From friends and loved ones, to medical professionals, you’re getting a lot of advice thrown your way when it comes to blood sugar control.
You’ve heard all the lines:
“You can’t eat sugar anymore.”
“You need to lose weight.”
“More exercise will help with that.”
“You should eat more grains.”
“You’re not allowed to eat fruit.”
“You’re going to be insulin dependent for the rest of your life.”
The simple truth is that it’s not so simple. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to blood sugar control. No matter what your doctor or nutritionist or mom tells you. There are, however, changes that anyone can make to their diet that will improve their blood sugars and in some cases, almost reverse diabetes.
This brief article does not strive to convince you that some foods are better than others (they are) or that you should or should not eat foods from just any manufacturer or distributor (you should not) and we’re not going to try to influence you to eat organic or not (even though you should). There are, however, facts that everyone should know about their food. Where it comes from and how it is manufactured should concern everyone, regardless of their health status.
Some quick facts that all Americans should know about their food:
- The FDA currently allows 3000 food additives in U.S. food production. This includes preservatives meant to extend shelf life and flavorings the enhance food taste.
- Processed foods currently eclipse raw or organic food products in consumer consumption.
- There are thousands of other food additives that aren’t regulated by the FDA because they fall into the category of “generally regarded as safe” or GRAS additives.
- Food manufacturers and distributors who deliver to Americans are allowed to add many substances that are banned or illegal in other countries.
- More than three quarters of the antibiotics sold in the U.S.A. are given to farm animals to make them grow faster and fatter.
Most importantly, Americans are woefully undereducated about their food and nutritional needs. The reason? We have allowed the food industry to control the narrative about proper nutrition. Big Food isn’t interested in your better health. They are interested in profit, and while that’s not always a bad thing, their profit and your health are usually at opposite ends of the food spectrum.
Pre-packaged foods, convenience foods, and most snack foods are chock full of chemical additives that the U.S. government approves and allows to be added to our food. Big Food lobbyists include those working on behalf of the beef industry, the agricultural industry, the snack food and beverage industries, and the restaurant industries. If you think this covers most of the names behind your favorite grocery items, you’re right.
Big Food Controversy
There is controversy taking place in Washington D.C. regarding GMO labeling. As we discover more about the properties of genetically modified food and its long-term effects, good-food advocates are demanding transparency in food labeling so that Americans who want to know can easily see where their food originates and what it’s made of.
Americans choose two senators to represent their state. Once they get to Washington, they are endlessly entertained by almost every industry, food-related or not. Big Food pays lobbyists a lot of money to get your senator’s attention. According to lobbying disclosure reports from 2015, food companies shelled out over $100 million dollars to promote and lobby for legislation that would prevent local and state from requiring labeling of GMO’s, country of origin, and make it much more difficult to determine where pesticides were used.
How does all this affect you and your blood sugar control? There is some solid science out there that is reporting on the numbers of Americans with diabetes and pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity that can be tied back to the old food pyramid that the government foisted on the country back in the 80’s. This food pyramid, and indeed the new food plate that is being used today, were both largely compiled with the collusion of Big Food.
If you think food guidelines were compiled by a benevolent government agency who is looking out for you and your good health, think again. The major food groups represented on both the food pyramid and plate all have huge representation in Washington. Those spending the most are the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the National Farm Bureau, and the National Restaurant Association. Food is big business and business is looking to maximize their profits with as little expense to the food manufacturer as possible.
What Can You Do?
This information is not meant to imply that the food you are buying and eating is 100% unsafe. It’s only to point out that the food you are buying in your local grocery store may not be as pure and wholesome as you once thought. You are in control of your health and nutrition. You have the power to change your life through your diet. So how do you do it?
First, eat organic and raw whenever you can. The less processed a food is, the better it is for you and your health. Organic and raw fruits and vegetables can be eaten as frequently as you like.
Get lots of fresh protein at every meal, and supplement every snack with a little protein, too. Many vegetables are chock full of protein, including spinach, kale, asparagus, broccoli, edamame, and the humble bean. If you’re a meat eater, look for lean cuts of beef, and organically raised chicken and turkey.
Cut back on grains, especially processed wheat. If you must indulge in breads or pasta, expand your choices to whole grains like oats, buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, and barley, to name just a few. Modern wheat processing has devolved to creating a product with little to no health benefit for anyone, and especially dangerous to diabetics. It’s not the same wheat that your grandparents ate as recently as 40 years ago. (More on that subject in an upcoming article.)
Eat when you’re hungry, not just because you’re supposed to eat at certain times. If you’re not a breakfast eater, don’t worry. Eat something lite, like a piece of fruit when you wake up, or have a mid-morning snack. Don’t stress about having to have every food group represented at every meal. It’s important to get lean protein every day and you can supplement that with the vegetable and fruit of your choice.
Start slowly. Make small changes at first. Check your blood sugars regularly to gauge your progress.
Your better health is within your reach! Follow your doctor’s advice, take your medication if it’s been prescribed, and make improvements to your diet for better blood sugar control!