Personalized Nutrition: Startling Stats on Sugar

We don’t know what we don’t know. But when we learn how certain ingredients affect us, we can create motivation to change. We all know sugar isn’t good for us, but what does the evidence show as to why it’s so bad?

Does Sugar Impair Mental Health?

Yes. And this is an area where it’s beyond counterintuitive to use treats as a reward, especially in school. Not only will that reward cause inattention, but it will throw off brain chemicals, creating anxiety and depression.

In fact, a Yale study done on healthy kids without ADHD were divided into 2 groups, a sugar drinking group (equivalent to drinking a 12-oz Coca-Cola) and a non-sugar drink. The researchers evaluated and measured blood glucose levels, a variety of hormones and neurotransmitters before and after the boys drank the beverage.

Four hours after drinking the beverage, the boys who drank the sugary drink had 5x the amount of anxiety (adrenaline levels) as the non-sugar drinking boys. When this occurred, the children felt panicky, shaky and weak with a pounding heart.

Additionally, a group of scientists at the University of Colorado suggests that eating sugar on a regular basis may cause long-term problems for the brain that can’t be corrected simply by removing sugar from the diet in short-term studies.

Why Is Sugar Bad?

Sugar can exacerbate mood swings, irritability, asthma, gallstones, endocrine disorders, and much more. High blood sugar and both added sugar to foods, depletes B vitamins. This is one reason why I advise most of my clients with diabetes supplement with a methylated B vitamin. Being B vitamin deficiency can cause all the symptoms above plus cravings, insomnia, restlessness, indigestion, to name a few.

As well, it’s no coincidence that the flu peaks around holidays when treats, candy, cookies are abundant. Sugar itself zaps the immune system.

Refined Sugar Is Linked to Ill Health:

  • Insomnia
  • Allergies
  • Dizziness
  • Fatty Liver Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Low Blood Sugar
  • Cancer
  • Hair Loss
  • ADHD/ADD
  • Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, Type 2 diabetes

Is Sugar Addicting?

There is no doubt it’s addicting. Sugar releases an opiate-like substance that activates the brain’s reward system.

Suddenly removing the sugar from your diet can cause withdrawal systems including depression, fatigue, aching joints.

How To Break Up With Sugar?

  • Focus on blood sugar control overall.
  • Create a mealtime routine where you eat 4 or fewer times a day, but around the same hours.
  • Observe where it exists and be savvier with what you put in your grocery cart.
  • When you eat your first meal, choose something that is lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein, fiber, and fat. A good example would be a low sugar smoothie, a vegetable omelet, cauliflower porridge, and many more low carb ideas.
  • Cut ties with liquid calories, including fancy coffee drinks.
  • Aim to have at least 20 grams of protein at each meal.
  • Opt for something bitter or sour in your meals, like kimchi, green apples, pickled veggies.
  • Avoid naked carbs ( an apple alone would be a naked carb, an apple with peanut butter will help slow the digestion and allow for better blood sugar control).
  • Make sure you are nurturing a bedtime and getting adequate sleep. Cue into not only the quantity of your sleep but also how to enhance the quality of your sleep. 

How does sugar impact your life? Can you related to any of the information mentioned here?

Related Topics: This is part of a 4-part series on “Personalized Nutrition.” Be sure to click through all the topics on this subject, which I’ve hyperlinked below.

 

Type 1 Diabetes and Burnout

A 2014 study by Stanford University in California, which was published in Diabetes Care, found that people living with Type 1 diabetes make an extra 180 decisions every day, on average. This is a lot, and I guarantee this also stands for parents who manage their young child’s diabetes.

I have been feeling more burned out lately, and my advice around this? Let those feelings process. Don’t rush or push them, let them be, and know, when we come together, it makes it a little less hard. Reach out to me whenever you just need to relate, vent or share.

Here are notes on my thoughts of living with Type 1 Diabetes.

From type 1 to type none: Woman raises funds to help those living with diabetes

PUBLISHED: 

Kelly Schmidt is working to fundraise for a purpose.

“I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on my 8th birthday in second grade,” she told 10TV’s Angela An.

