Control Your Blood Sugar With These 4 Tricks and 5 Supplements (updated)

Control your blood sugar, cut belly fat and protect you skin from wrinkles with these 4 simple tricks and 5 supplements.

high blood sugarThis article is amended from Hack #9 of my forthcoming free course that I just might call, "12 Ageproof BioHacks". To get on the list, enter your email in the blue box in the sidebar.

THE AIM of this article is to show the “tricks and supplements” that can control your blood sugar, cut belly fat and protect you from wrinkles.

These three worthy goals are cobbled together because they’re linked — a high sugar diet creates a series of biochemical reactions that instigates a host of nefarious things, including piling on the belly fat and making skin wrinkly.

Not to mention, diabetes.

Before we get to that, I want to start by:

  • Telling you about my wrestling match with high blood sugar
  • Reviewing what blood sugar, or “glucose” is and what are healthy levels
  • Revealing the 4 5 supplements to take that can help control your blood sugar, cut belly fat and protect you skin from wrinkles
  • Examining the 4 “tricks” you can do to cut your blood sugar levels

By the time you’ve finished reading this piece, you’ll be motivated to control your blood sugar.


My Blood Glucose Story

One fine morning about a year ago, I borrowed my sister’s blood glucose meter, sat down, pricked my finger, dripped a spot of blood on the strip, inserted the strip in the meter and felt my jaw bounce off the table.

This is a picture of my blood glucose result measured in milligrams per deciliter (“mg/dl”):

Blood sugar test

My fasting blood sugar one morning in 2013

110 mg/dl fasting glucose is way too high, unless you’re fine flirting with adult-onset diabetes.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

A fasting blood sugar level from 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L) is considered prediabetes. If it’s 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or higher on two separate tests, you have diabetes. Oral glucose tolerance test. For this test, you fast overnight, and the fasting blood sugar level is measured.

Doctors consider any fasting blood sugar between 70 and 100 mg/dl to be normal, but several studies suggest that people whose fasting blood sugar is over 92 mg/dl are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes over the next decade.

After I reset my jaw, I turned to my sister who was sitting next to me, and before I could blurt it out, she said,

“With your diet and exercise how is this possible?”

The fast answer is that I don’t know. But what I did know is that I would find out if this particular blood sugar test was an anomaly, and if it wasn’t I was going to move heaven and earth to lower my fasting blood sugar.

After many later tests with the blood glucose meter, I discovered that although the numbers would fluctuate, on average, my fasting blood sugar was high, but my post-meal tests (“prandial”) were very good.

Some research I’ve done suggests that people on a very low carb diet may have high fasting blood sugar numbers which, depending how high, is fine as long as the prandial and hemoglobin A1(c) numbers are good, which mine are. (Hemoglobin A1(c) measures how much glucose permanently gets glycated (bonded) to hemoglobin in red blood cells; bascially, it’s a metric for average blood glucose levels.)

Acupuncturists and integrative medicine guru Chris Kresser says that very low-carb diets will produce higher fasting blood glucose levels…

Because low-carb diets induce insulin resistance. Restricting carbohydrates produces a natural drop in insulin levels, which in turn activates hormone sensitive lipase. Fat tissue is then broken down, and non-esterified fatty acids (a.k.a. “free fatty acids” or NEFA) are released into the bloodstream. These NEFA are taken up by the muscles, which use them as fuel. And since the muscle’s needs for fuel has been met, it decreases sensitivity to insulin.

The common name for glucose is “sugar”. It’s the necessary energy source needed by all the cells and organs of our bodies. We get it from food, particularly carbohydrates such as fruit juice, bread, pasta and cereals. These foods are broken down into sugar in our stomachs, and then absorbed into the bloodstream.

As mentioned, glucose or blood sugar is measured in milligrams per deciliter (“mg/dl”). A normal glucose level is typically less than 100 mg/dl upon arising in the morning, or before eating, and is referred to as fasting blood glucose. An acceptable glucose levels one to two hours after eating (referred to as “post-prandial”) is below than 140 mg/dl.

