Blood Sugar is Trending: From Biohacking to Low GI, Dietary Change Is in the Air
Supplant™ sugars from fiber is unique for many reasons, but one of the main benefits is that it doesn’t, unlike traditional sugar, cause a large spike in blood sugar immediately after it’s eaten.
Media buzz is growing about the impacts of blood sugar levels on the body. Last week, for example, Financial Times published a piece about “Blood Sugar Tracking” — the latest biohacking trend where health seekers strap a coin-sized sensor to their tricep to monitor their blood sugar levels in real-time:
“That small, round device is a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Commonly used by diabetics, it tracks blood glucose in real-time via a micro-needle “installed” into the upper arm (painlessly, I’m told). A constellation of startups have devised apps that pair with these CGMs. These companies are positioning glucose levels as a new measure by which to guide changes in our diets, so — they promise — we can become our sharpest, most energetic selves.”
But what exactly is blood sugar, and why are people monitoring it?
To start, it’s useful to understand how the human body digests carbohydrates, and keeps blood sugar levels in check.
Carbohydrates are nutrients found in many foods, and are categorized as either sugars, starches, or fiber. When you eat sugars or starches, your digestive system turns them into glucose, a simple sugar that we also call blood sugar. The glucose enters the bloodstream, and the pancreas releases the hormone insulin to remove the glucose from the bloodstream. Some foods, like cane sugar, tend to cause what’s known as an “insulin spike” that over time wears down the pancreas, and damages the body’s ability to digest carbohydrates. This is the condition known as Type 2 Diabetes.
Fibers, like those found in Supplant™ sugars from fiber, do not cause a large blood glucose spike or the resulting insulin spike, and tend to pass through the stomach undigested.
In the U.S., more than 88 million people are prediabetic. And it’s estimated that 1 in every 4 healthcare dollars spent annually goes to diabetes care. This individual diabetes care averages $16,752 per person per year.
By closely tracking blood sugar, and eating foods that won’t cause an insulin spike, so the thinking goes, a person can take the strain off of their pancreas, while also losing weight and controlling appetite.
This is what is sometimes called a low glycemic index (GI) diet. People on this diet try to eat low-carbohydrate foods that break down rapidly in the body. These foods don’t cause elevated blood sugar levels, and the resulting spike in insulin.
The Mayo Clinic looked at some of the common claims of the low GI diet and had a few observations:
Weight loss and appetite control: One theory suggests that a low GI diet helps a person control appetite, because insulin response is moderated instead of rapidly spiking following a meal, which can cause an urge to eat more, and lead to weight gain.
Blood glucose control: Studies also suggested that tracking carbohydrates is the most reliable tool for managing blood glucose, and eating foods that have low GI values can help control blood glucose levels. However, a low-calorie, high-fiber diet can also achieve the same effect, they say.
Cholesterol: Research has shown that low GI diets consistently lower total cholesterol, as well as LDL (bad) cholesterol. This effect is increased when combined with a high-fiber diet. Many low- to moderate- GI foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are also high in fiber, which is also a factor in a healthy diet.
Supplant™ sugars from fiber, because they contain fiber, cause a blood sugar increase that is only 15% of glucose. Because of this, when eating sugars from fiber, there is a much lower increase in insulin as well.
Supplant™ sugars from fiber also contain less than half the calories compared to cane sugar, and are a prebiotic — meaning they are good for gut health. They’re also made from upcycled agricultural products, meaning no new farmland is created to create Supplant™ sugars from fiber.
The Mayo Clinic was right — the best solution is likely preventative: eating a nutritious diet that is high in fiber. This diet can also include Supplant™ sugars from fiber.