Stabilize Your Blood Sugar, Really?

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To diabetics, B.S. stands for blood sugar.  We all know the other meaning of B.S.  And when it comes to talk of blood sugar there’s a lot of bullshit going around – the most annoying of which, I believe, is the phrase “stabilize your blood sugar.”

For example: A few weeks ago I bought a seemingly healthful granola cereal for my kids, Fruit’X.  Being Texan at my core with a soft spot for cowboy boots, and as someone who in the back of her mind thinks Pioneer Woman’s Chili is a sound breakfast, sometimes I get a little wowed by European things.  In this case, I was in the supermarket and I noticed cereal in a bag, not a box.  And when  I saw  the words “Swiss muesli” on the bag, I felt I needed to buy it, swayed by the word müesli,  the umlaut upon the u two beckoning little eyes.  While the Swiss probably consider muesli nothing more than bird seed, I allowed myself to see it as a symbol of high culture and therefore (obviously!) it was good for my children to consume.

Later at  home,  I read the muesli ingredients carefully (raw sugar, glucose syrup, sugar, and honey!), and saw that it was pure garbage.  I didn’t get angry.  It was fair game, after all.  The ingredients were there, but I had been too busy gawking at an accented vowel to read them.  I should know better.  But, but, but… get this… the bag also says, “Fruit’X satisfies you for hours and helps maintain your blood sugar at a constant level.”  For days after discovering  that claim, Mike and I made early morning, pre-coffee, slightly delirious comments to each other such as, “Want to stabilize your blood sugar at 1,000 for the day?” while offering the bag of Fruit’X like a waiter with a tray of hors d’oeuvres at a cocktail party.

Assuming you are post-coffee and not delirious, please consider this: Is there any food or food product these days that doesn’t  claim to stabilize blood sugar or reduce insulin resistance, or lower blood sugar levels?  I could search for a lot of links to share, but since this isn’t much more than a rant, I won’t bother.  Go ahead and do your own search sometime and you will probably find out that you can eat any of the following to lower your blood sugar: dairy, cinnamon, prickly pears, oats, beans, shoes, and so on… Other than shoes, I’ve tried them all.  They do not lower my blood sugar.  They do not stabilize my blood sugar.  They just don’t.  Sorry.  Fasting lowers my blood sugar.  Exercise lowers my blood sugar.  Insulin lowers my blood sugar.  That’s about it.

Now, please journey with me to the land of Reader’s Digest, which unlike my blog, is read by hundreds of thousands of people each month, and let’s take a look at an article called “Stabilize Your Blood Sugar.”

Why do I hate this article so much?  Because of these sentences: “All this scary talk of blood sugar and body chemistry is intimidating to many people. But it needn’t be so; blood sugar isn’t really that complicated.” Obviously RD writer has never woken up in the middle of the night with a blood sugar of 38, or found himself at 250 after eating nothing, or been stuck below 70 for two hours despite downing two liters of grape juice.

But anyway, thank you so much, RD, for clearing that up.  Now that we know blood sugar isn’t complicated we can safely go on to assume that diabetes isn’t really all that complicated either, and do the following things you suggest to improve our health like eating dairy, cinnamon, baked chips, and yes, we’ll all be sure to have our doughnut with decaf (not regular) coffee.

“British researchers found that combining decaf with simple sugars (like those in doughnuts, cakes, and cookies) reduces the blood sugar spike such sweets create.”

Reduces by how much?  Post doughnut B.S. of 240 instead of 250?  And thanks yet again, RD, for making me think about eating doughnuts when I totally wasn’t.