That was in 1991, when according to Kelly’s website, she learned the power of “food is thy medicine.”

But it wasn’t until Kelly’s senior year in high school when she says she found a new purpose: to make living with type 1 diabetes better for everyone affected by the disease. She is now a registered dietitian, speaker, author, and wellness coach.

Her goal is to guide clients with type 1 diabetes on how to live a life where diabetes is less hard.

She is hosting an invite-only pig roast she hopes to turn into a mini-fundraiser “to make this disease less hard and nonexistent.”

Kelly, who is also a JDRF Board member, said this is not just a mission for her — Kelly’s father also has type 1 diabetes.

JDRF Central Ohio will also hold it’s annual One Walk on Sunday, Sept. 29 at the CAS campus at 2540 Olentangy River Road. Check in begins at 9 a.m. with the one-mile walk starting at 10:30 a.m.

The goal of the event is to raise more than $600,000 for juvenile diabetes research.

Back-To-School Breakfast Ideas

Summer is nearly gone at the advent of school starting next week. I keep thinking of this phrase as I will be sending my oldest off to kindergarten (tear) on Thursday.

“I’ve learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.”

Funny, right? But silly stupid true. Where did summer go?

Speaking of time, this week I’m highlighting ways to save time in the kitchen in the morning.

  1. Make waffles from Birch Blenders mixes in bulk and store them in a Ziplock freezer bag until they are ready to be toasted/eaten. Bonus tip, add a few scoops of collagen peptides to the batter (+ a tbsp of avocado oil) to increase the protein content, satiety and brain-boosting amino acids for learning.
  2. Banana Pancakes: mash 1 small banana with 2 eggs and make a pancake or 2 in a skillet like you would traditional batter.
  3. Chia Seed Pudding: mixing 1 part chia seeds with 4 parts liquid. Example: 1/4 cup chia seeds with 1 cup of coconut milk. Add spices and sweetener to your liking. Make multiple of these ahead in mini mason jars.

Quick & Wholesome Dinner Ideas

  1. Meatballs & Veggies using kale or shaved Brussel sprouts as a base. I often opt for legume noodles for my kids. How do I make this quick + easy? I throw a bag of Beetnik grass-fed meatballs in a slow cooker w/ a jar of sugar-free marinara sauce. I allow this to cook for 6-8 hours.
  2. Chicken Tacos. While the slow-cooker is out, make some tacos the following night. Add frozen (or fresh) chicken breast or tenderloins to a slow-cooker on high, allow to cook for 6-8 hours with a jar of salsa. My go-to? Salsa verde. We love our chicken tacos w/ a purple cabbage leaf for the “taco shell,” black beans and some sour cream or guac.
  3. Salmon Burgers + Roasted Veg. If my hubs is home, I’ll have him fire up the grill to make the wild salmon Kirkland burgers (look for any salmon burgers that are made with wild, not farmed, salmon), but if he isn’t, to save time, I bake 4-6 burgers in my toaster oven. Leftovers are a blessing. I also make multiple trays of veg on the weekend, like the pic above, which happens to be 100% from my garden. I use ample amounts of avocado oil, cook at 350F for 30 minutes and douse the vegetables in the Unami spice from Trader Joe’s.

Insulin Resistance

Breaking the insulin resistance cycle involves a number of things, including reducing simple carbohydrate-rich foods, like grains, juices, processed foods, etc, in our diet. Below are 5 guidelines that will help slash insulin resistance and improve blood sugar control overall. This is useful advice with people who have diabetes, PCOS, metabolic syndrome and for those who just need assistance to lose weight. 

