Better Glucose for a Better LifeApril 2016
By Paul McGlothin and Meredith Averill
When we were in our mid-40s, our lifestyle became the center of media attention.
It happened as word got out that a husband and wife, calorie restriction practitioners, were successful in slowing, and possibly even reversing aging.
Before long, we were featured on every major television network including NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX, as well as on many special programs about life extension, including 60 Minutes, Oprah, Barbara Walters Special: Live to 150, Can You Do It? Today, Good Morning America, and CBS This Morning.
Soon, the international media found their way to our door. We were featured on numerous BBC specials, 60 Minutes Australia, Germany’s Der Spiegel, and more.
Moreover, the news reports weren’t anecdotal: Our lab results showed that we were on track. Following guidance from years of testing with scientists and doctors, we were able to set personal standards for health that may seem like science fiction to some.
- Heart function: Age-related loss of heart cells slows. Blood pressure averages 90/60.
- Arterial plaque: Accumulation remains static or reverses.
- Muscle strength: Maintains or increases with no lasting soreness or pain from exertion. Age-related loss of muscle cells slows.
- Cellular energy production increases: More energy to do what you want, when you want.
- Improved immune function: Quick reaction to immune challenges. Inflammation markers at low end of reference ranges.
- Youthful hormones: Secretion levels are preserved.
- Stronger skeletal system: Bone density increases gradually, likely with stronger matrix.
- Improved feeling of well being: The less we ate, the better we felt.
In this article, you will learn what inspired the creation of The CR Way® to Great Glucose Control and why glucose control should be fundamental to your approach to optimal health and life extension.
Reversing Cognitive Decline
When we got into our 50s, one thing was still missing—reversing age-related cognitive decline. We both noticed that we were not quite as sharp as when we were in our 40s and we asked ourselves: Is this all we can get from calorie restriction? Must we accept a slow, age-related decline in cognition and grow into nice old people who repeat the same stories over and over?
To our good fortune, science came to the rescue. Dr. Mark Mattson, chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging, released with his colleagues an impressive study: Mice that achieved very low glucose levels by fasting scored better on maze tests than controls and better even than mice whose calorie intake was restricted.1
Blood tests helped explain why: Certain molecules, such as brain derived neurotrophic factor that promote formation of new neurons, were higher in the mice that fasted.1
This was big news in the longevity world. It gave people who were slim a way to get the benefits of calorie restriction without losing too much weight. While calorie restriction improves cognitive functions,2 the Mattson study indicated that fasting worked even better without limiting calories. Would the same thing work in humans?
We wanted to try it. However, we were already slim and did not want to lose weight so we were hesitant about fasting. We decided to take a different approach and marry two concepts: calorie restriction and intermittent fasting.
After months of study and work, Paul tried the low-glucose approach and we almost couldn’t believe the results. His brain-training scores rocketed upward and mental capabilities from a younger age began to come back. We had discovered a new way to increase calorie restriction’s brain benefits.
This new low-glucose approach to calorie restriction was clearly worth writing about and so The CR Way® to Great Glucose Control was born. We included glucose-control secrets we had learned—about meal timing, foods that work best, and cooking methods.
One by one, we created the recipes in our own kitchen. Each recipe’s effect on blood glucose was personally tested by the two of us. We excluded difficult gourmet recipes that took lots of time to prepare. Every recipe is quick and easy. The point was to make learning the principals of glucose control and applying them to your own food preparation fun. And if you are working and on the go, healthful eating is easier this way.
Then we put it all together in lifestyle plans. We say lifestyle plans rather than meal plans because for glucose control to be truly “great,” it needs to be a round-the-clock program, starting from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. These lifestyle plans suggest glucose ranges for every part of the day so you have goals to aim for.
Taking advantage of internet technology, we designed The CR Way® to Great Glucose Control as an online adult education course that provides live, caring instruction to participants wherever they live.
Recognizing that the classes could benefit health conscious people, Life Extension® partnered with The CR Way® to Great Glucose Control and helped get the word out.
Thus, The CR Way® to Great Glucose Control became established as the resource for people who want to keep their blood glucose at optimal levels and increase their chances for living longer and better.
The CR Way® to Great Glucose Control—Makeover
After teaching glucose control to hundreds of people, we have learned a lot about the variety of challenges people face as they learn to control their blood sugar.
For example, some of our participants have very busy schedules and cannot attend long classes. So the class schedule has been reworked into separate sessions that are taught over a number of weeks. Each session is about 30 minutes long, which is enough time to share key points without requiring too big a commitment from already busy days.
Instructional videos, describing key elements of glucose control, are integrated with five beautifully illustrated e-books that have been updated with new recipes, food suggestions, and even ideas for improving the gut microbiome.
The CR Way® to Great Glucose Control —The Curriculum
- Introduction: Risks, Benefits, and Science
- Steps to Great Glucose Control
- Foods and Recipes
- Low-Glucose Lifestyle Plans for Optimal Health and Reversing Diabetes
- What If My Glucose Is Still Too High?
This core curriculum is provided to each participant along with summaries of the main points covered in each class and action items to facilitate glucose control as a routine part of life.
A few years ago, Mary, a LivingTheCRWay® member, got a diagnosis of prediabetes from her doctor. At 5.6, her HbA1c (which evaluates long-term blood sugar control) was a bit high. Other than that, she was in great health with a perfect weight and good all-around numbers on blood tests, including cardiovascular assessments.
