This paper is admittedly a re-packaging of other messages on our site. It will help you understand why mood swings, impulses, uncomfortable feelings, cravings and things that make no sense about your body are actually signs that your brain is doing the best it can to save your life.
Do you experience anxiety, depression, any kind of mental illness or addiction? Do you have a hard time dealing with impulses to eat or drink? These impulses are probably there because your brain is smarter than you are! Let’s take a look at how impulses to eat and drink are just your brain’s way of doing the best it can to save your life.
To get it, you need to understand at least a little bit about the disease processes caused by the processed food supply. With at least 1/3 of Americans headed for or already arrived at diabetes, we are seeing skyrocketing rates of the problems that pave the way in the years prior to the diagnosis. In other words, for years or even decades before diabetes starts, people suffer anxiety, depression, learning issues, weight gain (especially around the middle) and all kinds of uncomfortable feelings and impulses to put things in their bodies. The desire for carbs and alcohol are your body’s way of saying to you, “Your blood sugar is messed up, get something in me fast to make this awful feeling go away.” As a nation, this is happening on a massive scale as our bodies’ ability to maintain normal blood sugar is being destroyed by refined foods.
The discomfort, bad moods and impulses come from the fact that when your blood sugar plunges, your brain is literally out of fuel. Sugar in the blood = fuel for the brain. Your body is telling you if you don’t give it fuel, a coma is coming. The impulse is there to save you from an emergency. It is futile and injurious to expect people who are out of brain fuel to have the will power to remain abstinent, to honor intentions to exercise portion control, or to force themselves to concentrate. The anxiety, craving, problems with impulse control, etc. are all perfectly normal warning signs that your brain is helping you out by not letting you go into a coma. It’s an emergency! From the point of view of Suppers, we should be thanking our brains for saving our lives and using these feelings as important data. They are your body’s language, telling you to get off the emergency food –- refined carbs –- and eat real food. They are screaming at you. And not everyone gets all these feelings, but people’s whose blood sugar is unstable are going to experience some of them.
The problem may be more complex for some people, as when allergies, reactions to environmental toxins, and serious addictions are part of the mix. But the big, readable, free-to-users signs almost always involve telling swings in blood sugar.
The human body is extremely well designed to prevent blood sugar from going too low. This is because sugar in the blood equals fuel for the brain; if you don't have enough fuel in your brain, you will experience coma followed by death. There are a half dozen chemicals your body can produce to raise blood sugar because you die fast if you don’t. There’s only one lonely hormone to bring it down –- insulin -– which is a big reason for the epidemic. And we are so well designed to not let our brains run out of fuel that it’s really unusual for anyone but a medicated diabetic to experience such low blood sugar. A person who injects insulin -– which forces blood sugar down -– must be extremely careful to prevent extreme low levels, which cause death.
There are two main ways your brain -- wisely -- does you the service of pulling you out of a low blood sugar emergency. It can give you screaming, insistent impulses -- cravings -- to consume something that will raise your blood sugar/brain fuel (sugar/carbs). Or it can save you by pumping adrenal stress hormones that will force your body to release sugar for energy, just like in the fight or flight response. Both are extremely uncomfortable; you flood with the same chemicals your body would produce in response to a loose tiger. It doesn't feel like normal hunger, it feels like a desperate call to eat or drink something to raise blood sugar like carbs, coffee or other stimulants.
The uncomfortable feelings that many people feel in the years before they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are their brains’ way of saying, “You’re giving me the wrong fuel.” Since your body doesn’t speak English, you have to learn its language. Will power is no match for the impulses to eat nor the waves of uncomfortable feelings that beset the person who is on the blood sugar roller coaster but doesn't know it. The lesson for all of us is that low blood sugar is not the opposite of diabetes, it's what happens in the years before diabetes is diagnosed. It's sign language saying “Your body's ability to use insulin to normalize blood sugar is running out, you have to change.”
For people with type 1 diabetes or insulin-dependent type 2, these “eat now or die" messages are chemically enhanced by the insulin they take and may be even more extreme since the drug is overriding the natural hormones. Diabetics have a special view on the will power debate. In her own words, Suppers member Audelle describes the problem this way: “I tried to strictly follow the standard low carb diabetic diet plan because I really want to avoid high blood sugars and cravings. Most of us are acutely aware that whatever carb/sugar we take to stop the immediate uncomfortable feeling is directly impacting our health long term. And it could also start us on another bout with the blood sugar roller coaster. So there's added guilt -- how could I get on this ride knowing the short and long term effects of everything that I consume?”
People with normal blood sugar regulation have no reference point for understanding the desperation and non-negotiable impulses that plague a person with unstable blood sugar. It looks like mental health problems and/or addiction. And let’s remember about 1/3 of Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control, will have to deal with this. From Audelle: “Before I came to Suppers, the guilt and horrific self-talk about this was daily. But the brutal self-talk is extremely rare now because however I got on the ride, I know I need to listen to my body to live. I can analyze the ‘hows’ once I'm rational again, which means after I’ve eaten well.”
What Suppers can provide to people who want stability in their lives is the opportunity to run the personal experiments that reveal how their individual bodies respond to exercise, food, medication, and stress, the four main influences on blood sugar stability. We can also help you establish more conscious, mindful eating patterns. At Suppers you can learn to eat according to your intentions instead of your impulses.