How We’re All Tricked into a Hypo-Glycemic Trance

You can make a hypnotized person do just about anything, right?

Because of the way we eat when we’re eating subconsciously, we’re hypnotized far more often than we realize.

I like to talk about focus – or lack of it. I like to talk about why so many of us walk around like hungry ghosts. I spend a lot of my time trying to customize plans for people who are not in the driver’s seat of their own lives.

The competitive, individualist world we live in doesn’t allow us to address the true root of this problem. Instead, we moralize our successes and failures rather than attributing them to the capabilities our nutrition gives us. 

It’s likely multifaceted – the brain fog that descends over us and prevents us from tapping into the unbridled power of an optimally functioning brain. 

But the way that we eat, especially in terms of the glycemic index, puts our bodies through hell. And when we put our bodies through hell, our mental agility suffers along with it.

Glycemic Index: This is a guiding metric that tracks foods with carbohydrates to determine how quickly and by how much those foods raise your blood sugar. The scale runs from 1-100, as measured by the International Organization for Standardization. Foods are low, medium, or high on the glycemic index (GI.)

Glycemic Load: This measurement system is a little bit different, and some scientists believe, more accurate. Rather than simply measuring how foods that contain carbohydrates affect your blood sugar, it measures how the amount of carbohydrates per a certain portion of food. Then, it calculates how that food per portion affects your blood sugar.

It’s not as simple as it sounds. Carbs aren’t the only consideration.

Are the carbs refined? How is the food chemically and physically structured? Is the food fibrous? Fatty? Acidic?

Let’s get microscopic for a bit.

High, Low, and In Between

On the high side of the GI scale are foods with carbohydrates that metabolize into glucose more quickly. That means they raise your blood sugar faster, which leads to the body producing more insulin. 

The insulin pushes glucose into cells, which then drops the amount of glucose in the blood. Low blood sugar, low energy. (If this pattern goes on for long enough, you’re looking at insulin resistance.)

The more fiber, protein, and fat a food has, the lower it is on the GI index. That’s because all of those other nutrients slow the release of glucose into the blood. Your blood sugar rise is tempered, and so is its fall. This results in a more even energy experience.

So, to reiterate: 

  • High on the GI (69-100): generally heavier in refined or processed carbohydrates and light on fibers, proteins, and fats
  • Medium on the GI (56-69): a decent mix of high and low
  • Low on the GI (55 or less): generally higher in fiber, protein, and fat than carbs

It’s important to remember, however, that glycemic responses (GRs) can change based on a variety of conditions. Alcohol consumption, present of other diseases, smoking, exercise – all can have an effect on the body’s individual response to a particular food on a specific day. 

GI simply represents the average GR – its potential and most likely reaction.

Already, you can see how difficult it can be to measure the GI impact of a given meal. We don’t tend to eat plain, whole, steamed foods for lunch. Our food is complex. 

To measure each part of every single one would take serious dedication.

That’s part of the problem…

What Happens When We Eat HIGH on the GI?

In a word?

A rollercoaster. 

You start your day with an item high on the GI – a doughnut, maybe, or even white bread toasted with bacon, cheese, egg, and avocado. 

That second option doesn’t seem as bad as a doughnut – but ultimately, the refined and processed carbohydrates (and sugar) raise the level of your blood sugar rapidly, forcing insulin production in order to lower your blood sugar. 

Big up, big down.

And when your blood sugar crashes, you hit a unique type of energy crevice called “functional hypoglycemia” – you can still do things, but you feel horrendous. Depleted. Exhausted. Foggy. Unable to engage. 

To counter regulate this fuzzy, liminal state, your body encourages your endocrine system to pump out adrenaline and cortisol. 

This happens all day, over and over, for as long as you continue to eat mostly high GI foods.

After a long period of time, you see adrenal fatigue, insulin resistance, trouble regulating blood sugar…

Brain fog is a symptom of all of those problems. 

Your hypo-glycemic trance isn’t necessarily a product of your attention. Rather, your attention is a product of your glycemic response. 

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Dr. Pedram Shojai

NY Times Best Selling author and film maker. Taoist Abbot and Qigong master. Husband and dad. I’m here to help you find your way and be healthy and happy. I don’t want to be your guru…just someone who’ll help point the way. If you’re looking for a real person who’s done the work, I’m your guy. I can light the path and walk along it with you but can’t walk for you.