Eating Healthy - Blood Sugar

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

8:24 PM - Jun 20, 2001 #1

I ran across the following common sense eating article that I wish I'd read long ago as I apparently had little common sense when it came to feeding my body. We tend to blame our quit for much of what we're feeling when quitting has nothing to do with it at all.

How to Maintain Glucose Levels
An extract from Natural Alternatives to Dieting
by Marilyn Glenville, Ph.D.

Almost all dieters have an underlying blood sugar imbalance. Blood sugar can be the most important factor in losing and maintaining a healthy weight. The importance of correcting blood sugar fluctuations to lose weight is emphasised by the title of an article published in the Encyclopaedia of Common Diseases written by the staff of Prevention Magazine; 'Low Blood Sugar Can Make You Fat'.
Blood sugar
Fluctuations in blood sugar can cause:
• cravings
• water retention
• excess thirst
• mood swings
Moods can swing from euphoric to unhappy; angry to couldn't care less; irritable and anxious to bored and tired. The positive moods can be as dangerous as the negative, because you are likely to swing rapidly from one extreme of mood to the other. You must take control of those highs and lows because the associated food cravings can undermine your efforts to change your eating patterns.
Perhaps you know that you are only overcome by cravings for sweet things at pre-menstrual times. If so, this chapter will later explain how blood sugar levels are connected with our hormones.
Nutrition and blood sugar
Nutrition is the key to stabilising the levels of blood sugar. After a meal, glucose from the breakdown of food (digestion) is absorbed through the wall of the intestine into the bloodstream. At this point, there is, quite naturally, a high level of glucose in the blood. The body takes what it immediately needs for energy and then produces insulin from the pancreas in an attempt to lower the level of excess glucose. Any glucose that is not used immediately for energy is changed into glycogen and stored in the liver and muscles to be used later. The glucose level in the blood then reduces to normal.
How do we maintain glucose levels? To maintain this balance in our blood sugar the body works in a similar way to the thermostat on a central heating system. Our natural 'thermostat' clicks into action as glucose levels rise and fall.

The body takes action in the following ways:
When the glucose levels fall too low
The hormone adrenaline is released from the adrenal glands and glucagon is produced from the pancreas. Glucagon works in the opposite way to insulin and increases blood glucose by encouraging the liver to turn some of its glycogen stores into glucose to give us quick energy. If the blood glucose level stays low for a period of time hypoglycaemia - low blood sugar level - can occur.
Symptoms include: irritability, aggressive outbursts, palpitations, forgetfulness, lack of sex drive, crying spells, dizziness, anxiety, confusion, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, muscle cramps, excess sweating and excessive thirst.
Sounds familiar? Chances are that if you have a history of dieting then some or many of those symptoms are known to you. In themselves they can be burdensome, but more importantly they are the outward manifestations that your body is having trouble maintaining a good blood sugar level. They can certainly undermine the efforts of many dieters by triggering unhealthy eating which contributes to weight gain.
When the glucose level rises too high
Insulin is produced by the pancreas to lower it. If the blood sugar level remains too high, this causes the symptoms of hyperglycaemia - high blood sugar level. The extreme form of this is diabetes which is a medical condition needing expert attention often entailing regular insulin injections. Weight cycling - weight gain, loss then gain - may make you more prone to diabetes. Obese people have a 77 times higher chance of developing diabetes than a person at their correct weight - the greater your weight the higher the risk of developing diabetes.
During a normal day, the amount by which your blood sugar level rises and falls depends on what and when we eat:
What we eat or drink
When we eat any food in refined form its digestion is very fast. Refined foods have been stripped of their natural goodness by various manufacturing processes. Two of the most widely used refined foods are sugar and white flour. When digestion is too fast glucose enters the bloodstream too rapidly. This also happens when you eat any food or drink that causes a stimulant effect, like tea, coffee, sugar and chocolate. This sharp, fast rise in blood glucose makes you feel momentarily good but the 'high' quickly passes plummeting you to a low point, making you feel tired and drained. So what do you need? Another stimulant like a bar of chocolate or cup of coffee (or both!) to give you another boost.
The second boost will cause the blood sugar level to go up rapidly again and the vicious cycle is repeated. As blood sugar levels go up and down so too do our eating patterns with cravings for sweet foods and drinks.
Over time, this constant over-stimulation exhausts the pancreas. Then, instead of too much insulin, it produces too little. Too much glucose stays in the blood, causing the symptoms of high blood sugar levels.
You are advised to eat natural wholefoods which are unrefined and full of goodness. Their merits in terms of helping to maintain balanced blood sugar levels are discussed later in this chapter.
When we eat or drink
If there is a long gap between eating the blood glucose will drop to quite a low level and you will feel the need for a quick boost, say a cup of tea and a biscuit. At the same time, the adrenal glands will make the liver produce more glucose. The combination of these two acts causes high levels of glucose in the blood which again calls on the pancreas to over-produce insulin in order to reduce the glucose levels. The vicious cycle starts all over again and the adrenal glands become ever more exhausted.
To solve this problem try
• Grazing - develop a 'grazing' mentality to your eating patterns thus eating little but often. Leave behind the dieting philosophy of no food between meals.
• Avoid skipped meals - maybe you thought that if you ate less by missing meals you would lose weight but the resultant swings in blood sugar are setting you up to fail. They create a biological urge that must be satisfied and you shouldn't ignore your body's demands even if you were strong enough.