  • No naked carbs. What? Since carb-rich foods (legumes, fruit, starchy vegetables, grains, and sugar) give us quick energy and have the greatest effect on raising blood sugar levels, it is ideal to have a source of protein or fat with this food to buffer the absorption of sugar going into the bloodstream. For example, an apple (carb) with peanut butter is far more favorable than eating an apple alone.
  • Reduce snacking and eliminate grazing. Be sure to eat enough at each meal (review plate visual) by cueing into your satiety and hunger levels, so you do not need to eat more than three-four times a day. When we have smaller, more frequent meals, we cause our body to produce more insulin, creating higher circulating levels of insulin. High insulin levels cause insulin resistance. Transition to 3 meals and an optional snack each day.
  • Hydrate. Drink 20 ounces of water first thing in morning. I play a game by making myself drink my water before I am allowed to enjoy my coffee. Do what motivates you. Overall, aim to drink half of your weight in ounces every day. For example, if I weigh 200 pounds, I need 100 ounces of water or herbal tea per day. Drinking water is one of the simplest ways to improve your hormone (including insulin) functionality, hunger, and fat-loss.
  • Forecast meals. No need to make a formal meal plan, but spend five minutes a week reviewing which meals you will be eating out or at home. Sketch out at least 3 meals (doubling some of the recipes can save you time) and reflect these meals onto a grocery list. This can help you get in front of your health by making healthy food the obvious choice. It can also help reduce food waste. Win-win.
  • Eat with the sun. Eating during daylight hours supports our natural body clock, and therefore our hormone functioning. The more in sync we are with our circadian rhythm by eating with the sun, we support hormone balance, improving insulin resistance. Doing this also improves sleep and high-quality sleep is the “secret sauce” for health. Additional motives to eat earlier? Data suggests when we eat past 7 PM we increase our insulin secretion by 50 to 70%. High insulin leads to insulin resistance. If you find yourself eating late, make it a smaller, lighter meal.

My Forever Love for Juice Boxes

I write to you today with a frog in my throat, feeling humble, scared and grateful.

Last week, immediately after my Endo appointment, we headed to FL to have a reunion with 2 other families. I felt like a badass driving down because my A1c returned to a territory I want to stay in, reading at 5.6 (a non-diabetic range). Yet, just when I think I have a routine, a plan, momentum, I realize I am at a loss.

Days into the trip I woke up with a blood sugar of 383 mg/dL. “Wtf?!” I haven’t seen a high like this in years.

Is it bc we ate a late dinner? I always have a high fasting when I eat late; but not this high. Was it the Prosecco I drank last night?? Maybe the alcohol made me low, I didn’t wake up, and glucagon shunted into my bloodstream??

Maybe it’s because I’m not sleeping enough? I was often the first to go to bed because I know less than 6 hours of sleep makes blood sugar control hard, but I’ve had 2 newborn babies and my blood sugar never behaved this bad.

Was it because I was less active than being at home? I was still running and swimming. Was I dehydrated severely? No.

What’s going on? Is the insulin bad? It worked fine yesterday and the day before and since then I haven’t stored it differently. I had it on the bathroom counter; maybe the room got too hot when we had our showers?

I take action – I’m aggressive with my basal/Tresiba for the day, upping my dose from 8 units to 12, then layer on another 2 units, making it 14. I take an intramuscular injection to correct the high.

Is it the heat? I always go really high with high humidity and temps above 80F. But I’ve lived in Australia with 100-degree temps and no a/c and it never got this bad.

Two hours later I’m only at 220 mg/dL, arrow across. Blood sugar goes up 2 points. I take more insulin.

Trying my best to keep my fears and frustrations to myself, I head to the beach with everyone.

I see diagonal down on my CGM. “Yay, the insulin is working.”

I have some dried mango in my beach bag in case the insulin begins working too well.

I’m in the water and run back to our things, aka my phone to read my blood sugar via my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and grab my daughter her floaty.

Double arrow down reading 45 mg/dL. Where is the mango??? I eat it.

Five/ten minutes pass and my friend comes back to get her son a snack.

I actually start feeling really scared. I started praying. The mango isn’t doing a thing, still 2 arrows down (this means my blood sugar is dropping 4 points per minute).

My friend pulls out a cooler with juice boxes for the kids. Amen! Juice will help.

I chug the juice.

I’m so low my CGM can’t read my blood sugar. CGM reads, “LOW” double arrow down.

My friend has no idea I’m scared for my life at the moment. Am I going to go into a seizure?

I ask my friend to get my husband. I start crying. Am I going to die because of this damn high blood sugar, now firing back?

