By Claire Bacon, ACN, CNC
White Trash Carbohydrates are just what they sound like: cheap, common foods that rob your body of nutrients because they are void of nutrition. They don’t get any healthier just because of a pretty marketing label! They might come with a leafy green logo or some promise of being healthy. (Remember, even sugar can be organic!) But if you look closer at what they do, you’ll see they belong in the trash!
We see so many people coming in complaining of common symptoms:
- low energy,
- sluggish metabolism,
- central weight gain,
- disturbed sleep,
- imbalanced hormones,
- cravings for sweets and starches,
- irritability or weakness between meals,
- or even frequent urination.
All of these problems can find their root cause in blood sugar dysregulation. It’s going to take more than a single supplement to fix the problem. Let’s take a closer look at what this means…
How Carbohydrates Affect the Body
Refined carbs include a variety of common foods:
- French fried potatoes,
- cookies and crackers,
- white bread,
- white rice, and
- Hammer gels and GUs, etc.
Eating refined carbohydrates results in an immediate and substantial increase in blood sugar. Although some of this can be utilized by active muscles during exercise, any excess blood sugar will cause inflammation in the lining of the blood vessels throughout your body. This is known as glycemic stress. Excess sugar has a harmful effect on the liver. It throws off your lipid values by increasing triglycerides and increasing LDLs to carry beneficial cholesterol out to repair the inflamed arteries and tissues in the body.
Having excess blood sugar eventually leads to insulin resistance. This scenario can get worse over years; you don’t just suddenly wake up one day as a diabetic. When blood sugar increases, the pancreas secretes insulin to process the blood sugar. Eventually, after prolonged assault, the insulin receptors get overloaded and begin declining in function, to the point that more insulin is less efficient in the body. The result is a weakened pancreas, unable to produce enough insulin and enzymes that are needed, and a diagnosis of insulin resistance: a sliding scale of uncomfortable symptoms on the road to diabetes.
Our favorite products to counteract sugar handling issues are:
- Diaplex as a digestive multivitamin with chromium and glucose tolerance factor,
- Gymnema herb to restore beta cells in the pancreas and to combat sugar cravings,
- Cod Liver Oil or another high-quality fish oil to promote cellular membrane health, and
- Metabol Complex to “spice up” your metabolism.
We note that Gymnema is a powerful herb that has been studied for its long-term ability to restore beta cells and protect the pancreas. It can, however, change your ability to utilize insulin. If you have been taking insulin a while, you may notice increased sensitivity. Your blood sugar may drop too low with your regular dose of insulin.
Fish oil and essential fatty acids in general are important to recovering your sugar-handling ability. Your cellular membranes are renewed and maintained with the dietary fatty acids you consume. Every cell membrane contains insulin receptors. If you want those receptors to work properly, you’ve got to consume high-quality oils and fats, and avoid the cheap, industrial seed oils that cause inflammation and dysfunction.
Did you know? There is a blood test you can do to check your balance of Omega 3 fatty acids. This can be helpful to understand if you’ve been doing a good job with your diet, or if you need to change your supplementation. Let us know if you’d like to see where you are! We can add this test to any regular panel through LabCorp.
Mood and Memory Issues
Glycemic stress and insulin resistance are also associated with depression, insomnia and fatigue. A diet high in refined carbohydrates makes ALL hormonal problems worse because the increased inflammation from blood sugar adversely affects the body’s hormone balance. As insulin levels rise and remain high, cortisol levels rise along with them, much like a situation of being under chronic high stress. High cortisol can have damaging effects of its own, eventually fatiguing the adrenals, dysregulating the hormonal signaling between glands, and impairing hippocampus function (our memory center). In the opposite situation, when insulin levels drop too low (say, in the middle of the night) the body can increase cortisol in an effort to bring more glucose to the brain – which wakes you up, feeling alert like it’s 7 a.m., when cortisol is supposed to be high.
