In his magazine, “The Good Life,” Dr. Oz’s Rx of the Month (March ‘17), was, “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 “Rx of the Month” 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 a bit of Insulin Resistance, as you likely do if you are a little overweight, or you 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, a chronically elevated blood insulin level will block access to energy from body fat, which access a healthy metabolism would have between meals. Your blood insulin level remains elevated because your pancreas continues to make insulin in a vain attempt to overcome the Insulin Resistance to the uptake of glucose (energy) from your blood.
Without access to energy from your body fat, your metabolism will have to slow down to maintain energy balance. Among other things, it will circulate less blood to the brain and extremities, and you will feel “signs of sleepiness.” You’ve crashed. And you will soon be hungry again…and you’ll snack between meals. Yes, it’s a vicious cycle. By continuing to feed your body by mouth, including carbs on a balanced diet, you deny your body fuel from body fat that it needs to be “energized.” That means to remain in energy 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: to remain in energy balance (homeostasis) but at a normal, high metabolic rate. Your body will not need to slow down and “crash.” How? Cut back sharply on eating carbs at lunch.
Most people in the U. S. eat their evening meal between 6 and 8pm. Digestion 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” (glucose from carbs) circulating in the blood and stored in the liver. When the “sugar” stores are nearly exhausted, your body, in a mild state of ketosis, naturally breaks down body fat for energy.
This is a normal process. It is called the overnight fast before “breakfast.” We all do it. And survive. And we wake up in the morning feeling refreshed from the rest and the fast! The problem began when we started 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 these foods are carbohydrates! 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 breakfast. If you do cook, fry them in bacon grease (enjoy a bacon ‘side’). This “break-fast” is all protein and fat. And no carbohydrates!
Or, if you’re not hungry when you wake up (like me), just have a cup of coffee. I have mine with heavy whipping cream (a ‘fat bomb’) and pure powdered stevia (not in convenient little packets of stevia combined with maltodextrin or dextrose – other words for sugar). If you do this, you are in effect extending your overnight 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 many 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 assigning “signs of sleepiness” to sleep deprivation is a “red herring.” I know that many families have to get up early with the kids, and/or to get to work. And many have to stay up late as well, 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 diabetes. But if you are overweight, you either have or are developing Insulin Resistance. And that is why you are hungry mid-morning after a carb-loaded breakfast or get tired after a carb-loaded lunch.