Make it easy for yourself. If you stop what is causing the biological urge then you won't be constantly at war with your own body.
Table 1: Vitamins for Weight Loss
Vitamin - B2 (riboflavin)
Function - Converts fat, sugar and protein into energy. For hair, nails and eyes.
Good sources - Almonds, wild rice, soya beans, broccoli, wholemeal bread, mackerel, eggs, yoghurt.
Vitamin - B3 (niacin)
Function - Essential for energy production, balancing blood sugar, and maintaining cholesterol balance.
Good sources - Canned tuna in oil, salmon, wholewheat, asparagus, almonds, brown rice
Vitamin - B5 (pantothenic acid)
Function - Involved in energy production and regulating fat metabolism.
Good sources - Wholewheat, alfalfa sprouts, peas, lentils, eggs, mushrooms, brown rice.
Vitamin - B6 (pyridoxine)
Function - Aids digestion of protein, and helps maintain hormone balance. Useful for PMS and as an anti-depressant.
Good sources - Brown rice, cauliflower, grilled herring, soya beans, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds.
Vitamin - C (ascorbic acid)
Function - Required for collagen for healthy bones, skin, and muscles. Vital for immune function. Converts food into energy.
Good sources - Raw peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, peas, baked potatoes, oranges.
Vitamin - Choline
Function - Member of B complex family. Required for correct fat metabolism.
Good sources - Eggs, cauliflower, cucumber, peanuts.
Vitamin - Inositol
Function - Works closely with choline. Aids fat transfer from liver.
Good sources - Soya, eggs, citrus fruits, wholegrains, nuts.
Effects of adrenaline
If blood sugar levels are frequently low and our system is regularly being asked to pump out adrenaline then our health will suffer. Adrenaline is the hormone most of us associate with stress - it is released for 'fight or flight' and its effect is very powerful. If you were threatened in the street, for example, or face any kind of physical danger your survival mechanisms would instantly step into action with the adrenal glands immediately producing large amounts of adrenaline.
The effects of adrenaline are
• heart speeds up
• arteries tighten to raise blood pressure - hence a 'beating' heart
• liver immediately releases emergency stores of glucose to give energy
• digestion stops because it is not necessary for immediate survival
• clotting ability of the blood is increased in case of injury.
This all means that you have been made ready to run faster, fight back and generally react more quickly than normal. Unfortunately, when your blood sugar level drops during the day or night, adrenaline is released automatically and the body experiences all the above sensations except that there is no outside stress to respond to. When this happens repeatedly, you can experience all the health problems outlined under the hypoglycaemia section earlier in this chapter. It can also contribute to heart disease by increasing the risk of blood clotting and higher blood pressure and the sudden release of glucose for energy can cause extreme fluctuations of sugar levels in the blood.
These fluctuations in blood sugar create an internal stress which the body then has to deal with. It causes an increase in sodium retention causing a bloated feeling from excess water. The digestive system will not function efficiently and less stomach acid will be produced which means that more food will actually be stored because it has not been digested sufficiently. The longer food stays in the intestines and remains undigested, the more calories are likely to be absorbed. It is therefore important that food is moved quickly out of the intestines.
Cravings and Binges - What's the difference?
Most dieters experience cravings to a lesser or greater degree. With some it is for chocolate, with others it is for biscuits and cakes. Certainly it is for sweet foods that most people crave although some dieters crave fats - especially cream and hard cheese. Others, who don't usually have a drink problem, can find themselves craving a glass of alcohol. The sugar cravings are caused by the fluctuating blood sugar levels that we've just looked at. The other cravings could be caused by a food allergy or perhaps a yeast problem.
By and large you can control your own cravings, even those linked to the hormonal ups and downs of the menstrual cycle. It might be hard at first but by following the rules in this chapter you will find that with the passing of each successful day it will get easier and eventually the cravings will cease.
