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How to heal metabolism with elevated BG?

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    So I’m not really sure what to do… My fasting blood glucose is very elevated, and so is my cortisol (but I do not have Cushing’s). My endocrinologist wants me to go on Metformin. My naturopath recommends, in addition to chromium and supplements to lower cortisol, a diet ‘similar to paleo’ – limiting starches/sugars and replacing with protein and vegetables, for example instead of having pasta use spaghetti squash. But I was on a diet similar to that for 2 years and it caused more problems than it fixed: I was cold, my digestion slowed down and bloating increased, I was hungry all the time, I was fatigued and had brain fog, and on and on. So won’t going back on that just further wreck my metabolism? And if I already have high cortisol, can’t a diet that limits starches/sugars just exacerbate that? But I know I need to lower my blood glucose, pronto.

    I just don’t know what to do, and I don’t know WHY my cortisol and blood glucose are so high! I’m only 22 years old! My diet is pretty balanced; I only eat out (such as burger+fries) once a week, my meals are mostly all whole foods, I do have ice cream daily but that’s like the only ‘sweet treat’ type of thing I have…

    Plus increasing carbs and including ice cream and such, LED to improvements: I’m warmer, I have many more moments of feeling extremely calm, my digestion improved, etc.

    So basically: I feel like if I eat the way I am, I have the improvements of a healthier metabolism but for some reason high BG, and if I eat a diet that’s supposed to be better for BG then my BG will be improved but then I’ll feel like crap. Is there no happy medium??


    Also: I’m 22 years old, female, BMI is probably around 22


    Hi Dania,

    I agree that a low-carb diet is not going to solve your problem. Short term, it may improve your blood sugar, but long-term you’ll likely just feel like crap (as you experienced yourself) and become even more insulin resistant. It may work for some people, but for the majority of people low-carb dieting is a trap, leading to lethargy, weakness, and weird food aversions.

    I have two suggestions for you:

    1) Exercise daily, as much as you can. Exercise lowers blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity. You can prove this to yourself. Eat a plate of pasta and check your BG. Then, the next day work out for an hour (walking is fine) and eat the same meal at the same time of day, immediately after the work-out. I guarantee your BG won’t go nearly as high. Exercise is your first weapon against becoming diabetic. If you can exercise an hour a day–not just for a couple weeks, but as a permanent lifestyle change–you will experience drastic improvements in your health that will continue for years to come.

    2) Cut out the ice cream and other fatty foods. Some fat in your diet is okay and even necessary, but too much dietary fat reduces insulin sensitivity. Fatty foods also make it easier to overeat, and excess calories are going to push your BG readings up. However, this doesn’t mean you need to give up your sweet tooth. For something sweet and creamy, try making a smoothie. For example: 1 banana, 1/2 cup low-fat milk, 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, and ice. This shake is delicious, and it’s a lot healthier than ice cream. You’re basically replacing the fat with protein, and I think it tastes just as good.

    This is the happy medium. You don’t have to give up pasta and eat that disgusting spaghetti squash, but eat your spaghetti with chicken breast and marinara instead of beef, cheese, or white sauce. Eat fruit smoothies instead of ice cream. Try a turkey sandwich and pretzels instead of the burger and fries. And most importantly, exercise as much as you can.

    That’s just my advice. Nothing too extreme is going to work long-term, but these two changes–exercising daily and moderating your fat intake–should be relatively easy to make, while bringing amazing results over time.


    A final note: Your BMI is in the normal range, so there’s no reason to cut calories. Of my two suggestions, increasing daily exercise is probably the most important. Eating more carbs and protein is helpful for increasing your exercise capacity, which is why I still think it’s important to moderate fat intake, though there’s no reason to go crazy with it. From my personal experience, I can run faster and work out harder when I keep fat intake down to like 50-70 grams a day–while keeping carbs and protein higher.

    For exercise, you might want to consider doing resistance training to build up some muscle. Do you have any experience with weight training? Do you currently exercise?


    I recommended reading the book “the metabolic effect”, you can find it on Amazon, lots of good information and very way to follow

    The Real Amy

    I second the exercise suggestion. It’s really the #1 proven thing to lower the risk of diabetes and reverse pre-diabetes. Even if it’s just walking (which can also lower your stress levels).

    The other thing is do whatever you can to lower your stress levels. Meditation has been shown to be effective in all kinds of health outcomes, so if you can do that, bonus. Stress has been shown to increase diabetes risk.

    I think David’s diet suggestions sound smart, too, and you can adjust based on how your body feels.

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