Her higher-than-normal fasting glucose was understandable. A busy schedule had kept her from following some of the all-natural things she had been doing to keep glucose low, like eating complex low-glycemic index (GI) carbs slowly and finishing her last meal of the day as early as possible. When she asked for help, we suggested she try to reset the memory of her pancreatic beta cells. The function of these cells is to secrete insulin, which guides glucose out of the blood into the cells, thus returning the blood glucose to fasting levels.
She had participated in The CR Way® to Great Glucose Control sessions and was aware that the fifth part of the Great Glucose Control e-book focuses on resetting beta cell memory. But she was having a hard time, so we worked with her: helping reorganize her eating schedule and adding exercise at strategic glucose-lowering times like after meals. At first, it was slow going. Her fasting glucose stubbornly remained above 100, which is a risk factor for many diseases.3
It took months to reset her levels into the 90s. And she stayed with it, finally getting her glucose into the 80s and eventually the 70s, which is perfect for activating longevity signaling in her cells. Her success showed up in other ways too. She had better blood pressure, improved eyesight, and better memory. All this was evidence that her glucose control was activating beneficial brain biochemistry.
At this point, her persistence allowed her to achieve fasting glucose levels that anyone would be happy with.
Graduates of The CR Way® to Great Glucose Control often let us know that it has made a difference in their lives. In August 2014, Dianne, a professional physiotherapist in Australia wrote that the difference to her is “life changing.”
“This practical advice for glucose control is easy to read and, more importantly, to apply. We do need to measure our glucose levels so we can make informed decisions.”
—Posted by Dianne inStore.LivingTheCRWay.com on August 3, 2014
We were also very pleased when we heard from Thomas, who wrote that he experienced “less post-meal glucose surging.”
“With Paul and Meredith’s advice, I have already begun to see benefits in my post-meal glucose levels. I used to get really tired after my lunch at the office and it seemed to be due to a prediabetic condition that had my glucose surging in some cases. With healthier meal choices, understanding what affects my sugar levels, and a quick 15-minute walk after lunch, my glucose levels have never been better. And I feel both the positive physical and mental effects.”
—Posted by Thomas inStore.LivingtheCRWay.com on April 24, 2014
Postprandial glucose or post-meal glucose surges, as Thomas appropriately describes them, can be extremely dangerous.4 We help participants plan meals that avoid this.
In October 2013, Cliff wrote, “In a word: superb.”
“The CR Way® to Great Glucose Control eBook has been invaluable to me. More than just basic meal planning or a simple diet designer, this book has given me a framework and foundation for how to live healthier. When you really understand how the biology works and what you are doing to your body with your food choices, then you can begin to truly control your blood glucose (and your underlying health).”
—Posted by Cliff inStore.LivingtheCRWay.com on October 10, 2013
Improving Gut Health
The 2016 edition of The CR Way® to Great Glucose Control goes beyond glucose control and integrates new ideas for whole-body health. For example, we frequently write blog posts about practical ways to improve gut health and other health topics.5 This cutting-edge information is integrated into the new diet and lifestyle plans, so participants can improve many aspects of their health.
Live Classes Inspire Making Glucose Control a Reality
“We like talking with people and teaching the live sessions,” explains Meredith. “Learning to control glucose ultimately helps people live longer and better, and interacting with participants is part of that. It helps build positive social networks that have been shown over and over to lead to longer, healthier lives.6
“If we help participants feel good, they are inspired to put healthy ideas into practice. That’s a prescription for longer life that anyone can follow.”
The CR Way® to Great Glucose Control features live online classes for people who want to keep their blood glucose at optimal levels. Since it was introduced in 2009, hundreds of people have benefited from the caring, personalized instruction.
The CR Way® to Great Glucose Control program has now been expanded:
- Four live 30-minute classes that are easy to work into busy schedules.
- Instructional videos that describe key elements of glucose control.
- Five beautifully illustrated and updated e-books with new easy-to-follow recipes, food suggestions, and ideas for improving the gut microbiome.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.
Paul McGlothin and Meredith Averill are co-authors of The CR Way® (HarperCollins, 2008) and they lead The CR Way® Longevity Center. To learn more about the CR Way® or the CR Society International, visit www.LivingTheCR Way.com or www.CRSociety.org.
- Mattson MP, Duan W, Guo Z. Meal size and frequency affect neuronal plasticity and vulnerability to disease: cellular and molecular mechanisms. J Neurochem. 2003;84(3):417-31.
- Witte AV, Fobker M, Gellner R, et al. Caloric restriction improves memory in elderly humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009;106(4):1255-60.
- Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/insulin-resistance-prediabetes/Pages/index.aspx. Accessed January 12, 2016.
- Available at: http://www.idf.org/webdata/docs/Guideline_PMG_final.pdf. Accessed January 12, 2016.
- Available at: http://calorierestrictiondietplan.com/science-and-health-news-views/fermented-foods-and-calorie-restriction-for-better-or-for-worse/. Accessed January 12, 2016.
- Dello Buono M, Urciuoli O, De Leo D. Quality of life and longevity: a study of centenarians. Age Ageing. 1998;27(2):207-16.