Ideally, fasting blood glucose, prandial and hemoglobin A1(c) numbers should look like this (source):

Kresser ideal blood markers

Read: Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers


Insulin Sensitivity and Diabetes

Some people are born with diabetes because their pancreas does not secrete enough insulin, a hormone that helps glucose move from the bloodstream into the cells where it’s used for energy.

But most people with diabetes get it not by an inherited malfunctioning pancreas, but through behavior. This is called “adult-onset” or “type-2” diabetes because typically it takes years of chronically poor dietary and (no) exercise habits to slowly become desensitized to insulin (although these days children are getting this condition too because they move too little and eat too much sugar-foods).

Insulin-resistance occurs when the cells of our body resist the glucose-lowering effects of insulin. If an individual has either not enough insulin and/or insulin-resistance, then high blood sugar levels will occur. If untreated, high blood sugar levels will cause short-term effects and long-term complications, particularly if diabetes happens.

High blood sugar levels over the short-term do not cause any damage to the organs of your body; however they may cause you to feel tired and weak, be thirsty, urinate a lot, be susceptible to infections and have blurry vision.

For the elderly, high blood sugar levels can bring on dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and lead to falls and broken hips, a devastating injury during one’s “golden years”.

Over the long-term, high blood sugar levels can cause the classic chronic complications of diabetes — eye disease (“retinopathy”) that can lead to blindness, kidney disease or nephropathy, setting the stage for kidney failure. With kidney failure comes either dialysis or transplantation, and nerve disease or neuropathy which commonly leads to amputations. In addition, poorly controlled diabetes over the long-term can also contribute to heart disease, along with inadequately controlled cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Enough to give you pause, yes?

OK, enough pause… keep reading…


Blood Sugar, Insulin and Belly Fat

To understand the connectivity between blood sugar, insulin and belly fat, let’s examine a condition known as diabesity.

I don’t know if Dr. Mark Hyman coined the term “diabesity”, but certainly given the popularity of his “Blood Sugar Solution” articles, books and programs, he must be given the nod for bringing the term into the mainstream.

Dr. Mark Hyman

Dr. Mark Hyman

Dr. Hyman has written that diabesity is the number one cause of obesity, heart disease, cancer, dementia and type-2 diabetes.

So, what is it?

As the name suggested, diabesity is the combination of diabetes and obesity. What causes this potent combination are poor lifestyle choices (diet and lack of exercise) and environmental toxins interacting with one’s unique genetic proclivities.

The reason these dietary and lifestyle factors lead to diabesity is because they create insulin resistance. Type-2 diabetes is a disease of too much insulin, not too little. Insulin is the driver of problems with diabesity, which plays out like this according to Dr. Hyman:

1. A diet dominated by food and drink full of quickly absorbed sugars (“simple” carbs) causes the pancreas to pump out increasing amounts of insulin to try to shuttle the sugar into cells for energy creation, but eventually the cells become resistant to the insulin causing more insulin to be created. The higher the insulin, the worse the insulin resistance, leading to premature aging and the diseases associated with aging, heart disease, stroke, dementia and cancer.

2. This elevated insulin leads to the desire for more food (increased appetite), thereby increasing belly fat, causing more inflammation and oxidative stress, and a host of more downstream effects such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low HDL, high triglycerides, thickening of the blood and increased risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s and depression. The source of these problems is not high blood sugar per se, but the insulting resistance (and too much insulin) that it causes.

The good news is that diabesity, and the insulin resistance that provokes it, are reversible in most cases.  The body is resilient and intelligent, and will heal itself if given the chance. To help it, we must cut what upsets its healthy biochemistry, which will be addressed after a look at how blood sugar and insulin wrinkles our skin.


Blood Sugar, Insulin and Wrinkled Skin

One of the most easily observable attributes of aging is our skin. It gets thin, blotchy and wrinkled. This happens due to glycation, a normal but undesired process whereby the sugar in the bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (“AGEs”).

The more sugar we eat, the more AGEs both damage collagen and elastin. High sugar diets change collagen type as well.