Thirty minutes in, I level out, head back to our house and over-analyze everything for the next 2 days with 1 more similar low blood sugar scenario. The second time I used maple syrup to bring my sugar up, followed by a juice. I asked my husband to hold me until the carbs kick in. 

I threw out my current pen of Fiasp for fresh insulin starting day 2, but I robotically took the same Tresiba day 2, and I was hesitant to take another full dose of a new bottle. So now day 3, it’s confirmed on what the problem was…

Spoiled Tresiba/basal insulin.

Sometimes I think I’ve got this disease, but it can be mean, scary, horrific. Diabetes teaches me day in and day out to make my time count and I’m so grateful for my insulin, my CGM, my juice box, my life.

I had a great trip overall, diabetes won’t taint it, and I’m happy to be home to ground myself and make a difference in this world. 

This scary event was a gentle reminder of what it may feel like to be newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes or going through a confusing time of diabetes management. There is always something to learn, and I should have been more bold with changing out my insulin sooner.

Type 1 Diabetes & Blood Sugar Control

When I help my clients with diabetes understand how to best manage their blood sugars, of course, I mention nutrition and insulin, but there is a large emphasis on a number of other variables, including, but not limited to the following…

  • Hydration – being well hydrated can help your insulin work most efficiently
  • Allergies – seasonal, food, medication
  • Food sensitivities – if the gut is inflamed, the body is, hence poorer insulin sensitivity
  • Stress – good and bad stress can impact blood sugars.
  • Movement – move every 30min and exercise every other day
  • Hormones – male hormones fluctuate as do females
  • Puberty 
  • Pregnancy
  • Excitement
  • Public speaking (a form of stress)
  • Mood
  • Outdoor temps – heat makes some type 1s high (me!), but others it runs blood sugars down.
  • Breakdown of the meal fat, protein and carbs
  • Activity, bad insulin (this happens), 
  • sleep duration and quality, 
  • Altitude and this includes flights. I will go high shortly after takeoff and my blood sugar drops ~30-40 pts after landing.
  • the timing of meal the night before (if it was later than the norm, that can throw blood sugars the next day), 
  • lack of exercise, over-exercising, 
  • supplements,  
  • gut health, 
  • time change, jet lag, 
  • alcohol, esp if alcohol was drunken the day before
  • period, ovulation, 
  • insulin resistance, 
  • overeating, 
  • overdoing carbs, etc.

We Made History May 18th 2019

It is with great pride and gratitude to announce that this year’s JDRF Gala on May 18th broke an all-time fundraising record! Your generosity resulted in nearly $700,000 raised for the mission to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes.

The gala was a result of so many hands and I am so thankful for your support…and we couldn’t have done it without our family, friends and JDRF community.

Below I have captured the script of my speech and some of the pictures I snapped from this AMAZING evening. As well, here is a video from the live event.

How many presents does an 8 yo girl get when she is diagnosed with diabetes the day before her birthday? (long pause) 

A lot. 

Looking back, on my earliest memories, they all begin in second grade. No matter how hard I try, I can’t recall much before then. It starts with my diagnosis.

But as I drift through that memory on, I remember more of the hard ones than the happy. In those first few years, I had several seizures – a few at school and some in my sleep. 

I remember writing a letter in crayon to my mom and putting it in her bathroom drawer – saying “I don’t want to try anymore. It isn’t fair that I am the only kid in the family who has diabetes. I hate it (stomp foot) and I don’t want it.”

My siblings
My siblings

When my mom found it, I was waiting for her to yell at me, but she surprised me instead.  She pulled me aside, sat down with me and told me to never take life for granted and that I was capable of overcoming this.

I AM capable, but it’s a heavy burden. There are so many layers to Type1 that are invisible. There is no limp or mark to distinguish us. We often look perfectly healthy until you see the tubing from a pump poke out from our waistband, or a little white pod stuck to our arm. Then you wonder – what is that? 

Meanwhile, we wonder if we dosed enough insulin. If I should’ve eaten more before walking my kids to school, if that 30 grams of carb is going to kick in at Teagans soccer practice or if I need to tell a stranger I need help. We wonder if this is the high that is going to tip the scales to a complication.  

