fixes something, we'd be able to go on the medication for a short period of time, repair the problem, and restore health. One of the things that I like to say is that when we look at blood sugar, we need to look at blood sugar before we've eaten.

A lot of times when you go into your doctor's office, and this is what we work through, in your health empowerment workbook, we're working through how to prepare for your visit. A lot of times they do a fasting blood sugar, which means when you haven't eaten, what are your levels of blood sugar in the body? A lot of times, that’s what we used to determine for years if an individual is diabetic or not. If anything is over 100 or 110 consistently, you were considered a diabetic.

We've added a new lab relatively in years. They're using it more frequently. That's called the Hemoglobin A1C. This gives us about a 90-day average of what your blood sugars are running. It lets us know how many times your body attempts to get sugar into the cell and isn't successful, and how many times you try to walk through the doorway and you bang your head against the door jamb. We look at the Hemoglobin A1C and say, “They keep inching this number down.”

Anywhere above a six, we are concerned about an individual becoming diabetic. Anything above a 5.8, we consider that individual pre-diabetic. When we're looking at this, we're looking at a snapshot. We're looking at how much blood sugar is pooling when you fasted, or what's happened all through the night. We're looking at what's going on in the body at that moment in time. To repair the body's ability to use sugar and convert it into energy, we need to look at the blood sugar several times, because it all means different things.

In my practice, when we're using a food prescription, I have for you the list of labs that I love to see you have run with your practitioner. I also have in your workbook, we're going to do the health wish list. Maybe it's your goal to reduce your insulin level or create stable levels throughout the day. You're new to metformin, your goal is to not have to be on that medication. We're going to create and design that alliance with our doctor so that we're all on the same page. We're all aiming and fighting for the same thing.

Checking Blood Sugar

When I check blood sugars, and this is something that I recommend for my clients, is we do it four times during the day so that we can create the true prescription for health. We can see what the body is doing metabolically. First, I always check the blood sugar right before bed. Ideally, I like it to be about two hours after eating. What I'm looking for is at the end of the day, as the body starts to go into rest and restoration mode, work on bone density as there is more of the parasympathetic nervous system, and alkalize the pH a little bit. I like to see what the blood sugar is doing before bed, ideally about two hours away from your last meal.

I then like to take the blood sugar first thing upon waking. My goal is to do it before you've got to nap and you've been very active. Usually within 10 to 15 minutes max of waking. When we're doing this, we're seeing what the body did throughout the night. Throughout the night, we should be in a state of rest and restoration. We should be building bone density metabolically. Our sleep is when we lose the majority of our weight. When we sleep, it's when we create. Our hair grows the most when we sleep. Our nails grow most when we sleep. We produce more collagen and elastin when we sleep.

We are supposed to be in build-and-rebuild mode. In order to do all of that, it takes a lot of cellular energy. What should happen metabolically in your blood sugar is the number when you went to bed should be higher than the number when you wake up in the morning. Let's say you go to bed at night, and your number is 92. When you wake up in the morning, it should be lower, 82 because what's happening is if your body did get deep restorative sleep or your body did build hair, bones, skin, nails, and brain chemistry, it should have used up some of that sugar that was hanging out in the bloodstream.

Many individuals that have a problem that ends up being diabetic, these are some of the earliest signs we see, they have that inverted. They go to bed and they’re at 93. They wake up and they're at 115. I always say to them, “Where did you get that sugar? I've heard of the Sugar Plum fairies, but I've never heard of them feeding you in the middle of the night.” What we wanted to do and what we want to find out is, where did your body get that sugar? Your body did that by accessing sugar glycogen in the muscle or the liver.

It does that when it doesn't have the right micronutrients onboard to do the job of rebuilding and repairing. If you don't rebuild and repair when you sleep, you perish. That's all there is to it. If you don't naturally have that circadian rhythm or restore the micronutrients that are broken down in the heart muscle every night when you sleep, we won't have help. The body elevates the blood sugar in the middle of the night to give you fuel.

Sugar gives you cellular energy to make life go on. That is one of the first signs I see with my clients. They're starting to use sugars in a dysfunctional way. I always encourage individuals, my clients that want to maintain the energy, whether they're 50, 60, 70, or 80. The energy that they had in their 20s, if that's your goal, we've got to be testing your blood sugar and doing it this way. The other times that I like to check the blood sugar is 1 to 2 hours post-eating.

If you have a meal, and you check your blood sugar, and your blood sugar is still over 100, I say go to the second hour and check it again. As long as it's stable by the two-hour mark, you're typically metabolizing your sugars fairly efficiently. It's sometimes fun to play with this 1 to 2 hours after breakfast, 1 to 2 hours after lunch, and 1 to 2 hours after dinner. It can show you metabolically that there are, for each of us individually, certain times throughout the day, that you're a sugar-burner superstar. Meaning, there are some people that use sugars efficiently in the morning but not efficiently at night.

There are some people that use sugars efficiently in the middle of the day but are terrible in the morning and the night. Those people have a hard time coming into the physical bodies. For my professional athletes, this is important because we work with their trainers to design their fitness program for when they can best use sugar to maximize their workouts. Remember, the muscle is where we store our sugar. You might think that this is something that you want to do, or you don't have diabetes, you don't need to worry about this.

What if you're an athlete? What if you want to look like an athlete? What if you want to feel like an athlete? This is a phenomenal way to use your sugars to tell us what your body's doing. To manifest cellular energy, physical energy, mental energy, or structural energy. The other thing that I like to do is challenge the body. I don't recommend this with my gestational diabetics, or what we call our brittle diabetics. Individuals that are having a difficult time regulating their blood sugar. What we do is, with individuals that don't fall into that category, we do the pancake in orange juice challenge test.

That's all in your workbook. You can work through that. Again, if you're a gestational diabetic or brittle diabetic, we have you not do this type of testing. It’s too much stress on your body. What we do, and I've got the recipe in there. You have a nice big glass of orange juice. This is the only time you're going to hear me tell you to drink fruit juice. Only once. You're going to have a nice big stack of pancakes. You're going to consume that. We're going to check our blood sugar at the 30-minute mark, 1-hour mark, 1.5-hour mark, and 2-hour mark.

If you have a body that's super-efficient right about that one-hour mark, your blood sugar is going to come coasting on down. Don't be surprised at the 30-minute mark if your blood sugar levels are like 200, it's not uncommon. That's going to let us know how quickly or how slowly you convert sugar into energy. All of this data is important. These data points, this information that your body is telling us so that we can have true health. If we use energy to create every cell, our cardiovascular cells, brain cells, all of our hormones, bone density, hair, skin, and nails, the ability to access that energy is vital for true health.

Many times, we don't think about looking at our blood sugars until our health has gone completely awry. Until we have been diagnosed with a chronic disease like diabetes or until we're struggling with a metabolic imbalance like syndrome X. You can use your body, what you walk around with every day, and the food that you consume, to collect data about yourself about what's going on with you cellularly and metabolically to use that data to create the health that you desire.

Whether it's energy to get up in the morning and light your day on fire. It's energy to repair a fractured bone to stabilize blood sugar or cholesterol. Whether it's hormones or to be a superstar at your next annual physical, it takes cellular energy to do all of that. That's why I asked that you look at your blood sugar from a metabolic experience, from a metabolic process as opposed to something to fear like some big scary disease like diabetes. Sugar can be a metabolic superhero if you know how to listen to your body and use that communication within your body to create the health you deserve. Thank you very much.


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