Collagen and elastin are the protein fibers that keep skin firm and elastic. Collagen is the most prevalent protein in the body, and thus once it’s damaged, collagen and elastin’s suppleness and resilience becomes dry and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging.

A high-sugar diet affects what type of collagen we have. The most abundant skin collagens are types I, II, and III. Type III is the most stable and longest lasting. It’s the one we want, but glycation transforms type III collagen into the more fragile type I, making the skin less supple.

What AGEs also do is to deactivate the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, leaving us more vulnerable to sun damage, the main cause of premature skin aging.

Those most effected by high blood sugar — diabetics — often have prematurely aging skin due to years of undetected high blood sugar before being properly diagnosed and treated.

Says Karyn Grossman, MD, chief of the division of dermatology at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica:

Depending on how well their disease is controlled, diabetics can have up to 50 times the number of AGEs in their skin as those who don’t have diabetes.

Like video explanations?

Happily, when it comes to sugar-damaged skin, it’s never too late to turn back the clock, as we’ll see in the next section.


My Blood Sugar Numbers Dumbfound Me

How To Measure and Fix Your Blood Sugar

You Absolutely Need To Reduce Your Blood Sugar

9 Ways To Find Diabestity With The Blood Sugar Solution


The Four 5 Supplements to Help Control Your Blood Sugar

Now that we know how eating sugary, simple carb food and drinks creates insulin de-sensitity leading to diabesity (diabetes and obesity), wrinkled skin and a long list of chronic, age-related diseases, let’s here review the four supplements that can help.

The five supplements are:

  1. Berberine to normalize blood sugar
  2. Aggressive Strength Testosterone Booster to trim belly fat (men only)
  3. Carnosine to reduce skin glycation from the inside out
  4. Rose hip seed oil to reduce skin glycation from the outside in
  5. [Update:] Curcumin is a multi-potent supplement I’ve added to the list, for good reasons as you’ll see below

Let’s dive in…

Control Your Blood Sugar w/ Berberin

This supplement is new to me, having learned about it just three months ago, and I’m excited about it. The information I’m about to share mainly comes from Dr. Jonathan Wright’s article, Get your type 2 diabetes under control… without using a single drug.

I use Swanson’s Berberine. Click pic.

Berberine is a plant alkaloid of goldenseal, Oregon grape, and of several other less well-known botanicals. It’s best known for its antibiotic properties, does a fine job of reliving fever and stimulates bile excretion… but the most amazing thing about berberine is that it’s just as effective, yet much safer, than metformin, the medicine most commonly prescribed to help re-regulate blood sugar in type-2 diabetics.

Consider two studies done on berberine in 2008.

In one study, newly diagnosed type-2 diabetics were divided into two groups: berberine and metaformin users. Each group consumed 500 milligrams three times a day.

These were the results after three months:

  • Average fasting blood sugars in the berberine group dropped from 191 to 124 milligrams per deciliter.
  • Average post-prandial blood sugar dropped from 356 to 199 milligrams per deciliter.
  • Average hemoglobin A1(c) dropped from 9.5 percent to 7.5 percent.
  • Fasting triglycerides dropped from an average 99 to 78 milligrams per deciliter.
  • Insulin resistance dropped by 45 percent!

The researchers wrote:

Compared with metformin, berberine exhibited the same effect in the regulation of glucose metabolism, such as HbA1c, FBG [fasting blood glucose], PBG [blood sugar after eating], fasting insulin and postprandial insulin [insulin level after eating]. In the regulation of lipid metabolism, berberine activity is better than metformin. By week 13, triglycerides and total cholesterol in the berberine group had decreased and were much lower than in the metformin group (P<0.05).” (Source)

The second study compared two groups of diabetics over a three-month period, one taking 500 milligrams of berberine taken twice daily, and the other taking a placebo twice daily.

