Life Extension Magazine®

Different sugars that can be avoided and manage the glycemic index

Glucose Control Can Be Easy

A new discovery reveals how omega-3 fatty acids protect against the causes and effects of chronic inflammation. The ramifications of this finding are sharp reductions in aging-related diseases in those who ingest sufficient amounts of omega-3s.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Amanda Martin, DC, in August 2023. Written by: Paul Mcglothin and Meredith Averill.

Glucose Control Can Be Easy

Keeping blood sugar levels in check can be much easier if you eat the right foods. The trouble is that many people are accustomed to eating foods that can send blood glucose levels soaring. So the biggest glucose-control challenge may be simply remembering which foods help control glucose and which ones don't. Keep in mind that the benefits of learning about glucose-controlling foods and remembering them may save your life. High glucose levels increase risk of cancer,1 cardiovascular disease,2 Alzheimer's disease,3 and death.4

What's really fun is discovering delicious new foods and recipes that keep glucose low. As people move away from foods flavored with sugar, salt, and fat, they enjoy what they eat more than ever: They taste the foods' natural flavors. They love the increased energy they have, too. They are more productive and have more fun—rather than feeling tired and not wanting to do much.

Foods to Choose and Foods to Lose

You'll want to become familiar with the Glycemic Index (GI), which ranks carbohydrate-rich foods for their effect on blood glucose. While not infallible, it is an excellent guide for beginners to find the likely effect of their favorite foods on blood glucose.

Foods to avoid include those rich in easily digested starches or sugars, such as:

  • Dates
  • White bread and whole grain bread
  • Watermelon
  • White potatoes
  • Most grains-including rice, millet, and oats
  • Sugar in any form-for example: brown sugar, agave, and molasses
  • Standard pastas, made of flour-no matter what they are flavored with
  • Corn
  • Chips
  • Pancakes and waffles
  • Rice cakes
  • Most fruit juices-except lemon, lime, or grapefruit juice
  • Pizza

Foods to Choose

Hundreds of delicious low GI foods await you: Most berries, beans, non-starchy vegetables (kale, collards, bok choy, broccoli, squash, tomatoes, etc.) and nuts work well. If you want to eat meat or fish-choose low fat, high-quality meat and fish that are from non-polluted waters and are high in omega-3s.

Understanding Labels is a Key

When selecting a food to include in your healthful low GI diet, don't be fooled by labels. Some marketers will try to make you think a food is good for glucose control when it isn't at all. Food with "LOW CALORIE" or "NO SUGAR" on the label may still be loaded with high GI starch that will send glucose skyrocketing. Remember: Starch often has as much effect on blood glucose as sugar itself, so always look at the amount of total carbohydrates rather than only total sugars.

If a food has more than 16 grams of total carbohydrate per serving, be cautious - especially if it is a juice, which is extremely easily digested.

And while it's true that some of them-like fructose and high fructose corn syrup-won't raise your blood glucose as much as sucrose (table sugar), they may have even worse effects.5,6

Besides sugar as a listed ingredient, look for the words in the following chart: They are sugar in disguise.
Agave nectar Barley malt syrup Barley malt Beet sugar
Brown sugar Buttered syrup Cane juice Cane juice crystals
Caramel Carob syrup Corn sweetener Corn syrup, or corn
syrup solids
Date sugar Dehydrated cane Juice Dextrose Diastatic malt
Ethyl maltol Fructose Fruit juice Fruit juice concentrate
Glucose solids Golden sugar Golden syrup Grape sugar
Glucose High-fructose corn syrup Honey* Invert sugar
Lactose Maltodextrin Malt syrup Maltose
Mannitol Maple syrup Molasses Raw sugar
Refiner's syrup Rice syrup Saccharose Sorbitol
Sorghum or sorghum syrup Sucrose Sugar Syrup
Treacle Turbinado sugar Xylose Yellow sugar

* Please note that although honey is a high carbohydrate food, its glycemic index is variable depending on the type (GI from 32-85). Some types of honey such as Acacia or Red Gum have been found to have a low glycemic index15

Tricky Labels

Glucose Control Program

Here is an example of how phrases on labels can trick you.






