Sugar causes a lot more than tooth decay. Our body and brain requires a certain amount—albeit small—of sugars for its energy needs, but if you consume too much, the level of blood sugar (glucose) becomes elevated, which sets the stage for obesity, disease and early death.
The body tries to control this high blood sugar level by secreting a hormone called insulin; the more sweets you eat, the more insulin is needed to bring down the level of blood sugar, as it can cause massive destruction to the body’s cells. To defend against sugar damage, the body converts the extra sugars to fat, and stores them for later use, thus resulting in obesity. Eating high carbs food stresses insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, and they may become exhausted and damaged, which leads to metabolic disorders like diabetes.
Normal isn’t exactly healthy
So just how much blood sugar is considered normal or “so-called” healthy? Well, as per latest recommendations by various national organizations, a person having fasting sugar levels of 125 mg/dl or below is considered non-diabetic. These levels are measured after fasting for 8 hours, but not more than 12 hours, or else it may show falsely low results. “So-called” normal is considered, as below 99 mg/dl, and values from 100 to 125 mg/dl are prediabetic, that is a person is at risk of becoming diabetic.
Thus by conventional standards, if your results are 90 mg/dl, it may sound like you’re doing pretty good, but research paints a very different picture. In fact, blood sugar levels even 10 points lower than today’s standards of “normal,” can be quite dangerous to your health. Studies indicate that a reading of 90 mg/dl puts you at a much higher risk for many cancers1, and if you go above 90 mg/dl, you are also at much greater risk of having a heart attack2.
So what’s the number to strive for?
So the question is; what sugar levels must you target in order to escape hazardous health conditions? The latest research shows that blood sugar levels of 80 mg/dl or below would be much more optimal to strive for.
Premature aging from the inside out
Controlling fasting sugar is good, but equally important is to escape the spikes in the postprandial period (after having food). Higher sugar levels for an extended periods after eating will accelerate the process of aging. These after meal blood sugar spikes prematurely wrinkle your skin3, and also damage your brain by causing direct injury to neurons, resulting in shrinking of the brain and disrupting the blood supply, further damaging the brains blood vessels4.
The biggest danger by far, is from the processed foods we consume as the staples of our diet. These products often contain high levels of Advanced Glycation End Products(AGEs), which are highly toxic substances caused from sugars that change the structures of your body’s proteins5.
I know that all this may sound terrifying, but there are simple ways to escape these dangers.
– Try going for a 20 minute brisk walk after eating, as this helps a lot in preventing high peaks of sugar.
– Add more dietary fiber (including natural fiber products) to each meal , as this will help slow the absorption of sugars, providing a more time released effect whereby your body can process the sugars more easily.
– You may even want to try starch neutralizing nutrients like white kidney bean extract (in the form of Phase 2).
Stattin P, et al. Prospective Study of Hyperglycemia and Cancer Risk. Diabetes Care. 2007 Mar 1;30(3):561–7.
Shaye K, Amir T, Shlomo S, Yechezkel S. Fasting glucose levels within the high normal range predict cardiovascular Am Heart J. 2012 Jul;164(1):111–6.
Gkogkolou P, Böhm M. Advanced glycation end products. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012 Jul 1;4(3):259–70.