These were the results of the berberine group:

  • Average fasting blood sugar decreased from 126 to 101 milligrams/deciliter.
  • Blood sugars decreased from an average 216 to an average 160 milligrams per deciliter.
  • Average hemoglobin A1(c) decreased from 7.5 percent to 6.6 percent.
  • Average triglycerides decreased from 221 to 141 millgrams per deciliter.
  • Average total cholesterol decreased from 205 to 168 milligrams per deciliter.
  • Average LDL-cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) decreased from 125 to 97 milligrams per deciliter.

There were also positive but modest secondary outcomes:

  • Body weight decreased by an average of five pounds in the berberine group; whereas the placebo group lost three pounds.
  • Systolic blood pressure decreased from an average of 124 to 117 and diastolic blood pressure decreased from an average of 81 to 77 in those treated with berberine, exceeding the fall from 126 to 123 systolic and from 83 to 80 diastolic in those who took the placebo. (Source)

If you know someone with high blood sugar or diabetes, please share this information.

If you’d like to look at other blood glucose controlling supplements, read about some here.

Control Your Blood Sugar w/ Aggressive Strength Testosterone Booster

According to WebMD, men with low testosterone are more likely to develop diabetes than those with normal levels. Testosterone helps the body’s tissues take up more blood sugar in response to insulin. Men with low testosterone more often have insulin resistance, and thereby need to produce more insulin to keep blood sugar normal.

I’ve turned several of my male friends on to Mike Mahler’s Aggressive Strength Testosterone Booster (aff link) and — like the many, many testimonials written on Mahler’s site — they have been effusive about how it improved testosterone, energy and muscle.

I’ve also used the stuff and I agree that this supplement — a combination of Bulbine Natalensis, Stinging Nettle Root and Mucuna Pruriens — works to naturally increase testosterone and decrease estrogen in men. (By the way, like women, men need a certain amount of estrogen, and only obese men should try to actively reduce it by aromatase inhibitors.)

The South African herb Bulbine Natalensis can increase testosterone by 347% and reduce estrogen by 35%.  But this only happens with  by ingesting the exact right amount — to little and you won’t improve testosterone, and too much of it will actually reduce your testosterone. The Bulbine Natalensis needs to be of highest quality to be effective, and that’s why Mahler uses ProLensis™, the same extract used in the research that demonstrated its effectiveness.

Stinging Nettle Root is the second main ingredient. It supports “free” levels of testosterone and the stronger sex steroid hormone, DHT (dihydrotestosterone), by unbinding both from SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin). While “total” testosterone (which represents the total amount of testosterone you’re producing) is important, it’s the free testosterone levels that are accessible by the body. The more testosterone freed up the more benefit you will derive. Stinging nettle root helps you free up more usable testosterone.

Mucuna Pruriens (yet another Adaptogen) it the third main ingredient in Aggressive Strength. It increases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is critical for brain health. Optimal hormone production starts with a healthy brain and optimal levels of dopamine are critical for brain health. By increasing dopamine, Mucuna supports growth hormone production and reduces prolactin, a much unwanted hormone that lowers testosterone in men. Mucuna also helps testosterone production by increasing levels of messenger hormones: Luteinizing Hormone (“LH”) and Folicle Stimulating Hormone (“FSH”). These messenger hormones signal the natural production of testosterone in men.

Go click on Aggressive Strength Testosterone Booster (aff link) and check out the testimonials.  You can also see some nifty charts showing research results for this formula here that look like this:

ProLensis estrogen graph

When a man’s testosterone climbs and his estrogen declines, his belly fat begins to whittle away. What’s more, you should feel more energetic with this supplement, so perhaps that exercise regiment you’ve been contemplating can actually be put into action.

Control Your Blood Sugar w/ Carnosine

I use Now’s Carnosine. Click the pic.

I’ve been taking carnosine for more than 10 years. You’re about to find out why.

When we’re young, the carnosine in our bodies protects us from the onslaught of oxidation, glycation, DNA damage, and other reactions that injure tissues and cripple organs. As we get older, carnosine levels decline.

