How are your sugar levels? Spiking more than they should be for optimum health?
Most of us don’t devote a thought to glucose levels in our blood, unless we’ve got diabetes. But really we should, argues biochemist Jessie Inchausepe.
If we have too much glucose in our system, she explains, we put on weight, feel tired and hungry all the time, and are more prone to disease. The good news is, we can easily learn to avoid those sharp spikes in sugar concentration. Jessie’s new book, Glucose Revolution, is full of tips showing us how.
Jessie (who holds a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from King’s College in London, and a Master of Science in biochemistry from Georgetown University) chats to The Starfish:
Why did you write this book?
I wrote Glucose Revolution to empower people to wake up feeling amazing every day. I discovered through my research that 90% of us suffer from deregulated glucose levels, and most of us don’t know it. They cause many common symptoms, from cravings to fatigue, weight gain to infertility, and hormonal issues to chronic illness. Balancing our glucose levels is the key to better health. And it’s easy, too!
What is the “Glucose Revolution” you refer to in the title?
It’s the change in our understanding of how to eat to heal our physical and mental health. It’s a whole new world: no more diets, no more “off-limit” foods, no more guilt, no more calorie counting. I’ve put together science-backed principles for a life of healthy eating. Adding a vegetable starter to our meals, having a savoury breakfast, adding vinegar to our day…help us transform our health while still eating what we love.
What is a glucose spike, and why do they matter?
Glucose -or blood sugar- is our body’s primary energy source. We get it through the starchy or sweet foods we eat. But sometimes, too much glucose hits our bloodstream to quickly. This causes a glucose spike. 90% of us experience these every day! And they lead to inflammation, mood swings, cravings, hormonal imbalances… and more.
How ignorant are most of us about how foods affect our blood sugar levels, and what are the most important things we need to know?
For a long time we thought that only people with diabetes should care about their glucose levels, so it’s normal that most of us don’t know about this yet. The most important things to know to steady your glucose levels and feel better are: 1) Eat a savoury instead of a sweet breakfast. Focus your breakfast around protein, then add some fibre and fat. Starch can be there for taste, and avoid everything sweet except whole fruit. 2) add a vegetable starter to your lunch and your dinner, and eat it before everything else. 3) go for a ten minute walk, or do any other type of movement, after your meals. These are the easiest places to start.
What are the most important lessons people can get from reading Glucose Revolution?
In the book I summarize cutting-edge science into easy tips. So you will learn about these hacks and will be able to start applying them right away!
What’s the easiest way to know when we’ve eaten too much glucose?
The most common symptoms of being on a glucose rollercoaster – with lots of spikes and crashes throughout the day – are: craving sweet foods, being hungry every 90 minutes or so, feeling tired after meals, and lacking focus and energy.
How much effect can glucose have on our moods?
A lot! Our glucose levels affect our hunger and mood hormones. The studies show that glucose also has an impact on mental health: the more spikes you have, the more likely you are to have symptoms of anxiety and depression.
When is the best time to eat something sweet, and why does the timing matter?
The best time to eat something sweet is after a meal that kept your glucose levels steady, when your stomach is full and the glucose from the sweet food will be slowed down – you’ll absorb the glucose slower and experience less of a spike. The worse time is on an empty stomach! I just posted a test that shows just this:https://www.instagram.com/p/Cbr2PvDuJEW/
Your book includes plenty of tips on how to substitute high-sugar foods for foods that are better for us; can you give us one easy example
Try switching from oats with fruit, to Greek yoghurt with nut butter and fruit.
From a fruit smoothie to a balanced smoothie containing protein powder, some fat, some nuts, and fruit for taste!
In your book you say only 12 per cent of Americans are “metabolically healthy.” How many Australians do you estimate have healthy glucose levels?
We don’t have that exact number for Australia. But we know that throughout the world, glucose-related issues are increasing in prevalence every year. I think it’s fair to say that the vast majority of Australians experience glucose spikes every day. It’s extremely common.
Where did you accumulate much of your info for this book; did it take much research?
Yes! I first learned about glucose during my own health journey. I’m a scientist and I delved into all of the latest science on the topic over the course of three years. Glucose Revolution summarizes it all!
Glucose Revolution is out now. Jessie is the founder of popular Insta account @glucosegoddess