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“If you avoid the 13 things that spike insulin, you can be very healthy. - Dr. Berg
What triggers insulin release, and why should you care?
Because if you're letting yourself spike your insulin unchecked you’re at risk for most major diseases that are rampant (yet preventable):
- Type 2 diabetes
- Neurological disorders
- Asthma and allergies
Although most of us know that a diet too high in sugar will spike insulin, that’s not all that will push your insulin too high for too long. In fact, you’re likely regularly flooding your body with insulin without even realizing it.
But once I show you the 13 things that cause harmful insulin spikes you’ll know what to do to reclaim your health. You’ll either avoid eating sugar and refined grains, for example, or you’ll correct a vitamin or mineral deficiency.
And here’s a little secret: your body requires insulin. In healthy amounts it’s not the evil villain of diabetes it’s made out to be. The same goes for blood glucose. I’ll explain.
In this article:
- You Need Insulin (But Not Too Much)
- The Vicious Circle
- The 13 Things That Spike Insulin
- Are You Ready To Stop Spiking Your Insulin?
You Need Insulin (But Not Too Much)
Though insulin gets a bad rap, your body needs it to function properly. It’s only when your levels are chronically high that it becomes problematic and puts you at risk for diabetes with its high blood sugar levels.
Insulin is a master hormone that is vital for your health. Your pancreas makes it.
Like all hormones, insulin is a communicator in your body that travels through your bloodstream. Insulin acts as a key to unlock the door to the cells in your body, allowing them to absorb glucose for fuel but also nutrients such as amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for your health.
Insulin’s main purpose is to lower your blood sugar and keep it in balance. This is crucial; chronically high glucose in your blood is toxic to your body and can lead to Type 2 diabetes and other diseases.
Let’s start with a normal amount of glucose. It’s about one teaspoon in the average gallon and a half of blood contained in an adult’s body. That’s not much! You see how blood sugar levels that fluctuate too high or low would be problematic. (In terms of how blood sugar level is typically expressed - for example in a laboratory test result - one teaspoon is 100 mg/dl.)
When your blood sugar is chronically higher than 100 mg/dl, you are at risk for Type 2 diabetes with the potential diabetes-related horrors such as blindness, kidney damage, heart disease, and stroke.
When glucose is chronically lower than 100 mg/dl you may have hypoglycemia - low blood sugar -which is a pre-diabetic state.
If you’re like the average person, you consume 31 teaspoons of sugar daily. Usually, it comes in the form of a variation of sugar such as dextrose or high fructose corn sugar, or in the form of carbohydrates such as pasta and grains - many times more than would be considered safe for your body.
To get too much sugar out of your blood, your body has to produce significant amounts of insulin, which then drives down your blood sugar as if you took a sledgehammer to it.
You're beginning to understand how blood sugar control can be essential to your health and longevity.
The Vicious Circle
As you can guess, your body really doesn’t like a drastic fluctuation of insulin and blood sugar levels.
If you’re hypoglycemic over a period of time your body may try to protect itself by ignoring the heightened call for insulin, which can result in a condition called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a form of pre-diabetes that can lead to Type-2 diabetes.
When your cells are insulin resistant, your body is forced to compensate for the resistance by making more insulin to try to bring down your blood sugar.
You may end up with too much insulin that’s ineffective at doing its job of lowering blood sugar.
Then, over time, because your blood sugar is chronically elevated you can develop diabetes.
It’s a vicious circle.
Happily, you can break it - and potentially improve your insulin sensitivity - by taking some fairly simple steps.
The 13 Things That Spike Insulin
I’ve laid out 13 things you’re probably doing without fully realizing they spike your insulin and may cause the pre-diabetic state of insulin resistance. Even if you’re already insulin resistant or diabetic, understanding these can help:
eating all sugars including dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, and honey will significantly raise your insulin. Eliminating your sugar intake will help keep your insulin low.
2. Refined grains:
eating refined grains including bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, biscuits also causes insulin spikes. I recommend you avoid refined grains; instead, eat low-carb.
3. Frequency of eating:
every time you eat, you trigger insulin. Thus, the more times you eat, the more insulin gets triggered. This is why I strongly recommend intermittent fasting.
