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This article has been written to help establish a culture on this website that more fully enables each member to seek and find relevant health truth in their lives. Sometimes popularized ideas are not good for everyone, yet are great for others. As you read this article, I hope you will gain a greater desire to gather facts and how to look at those facts as they pertain to you specifically. As you consider what I say or what others say always reach for facts and learn to apply the facts to your custom circumstances. Look objectively at everything and learn to think rationally about matters that directly affect your health. Intentionally, this article uses one of today's most popularized drinks as an example to demonstrate an important point--there are reasons why this drink is so beneficial to some and actually damaging to others. We could use other examples to demonstrate the same point, but I hope this one will gain sufficient attention to be beneficial to you.
Important Glycemic Index Facts
As I contemplated writing the book Original Fast Foods, among the many topics that fascinated me during the library research and gathering phase of this endeavor were the scientific investigations regarding the glycemic index. Investigators have demonstrated that sugar in some foods absorbs more quickly than sugar in other foods. The Glycemic index ranks foods accordingly; this science has benefited many diabetics and individuals who are overweight. Consider the following tips from this science:
Diabetes and Latter-day Saints
During the past three decades, the rate of diabetes among Latter-day Saints has grown rapidly and is reported to be three times higher than the national growth-rate for diabetes. Diabetes leads to dangerously high blood sugar levels, which lead to blindness, amputations, nerve disorders, and organ disorders such as heart disease, kidney disease, and so forth. What does the research teach diabetics? It demonstrates that for the diabetic it is best to eat food whole, rather than to grind, blend, or juice it. It also demonstrates that unlike the food combining theories suggest, it is better for the diabetic to enjoy fruits, vegetables, and grains together in a single meal. This leads to rates of absorption that takes about five to six hours for a meal to fully enter the bloodstream, which is a good rate for maintaining stable blood sugars.
By comparison, if a diabetic were to drink a large smoothie for breakfast as he/she runs out the door, it would take just a fraction of the time for the meal to enter the bloodstream, leading to dangerously high blood sugar levels in diabetics. A safe alternative for diabetic smoothie lovers is to sip a smoothie slowly over five to six hours (requires great discipline). Even though each sip is going to enter the bloodstream quickly, the carbohydrate load in any one sip is small and the overall effect is better. A far better approach is to simply eat the food whole, so that its digestive requirement is what nature intended, rather than super accelerated. Again, the diabetic or overweight individual cannot handle blood sugars as easily one who doesn't suffer from blood-sugar related issues, who can enjoy smoothies much more freely.
According to glycemic research, if you add greens to a fruit smoothie it will slow down the rate of absorption of the fruit sugars, because the greens are so low in sugars they don't even show up on the glycemic index. Last summer I taught a weight-loss class and learned a valuable lesson. We learned that when you blend everything together into a smoothie the food is broken down so thoroughly that it enters the bloodstream very rapidly, even though you are combining high and low glycemic foods together. In our work with weight-loss clients, we have often seen blood-sugar levels rise to 600 mg/dl after drinking a fruited smoothie--with or without leafy greens added. This is dangerously high.
The glycemic research that suggest combining high and low glycemic foods will slow absorption rates did not hold true at all for diabetics who were losing weight and who were blending high and low glycemic foods together into drinks. We learned that the more you pulverize your foods, the faster it absorbs and the total carb load of the drink absorbs far too quickly for most diabetics and overweight peole. We learned that popular and much written about green smoothie causes blood sugar levels to rise dangerously high for diabetics. Who would have thought this to be the case, considering the popular literature.
After learning this fact first hand, I suggested the following to my class: If diabetics are going to blend whole fruits and vegetables into a smoothie or juice them for a drink, they should then sip the smoothie or drink slowly over a five to six hour period and should not guzzle it or drink it quickly. Why five to six hours? Because that is the time it would take the combination of foods to completely digest if it were eaten whole and natural.