It’s not just about nutrition and insulin, there are dozens of variables that affect our diabetes management. As a dietitian, I help my type 1 clients with what’s on their plate but also looking beyond. We need more options to manage this disease. Thankfully JDRF is racing to find a cure for tomorrow while striving to improve the lives of those with T1D today through advocacy and outreach. 

We have studies being funded focusing on beta cell regeneration, research, screening individuals at risk of developing T1, vaccines that might prevent it, and work underway for Open Protocol, taking the closed loop system one step further. 

JDRF is also working to improve the odds for expectant mothers with their closed-loop insulin pump research – some of this research is here at OSU. I was on shots nearly the whole time I was pregnant with my daughter (we didn’t do the best family planning!). And pregnancy means fluctuating hormones, fluctuating hormones mean fluctuating insulin needs and there were days I would take 17 shots. Not finger pricks – shots. 

Can you fathom what it’s like to fear you are hurting your baby because your insulin isn’t working nor absorbing as you’d predicted? 

Type one is scary. But when we come together, we make it a little less lonely, and with perseverance we build hope. We have events like tonight where we can make a tangible difference.   

My family and I are grateful for all of you being here and I am going to be bold, as bold as I am with my insulin, and ask each of you to do all you can to help us make a difference. Your generosity and support this evening will 100% go towards JDRF mission of finding a cure, better treatment options and to prevent it in the first place.

Tonight, please help:

  • build the hope all of us need, 

  • fund research that can resolve some of the hardships and the mental burden this chronic disease carries, and 

  • break a record on the generosity a room in Central Ohio can create. 

5 Ways To Workout Your Mind & Body

Do you workout for your mind or your body? Do you do it to lose weight, be stronger, or just have more energy? Yes, I’d love to have a 6-pack, but I personally do it to be a better mom, for my blood sugars and for my mood.

Exercise invigorates our minds and is a form of self-love and stress management. It seems far-fetched to say that your workout will be spiritual, but it can leave you feeling mentally refreshed! Try one of these 5 workouts to see what fits you best, mind and body. 

#1: Running

If you’re looking to clear your head, then running or jogging is a great option. Hit 2 birds with one stone and phone a friend to come with you. I do this weekly with my friend Cindy.

Forget the treadmill, and head to a park or beach. Sure, you can do this in the city, but nature is good for your stress hormones. Push yourself to a level of attaining that ‘runner’s high’ that people talk about so often.

#2: Martial arts

Whilst martial arts isn’t perceived as very ‘zen’, there’s something to be said for taking all of your stress out on a punchbag. If you’re having a difficult week, or you just feel like things are building up, try a session like martial arts and come out of the other side on the positive.

#3: Pilates

Pilates is so good for a stressed HPA-axis (aka stressed adrenals, chronic stress). Not only is it wholly dependent upon good mental and physical control, but many people report that it helps them to feel grounded, too. As those at c2b state, ‘when you’re truly connected, you really are the best you can be.’ If you want to experience this interconnectedness, then pilates should be on your list.

#4: Yoga

Holler! This girl just signed up for a 13-month contract at a yoga studio less than 2 blocks from my house. Yoga has taken the world by storm recently, and whilst it’s not really the most energetic of workouts, it really is a test of strength, flexibility, and mental prowess. Whether you’re taking part in a hot yoga class, or you’re just trying it out at home, there is no reason not to give this a try if you’re really looking to regain some control over your mind. There are plenty of yoga options out there! PS, stay-tuned as I share the progress I’ve made in my mind, business, relationships, and body after investing months of a solid yoga practice. 

#5: Walking

Walking is the secret sauce of blood sugar control. A slightly brisk stroll will lower blood sugar in type 1 diabetics by 1-2 mg/dL per minute. Many cultures (Italy) who engage in an after-dinner stroll have a lower BMI and I am sure the bonding over the leisure exercise enhances relationships.  However, going for a long walk will help you to burn fat for energy, and it’s great for your fitness levels. On top of this, it allows you to reconnect with nature and it can really give you a chance to clear your head. Go for a walk, and think about all of the things that you appreciate!

Let me know which movement speaks to you the most. 

Have a healthy and fit day!

Kelly, your Diabetic Dietitian