Life Extension Magazine April 2012
The CR Way™ to Great Glucose Control
By Paul McGlothin and Meredith Averill
Imagine one molecule so powerful that it affects whether you get heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, hearing and memory loss, and arthritis: one molecule that can determine whether your diet to lose weight succeeds or fails, one molecule that has the power to turn longevity genes on or off within a few minutes. And imagine a molecule so important to cellular operations that almost all living organisms depend on it.
This is not a new or unfamiliar substance. It’s blood sugar otherwise known as glucose, every cell’s favorite fuel.
Glucose is closely related to the most familiar sugar: table sugar or sucrose. To get table sugar, a glucose molecule combines with a fructose molecule. Most likely a bag of it is stored somewhere in your kitchen.
Even though glucose is closely related to sucrose – table sugar and the sugar in lots of sweet foods may not be the worst offender against a healthful diet. Easily processed starch in some carbohydrates is rapidly converted into blood sugar, often sending it soaring and increasing disease risk.
High glucose levels are a significant risk factor for disease and shortened life span,1 so it is no surprise that a fasting blood glucose level is included in a standard panel, regularly used by physicians to assess a patient’s level of health. A top-of-mind concern for people with high fasting glucose levels is risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and if you already have diabetes – increased probability of complications such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, diabetic retinopathy, and the preventable loss of limbs, especially the feet.2
High glucose levels create extra problems for dieters who want to lose weight. Excess weight causes insulin resistance –making the body’s use of insulin, the hormone that facilitates glucose uptake into cells, impaired. This causes a vicious cycle, often referred to as metabolic syndrome, of increased body fat – especially around the waist and upper body, high blood pressure, low HDL, high triglycerides, and chronically elevated blood glucose,3 which actually shuts down the biochemistry needed to lose weight healthfully.
Healthful weight loss depends in part on keeping fasting glucose levels low, which helps force the body to make a metabolic shift from fat storage to fat burning.4 Once this level of glucose control becomes your normal state of health, you will be surprised at how rapidly you lose weight and how energetic you feel.
Very few people reduce their calorie intake enough to get the health effects of calorie restriction. Yet, high blood glucose may keep them from gaining the full benefits of this most healthful lifestyle. In fact, high glucose alone is attributable to more than 8 to 9% of deaths in the United States.5
The CR Way™ focus on glucose control began almost ten years ago, when the cell signals that control the life-transforming benefits of calorie restriction were being discovered. In private conversations with scientists at the center of the discovery process, we predicted that glucose levels would play a key role in activation of longevity biochemistry. How right we were!6
Newer studies reinforce the longevity mechanisms that activate in response to attaining optimum fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels.
The CR Way™ is a program that enables people to enjoy low calorie meals and, in particular, to suppress after-meal (postprandial) surges in blood glucose that is an underlying cause of many major diseases. The danger zone manifests when after-meal glucose levels rise above 144 mg/dL, as shown in the chart on the next page from The CR Way™ to Great Glucose Control program.
Even if your fasting glucose is perfect, your post-meal glucose must be considered. And that’s not easy when disinformation so thoroughly pervades the Internet and health publications. Writers often recommend recipes and methods of preparation that will send blood glucose soaring. We encourage every professional health editor and medical professional who gives advice to maintain high standards for keeping glucose levels low and to use a glucometer to test the glucose effects of their recommendations before publishing them.
William Faloon, in his excellent article in the January 2011 issue of Life Extension, Glucose: The Silent Killer, referenced The CR Way™ glucose control guidelines, indicating the 70 to 85 mg/dL range as good for fasting glucose in people without diabetes. Post-meal glucose is just as important and is recommended to be below 120 mg/dL. This is vitally important for anyone who aspires to practice calorie restriction for weight loss, disease protection, and longer life.
Low fasting glucose levels activate a cellular energy regulator known as AMP Kinase (AMPK), a cellular manager that activates energy production when calories and glucose levels are low. Scientists speculate that AMPK evolved long before hormones like insulin became part of biology to coordinate metabolism.7
Think of AMPK as the thermostat in your house, which automatically goes on when the temperature falls too low. AMPK senses low energy (calorie deficit) availability in cells and shuts down anabolic (cellular growth) actions and excess energy usage. These actions slow aging and decrease cancer risk.
AMPK makes cells more energy-efficient by facilitating glucose transfer across cell membranes, while activating fat-burning so that cells have more energy to carry out their functions. AMPK helps lower blood pressure by activating nitric oxide synthase, the sexy molecule that relaxes blood vessel walls and also facilitates orgasm and male erection.
