On this episode of the Know Your Physio Podcast, our astute host, Andres Preschel, interviews Jessie Inchauspe, well known as “the Glucose Goddess”, to evaluate the causes and effects of enacting glucose awareness to the general public. In this article, we dive into common dietary and lifestyle behaviors which, when better understood, can cause transformations in the form of confidence and awareness of your unique physiology.
To sweeten a cup of tea in the morning, imagine needing to fight off hundreds of bees for a teaspoon of honey. This seems irrational, but the modern alternative is to use chemically processed sugar and unnatural sweeteners which are detrimental to your health (Suez et al., 2014). If you lived a thousand years ago, Jessie Inchauspe, known as the “Glucose Goddess”, would wholeheartedly lead the charge for a satisfying spoonful of honey, one of nature’s most treasured sweeteners.
In Episode One of the Know Your Physio Podcast, Jessie Inchauspe, biochemist and glucose monitoring expert, explains the numerous benefits of tracking your glucose and eating more intentionally. Through her educational videos and social media challenges, Jessie inspires her followers with concrete evidence to show why glucose monitoring improves energy levels, mood, reduces cravings, immunity, and may even prevent wrinkles! (Breymeyer et al., 2016; Gkogkolou & Böhm, 2012; Kim, 2017; Wyatt et al., 2021). Her mission is to inspire others to become “citizen scientists” – individuals who can confidently take control of their health using her scientifically appealing strategies.
To understand why developing her habits promote health and longevity we must review the overarching function of glucose in the body. Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream after the chemical and mechanical digestion, then used as energy through various metabolic pathways. The glucose molecule’s dynamic role implies great power in various physiological functions. Maintaining balanced glucose levels optimizes energy levels, but when glucose consumption exceeds the demands of energy production, the body stores glucose as glycogen (Roach et al, 2012). Maintaining a surplus of glucose and constant spikes places humans at risk for diseases and illness such as Type II Diabetes, hormone dysregulation, metabolic and immune dysfunction, fatigue, and frequent cravings with lack of satiety. (Kim, 2017)
Acute spikes in blood glucose levels occur when you drink a cup of coffee with sugar on an empty stomach. When uncontrolled glucose levels become chronic, insulin resistance is often present. Insulin is released from beta cells of the pancreas; when the concentration of glucose in the bloodstream exceeds insulin’s ability to transport glucose into the cell, the body experiences insulin resistance. (Galicia-Garcia et al., 2020) Although lifestyle factors (i.e. physical activity) can be modified to improve your health, outcomes are partially dependent on nonmodifiable factors (i.e. sex, race and genetics)
Since glucose is a major source of fuel for the body, eliminating carbohydrates and other glucose elevating foods can be harmful. The brain accounts for about 2% of body mass, and it’s energy consumption requires approximately 20% from glucose-derived sources! (Mergenthaler et al., 2013) Knowing this level of demand, high performance athletes may require greater amounts of carbohydrates to sustain optimal performance during high-intensity training and competition compared to those living more sedentary lives. (Burke, 2011)
How to Control Glucose Levels
The access to tasty, quick, yet artificial and preservative laden foods requires us to make careful dietary decisions. To help with this, an advantageous point system called the “glycemic index” comparatively represents glucose levels within various foods. For example, apples have a lower glycemic index than bananas. So, when eaten alone, it may be wiser to choose the apple as a healthy snack.
Jessie believes that it is ok to eat those deliciously crispy fries or mac and cheese, but from her perspective as the Glucose Goddess, combining macronutrients like protein from a burger with the carbohydrates from fries can significantly decrease glucose spikes and reduce the overall negative potential. Another easy and full-proof method of reducing glucose spikes before meals is by ingesting some vinegar before your meals. Vinegar has been shown to acutely improve glucose metabolism (Santos et al., 2019).
Tips to hack your glucose levels include:
- Eating a savory breakfast instead of a sweet one
- Do not eat high glucose elevating foods on an empty stomach
- Eating fat, protein, or vegetables at the start of your meal
- Combine any starch with protein, fats or fiber
- Go for a short walk after your meal for about 10 minutes
- Use sugar substitutes (i.e. Monk Fruit, Stevia, Erythritol, or Allulose)
- Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar in a glass of water and drink before meals
Bringing Knowledge to Action
Now, understanding and taking control of our glucose molecules is easy through the implementation of simple dietary and lifestyle habits. Jessie’s work constantly emphasizes that health and wellness does not have to be expensive or complicated. Using the sure-fire strategies provided here can help us make educated decisions about positive dietary behavior and the dramatic differences that become possible in our life. Knowledge is enlightening, but can only become powerful once it is applied. By following the advice of the Glucose Goddess, we can adopt healthy habits that last a lifetime while exemplifying a deeper awareness and respect to humans for the power of glucose.
Breymeyer, K. L., Lampe, J. W., McGregor, B. A., & Neuhouser, M. L. (2016). Subjective mood and energy levels of healthy weight and overweight/obese healthy adults on high-and low-glycemic load experimental diets. Appetite, 107, 253–259. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2016.08.008
Burke, L. M., Hawley, J. A., Wong, S. H., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2011). Carbohydrates for training and competition. Journal of sports sciences, 29 Suppl 1, S17–S27. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2011.585473
Galicia-Garcia, U., Benito-Vicente, A., Jebari, S., Larrea-Sebal, A., Siddiqi, H., Uribe, K. B., Ostolaza, H., & Martín, C. (2020). Pathophysiology of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(17), 6275. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21176275
Gkogkolou, P., & Böhm, M. (2012). Advanced glycation end products: Key players in skin aging?. Dermato-endocrinology, 4(3), 259–270. https://doi.org/10.4161/derm.22028
Kim, C. S., Park, S., & Kim, J. (2017). The role of glycation in the pathogenesis of aging and its prevention through herbal products and physical exercise. Journal of exercise nutrition & biochemistry, 21(3), 55–61. https://doi.org/10.20463/jenb.2017.0027
Mergenthaler, P., Lindauer, U., Dienel, G. A., & Meisel, A. (2013). Sugar for the brain: the role of glucose in physiological and pathological brain function. Trends in neurosciences, 36(10), 587–597. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tins.2013.07.001
Roach, P. J., Depaoli-Roach, A. A., Hurley, T. D., & Tagliabracci, V. S. (2012). Glycogen and its metabolism: some new developments and old themes. The Biochemical journal, 441(3), 763–787. https://doi.org/10.1042/BJ20111416
Santos, H. O., de Moraes, W., da Silva, G., Prestes, J., & Schoenfeld, B. J. (2019). Vinegar (acetic acid) intake on glucose metabolism: A narrative review. Clinical nutrition ESPEN, 32, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnesp.2019.05.008
Suez, J., Korem, T., Zeevi, D., Zilberman-Schapira, G., Thaiss, C. A., Maza, O., Israeli, D., Zmora, N., Gilad, S., Weinberger, A., Kuperman, Y., Harmelin, A., Kolodkin-Gal, I., Shapiro, H., Halpern, Z., Segal, E., & Elinav, E. (2014). Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature, 514(7521), 181–186. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature13793
Wyatt, P., Berry, S.E., Finlayson, G. et al. Postprandial glycaemic dips predict appetite and energy intake in healthy individuals. Nat Metab 3, 523–529 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s42255-021-00383-x