Overall tip: Beware when ingredients are provided in such small print that only Superman could read it. That can mean they are trying to hide something.

Be wary when a product makes claims like "Good-for-You" in its name.
  • Be wary when a product makes claims like "Good-for-You" in its name. This kind of statement is meant to influence your buying decision, not to inform you of its actual quality.
  • Many sly marketers create organizations that sound real, like the MOMS OF THE HEALTHIEST KIDS, when all the organization does (if it exists at all) is endorse whatever the company wants.
  • Low fat (just two grams) is not better than moderate heart-healthy fat-for your arteries or your glucose levels. Related to this: partially hydrogenated fat is a screaming red flag-the type of fat that your body can't process and that will clog your arteries.
  • Look at the total carbohydrates-not only the total sugar.
  • Natural is not the be-all & end-all: Arsenic, after all, is found in nature! Healthful ingredients matter.

Knowing Your Glucose Levels

Knowing Your Glucose Levels

Knowing the effect of your food on your blood glucose levels is very important. To learn this, test your glucose level before and after a meal. That requires a glucometer, also known as a blood glucose meter. Don't hesitate to check your blood glucose whenever you need to. Making sure that the food you eat keeps blood glucose low offers huge rewards. Well controlled glucose may activate your adult stem cells - helping to rejuvenate every organ in your body!7

Aim for fasting glucose levels in the 80s or below and postprandial levels, measured two hours after eating, of not more than 120 mg/dL. If you have type 2 diabetes mellitus, you can aim for a fasting glucose goal of 100 mg/dL or below and a postprandial limit of 130 mg /dL.8

If you are unsure about how a food will affect your blood glucose, use your glucometer to test the glucose-level effect of the food. Make sure to be scientific about it:

  1. Test to determine your glucose level before eating.
  2. Eat your test food.
  3. Test again 30 minutes after you finish eating the food. If your glucose has risen more than 20 mg/dL (40 if you have diabetes), this food will hinder your glucose control efforts.9

Making Glucose Testing Affordable

The most expensive aspect of glucose testing is the cost of test strips - the way glucose-testing-supply companies make money. When you visit your doctor, try to get a prescription for glucose testing. This is likely to reduce the cost of purchase. You can take the prescription to your local pharmacy and in many cases redeem it for a free blood glucose meter so you can get started at no cost. You can also ask if your doctor will give you some of the samples that pharmaceutical reps provide.

Another way to get started for free is to check to see which of the big diabetes companies offer free getting-started kits. They will to give you the glucometer, hoping you will buy their test strips. Keep in mind that the cheapest isn't always best. Ask your doctor for a glucose-testing-system recommendation.

Glucose Control Program

The importance of glucose control drove the development of THE CR WAY TO GREAT GLUCOSE CONTROL Program. It includes a 5-part CD and live teleconferences, where the practical application of glucose control is presented by glucose control experts - Paul McGlothin and Meredith Averill. Plenty of time for your questions to be answered is integrated into each conference.

This hands-on CR Way program provides two sets of glucose control meal plans:

The Optimal Health Plan

For those without diabetes, who want to control glucose for optimal health: Increased cognition, disease prevention, and - ultimately - more energetic, healthier living are emphasized.

The Reversing Type 2 Diabetes Plan

Scientific evidence shows that type 2 diabetes may be both preventable and reversible with a CR Way-based diet.10,11 This plan offers foods and recipes that can help lower blood glucose for those who have special glucose control issues.

Lower Glucose: Better Life

When you decide to follow a low GI, CR Way lifestyle, get ready for increased mental and physical capabilities. And watch out for the likely side effects of extra BDNF, a brain-improving molecule that will make you happy - possibly even giddy - and improve your learning speed and memory.12 Other beneficial molecules will probably kick in too with another host of benefits, such as lower blood pressure and loss of extra fat. 13 Your new, energetic lifestyle will make it easier to do the things you want to do, and research indicates14 you will likely live longer.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.