Quite frankly, if I were a diabetic, I would rather eat my fruits and vegetables whole than force such a sipping discipline upon myself. However, taking a large green smoothie on the run was a more viable option for some of my weight-loss friends. They loved sipping them slowly from early morning until 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon. They could do this without creating abnormally and dangerously high blood sugar levels and they never felt hungry.
Are smoothies, carrot juice, and other whole food juices bad? Many people can enjoy the great health benefits of these drinks without experiencing dangerous spikes in blood sugar levels. If you are concerned, this is easily monitored and your doctor can set you up quickly to be able to monitor your blood sugar levels. For the non diabetic and for most people who are not too overweight, they can drink all such drinks more quickly (I prefer sipping and savoring over guzzling) without causing dangerous blood sugar spikes. However, allow me to offer the following caution. Scientists have estimated that over 90 percent of American's today are insulin resistant. No one who is insulin resistant should be drinking extracted juices and blended smoothies until they correct their problem. This correction is accomplished best through a low-fat, vegan diet of whole foods. It can take anywhere from eight weeks to two years to fully correct the Metabolic Syndrome, which includes insulin resistance. Therefore, taking aim on a low-fat, whole-foods vegan diet is the only sure approach to re-establishing homeostasis in the body.
Why Share this Information?
Many fads and new dietary trends come and then go when it comes to the way we eat. Some of these fads produce a lot of good and become propagated fairly quickly through anecdotal testimonies. When it comes to new and popular dietary trends, the best caution I’ve heard was given by the insightful and ever-pragmatic colonizer, Brigham Young. He advised, “One person’s medicine is sometimes another person’s poison.” Just because something is good for you, does not mean it is good for everyone and he advised of the importance of understanding mitigating circumstances that cause one person's medicine to be another person's poison.
Too often when one person greatly benefits from a particular dietary regimen, we are too quick to assume it must be good for everyone. One of my favorite all-time meals is a simple green smoothie. I can enjoy it without any elevations in blood sugar levels. It is a wonderful option for my children and for many people I know; however, it is a dangerous option for others I know, because their bodies simply cannot process the sugars as quickly as needed when they consume their food in a smoothie. When a diabetics blood sugar levels remain too high over time, it causes damage to specific cells in their body. Most of their 30 trillion cells are fine. These are the ones that require insulin to enable sugar to pass through the cell wall. However certain cells in our eyes (optic nerve), and in various organs, and in nerves throughout the body can absorb sugar without insulin being present. This means when blood-sugar levels are dangerously high, these cells become overloaded with sugar to the point that irrepairble damage can occur. The blindness, amputations, and organ failures associated with diabetes are caused by high blood-sugar levels. So you see, while the smoothie may be great for you, a diabetic or anyone who is insulin resistant should view a smoothie entirely according to their unique condition.
Diabetic and Weight-loss Tips
I’ve simplified below seven of the best recommendations I know of for diabetics, for those seeking to lose weight, or for those seeking to improve their diet. Each of these tips help to maintain appropriate and stable blood sugars:
As you enjoy the many recipes found on this website or from other good websites, consider your health condition and become personally responsible to determine what your medicine is and what is poison to you. And always remember that based upon the physiology and metabolic requirements of the body, it is always most natural to eat foods whole from the garden. When eaten in other manners, do so only for medicinal short-term purposes. The former Secretary of the United States, Ezra Taft Benson, taught that the closer we consume food in its whole and natural state, the better it will be for our bodies. Again, the popular green-smoothie example used in this article is not to demonize what is a good food for some people, but is intended cause you to think and to further enable a culture of thought on this health network that is neither faddish nor dangerous, but which helps you to always consider and be discerning regarding your unique condition.
Original Fast Foods was so named because the most healthful foods in the world are not blended, milled, or ground, they are eaten whole and chewed thoroughly, which initiates the release of enzymes in the mouth that begin the entire digestion process. There is a place for blended drinks, juiced whole foods, and even whole-food herbal supplements, but whole foods are and will always be the foundation to a healthful diet. They are the foods that were ordained for our best use and our good health and which are most ideally suited to human metabolism. Enjoy them and please share your favorite creative ways to enjoy whole foods from God's Garden!