Obviously, a weakened sugar handling system can wreak havoc in many ways throughout the body! But did you know, sugar handling issues are also linked to low testosterone in men? (Guys, do I have your attention now?) That’s right. Years of chronic stress plus a refined carbohydrate diet deplete your zinc stores (that your prostate needs) and fuel the aromatase enzyme that converts your precious testosterone into estrogen. The first sign of low testosterone is… ahem…well, let’s say if your soldier is not standing to attention in the morning, it’s time to get to work. Later signs of low T (with comparatively high estrogen) is having cherry angiomas (red moles), a bloated, hard “beer belly” and/or “man boobs”.
Yes, you can get a beer belly even if you don’t drink beer – it’s because the sugars from carbohydrates can damage the liver in the same way! Technically speaking, what MUST happen is to promote proper lipid balance (statins don’t do this), decrease Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG), diminish the aromatase enzyme, and support both digestion and the stress response. You don’t have a deficiency of Viagra, but you may have subtle co-deficiencies of zinc, magnesium, and DHEA, along with xenoestrogen toxicity.
This goes for both men and women: to be successful in restoring hormone balance, first you must start eliminating the root cause of the problem (everything that metabolizes like sugar), and then start healing and detoxing all the damage it has caused.
It’s Not Just Desserts
There are a lot of so-called health foods that contain way too many carbohydrates. Beware of energy drinks, fruity protein shakes, cereal bars, or any other label proclaiming “energy” – they will be full of empty sugars. Have you ever checked an Ensure label? 33 grams of carbohydrates with only 1 gram of fiber, a bunch of gut-destroying GMOs and a boatload of synthetic vitamins (not utilized by the body without the nature-given cofactors). We can do a lot better for our dear Grandparents!
If you can’t find a suitable high-protein bar in the store, just make your own! It really is so easy! See recipe below…
A good daily goal should be 50 grams of carbs, independent of those you get from fiber. And beware of high starch foods as well. If you see a label that has 30 grams of carbs per serving, with 3 grams of fiber and 15 grams of sugar – maybe that doesn’t seem so bad – but what they haven’t pointed out is there are still 12 grams of starch that will spike your blood sugar, too! That’s right, the FDA doesn’t require labeling of starches in the Nutrition Facts, so it’s up to you to remember and watch out for excess starch.
Gluten-free foods can be misleading for this same reason. Maybe you have figured out that gluten from wheat, rye and spelt is a problem for you. But the gluten-free substitutes can be just as bad. Whereas they won’t cause the same gut-wrenching or mucus-forming inflammation in the gut, the high-starch tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, and rice flour can still weaken your pancreas and digestive system.
What else can happen if you have depleted zinc stores and weak upper digestion – you’ll be lacking in hydrochloric acid. Get your hands on some Zypan, or say hello to acid reflux, heartburn, and even parasite overload!
I tell you, if we could get the vast abundance of cheap, refined carbohydrates out of our food supply, millions of people would find massively improved health – without changing anything else in their lifestyle!
Better Choices You Can Make
- Instead of soda, drink sparkling water with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice, or even a single drop of grapefruit essential oil.
- Instead of alcohol when you’re out to eat, try club soda with a splash of bitter herbs from the bar – gives a little color, a nice flavor, and no one will know you’re “not drinking”.
- Instead of having orange juice or apple juice, eat the whole orange or apple, so you get the fiber, too!
- Instead of white rice, have brown or wild rice, and use a good quality or homemade sauce with butter, olive or avocado oil. Instead of white potatoes, have sweet potato, and load it up with butter. Having a healthy fat along with a portion of carbohydrates can slow the rush of sugar to the bloodstream.
- Instead of plain or flavored instant oatmeal, soak some old-fashioned oats in a jar of water overnight (so they cook faster in the morning) and load it up with ground flax seed or nuts, cinnamon, and butter or coconut oil.
- If you awaken after just a couple hours’ sleep, or wake up too early, try having a snack of almond butter or turkey meat right before bed.
- Focus your meal planning on including a healthy fat and lean protein. What’s a healthy fat? Think BACON!
Other oils like grapeseed oil, palm oil, ghee and olive oil
Nuts and seeds (raw not roasted)
Make some organic chocolate or lemon ketogenic FAT BOMBS for when you have a sweet craving.
Instead of grabbing a bagel for breakfast, make a batch of high-protein “breakfast cookies.”
Have Questions about Carbohydrates?
We can help you work on all these issues and more. Let us help you get started by clicking this link!