What You Need to Know

Regenerative Power of Calorie Restriction
  • High glucose levels increase risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, and death.
  • The Glycemic Index (GI) ranks carbohydrate-rich foods for their effect on blood glucose and is a good way to start including foods that help support healthy blood glucose levels.
  • Reading and understanding food labels is key­—remember to watch for hidden sugars and starches.
  • Aim for fasting glucose levels in the 80s or below and postprandial levels not more than 120 mg/dL measured two hours after eating.
  • If lengthening your life span isn't enough, gaining control of your blood glucose levels can lead to increased cognitive and memory capabilities, better blood pressure control, fat loss, increased mental and physical energy, and even reversal of type 2 diabetes.
  • The CR Way to Great Glucose Control CD and teleconference series can help you take control of your glucose levels and enjoy the regenerative benefits of calorie restriction today!


1. Stattin P, Björ O, Ferrari P, Lukanova A, Lenner P, Lindahl B, Hallmans G, Kaaks R, Prospective study of hyperglycemia and cancer risk. Diabetes Care. 2007 Mar;30(3):561-7.

2. Hirata RP, Sampaio LM, Leitão Filho FS, et al. General Characteristics and Risk Factors of Cardiovascular Disease among Interstate Bus Drivers. ScientificWorldJournal. 2012;2012:216702. Epub 2012 Jun 4.

3. Lue LF, Andrade C, Sabbagh M, Walker D. Is There Inflammatory Synergy in Type II Diabetes Mellitus and Alzheimer's Disease? Int J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;2012:918680. Epub 2012 Jun 21.

4. Venskutonyte L, Rydén L, Nilsson G, Ohrvik J. Mortality prediction in the elderly by an easily measured metabolic index. Diab Vasc Dis Res. 2012 Jul;9(3):226-33. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

5. Pollock NK, Bundy V, Kanto W, Davis CL, Bernard PJ, Zhu H, Gutin B, Dong Y. Greater fructose consumption is associated with cardiometabolic risk markers and visceral adiposity in adolescents. J Nutr. 2012 Feb;142(2):251-7. 3

6. Bray GA. Fructose: pure, white, and deadly? Fructose, by any other name, is a health hazard. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2010 Jul 1;4(4):1003-7.

7. Lo T, Ho JH, Yang MH, Lee OK. Glucose reduction prevents replicative senescence and increases mitochondrial respiration in human mesenchymal stem cells. Cell Transplant. 2011;20(6):813-25.

8. McGlothin P, Averill M. The CR Way to Great Glucose Control, Part 2: "Steps to Great Glucose Control," p. 49, 2011. E-book, available through

9. McGlothin, ibid., Part 3: "Foods and Recipes," Checking a food's effect on glucose, p.65

10. Lim EL, Hollingsworth KG, Aribisala BS, Chen MJ, Mathers JC, Taylor R. Reversal of type 2 diabetes: normalization of beta cell function in association with decreased pancreas and liver triacylglycerol. Diabetologia. 2011 Oct;54(10):2506-14.

11. Colombo M, Kruhoeffer M, Gregersen S, et al. Energy restriction prevents the development of type 2 diabetes in Zucker diabetic fatty rats: coordinated patterns of gene expression for energy metabolism in insulin-sensitive tissues and pancreatic islets determined by oligonucleotide microarray analysis. Metabolism. 2006 Jan;55(1):43-52.

12. Alonso M, Bekinschtein P, Cammarota M, Vianna MR, Izquierdo I, Medina JH.Endogenous BDNF is required for long-term memory formation in the rat parietal cortex. Learn Mem. 2005 Sep-Oct;12(5):504-10.

13. Roth GS, Ingram DK, Lane MA. Caloric restriction in primates and relevance to humans. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2001 Apr;928:305-15.

14. Suzuki M, Wilcox BJ, Wilcox CD. Implications from and for food cultures for cardiovascular disease: longevity. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2001;10(2):165-71.

15. Bogdanov S, Jurendic T, Sieber R, Gallmann P. Honey for nutrition and health: a review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2008 Dec;27(6):677-89.