This safe, natural approach to life-long weight management will help you end your bad relationship with food.
By Michael R. Lyon, M.D. There is a reason why effective, permanent weight loss is so elusive for virtually everyone. Diets fail because they do not deal with the internal signals that tell us when we are hungry or full. The notion that optimal blood sugar control plays an important role in the regulation of appetite is not new. What is new is that Dr. Michael T. Murray and I were the first to conduct landmark research demonstrating that frequent and rapid swings in blood sugar underlie the magnified appetite and frequent food cravings so typical of individuals who are struggling with their weight. This unstable state of blood sugar control can be referred to as “increased glycemic (blood sugar) volatility.” Using sophisticated new technology called a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS), we have discovered the real key to effective appetite control is improving the function of the appetite control centers in the brain. This medical device allows for a continuous measurement of blood sugar levels over a 24-hour period. What we have discovered and documented for the very first time is that most people who are overweight go through their days with remarkably fluctuating blood sugar. This blood sugar roller coaster results in powerful signals that result in intense food cravings and overeating. Although the control of appetite is influenced by a whole orchestra of hormones, peptides, and neurotransmitters, blood sugar levels can still be considered as a lead player and perhaps the conductor of this orchestra. Eliminating the blood sugar roller coaster is the first step to living hunger free forever. Our research shows that it is possible to literally flat line a person’s blood sugar levels – something previously thought of as being impossible. Frequent fluctuations in blood sugar, particularly when blood sugar rapidly drops in a short period of time, can result in serious food cravings even when your body has no real need for additional calories. If these events occur dozens of times per day, you are likely to give in and snack or drink sugary drinks, and those snacks and beverages will likely be loaded with calories. In the face of these food cravings, if you use sheer willpower and hold off until your next meal, your appetite will be in overdrive, and it is likely that you will eat too much of the wrong thing. Eating when your brain is sending out powerful signals to eat is not a good way to control your food choices, portion sizes or speed of eating. There are several different ways to get off the “blood sugar roller coaster”. If you want to lose weight and keep it off for life, the following five key steps can help reduce blood sugar volatility:
- Follow a low glycemic load diet. The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical scale used to indicate how fast and how high a particular food raises blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. There are two versions of the GI: one based on a standard of comparison that uses glucose scored as 100; the other is based on white bread. Foods are tested against the results of the selected standard. Refined sugars, white flour products, and other sources of simple sugars are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar. In response the body boosts secretion of insulin by the pancreas. High-sugar, junk food diets definitely lead to poor blood sugar regulation, obesity and ultimately type 2 diabetes. And, because of the stress on the body that they cause, including secreting too much insulin, they can also promote the growth of cancer and increase the risk of heart disease. The simple recommendation is don’t eat “junk foods” and pay attention to the glycemic index of food that you eat.
- Increase your intake of dietary fiber and eat adequate protein throughout the day. Eating high fiber foods in abundance reduces hunger and promotes satiety. Fiber also slows the absorption of carbohydrates from food, lowering their glycemic impact. Eat fresh vegetables and fruits as snacks at the first sign of hunger, and add them to recipes whenever possible. When you eat grains, try to choose whole grains. Boiled whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal, barley grits, couscous and quinoa are best. Use all-bran cereals for breakfast or mixed with plain yogurt as a snack. And try to use legumes as often as possible.
- Take the soluble fiber PGX with every meal. PolyGlycopleX (PGX) was developed by medical researchers and has been shown to stabilize blood sugar, decreasing the levels of compounds that trigger overeating. PGX allows you to eat smaller portions of food and still feel full and satisfied for much longer than if you were to consume the food alone. One of the remarkable effects of PGX is seen in its impact upon insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control. Any food taken in conjunction with PGX will have a substantially lower glycemic impact.
- Engage in a regular exercise program. You’ve got to move to lose. Lack of physical activity promotes insulin resistance. Moderate exercise helps to stabilize the appetite, normalize blood sugar levels, and increase muscle mass, thus increasing your metabolic rate.
- Take a high potency multiple vitamin with chromium. Proper blood sugar control requires chromium because it functions in the body as a key constituent of what is referred to as the “glucose tolerance factor.” Without chromium, insulin’s action is blocked and glucose levels are elevated. A chromium deficiency may be an underlying contributing factor to the tremendous number of Americans who have diabetes or hypoglycemia, and are obese.
When blood sugar is highly stable around the clock, appetite is reduced and undesirable food cravings are remarkably diminished, making weight loss and long-term weight maintenance well within the reach of most people.
Michael R. Lyon, M.D. is a physician, medical researcher, author, and internationally recognized lecturer in the field of weight loss, and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. He currently directs a medical research center specializing in obesity and appetite control. His book
, Hunger Free Forever,
co-authored with Michael T. Murray, N.D. is available at Barnes and Noble, and online at Amazon.com.