The sugar “debate” is raging on heavily. Those on the low carb side are seeing links of high blood glucose to heart disease, hypertension, obesity and diabetes (those are just the obvious ones). Those on the other side are really just arguing for more plant based foods and balance, stating a potential for “moderation”. Since the majority of us want to get leaner and feel better, going sugar free would be a great place to start.
When it comes to general health, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence of people improving their lives in every way – when switching to a low carb diet – and frankly it’s really inspiring. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, spend a week following #LCHF and #Keto hashtags or spend time on Reddit. You’ll be amazed at how many people have managed to drop weight and turn their health around from a myriad ailments. The known links between high blood glucose and chronic disease have been in the media spotlight of late. I recently heard another possible link. Although it’s not published data, Paul Laursen and Dan Plews may have observed another major link between blood glucose and longevity.
If you listen to their episode of the pacey performance podcast , they discuss a link/relationship they found between their two largest areas of research – fat oxidation and HRV. What they found was, high levels of glucose in the blood seemed to activate the sympathetic state. If you recall from our HRV article, sympathetic activity is the stress response and not a state you want to stay in for too long.
As eye opening and surprising as it is, it’s also almost obvious. If you follow along with all the people reversing symptoms of metabolic syndrome by reducing carbohydrate intake it might not be that surprising. Lower carbohydrate intake and the use of intermittent fasting are both strategies to brink down blood glucose. Perhaps the increased activation of the parasympathetic state is one of the main advantages of reducing blood sugar.
As a recap, sympathetic state is the stress response and parasympathetic state is the recovery/relaxed response. If high blood glucose is a sympathetic activator, it means it is making you stressed. Over activation of the human stress response does not lead to a long healthy life, that’s for sure. So you can add stress to the list with all the other health ailments that are coming with your high blood glucose. Since you can’t be both sympathetic and parasympathetic at the same time, it’s really limiting your ability to relax and recover.
I’m not presenting any data here and I’m trusting the amazing work these two sports scientists have done, but as I’ve been writing and following a low carb movement this relationship they’ve observed in the lab seems all too real/possible.
If you have high blood glucose already and haven’t made the plunge, it might be time to make the move. While you’re at it, track your HRV and let us know what you find. There’s nothing stopping you from doing your own self research!
It’s About Getting Better!