In his magazine, “The Good Life,” Dr. Oz’s Rx of the Month (March ‘17), is, “If you’re feeling signs of sleepiness, pull over and take a nap – it’ll help.” D’ya know what would help even more? Don’t eat a carb-loaded lunch!
Dr. Oz’s suggestion is based on the assumption that the driver in his set-up piece is sleep-deprived. We’re a “chronically sleep-deprived nation,” the article says. “Skipping even a few hours of sleep nearly doubles your risk for an accident,” according to an AAA report cited. But you know what produces “signs of sleepiness” as much and much more frequently? Answer: a metabolism that has crashed because of a low blood sugar.
If you have Insulin Resistance, as you likely do if you meet the criteria for Metabolic Syndrome, or have been told you are either pre-diabetic or a type 2 diabetic, you have a chronically elevated level of insulin in your blood. In that case, your chronically elevated blood insulin level will block access to energy from body fat which a healthy metabolism would have between meals. Your blood insulin level remains elevated as your pancreas continues to make insulin in an attempt to overcome the resistance to the uptake of glucose from your blood.
Without that access to energy from your body fat, your metabolism will have to slow down to maintain energy balance, called homeostasis. Among other things, you will feel “signs of sleepiness.” You’ve crashed. And you will soon be hungry again…for more carbs. Yes, it’s a vicious cycle. By continuing to feed your body carbs by mouth, you deny it the body-fat fuel it needs to be “energized” and in balance at a higher metabolic rate.
Of course, you do have an alternative: You can gain access to your body fat reserves to give your body the energy it needs to maintain a stable, high metabolic rate. That is, to remain in energy balance (homeostasis) but at a normal, high metabolic rate. Your body will not need to slow down and “crash.” How? Listen up!
Most people in the U. S. eat their evening meal between 6 and 8pm. Digestion of carbs and fat starts almost immediately and is usually complete within an hour or two. Protein takes longer, up to 4 to 5 hours. Then the body rests (and we sleep), and while we sleep it runs on sugar in the blood and stored in the liver. When the “sugar” stores are nearly exhausted, it enters ketosis, where it naturally breaks down body fat for energy.
This is a normal process. It is called the overnight fast. We all do it. And survive. And we wake up in the morning feeling refreshed from the rest and the fast! And then we eat “breakfast.” Get it? “break-fast.” The problem began when we began to create a cycle of carbohydrate addiction: we started by eating a breakfast loaded with carbs, starting with fruit juice. Pure sugar water! Then we ate toast or a muffin or worse, a bagel. Pure “sugar” glucose! Then we ate cereal or oatmeal. All carbs (glucose)! And in 2 hours we’re hungry again.
Suggestion: Try 2 eggs, any style, even hard boiled if you don’t have time to prepare them in the morning. If you do cook, fry them in bacon grease (enjoy a bacon ‘side’). This “break-fast” is all protein and fat. No carbs!
Or, if you’re not hungry (like me), just have a cup of coffee. I have mine with heavy whipping cream (a ‘fat bomb’) and pure powdered stevia (not in packets of stevia combined with maltodextrin or dextrose – other words for sugar). If you do this, you are in effect extending your fast. You will be surprised at how your energy level, and your blood sugar, will remain stable all morning long. I’ve been skipping breakfast for a few years now, and I often forget to eat lunch. Or don’t think about it until 2 or 3 or even 4 in the afternoon. Really!I think it’s a red herring to attribute “signs of sleepiness” to sleep deprivation. I know that many families have to get up early and stay up late and that sleep deprivation is a problem for some. But “signs of sleepiness” are much more likely to be attributable to a metabolism that slowed down because access to its own fat stores for energy was blocked by a chronically elevated blood insulin associated with pre-diabetes and type 2. If you are overweight and are developing insulin resistance, that is most likely why you get tired after a carb-laden meal.