A Natural Approach to Regulating Blood Sugar

Physicians following traditional treatment protocols often recommend that diabetics take in less than 50 grams of carbohydrates daily.  Most of their nutrition then must come in the form of protein and fats.  Fat accumulation in blood vessels sets the stage for heart and vascular disease in diabetes. When too much fat is in the diet, the body becomes incapable of using the available insulin efficiently.   It prevents the body from responding to insulin and even blocks its uptake.

Julian Whitaker’s approach to managing blood sugar is simple and has been highly successful.  Three key elements are:

  1. Incorporating moderate amounts of complex carbohydrates as the basis for meals.
  2. Snacking on fruit between meals.
  3. Timing exercise after meals to raise metabolism and lower blood sugar.

Dr. Whitaker noted, “Generally breakfast is the easiest meal to adapt to…..We use high-fiber cereals, preferably the hot ones; a little bit of non-fat milk, but not too much because we want to stay away from protein; fresh fruit; and some whole grain toast with a non-sugar marmalade or fruit spread. Breakfast is relatively easy, and the one I have described is also one you should be eating while taking in substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals at the morning meal.”

“For lunch, we try to emphasize some of the popular ethnic dishes so much a part of American culture, such as Mexican, Chinese and Italian. For lunch we prepare a tostada with non-lard-laden beans, piled with fruit, lettuce and tomatoes. We thin the bean mixture with a small amount of olive oil or a small amount of walnut oil for texture. Again we have some fresh fruit.”

“Between breakfast and lunch, we recommend that diabetics snack on the succulent fruits – peaches, pears, apples, and so forth – because these are high in fiber and extremely low in fat. They give diabetics more evenly absorbed fruit sugar because of the fiber intake. We also recommend this kind of snacking after lunch and dinner and between dinner and bedtime.”

“We also have our diabetic patients exercise directly after each meal. If they have heart disease, we do not recommend exercise.” …..For a diabetic who does not suffer from heart disease, exercise after meals gets the body’s metabolism working a little bit faster right at that time so that the absorption of food is more evenly distributed and the blood sugar tends not to go up so high. Exercise after breakfast is most important: it sets the stage for the rest of the day. The exercise need be for only 7 to 10 minutes. Studies have shown that 7 to 10  minutes of exercise after a meal in a diabetic patient is a substantial improvement over being sedentary after eating.”

“Dinner would be pasta, Chinese vegetables with brown rice, or something from the Mexicans emphasizing beans and grains. Italian dishes made with tomato sauce, olives, and some other vegetables are very popular here.  After dinner and before bedtime we give a snack of some kind of fresh fruit.  We also recommend that diabetics supplement their diets with additional fiber, and for breakfast we prepare oat bran muffins that are high in oat fiber……….We are heavy on beans and grains and low in fats and animal proteins. We get protein primarily from vegetable sources, and carbohydrate intake is about 65 to 70 percent of the calories as opposed to 40 to 45 percent of the calories in the normal American diet.”[1]

According to Whitaker, this protocol has allowed most of his Type 2 diabetics to eliminate insulin and oral hypoglycemics. Complex carbohydrates in moderate amounts followed by exercise immediately after eating results in a smoother, slower rise and fall in blood sugar. It is believed that the neuropathies, cardiovascular, renal and other consequences  associated with diabetes are caused by both high blood sugar and insulin levels over time.  Close attention to diet, exercise after eating and snacking on fruits between meals will help to moderate blood sugars and insulin levels.

Exercise is the key

To follow Dr. Whitaker’s protocol, one should exercise for 7 – 10 minutes immediately after meals.  A brisk 7-10 minute walk is what many patients do at Dr. Whitaker’s center.   It has been recommended that one consider eating more carbohydrates or reducing insulin before exercise.  One should monitor blood sugars frequently closely and consult a qualified health practitioner about changes one makes in his routine.   Also, one should be especially careful to ensure that feet are well protected during exercise, by inspecting them before and after working out.

[1] Julian Whitaker as quoted in Gary Null’s Healing Your Body Naturally, Alternative Treatments to Illness, pp 237-238.