The Life Extension Foundation reports that carnosine is a proven longevity supplements with these attributes:

  • Fights such age-inducing processes as oxidation, glycation, protein cross-linking, mitochondrial dysfunction, telomere shortening and transition metal accumulation.
  • Can restore youthful carnosine levels in blood and tissues, and it extends the life spans of experimental animals of many species.
  • May protect against neurodegenerative diseases and stroke.
  • Enhances exercise performance.
  • Ameliorates diabetes and its complications.
  • Protects heart muscle and blood vessels from atherosclerosis.

Yes, carnosine seems to be a multi-dimensional supplement; our focus here though is on how it protects us from AGEs, particularly as they relate to skin damage.

You may recall that glucose based cross-linking degrades proteins and creates AGEs — Advanced Glycation Endproducts — which are responsible for leading to many age-related illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, blindness/deafness, Alzheimers, and… is the primary evil behind deep wrinkling, the thinning of skin and the mottled appearance of age spots.

Horrible, I know.

But experiments show that carnosine may be an effective anti-glycation agent. Test tube experiments have shown it to effectively protect proteins from cross-linking, to protect cells from AGEs and to rejuvenate aging skin tissue.

What makes carnosine stand apart from other antioxidants is its potential ability to fight against, not just oxidative damage done by free radicals, but also damage done by sugar-related glycation.

I’ve only used carnosine orally in capsules, but it is available in the form of a lotion or cream for use topically. Some cosmetic manufacturers have already begun to include this ingredient into products like facial moisturizer, sunscreen, anti-itch ointment, anti-aging treatment, body firming lotion, lip gloss and cleanser.

The few I know of, but have no experience with, include:

Olay’s Regenerist Replenishing Cream

Esthederm’s Lift Restructuring Lift Mask

Vital Therapy’s Facial Care Plastic Surgery in a Bottle

Control Your Blood Sugar w/ Rose Hip Seed Oil

A common way to improve damaged skin is to build new collagen with products that contain retinoids, whether they be in over-the-counter (non prescription) serums and lotions, or prescription creams such as Renova, Avage, and Differin.

The downside of retionids is that they make the skin very sensitive, are not recommended for pregnant women, and products featuring retinoids tend to be pricey.

I’ve written a three-part series about skin care, the first part of which is called, Your Battleplan to Combat Aging Skin.

There’s an overwhelming amount of skin care science and products in those three articles, but I didn’t
mention rose hip seed oil, simply because I just learned about it while doing some research for this article.

I’m intrigued.

Roxanne King over at The Holistic Mama got me interested, and it’s from her article, Effective All Natural Alternative to Retinol that I will pull the following information.

Ms. King cites research that proclaims rose hip seed oil to have regenerated the skin, reduced scars and wrinkles, prevented the advancement of wrinkles and aging, and helped skin to regain its natural color and tone in people who began the study with “extensive facial scarring, acne scarring, deep wrinkles, UV damage, radiation damage, burn scars, surgical scars, premature aging, dermatitis, and other skin related problems.”


Ms. King makes her own skin care lotions and potions that you can learn about here.  Amazon, naturally, has some skin care products as well containing rose hip seed oil, such as these.

Control Your Blood Sugar w/ Curcumin

When it comes to health, it seems like there’s nothing that this compound found in the Indian spice, tumeric, cannot help, including to aid in lowering blood sugar, the reason I’ve updated this article to included curcumin.

In the article, The Golden Spice, Part 1, I delve into the nine reasons curcumin can improve your health; namely by helping to:

  • Reduce inflammation;
  • Reduce arthritis flare-ups;
  • Control cholesterol;
  • Assist the prevention of cognitive decline;
  • Ease depression;
  • Ease gastrointestinal distress;
  • Reduce the need for steroid (prednisone) use;
  • Improve cancer outcomes; and…
  • Reduce blood sugar.

GreenMediaInfo did a fine job of summarizing recent studies showing that the “active polyphenol in turmeric known as curcumin may offer an ideal intervention for type 2 diabetes, capable of mitigating characteristic pathophysiological hallmarks of the disease such as elevated blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and insulin resistance.”

