Managing the Effects of Sugar

Reader’s Digest Community Health Hero Honoree (Camp Sweeney)

Diabetes mellitus is characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood

Diabetes mellitus is characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood. Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Different factors, including genetics, may contribute to type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1 and is mainly caused by resistance to the effects of the hormone insulin, which facilitates removal of glucose from the blood.

Regardless of the type, chronically elevated fasting blood glucose levels can lead to devastating long-term consequences such as heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, liver disease, and cancer.

There are three important steps that all diabetics, and those of us consuming too much sugar, should do to help prevent the dangerous consequences of the disease.

Step 1 – Minimize the Damaging Effects of Sugar

Everyone today is at risk for consuming too much sugar. That’s because sugar is hidden in unlikely sources, such as sauces, packaged foods and even “healthy” breads. It’s hard to avoid it, and most of us consume far more than we think.

The excess sugar that’s consumed can cause a lot of damage to our cells and tissues. Sugar is a highly reactive compound that, if left unchecked, will bind with critical cellular proteins, rendering them dysfunctional. With accumulating damaged proteins, cellular function declines. This is soon followed by a whole host of problems, including cardiovascular disease and significant nerve damage.

This damaging process is called glycation. It’s important to take steps to inhibit glycation and minimize the damaging effects of sugar.

Step 2 – Avoid “White” Foods

This is a simple rule, but it works. Americans consume a lot sugar from white foods–breads, cereals, pasta, potatoes and rice. Cut your servings of these foods by at least half, if not more. When craving some, choose whole grain breads and pasta, sweet potatoes and wild rice.

This strategy also includes consuming fewer dairy products–especially commercial yogurts. Besides natural sugars found in dairy, they are often high in added sugars.

Fortunately, there are nutrients that can impede the digestion of simple carbohydrates, minimizing the damaging effects of consuming too much sugar. Consider supplements with white kidney bean, sorghum bran, maqui berry or mulberry leaf.1-4

Step 3 – Inhibit Dangerous Glycation

Eat lots of leafy green vegetables, legumes and nuts. Add at least two servings of each with each meal. They are high in B vitamins–and B vitamins may help to inhibit glycation.

Specifically, vitamin B1 and B6 are your anti-glycation partners. So, load up on the greens and beans and help reduce the damaging effects of glycation.5

Other antiglycation food sources to consider are lean beef, fish like yellowfin tuna, and chicken. They all contain a small protein called carnosine. It’s an interesting nutrient because it “sacrifices” itself and binds with excess sugar, before the sugar can bind with critical body proteins.6

Not sure how many greens and beans you can eat? Life Extension® offers clinically-studied supplements that provide optimal doses of B1, B6 and carnosine.

Life Extension® is Your Diabetes Resource

Life Extension Magazine® has published numerous in-depth articles over the years concerning the dangers of elevated glucose. A thorough, 10-page protocol with innovative and integrative options for diabetes and glucose management has been developed for those affected by diabetes and related conditions

Regular blood testing, such as that offered through Life Extension’s lab testing services, is essential for diabetics. Tests for glucose, insulin, hemoglobin A1C and more provide feedback on the effectiveness of one’s diabetes treatment program.

Until a cure is found, Life Extension® will maintain its efforts to increase awareness of hidden sugars, damaging glycation and diabetes. We will continue to investigate and report potential new ways to help you improve your health.

  1. Br J Nutr. 2011 Sep;106(5):762-8.
  2. Panminerva Med, 58: 1-6 2016
  3. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Sep;84(3):551-5.
  4. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Jul 11;55(14):5869-74.
  5. Amino Acids. 2012 Apr;42(4):1163-70.
  6. Physiol Rev. 2013 93(4):1803–1845.