Health Pillar 3—Stabilize Glucose

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

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Here’s another excerpt from my 10th book, The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions every year are:
*Lose Weight
*Get in Shape
*Reduce Stress
*Get Healthier
*Win the Lottery

The Secret of Vigor can help you with 4 out of 5 of the most popular resolution goals, so I’ll be posting excerpts from the book for the next several weeks – so please stay tuned for each installment.

If you simply can’t wait, then you can certainly get a copy at or at your favorite library or bookstore.

Health Pillar 3—Stabilize Glucose
There are many reasons to keep a tight control of glucose levels. Glucose, which you may often hear called “blood sugar,” is the preferred source of energy for the brain, and glucose helps you fully metabolize calories from fat. Blood-sugar levels that drop too low may stimulate hunger and cravings, while glucose levels that rise too high will slow your ability to burn fat.

A key intermediary in the interrelationships between blood glucose, oxidation, inflammation, and stress hormones (covered in the next chapter) is the hormone insulin. Most people associate insulin problems with diabetes because of its primary role in regulating blood-sugar levels, but insulin has many additional functions in the body. Not only does insulin regulate blood-sugar levels within an extremely narrow range, but it is also responsible for getting fat stored in the fat cells (adipose tissue), getting sugar stored in the liver and muscle cells (as glycogen), and getting amino acids directed toward protein synthesis (to build muscle). Due to these varied actions, insulin is sometimes thought of as a “storage hormone,” because it helps the body put all these sources of energy away in their respective “storage depots” for use later.

Because insulin stimulates fat synthesis and promotes fat storage, there is a widespread misbelief that insulin circulating in the body “induces” weight gain. This misconception has led to a variety of diets that promote the idea that weight loss can be achieved by avoiding certain foods, such as carbohydrates, that stimulate insulin secretion. Unfortunately, this simplistic view of energy metabolism is only partly correct. Proponents of these diets fail to distinguish between a normal insulin response to meals (in which temporarily elevated blood levels of insulin quickly return to normal levels after meals) and an abnormal insulin response (in which insulin levels stay elevated for prolonged periods following meals). When you eat appropriately (covered in Part III), your levels of insulin and leptin will rise appropriately following meals, providing you with appetite-controlling benefits. But they will also fall appropriately, keeping oxidation, inflammation, and other biochemical processes from getting out of control.

The abnormal insulin metabolism described above—known as insulin resistance—leads to a reduction in the body’s cellular response to insulin. That reaction, in turn, interferes with regulation of blood sugar, increases appetite, and blocks the body’s ability to burn fat due primarily to direct “blocking” of insulin function by cortisol, as well as indirect interference with insulin activity by oxidative free radicals and inflammatory cytokines. When insulin resistance is combined with a poor diet (high in fat and/or refined carbohydrates), the result is the metabolic condition known as Syndrome X, a disorder that can have an impact on virtually every disease process in the body.

About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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