Blood Sugar Balance

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.


(KUTV) Salt Lake City – March 27 was American Diabetes Alert Day, so today is a great time to review some of the simple steps that we can take to keep our own blood sugar levels within balance. Dr. Shawn Talbott, a Psycho-Nutritionist who studies natural approaches to help people feel their best, sat down with Brooke & Caitlin today on Fresh Living do discuss what Diabetes is and why proper blood sugar control is so important.

American Diabetes Alert Day was March 27 – so today is a great time to review some of the simple steps that we can take to keep our own blood sugar levels within balance.

First of all – WHAT is Diabetes and WHY is proper blood sugar control SO important?

Diabetes, rather than being a single disease, is actually a collection of conditions that result in too much sugar in the blood (high blood glucose). The most common types of Diabetes are:

  • Type 2 diabetes – which affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose).
  • Type 1 diabetes – in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.
  • Prediabetes – in which blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes – is a form of high blood sugar affecting pregnant women.

Blood sugar – also known as blood glucose – is the primary fuel source for our brain and to help prime our fat-burning metabolism. This means that maintaining an adequate blood sugar balance is important for both mental wellness and physical health. I’ve written a lot about natural ways to optimize blood sugar balance in many of my books, so I want to share my favorite tips – the “4 F’s” of blood sugar control: Fiber, Fat, Fitness, and Forty Winks.

Fiber – foods that are high in fiber, such as beans, oatmeal, apples, bananas, berries, whole grain bread and pasta can help to slow the digestion of carbohydrates in the gut and the absorption of sugar from the gut into the blood stream. High-fiber foods can often take some getting used to because of their taste, so I often recommend supplements such as Sunfiber (guar bean galactomannan) to increase your overall fiber intake – it’s tasteless, colorless, and can be added to a variety of foods without changing the taste. Sunfiber also has “prebiotic” benefits to support the “probiotic” beneficial bacteria in our gut.

Fat – adding some fat to your meals can also help to slow the digestion and absorption of sugar – it also helps to improve the flavor of high-fiber foods. Healthy fats can be found in avocados, olive oil, nuts like walnuts and almonds, and fatty fish such as salmon.

Fitness – exercise, or any type of physical activity, can help us to improve our ability to manage our blood sugar by improving the function of insulin (the hormone that regulates blood glucose levels). Exercise is so helpful for blood sugar balance that many diabetics are able to reduce (or completely eliminate) their diabetes medications.

Forty Winks – getting enough sleep is vital for our ability to control blood sugar levels. Just missing as little as 2 hours of sleep at night (getting 6 hours rather than 8 hours of sleep) means that we could be putting ourselves into a pre-diabetic state. This is because sleep loss is a “stress” that increases levels of cortisol (stress hormone). Cortisol can “block” insulin function, which leads to fluctuations in blood sugar levels – and cortisol can also stimulate carbohydrate cravings in the brain – which also increase blood sugar levels when we eat those foods.

To sum up, when blood sugar drops too low we get hungry – and when blood sugar rises too high, we stop burning fat. By keeping our blood sugar levels balanced within it’s optimal range, we can ensure that our brain and our body have “enough” (but not too much) glucose to perform at peak efficiency. Balanced blood sugar levels not only help us to burn fat more efficiently, but also help us to stay energized physically, sharp mentally, and have an overall higher levels of emotional well-being.

About the Author:

Dr. Shawn Talbott is a Psycho-Nutritionist who studies natural approaches to help people feel their best.

He received dual Bachelor’s degrees in Sports Medicine (B.S.) and Fitness Management (B.A.) from Marietta College, his Master’s degree (M.S.) in Exercise Science from UMASS, and his Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry from Rutgers. His research is focused on natural approaches to integrating physiology/biochemistry/psychology to improve human performance and optimize psychological vigor (physical energy, mental acuity, and emotional well-being).

Dr. Talbott’s recent projects include two academic textbooks, an award-winning documentary film, and several best-selling books translated into multiple languages. His work has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, the TED stage, and the White House.

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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