Curcumin could improve the type 2 diabetic state through 10 distinctly different mechanisms, such as:

  • Reduction in liver glucose production
  • Reduction in liver glycogen production
  • Stimulation of increased glucose uptake (by increasing GLUT4, GLUT2 and GLUT3 gene expressions)
  • Increasing the activation of AMP kinase
  • Promoting PPAR γ ligand- binding activity
  • Suppressing hyperglycemia-induced inflammatory state
  • Stimulating insulin secretion from pancreatic tissues
  • Improvement in pancreatic cell function,
  • Increasing phosphorylation of AKT
  • Increasing insulin receptor β and reduction of insulin resistance

The human clinical research conducted on diabetic and pre-diabetic patients revealed, reports GreenMediaInfo, that curcumin had the following beneficial effects:

  • Glucose lowering effect
  • Improved beta cell function
  • Improved fatty acid oxidation and utilization

One intriguing finding of these studies is that the administration of six capsules containing 250 mg of curcumin daily for nine months was 100% effective at preventing the development of type 2 diabetes in prediabetics.

In my Golden Spice article mentioned above, I wrote that for lowering blood sugar and reversing insulin resistance there’s arguably no better natural treatment than curcumin might help control diabetesadding curcumin supplementation to your nutrition protocol (as well as berberine and alma). Curcumin supplementation can offer even better outcomes than the most popular diabetes drug, metformin.

In 2009, Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Communications published a study out of Auburn University that explored how supplementing with curcumin can help reverse diabetes. The study discovered that curcumin is literally 400 times more potent than metformin in activating AMPK, (an enzyme that helps to cut fat storage), which improves insulin sensitivity which can help reverse Type 2 Diabetes.

control your blood sugar

The brand I use is 285 TIMES MORE BIOAVAILABLE than regular curcumin

In a nine-month study published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2012, researchers found that curcumin capsules delayed the onset of type 2 diabetes in 240 people with prediabetes. Nobody taking the curcumin was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by the end of the trial!

Read: Curcumin, The Golden Spice, Parts 1 and 2.


The Four Simple Tricks

Finally, we get to the “four simple tricks” that can help you reduce belly fat and wrinkled skin by controlling your blood sugar.

They are:

  1. Put cinnamon on everything you can stand to put it on;
  2. Drink a gulp of cold pressed, organic apple cider vinegar before meals;
  3. Eat most of your daily carbs after exercising; and
  4. Change your state.
Cinnamon and AC Vinegar

I’ll handle the cinnamon and apple cider vinegar together because, although they have radically different tastes, both slow blood glucose absorption.

According to Authority Nutrition, apple cider vinegar:

  • Improves insulin sensitivity during a high-carb meal by 19-34% and significantly lowers blood glucose and insulin responses.
  • Reduces blood sugar by 34% when eating 50 grams of white bread.
  • Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime can reduce fasting blood sugars by 4%.
  • Numerous other studies, in both rats and humans, show that vinegar can increase insulin sensitivity and significantly lower blood sugar responses during meals.

Now, because you might rather sprinkle cinnamon on your oatmeal than apple cider vinegar, you’ll be pleased to know that cinnamon does a darn good job of lowering blood glucose uptake, among other great things.

One comprehensive study demonstrated that the intake of one, three or six grams of cinnamon each day not only reduces serum glucose, but triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type-2 diabetes. Moreover, the study suggest that the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type-2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Hopefully, you don’t have diabetes. Most of us, though, eat much too much junk food, processed food and simple carbs — all of which elevate blood sugar. That suggests that getting regular doses of cinnamon could be helpful for you.

Post-Exercise Carb Loading

Much as been written about the best time during the day to eat the heaviest (most calories) meal, particularly if it’s carb-dominate, like a bowl of pasta for instance.  I’ve read and heard health educated, credentialed people say that you should eat the heaviest meal at breakfast or lunch do that you have time to use the calories before you saddle up next to the TV and then hit the sack.

