Sugar, Not So Sweet After All!
By Dr. Cynthia Crosser
Most Americans are aware of the diabetes epidemic in America that is increasing at a rate of 1% per year. Prior to 1940, there were no type 2 diabetics. Scarier yet is that the chance of death within 5 years of diabetic foot ulcers is greater than that for many cancers. A staggering statistic is that the number of diabetics rose 48% from 1997 to 2007.
There are several factors behind this such as the growth of America’s farming industry to produce high glycemic wheat products and the push for fruit juices over the last 50 years. This was followed by the encouragement of the US government for a high fiber diet. Thus Americans became connected to the oat-bran fad with 60% of calories from grains. A 2000 calorie/day diet would now equate to 60 tsp. of sugar flowing through the blood. The reduction of salt also increased insulin resistance. Fats from eggs, butter and cheese were replaced with highly polyunsaturated vegetable sources such as margarine. It is now known that these processed fats significantly elevate glucose levels.
In time we see excess weight gain, increased cortisol levels, and difficulty sleeping. High glucose levels have been researched and connected with chronic diseases such as autoimmune disease, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, hormonal disruption, etc. due to the associated inflammatory response.
Enter energy drinks, one of America’s most popular dietary supplements according to NIH. An average can consists of 240 mg of caffeine (espresso contains 64 mg) and 62g of sugar (15 ½ tsp. of sugar). This combination creates on average a 74% increase in fight-or-flight hormone and a 6.2% increase in systolic blood pressure all putting stress on the adrenal glands which is integral in controlling blood sugar levels.
So, how do we deal with this? Many of my patients present with musculoskeletal pain exacerbated by the inflammatory response caused by poor diet to include complex and simple carbohydrates, all becoming sugar. Their bodies are largely “glycated”. Within the functional medicine model, a detailed history, lifestyle and diet assessment is made and comprehensive laboratory testing is most often ordered. A stool sample may also be ordered to assess the ability to digest protein, fats, and carbohydrates. If they’ve had a diet high in refined carbohydrates or overused antibiotics, they may have overgrowth of Candida whose preferred source of food is sugar, causing sugar cravings. This information is used to devise a healthy eating plan which most often consists of high quality protein, healthy fats and fewer carbohydrates. Exercise must always be part of the equation.
Teaching patients to read labels will tend to further eliminate hidden sugars from their diets. Most often, whole food supplements might be recommended to assist in digestion, etc. The most difficult time of the day for sugar cravings is in the evening. In time, with the appropriate addition of nutrient dense foods with a low insulin index and the elimination of processed foods, the blood sugar levels can return to a more normal level and the risk of associated health problems is reduced greatly. As expected, the patient reports “feeling great”!
In the next issue I will address genetic testing and how it can be used to prevent long-term health issues through the modification of diet, lifestyle and environmental factors.
Cynthia Crosser is a Doctor of Chiropractic and a Fellow with the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture. She completed two postgraduate programs; Chiropractic Neurology and Physical Rehabilitation. She is currently in the process of certification with the Institute for Functional Medicine.
As a double cancer survivor myself, Dr. Crosser and I immediately connected. What an inspiration she is! I’ve never experienced a doctor in my 60+ years that is as compassionate, devoted, and GENUINELY concerned for their patients as Dr. Crosser! I’ve been seeing her since August of 2015 and through her patient specific, tailored program of nutrition, appropriate supplements, and workshops, I’ve managed to lose the extra pounds, get back to the gym, and have a litany of nagging and annoying physical ailments that other doctor’s mostly attributed to “old age”, or “in my head” disappear! I haven’t felt this good in 35 years! She’s absolutely changed my life! Thank you so much Dr. Crosser! “ – Steve H.
Since working with Dr. Crosser my health and well-being has changed dramatically! As a woman in my mid 50’s I try to stay somewhat healthy or at least I thought so! Experiencing stubborn weight loss, bloating and poor gut health I was in a slow spiral to poor nutrition and health. Through Dr. Crosser’s guidance, high quality nutritional supplements and her unwavering dedication to her patients I have never felt better! Thank you Dr. Crosser!! Everyone should have just one hour with you to see how they can make improvements for a healthy lifestyle!” – June E.
“By a stroke of luck, I met Dr. Crosser and began working with her. Despite a relatively healthy diet and exercise, I was suffering from anxiety, fatigue, and generally not feeling well. Dr. Crosser conducted a very thorough analysis of my symptoms and health history before recommending a customized regiment of high quality, natural supplements. The results have been miraculous. I had forgotten what it felt like to be well. I have my life back! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dr. Crosser.” – Judy T.
Wellness within reach!
Crosser Chiropractic & Acupuncture
1302 Old Lancaster Pike, Suite B
Hockessin, DE 19707
Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Weight loss, Neurofeedback, Nutritional Counseling
Headshot by Shannon Adelson of Adelson Media, Inc.