Big claim right? Isn’t gluten the big thing to avoid right now? What’s next - apples are deadly too? Most people know sugar is not good for them but I think few of us realize how much we are really eating and what detrimental effects it may have on our health today and 20 yrs down the road. This goes far beyond a little bulge around the midsection - This could mean life and death.
Praise-Worthy but Misguided
It’s common for people to try many things in order to get healthier. This usually happens around each New Year or after a loved one or friend passes away from a western world health issue like a stroke or heart attack or after their labs come back and cholesterol levels are high.
“This year I’m going to…”
Lose some weight
Eat less twinkies and desserts
Get my cholesterol down
These are all noble goals but as you will read below, none of them really get to the root cause of most of American problems. I don’t want to downplay an exercise program or weight loss goals but don’t let this distract you from addressing your health at a deeper level.
A Sad Distraction
Progressive cardiologists and physicians and researchers are coming forward daily and confessing that the focus on lowering cholesterol at all costs has been a huge failure. Statin medication producing companies have sold billions of dollars worth of a medication that has been promised to save lives by reducing your cholesterol numbers. Sadly, though the number of Americans on statins has increased daily for years, the numbers of people dying from heart disease and stroke is not plummeting as would be expected if cardiovascular disease truly was only a cholesterol issue. Tragically, many have considered themselves healthy though continuing to eat the standard American diet because their doctor told them their cholesterol levels were perfect! What false assurance. As heart surgeon Dr Lundell discusses, the real culprit of cardiovascular disease is inflammation. The cholesterol delusion will be unvelled over the years but a multi-billion dollar industry will not die quickly or without a fight. Statin medications may have their place in “healthcare” but it should be a small place and in the corner of the room and not on the throne. If you desire long term health don’t bank on your good cholesterol levels. Focus on removing anything that causes chronic inflammation inside your body. And what is the most common and most deadly form of chronic inflammation Americans suffer from? You guessed it - blood sugar instability. And you don’t have to be a diabetic to suffer from this.
Sad Distraction #2 - Gluten
Gluten is another health factor laden with false information on the web and health care practitioners who stopped reading PubMed after they graduated medical school. Gluten is a huge issue and not just for celiacs. Any medical practitioner who tells you “gluten-free diets are a fad” please turn and run the other way. Articles and clinical trials and studies mount daily pointing to gluten being a major contributing factor to all sorts of health issues and most people will have zero digestive symptoms to warn them!
However, there is a degree of “fad” to this and the “fad” part of it can lead people to think they are making healthy choices. Here is is the lie wrapped up in the fad: “Gluten Free = Healthy.” This is a very easy trap to fall into. When I tell a patient that removing gluten for at least 60 days before attacking an intestinal parasite is essential for helping secure a victory, the common instinct is to just find packages of processed food that are labeled “gluten-free.” This is my own instinct at times as well. However, gluten free processed food is often nearly just as harmful in many ways at non-gluten free processed foods. They are still high in sugar, dairy, vegetable oils, and a host of other unpronounceable fillers that are often inflammatory in even more ways than gluten is. The easy fix with gluten to avoid the tempting lie is to focus on real food. Real whole, unprocessed food doesn’t contain gluten so you don’t have to guess or look for a gluten free label. A potato is a potato and an apple is an apple. Don’t buy the lie. It’s tempting and it’s dressed up in delicious looking pictures, packages and boxes. But eating “gluten-free” could leave you with out of control inflammation from the loads of sugar that hide behind the “gluten free” label.
Balance Is Key (as it is in most of life)
Now with that being said, you may think I’d be grossly disappointed if I saw you eating packaged food. On the contrary, most saturday mornings, I make waffles for my family. It comes out of a package labeled “Paleo Waffles.” It is not daily but it is almost once a week. It’s not the best food I could be serving my family but it’s not causing any irreparable harm that I know of either. Trying to avoid all things packaged is not reasonable in most people’s lives and it could lead to unnecessary stress. Though plastics are disrupting all sorts of neuroendocrine processes in the body (which is a whole blog topic in itself), eating some organic frozen veggies a couple times a week is not likely going to ruin your health. Stay balanced. Do your best. Keep learning and never think you’ve arrived. Be your own biggest health advocate because the people selling you food at the grocery store definitely don’t know what’s best for you.
Healthy Blood Sugar Tips from Our Lead Nutritionist
Avoid packaged foods and go for real food, 1 ingredient options
Make sure every meal or snack contains fat, fiber and protein
Stay active daily- exercise pulls sugar out of the blood stream to be used
Learn to read labels and identify all the hidden sugars put into your food
Consider doing a Whole30 and reading the book It Starts With Food (sign up for free 30 day trial of audible and get the book for free - don’t forget to cancel your account unless you want to keep getting audible books and a monthly charge!)
Meal plan weekly to prevent making bad food decisions (see my weekly meal plan posts for recommendations)
In conclusion, many people can focus on diet and exercise and see huge improvements in body composition, weight, cognitive function, sleep, digestion, energy and hormonal balance. However, many also will still struggle with these things despite their hard work and clean eating. This is when you need a functional medicine practitioner to be your detective in looking for an underlying cause that needs addressing. Labs can often find significant hormonal imbalances, digestive pathogens or detox pathways needing support. In this case, a lab based healing protocol may be able to get the body back into a healthy place.