Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Taming the Holiday Sugar Monster

By Steven Horne, RH(AHG)

The holidays are upon us, beginning with Halloween. This is a wonderful time of year, yet most of us overindulge in desserts, candies and other treats, only to regret it later.

At the end of October, millions of children roam the neighborhood trick or treating in an effort to collect as many sugar-laden treats as possible. It’s fun to play the role of goblins, ghosts and monsters, but drowning our bodies in refined sugar is what's really scary.

Part of the problem is that candy and desserts are so easily accessible to us. This was not the case for our grandparents and great grandparents. In the old days, people had to go outside to pick berries or other fruits, collect honey from beehives and risk getting stung, or collect tree sap and boil it down for hours to make maple syrup. This discouraged most people from making candy and desserts except on special occasions such as holidays and birthdays.

Today, we’ve learned how to refine and concentrate the natural sugars in certain foods—stripping them of their vitamin and mineral content to create empty calories. Sugar is now isolated, cheap and plentiful, and what was once an occasional treat is now a daily staple for many of us. This has had a devastating effect on human health, particularly in the form of diabetes.

Diabetes – Epidemic and Increasing

Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States and is affecting an increasingly large portion of the population. It is directly linked with the excessive consumption of refined sugars and other simple carbohydrates. Sugar consumption and a pre-diabetic metabolism also play a role in the development of heart disease and cancer.

Excessive consumption of sugar and simple carbs has also led to an epidemic of obesity, learning disabilities and behavioral problems, as well as tooth decay and gum disease. For all the “fun” and “comfort” they provide, sugar and simple carbs often end in horror stories.

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes affects 23.6 million people in the United States—nearly 8% of the population! Another 51 million people are pre-diabetic. Diabetes is also becoming more prevalent in children, along with obesity from high carb diets.

Unfortunately, the diabetes epidemic has spread beyond America’s shores and created a global health crisis.  According to the International Diabetes Federation, diagnosed cases of diabetes have increased from 30 million to 246 million in the past twenty years.

Breaking our addiction to sugar isn’t easy, but if we really want to enjoy better health we can do it. Fortunately, herbs and nutritional supplements can help in our battle to balance our blood sugar. We’ve posted the following handouts at, which cover a variety of formulas that can be helpful for diabetes and blood sugar issues. Just click on the link to read more about any formula or single herb.

Formulas for Balancing Blood Sugar

Target P-14 contains zinc and chromium chelated to specific amino acids that deliver these minerals to the pancreas and aid insulin production. They are found in the same base of herbs as the Pro-Pancreas blend, a traditional formula containing goldenseal and other herbs that help to normalize metabolism in diabetes. Target P-14 is an especially good choice for reducing the amount of insulin required to manage type 2 diabetes.

SugarReg® contains the minerals chromium and vanadium in a base of herbs that help overcome insulin resistance. One of these herbs is gymnema, a plant that has been used for thousands of years in India for treating diabetes. When chewed, gymnema blocks the sugar taste buds, making sugar taste like sand. In the intestines, gymnema blocks the absorption of sugar, reducing blood sugar levels. SugarReg also contains banaba, bitter melon, nopal and fenugreek, which have all been shown to help lower blood sugar levels.

Since India is the birthplace of diabetes, no system of medicine has been treating diabetes longer than Ayurveda. Ayurvedic Blood Sugar formula is a traditional diabetic formula from Ayurvedic medicine. Like SugarReg, the key herb in this blend is gymnema, which inhibits sugar absorption in the small intestines. It also helps regulate sugar metabolism in the liver.

Another traditional Western blend for diabetes is PBS, which contains goldenseal and cedar berries. The famous herbalist John Christopher discovered that cedar berries lower blood sugar levels by accident when one of his clients took them instead of the juniper berries he had recommended.

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