That makes sense to me if you don’t concentrate your exercise into a specific regimen at a specific time during the day. So, if most of your moving about — like walking to transit, walking to work, walking for fun, carrying things around and such — happens before dinner, it makes sense that you eat your most caloric-dense food and drink during the day.

But if you do high intensity interval training, or weight lifting later in the day, perhaps after work, then, post-exercise carb loading could be the way to go.

After a hard exercise session, your muscles have been “broken down” and need feeding. This is the time to feed them protein and carbohydrates.

The protein repairs and builds the muscle back up, so it slowly gets bigger and stronger. The carbs help shuttle the protein to the muscles through the insulin reaction to the blood glucose elevation from the carb consumption.

So, if you love carbs, have at it, but just time it after your exercise.

If this seems like a good idea to you, immerse yourself with more details from fitness coach Sean Hyson’s article on the subject, published on Arnold’s site.

State Change

What I mean by “state change” is to change your state of bodymind.

You may feel down or downright depressed. You may be a bit emotional. You might be angry. Overtired.

Whatever it is, both your state of mind and body are out of sorts, and you’re seeking the comfort of some belly-expanding, blood sugar spiking food-drink.

This is when you need to have a well-practiced state change technique ready to save the day. I give you two alternatives to consider.

Extra points to those who practice both.

Alternative one: 4-by-4 breath

Some groups in the military use this to stay calm under very stressful situations.  You can imagine a scenario where bullets are flying, smoke is everywhere, bombs exploding, people screaming. The soldier’s entire being is flooded with cortisol and adrenaline, and both of these hormones are pushing him/her to fight or flee. But what the soldier needs to do his get calm, and carry out the mission.

solider meditating

Change your bodymind by controlling your breath

Slow down your breathing. To a four second count, breathe in through your nose, expanding your entire torso, ribs, chest, back. Hold for four seconds and then to a count of four let the breath out. Pause for four seconds and continue.

Once you’re practiced at it, won’t take but two minutes to calm down your bodymind.  Once calm, the decisions you make will be better, less reactive, controlled.

Alternative two: low intensity exercise

If sitting and concentrating on your breath is not your style, how about moving?

You can dramatically change your state of bodymind by doing some physical, rhythmic movement over a period of 20 minutes or more.

Although it’s true that strenuous exercise actually elevates cortisol — the so-called “stress hormone” — mild, aerobic exercise can lower it. Done regularly, aerobic exercise tends to decrease the usual amount of cortisol in your bloodstream, leading to a reduction in symptoms of stress.

Unless you’re a long-distance biker, runner or swimmer, making aerobic exercise the focal point of your exercise is not as an effective way to get strong and more youthful for several reasons. It’s the short bouts of high intensity interval training and resistance training that boost human growth hormone, testosterone and lean body mass, three attributes of youthfulness.

That said, when you’re in a slump and ready to reach for the soda or cake, just open the door and start walking.  Reduce the cortisol. Soon you’ll be a in different, better place, and your blood sugar and belly will be thankful.

Update: Try HIIPA In Your HIIT Workout Plan

Recently, some studies have been published showing that frequent, lower intensity exercise can approximate the benefits derived by hight intensity interval training. Read Try HIIPA In Your HIIT Workout Plan.


Your Takeaway

We’ve been wedded to “fours” in this blog post, so let’s not break the streak… here’s your four things to remember (and do):

  1. Your blood sugar rules much of your health, and thereby, your life.
  2. Blood sugar spikes immediately after consuming high glycemic carbs such as fruit juice, bread, pasta and cereals.
  3. Sustained levels of high blood sugar can make you fat, stress you out, wrinkle your skin and make you diabetic.
  4. Use the supplements and “tricks” outlined here to assist you in keeping your blood sugar levels at healthy levels.

Over and out.

P.S. If you’ve ever wondered if so-and-so supplement actually does as advertised, you need to know about the work of Here’s my blatantly promotional promo.  If you rather skip that, go check out the Guide. You’ll save money and feel more certain that the supplements you’re buying actually work.



Last Updated on February 25, 2024 by Joe Garma

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Joe Garma

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

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