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Monday, April 11, 2011

Blood Sugar = Insulin = Chronic Inflammation = Disease

Even though much of this information is not generally available in the mainstream (your doctor may not be applying it yet) it is well established in the research and NOT controversial. I say that, because some things I talk about ARE controversial and I’ll generally let you know when it is. Today I want to lay out a logical progression of information that can make a huge difference—even if your doctor won’t or can't tell you.

Chronic inflammation is recognized as the initiator of virtually all disease states. Chronic inflammation changes both the architecture (physical structure) and biochemistry of cells and organ systems. Which cells and organs get damaged first is very individual. My arthritis, her breast cancer, his heart attack and their type II diabetes may all look like different diseases, but they all began with long term chronic inflammation that manifested differently in different bodies. Remember—this is not controversial, but well established information.

What causes chronic inflammation? The main thing I want to cover today is a dual partnership in your body—blood sugar and insulin. Another day I will talk about the Omega oil problems (ratio of Ω 3 vs. Ω 6 oils) that also contribute. Today is blood sugar.

Blood sugar is toxic and can kill you pretty quickly at high levels. One of insulin’s jobs is to get it down so you don’t die. Turns out that’s not really its main job, but sort of an emergency backup. We developed on a diet that had virtually no sugar in it, thus this emergency system rarely had to kick in. Turns out just a little can kill you, too.

Let me give you just a smattering of research on cancer—an inflammatory disease

A study that appeared in “Diabetes Care,” following participants for an average of eight years, reports this:

1) Overall, women with the highest blood sugar levels upon joining the study were more likely to be diagnosed with cancer before its end, compared with women with the lowest blood sugar levels. Also, cancer of the lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer) was more common in women with the highest blood sugar levels, compared with those with the lowest blood sugar levels. Breast cancer was more common for women younger than 49 with high blood sugar levels, compared with those with the lowest blood sugar levels. The results held when researchers considered other factors, such as participants' weight and age.

2) A mouse model of human breast cancer demonstrated that tumors are sensitive to blood-glucose levels. Sixty-eight mice were injected with an aggressive strain of breast cancer, then fed diets to induce either high blood-sugar, normal blood sugar or low blood-sugar. There was a dose-dependent response. The lower the blood sugar, the greater the survival rate.

3) In a human study, 10 healthy people were assessed for fasting blood-glucose levels and the phagocytic index of neutrophils, which measures immune-cell ability to envelop and destroy invaders such as cancer. Eating 100 g carbohydrates from glucose, sucrose, honey and orange juice all significantly decreased the capacity of neutrophils to engulf bacteria.

4) A study of nearly 550,000 people in Europe showed that more blood sugar equals more cancer risk—even within the normal range. The subjects' average age was 45 years and they were followed for 10 years. Researchers "controlled for" other factors that also can affect cancer risk, including smoking and overweight/obesity. For men, each 18 point increase in blood sugar levels was associated with a 5% increased risk of getting cancer and a 15% higher risk of dying of cancer. For women, each 18 point increase in blood sugar was associated with an 11% increased risk of getting cancer and a 21% higher risk of dying of cancer. Blood sugar matters more for women!!!

Diabetes is at the far end of the continuum of the blood sugar/insulin partnership gone awry. In 2005 alone, 233,619 adults died of complications of diabetes. There is no cure for diabetes, and its damage can be severe, leading to heart disease, stroke, nerve damage and kidney problems. It’s also the number one cause of adult blindness and loss of limbs. If over 233,000 people died in plane crashes every year, they’d ground every plane in the nation. That’s almost a quarter of a million people! Every year!

Misery and death result from chronic inflammation, cost this nation billions in medical costs and are directly related to blood sugar and insulin.

If you are not yet convinced, do a simple google search for “insulin and chronic inflammation.” Here are a few cut and paste quotes from just a few:

• Insulin resistance is increasingly recognized as a chronic, low-level, inflammatory state.
• Insulin insensitivity, as directly measured, may be associated with inflammation
• Several decades ago scientists noticed that people with type 2 diabetes have overly active immune responses, leaving their bodies rife with inflammatory chemicals.
• Eating Inflammatory Foods Will Cause You To Have Chronic Inflammation And A Beer Belly
• Inflammatory foods are what most of us have in our cupboards. The current food pyramid promotes foods that cause inflammation by giving advice to eat lots of grains and cut out fat. The problem with that advice is, we have been following it for over 30 years now and we are not getting healthier. In fact most people are getting sicker.

Here are a couple youtube videos that have good information.

• Dr. Barry Sears blurb for for his book but very good info his books are worth a look, too!
• Good information by someone who is new to me, but I like what this video says

The upshot of all the above info is this: Sugar in your diet causes inflammation--inflammation makes you sick.

If you live in this culture you cannot help being bombarded with enticements and even “health” information to eat “whole grains.” With only a modest exposure to wellness info, you already know sugar can get you in trouble. But the grain thing is pervasive and intrusive and a big fat lie. No way are whole grains good for you if they raise blood sugar--and they do! Let me recommend again this website to check the glycemic load of what you eat

It’s the only place I know online to get the info easily and I use it daily. Glycemic load tells you how much blood sugar you get from a food and serving size—thus how much insulin. Ideal is to keep it all below 10 nearly all the time.

Glycemic load is additive. Double your serving size and you double the load. Eat two foods with a GL and you have to add the loads. Below 10 is healthy. Over 10 is inflammatory. Over 10 and you are increasing inflammation and your disease/unpleasant-aging risk. Here are some examples just to start you off.

NOTE: Only carbohydrates raise blood sugar. Meat does not. If you are a vegetarian, vegan or such, your blood sugar is taking a beating! Note the GL numbers for whole grains.

4.5 inch bagel 43 (killer)
yam 1 cup cubes 15
Subway roast beef 6" 17
1/8 piece apple pie (9") 32
Big mac 20
Mc donalds french fries 22
orange juice 9
4" pancake 6
1 TBS syrup 10
1 c cubed butternut sqsh 8
1 c cooked white grits 14
1 c whole wheat cereal 14
1 cup mashed potatoes 16
1 c med grain brown rice 22
1 c long grain white rice 24
1 cup milk--goat or cow 8
1 cup asparagus 4
1 c snow peas 5
1 c chopped broccoli 4
1 c spinach 3
4 oz chicken breast meat 0
4 oz salmon 0
4 oz roast beef 0
3 large eggs 0
1 cup cottage cheese 7
4 oz lamb 0
4 oz rainbow trout 0
4 oz hamurger 0
4 oz venison 0
4 oz port roast 0
1 cup cooked quinoa 18
1 cup cooked wild rice 16
1 cup cooked corn 12
1 cup cooked egg noodles 21


  1. Ellie

    I followed your link from the MDA site as I am preparing some material for my mom.

    It's my understanding that the glycemic load of a food is influenced by what you eat with it. So you eat a bunch of chicken on those egg noodles and the number changes.

    Is that how you understand it?


  2. Hi Lori, and welcome! I have heard that, too. Unfortunately I've yet to see anything quantitative --anywhere-- that gives me any hope that it's actually true, and I've been looking for a long time.

    Because I, and most of my peers, have years of ignoring this biologic system (sugar/insulin) I no longer risk high blood sugar at all. The only grain I eat anymore is a smidgen of wild rice in soup once in a while. The way to really be definitive here would be with blood sugar monitoring before and after the combo with egg noodles. If you do, I'd love to hear the results, but I think it's a myth!!

    Lots more info at
    and more coming in near future!