In another tremendously helpful article, RD tells us about super foods, a phrase almost as annoying as stabilize your blood sugar“Eating right is key to managing diabetes. Here are 10 super foods that will help minimize blood sugar and even throw your disease into reverse.” Yay, minimized blood sugar and diabetes in reverse! Take a look at superfood number 4 – cereal.  No signs of pretentious Swiss muesli, only good old  American high fiber cereals like  Kellogg’s Raisin Bran.   It’s not that I don’t love Raisin Bran, but with 46 grams of carb in a cup and both sugar and high fructose corn syrup as ingredients, I don’t see any blood sugar minimizing potential, but… maybe that’s just me.  And wait… there’s more!  RD says, “Top your cereal with fruit and you’ve checked off a fruit serving for the day.”  Good.  Now with the 13 grams of milk carb my Raisin Bran is floating in, plus the 20 grams of fruit carb… we’re up to 79 grams of carb for breakfast (but we got our fruit serving and fiber in didn’t we?!).

I know these articles are written for a type 2 diabetes audience.  That said, I think especially type 2’s should be wary of foods like cereal, fruit and chips- whether baked or fried.  And finding ways to eat sugary foods under the guise of stabilizing blood sugar is not going to improve anyone’s health, diabetic or not.  As for me, the only time my diabetes is in reverse is when I walk backwards.

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10 Comments on "Stabilize Your Blood Sugar, Really?"

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Lisa Cychosz
Thank you for your post.  I am not diabetic but my Dr. suggested that I start to watch my sugars.  I also had a heart attack almost 2 yrs ago.  My Dr. said I was his ‘surprise of the year’.  Anyway,  I decided I want to get off of my meds and I have started on the Engine2 diet(vegan basically with an added kick of no oil of any type).  It is only day 4 and I decided to take my blood sugars today and it was 131.  I think that is the highest I have ever had.  I have… Read more »
Dutchess68

I love the fact that someone can relate to my current struggle to have BS consistently under say…300?? 

If one more person says I need to eat honey (yes really) I will smack them!!

Living with diabetes is a bitch, not knowing what will happen from one day to the next.  I’m glad to know that there are people out there who are awake and don’t believe everything they see.

My latest favorite claim is that water has zero carbs.  Wow, I didn’t know that. Um, yeah.   

Zaib
Twenty Thumbs up Jessica Apple! I was just sitting around being really frustrated with the crap I have to live with every day that they sell in the market and to have to be the only one in my friends and family who’s gotta throroughly analyse every ingredient that gets through my esophagus before it goes there. And I lost alot of hope after discovering how wrong so many articles in magazines and msn are about ‘good health’ and the sugar .. oh god the ‘sugar’ encouragements!! I mean I keep havign to explain soo much so many times every day to… Read more »
Rachel

I just read that very RD article, I think, right before I found yours!  I stopped reading the RD article when it told me to eat PANCAKES every Sunday to get an extra dose of Buckwheat…Anyway, thanks for the article to remind me to not read mindlessly.

Tamera

Hilarious!! Genius article, I couldn’t have said it better! 

karen

Jessica, did you see My Life in Food on the Food Network last night? All about The Tree of Life in Tucson, AZ, and how they can “cure” diabetes…all through the power of raw food-vegan diets, exercise and yoga.  I hadn’t heard of them before…went to their site, of course…Wondering if you saw it/have heard of them, and what are your thoughts?

Scott K. Johnson

I got a kick out of this post too Jessica, well done!
I can picture you guys making cracks about stabilizing BS!  :-)

karen

I’m laughing so hard after reading this post, I love it!  Would’ve volunteered in a second for that doughnut study…who are they kidding??  Fasting, exercise, and insulin, you’re right.  Whenever I’m basal testing (ugh!) and it comes out with a good outcome, my husband and I joke,”See?  All I have to do is not eat.”  Thanks for putting it all into words.

BevE
Ahem to that.  The thing that we all tend to forget is that companies will do and say anything to sell their product.  Pop media will do and say anything to sell their product.  Blood sugar is affected not just by the food we eat or the exercise we do but also by the stress we have, if we are ill, or just the unique way our bodies function.  And personally I think blood sugar affects the Type 2 or Prediabetic in the same way.  The highs and lows and in between blood sugars of both will lead to the… Read more »
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