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Tips to Block Sugar Absorption in Your Body

Rona week 18-10When you eat starchy carbs and refined sugar, are you aware of what happens inside your body? These foods enter the bloodstream quickly, causing a sugar spike. Your body then produces the hormone insulin to drive that sugar from your bloodstream into cells. But over time, high levels of insulin can make your muscle cells lose sensitivity to it, leading to type-2 diabetes and heart disease. Your fat cells, however, are different. They always remain sensitive. Insulin spikes lock fat into them, so you can’t use it for energy.
So what do you do? Easy, just reduce the blood sugar spikes that produce sharp increases of insulin. Mostly, that would be by reducing your starch intake. This is anything made from potatoes, rice, flour, corn, or other grains. (Think pasta, lasagna, white bread, doughnuts, cookies, and cakes. Notice how many of these also contain sugar?) You could cut out these foods entirely. But wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to solve the problem without completely eliminating these carbs?
It turns out there is. You can blunt the blood sugar-raising effects by taking advantage of natural substances in foods that slow carbohydrate digestion and entry into the bloodstream. No matter what kind of sugar blocker you use, your waistline (and health) will win in the end.
Tip # 1: Have a fatty snack 10 to 30 minutes before your meals
Reason: You remain fuller longer.
Fat triggers a reflex that constricts the valve at the top of the stomach and slows digestion. As little as a teaspoon of fat, easily provided by a handful of nuts or a piece of cheese, will do the trick, provided you eat it before your meal.
Tip #2: Start your meal with a salad
Reason: It soaks up starch and sugar.
Soluble fiber from the pulp of plants, such as beans, carrots, apples, and oranges, swells like a sponge in your intestines and traps starch and sugar in the niches between its molecules. Soluble means “dissolvable,” and indeed, soluble fiber eventually dissolves, releasing glucose. However, that takes time. The glucose it absorbs seeps into your bloodstream slowly, so your body needs less insulin to handle it. A good way to ensure that you get enough soluble fiber is to have a salad, preferably before, rather than after, you eat a starch.
Tip #3: Have some vinegar
Reason: It slows the breakdown of starch into sugar.
The high acetic acid content in vinegar deactivates amylase, the enzyme that turns starch into sugar. (It doesn’t matter what kind of vinegar you use. I like balsamic because it’s sweet.) It acts on starch only, but it has no effect on the absorption of refined sugar. So it won’t work to put that balsamic on ice cream! Besides, you will want to have it at the beginning of the meal, not the end.
Tip #4: Include protein with your meal
Reason: You won’t secrete as much insulin.
Here’s a paradox: You want to blunt insulin spikes, but to do that, you need to start secreting insulin sooner rather than later Even though protein contains no glucose, it triggers a “first-phase insulin response” that occurs so fast, it keeps your blood sugar from rising as high later and, reduces the total amount of insulin you need to handle a meal. So have meatballs with your spaghetti.
Tip #5: Eat lightly cooked vegetables
Reason: You digest them more slowly.
Both fruits and vegetables contain soluble fiber. As a rule, though, vegetables make better sugar blockers, because they have more fiber and less sugar.
But don’t cook your vegetables to mush. Boiling vegetables until they’re limp and soggy saturates the soluble fiber, filling it with water so it can’t absorb the sugar and starch you want it to. Also, crisp vegetables are chunkier when they reach your stomach, and larger food particles take longer to digest, so you’ll feel full longer. Another tip: Roasted vegetables like cauliflower can often serve as a delicious starch substitute. They’re hearty and filling.
Tip #6: Have a glass of wine with dinner
Reason: Your liver won’t produce as much glucose.
Alcohol has unique sugar-blocking properties. Your liver normally converts some of the fat and protein in your blood to glucose, which adds to the glucose from the carbs you eat. But alcohol consumed with a meal temporarily halts your liver’s glucose production. A serving of any alcohol; beer, red or white wine, or a shot of hard liquor, will reduce the blood sugar load of a typical serving of starch by approximately 25 percent.
That doesn’t mean you should have an entire bottle of wine or a whole 6 pack of beer! Remember, alcohol contains calories, but it also delays the sensation of fullness, so you tend to overeat and pile on those calories. Be especially mindful about avoiding cocktails that are made with sweetened mixers, yet another source of sugar.
Tip #7: Eat sweets for dessert only
Reason: All of the above.
If you eat sweets on an empty stomach, there’s nothing to impede the sugar from racing directly into your bloodstream, no fat, no soluble fiber, no protein, no vinegar. But if you leave sweets until the end of the meal, you have all of the built-in protection the preceding rules provide. If you want to keep blood sugar on an even keel, avoid between-meal sweets at all costs, and when you do indulge, don’t eat more than 3 bites or so. A few bites of cake or a piece of chocolate after a meal will have little effect on your blood sugar and insulin, and can be quite satisfying.

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