Within hours of eating an unhealthy meal, we are able to get a spike in irritation, crippling our artery operate, thickening our blood, and inflicting a fight-or-flight nerve response. Thankfully, there are meals we are able to eat at each meal to counter this response.
Standard American meals wealthy in processed junk and meat and dairy result in exaggerated spikes in sugar and fats within the blood, as you’ll be able to see at 0:13 in my video How to Prevent Blood Sugar and Triglyceride Spikes after Meals. This generates free radicals, and the oxidative stress triggers a biochemical cascade all through our circulation, damaging proteins in our physique, inducing irritation, crippling our artery operate, thickening our blood, and inflicting a fight-or-flight nerve response. This all occurs inside only one to 4 hours after eating a meal. Worried about irritation inside your physique? One awful breakfast may double your C-reactive protein ranges earlier than it’s even lunchtime.
Repeat that 3 times a day, and you’ll be able to set your self up for coronary heart illness. You might not even concentrate on how unhealthy off you might be as a result of your physician is measuring your blood sugar and fats ranges when you’re in a fasting state, sometimes drawing your blood earlier than you’ve eaten. What occurs after a meal could also be a stronger predictor of coronary heart assaults and strokes, which is sensible, since that is the place most of us stay our lives—that’s, in a fed state. And it’s not simply in diabetics. As you’ll be able to see at 1:30 in my video, when you observe non diabetic ladies with coronary heart illness however regular fasting blood sugar, how excessive their blood sugar spikes after chugging some sugar water seems to find out how briskly their arteries proceed to clog up, maybe as a result of the upper the blood sugars spike, the extra free radicals are produced.
So, what are some dietary methods to enhance the state of affairs? Thankfully, “improvements in diet exert profound and immediate favorable changes…,” however what sort of enhancements? “Specifically, a diet high in minimally processed, high-fiber, plant-based foods such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts,”—antioxidant, anti-inflammatory complete plant meals—“will markedly blunt the post-meal increase” in sugar, fats, and irritation.
But what when you actually wished to eat some Wonder Bread? As you’ll be able to see at 2:23 in my video, you’d get a giant spike in blood sugar lower than an hour after eating it. Would it make a distinction when you unfold the bread with almond butter? Adding a few third of a cup of almonds to the identical quantity of Wonder Bread considerably blunts the blood sugar spike.
In that case, would any low-carb food assist? Why add almond butter when you may make a bologna sandwich? Well, to start with, plant-based meals have the antioxidants to wipe out any extra free radicals. So, nuts cannot solely blunt blood sugar spikes, however oxidative injury as effectively. What’s extra, they’ll even blunt insulin spikes. Indeed, including nuts to a meal calms each blood sugar ranges and insulin ranges, as you’ll be able to see at 3:02 in my video. Now, you’re most likely considering, Well, duh, much less sugar means much less insulin, however that’s not what occurs with low-carb animal meals.
As you’ll be able to see at 3:23 in my video, when you add steamed skinless hen breast to your white rice, you get a better insulin spike than when you had simply eaten the white rice alone. So, including the low-carb plant food made issues higher, however including the low-carb animal food made issues worse. It’s the identical with including hen breast to mashed potatoes—a better insulin spike with the added animal protein. It can also be the identical with animal fats: Add some butter to a meal, and get a dramatically increased insulin spike from some sugar, as you’ll be able to see at 3:45 in my video.
If you add butter and cheese to white bread, white potatoes, white spaghetti, or white rice, you’ll be able to generally even double the insulin response. If you add half an avocado to a meal, nonetheless, as an alternative of worsening, the insulin response improves, because it does with the primary complete plant food supply of fats: nuts.
I’ve lined the impact including berries to a meal has on blood sugar responses in If Fructose Is Bad, What About Fruit?, and that raises the query: How Much Fruit Is Too Much?
In addition to the all-fruit jam query, I cowl The Effects of Avocados and Red Wine on Postprandial Inflammation.
Vinegar may assist. See Can Vinegar Help with Blood Sugar Control?.
Perhaps this explains a part of the longevity profit to nut consumption, which I focus on in Nuts May Help Prevent Death.
I additionally speak about that quick inflammatory response to unhealthy food decisions in Best Foods to Improve Sexual Function.
Surprised by the hen and butter response? The identical factor occurs with tuna fish and different meat, as I cowl in my video Paleo Diets May Negate Benefits of Exercise.
Michael Greger, M.D.
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