AMPK activates the other pancreatic hormone, not often written about, glucagon,8 the hormone of biological efficiency: It swings into action when insulin production shuts down and glucose levels are low. As your body becomes used to activating glucagon, feelings of low blood sugar will become a thing of the past – as glucagon does its job to keep your glucose from falling too low. You will be surprised at how much more energetic and clear headed you become when glucagon is regularly activated as part of your lifestyle.
Healthy Life Extension readers may proudly say to themselves that “sugar and simple starches are not part of my diet.” But don’t take for granted that so-called “healthy foods” are safe. In the new e-Book or CD, The CR Way™ to Great Glucose Control, favorites like blueberries and sweet potatoes are classified as “swing foods.” Depending on how they are prepared, they swing from helping keep blood glucose low to sending glucose to levels so high that your doctor may send you home with a diagnosis of diabetes. Most likely everyone who reads this has these or other “swing foods” in their diet. To help people enjoy “swing foods” and many other delectable choices, part 3 of The CR Way™ to Great Glucose Control features delicious recipes and healthful foods to choose. For example, simple ways of enjoying healthful foods like blueberries is to eat whole blueberries with nuts and lemon or lime juice (to slow carbohydrate absorption). This is just one example of how easy and fun CR Way™ eating can be.
While most health experts acknowledge that keeping blood glucose low is important, people needed a guide to help them prepare swing foods healthfully and manage all the other everyday challenges they face to maintain glucose at healthful levels.
This prompted the creation of The CR Way™ to Great Glucose Control program,9 offering a beautifully illustrated e-Book that downloads to your computer plus introductory access to LivingTheCRWay.com and two expert-led teleconferences to guide you in managing your glucose levels. A companion to The CR Way™ to Great Glucose Control introduces people to a whole new world of healthful living. Benefiting from thousands of glucose tests of recipes and foods, the e-Book provides lifestyle guides that take people through the day: from when they wake up to when they get ready for bed – complete with suggested glucose goals for each meal. Separate lifestyle plans are provided for people without diabetes and for those who have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes – so people can choose a plan that works for them. The cost of enrollment is affordable at only $98 for the entire program, a small investment for the best chance to increase your quality and length of life. Life Extension members pay only $82 for this glucose control program that can be ordered by calling 1-800-544-4440.
Patients who need to lose significant weight and who also have diabetes should consider a medically supervised program, based on life-changing studies showing that calorie restriction can cure diabetes. Please see the letter to President and First Lady Obama, offering a doctor-supervised plan for those who need to lose weight and who have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.
1. Rozing MP, Westendorp RG, Frölich M, de Craen AJ, Beekman M, Heijmans BT, Mooijaart SP, Blauw GJ, Slagboom PE, van Heemst D; Leiden Longevity Study (LLS) Group. Human insulin/IGF-1 and familial longevity at middle age. Aging (Albany NY). 2009 Jul 24;1(8):714-22.
2. Available at: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001356/. Accessed November 10, 2011.
3. Available at: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004546/. Accessed, November 10, 2011.
4. Hardie DG. Review. AMP-activated protein kinase: an energy sensor that regulates all aspects of cell function. Genes Dev. 2011 Sep 15;25(18):1895-908.
5. Danaei G, Ding EL, Mozaffarian D, Taylor B, Rehm J, Murray C, Ezzati M. The preventable causes of death in the United States: comparative risk assessment of dietary, lifestyle, and metabolic risk factors. PLOS Med. 2009 Apr 28;6(4):e1000058.
6. Lo T, Ho JH, Yang MH, Lee OK. Glucose reduction prevents replicative senescence and increases mitochondrial respiration in human mesenchymal stem cells. Cell Transplant. 2010 Nov 5.
7. Mihaylova MM, Shaw RJ. The AMPK signalling pathway coordinates cell growth, autophagy and metabolism. Nat Cell Biol. 2011 Sep 2;13(9):1016-23.
8. Leclerc I, Sun G, Morris C, Fernandez-Millan E, Nyirenda M, Rutter GA. AMP-activated protein kinase regulates glucagon secretion from mouse pancreatic alpha cells. Diabetologia. 2011 Jan;54(1):125-34.
9. McGlothin P, Averill M. The CR Way to Great Glucose Control. The CR Way Longevity Center, NY: Briarcliff Manor, 2011