4. Lean protein:
are you surprised to learn that lean protein will trigger more insulin than fattier protein? This isn’t something people often consider. So ditch those lean cuts of meat, for example, and go for the fattier protein nature has provided. Yes, even though a low-fat diet was erroneously recommended for decades, eating a high-fat diet is healthy.
5. Excessive protein:
it seems odd but too much protein will spike insulin. The optimal amount per meal is 3-6 ounces, but if you’re a big guy, you do a lot of physical activity, or you’re eating fewer meals because you’re intermittent fasting then a little more protein is fine.
6. Soy oil with glyphosate:
not only is soy oil (and corn oil too) a genetically modified organism (GMO) but to add insult to injury the plants are sprayed with the herbicide glyphosate which is also GMO. There is a potential link between glyphosate and insulin dysregulation that can lead to obesity. Plus, we really have no idea what consuming GMO will do to the human body because the function of our genomes is only partially understood. I recommend you avoid consuming GMO products.
7. Trans fat:
these are hydrogenated oils that can wreak havoc on your body. If you’re still eating margarine, I urge you to throw it out and replace it with grass-fed butter.
cortisol is the stress hormone produced by your adrenal glands, but did you know that some common medications contain synthetic cortisol? These include prednisone, cortisol creams, and steroids. Now you know why you usually gain weight when you take prednisone; it spikes your insulin and prevents fat loss.
diuretics are a component of high blood pressure medication. Diuretics cause insulin resistance, which ironically then raises your insulin and increases your blood pressure. When you take blood pressure medications you may be setting yourself up in a vicious circle.
statins are medications prescribed for cholesterol. They induce yet another vicious circle because they cause insulin resistance, which increases your insulin, which in turn may increase your cholesterol. Crazy, right?
11. MSG (mono sodium glutamate):
MSG is also known as modified food starch. It’s found in many foods - check the labels. MSG is very prevalent in restaurant foods. If the food tastes a little too good, suspect MSG. This is particularly the case at Chinese restaurants, and probably explains why you’re hungry an hour after eating. The insulin spike drives your blood sugar down, resulting in hunger. Avoid MSG.
12. Mineral deficiency:
mineral deficiency can set you up for insulin resistance, particularly:
because sufficient potassium helps insulin to properly store sugar in the liver and muscles
because magnesium helps insulin bring down blood sugar
those low salt diets that doctors often prescribe for high blood pressure can increase your risk of developing insulin resistance, thereby driving up your insulin, and potentially increasing your blood pressure. Yet another vicious circle! Notice a pattern?
you need zinc for your pancreas to make insulin - remember, the proper amount of insulin is vital for your health. Being low on zinc can set you up for insulin resistance and diabetes.
because chromium helps insulin to work better, a sufficient amount helps improve insulin resistance. Hence, a deficiency can set you up for insulin resistance.
BUT high calcium
rather than a deficiency of it, can be problematic when too much gets locked in your body. You’re especially susceptible if you’re a woman over 50 who’s taking calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is essentially limestone, and for all the good it does you may as well be chewing on the sidewalk.
13. Vitamin deficiency:
can also set you up for insulin resistance, particularly:
you may have a B1 deficiency if you have insulin resistance, are pre-diabetic, or have diabetes.
because a low level of Vitamin D plays a factor in the development of insulin resistance.
inadequate levels of Vitamin A can play a role in the development of insulin resistance.
Are You Ready To Stop Spiking Your Insulin?
I can’t blame you if you’re a little freaked out right now.
Your health is precious. All unaware, you’ve been flooding your body with insulin for a long time. So long, perhaps, that you may have become insulin resistant and are marching down the path toward Type 2 diabetes.
You stare into the diabetic abyss and see your life wrecked by an entirely preventable disease.
Maybe you’ve been so frustrated, wondering why you just can’t get your daggone blood sugar under control no matter what you do.
But now that you’ve learned the 13 things that spike insulin, you understand why you aren’t as healthy as you’d like to be.
The good news is that you know what to do now to help improve your health.
You know that a proper amount of insulin is essential. Insulin isn’t something to be feared, but to be understood and managed.
When you avoid the circumstances that spike your insulin, you support your body to operate the way it's meant to with healthy regulation of insulin and blood sugar.
You know what to do.
In short: there are no more excuses.
It’s time for you to join the ranks of people who have committed themselves to turning themselves around and reclaiming their birthright of well-being.
Stop wishing and start doing.
Are you ready?