Binges can signal a more serious problem. Giving in to a craving and eating a bar of chocolate or several biscuits is not bingeing. A binge is eating for eating's sake, almost uncontrollably and even when you aren't hungry. Binge-ers have been known to grab at food with their hands rather than waste time with a knife and fork. There is a desperation about binge-ers who often binge in response to an emotional upset. Eating non-stop until you've finished a family-sized tub of ice cream, or a complete gateau, for example, is bingeing. So too is eating to the point of being sick. This is a long way from the normal cravings that most dieters experience.
Binge-ers will often feel physically and mentally ill after they've binged and it can be associated with psychological illnesses, like bulimia.
If you know that you binge, it is advisable to see your GP.
Eat plenty of unrefined complex carbohydrates including, wholewheat bread, wholemeal pasta, potatoes, brown rice, millet, oats, rye.
Eat fruit and drink diluted fruit juice.
Always eat breakfast - porridge oats are good.
Eat small, frequent meals no more than three hours apart or five hours apart for men as their metabolism is slower.
Reduce, preferably avoid, stimulants including tea, coffee, chocolate, smoking and canned drinks that contain caffeine.
Consider taking one of the excellent food supplements on the market that can help balance your blood sugar while you are changing your eating patterns. See Table 1 above.
Develop the habit of reading labels carefully.
Eat refined carbohydrates - avoid 'white' in general. Remember that white flour is in many things like cakes, biscuits, pastries and white bread.
Eat sugar or the foods containing it - including chocolate, sweets, biscuits, pastries, soft drinks.
Substitute decaffeinated coffee (as it contains two other stimulants, even when the caffeine is removed).
Eat convenience foods, they are likely to contain refined carbohydrates, sugar and high levels of fat and salt.
How can highs and lows be prevented?
There are three good ways:
1. Eat complex carbohydrates regularly
2. Avoid refined foods, especially sugar
3. Reduce foods and drinks that are stimulants
1. Eat complex carbohydrates regularly
To maintain well-balanced blood sugar levels eat foods such as complex carbohydrates that give a slow rise in blood sugar and keep a constant level for about three hours. Then eat again and prevent the level from dropping. Spacing food at three-hourly intervals in this way is a proven solution to the battle with cravings.
Dr Katharina Dalton, a pioneer in the recognition and treatment of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), has found that the symptoms of PMS can be relieved by eating regularly. This stops the blood sugar level from dropping and adrenaline from being released. While Dr. Dalton's findings have proved invaluable for PMS sufferers it serves to confirm the general theory that actually applies to all of us, including men.
Complex carbohydrates give a slow release of energy because it takes time for the digestive tract to break them down into simpler substances that the body can use. Carbohydrates are a large group of foods that includes sugars and starches. They are an important source of energy and the body breaks them down into the simple sugar, glucose. It is the slow speed with which this happens that is important to keeping blood sugar constant.
There are two types of carbohydrates:
• Grains (wheat, rye, oats, rice, barley, maize)
• Beans (lentils, kidney, chickpeas, aduki etc)
• Vegetables, including potatoes
• Fibre in grains, beans and vegetables
• Fruit
• Honey
• White and brown sugar
• Glucose in high-energy drinks
To help maintain a steady blood sugar level, aim to eat complex carbohydrates as part of your main meals and also as snacks during the day. You do not necessarily need to eat great amounts - sometimes just an oat cake can be enough between meals to keep eating urges at bay.
If you find the symptoms associated with low blood sugar levels are greatest first thing in the morning or, you wake during the night, heart pounding and cannot get back to sleep, then it is very likely that your blood sugar level has dropped overnight and adrenaline has kicked into play. Eating a small, starchy snack, like an oat cake, one hour before going to bed and if possible, one hour after getting up, will help to alleviate these symptoms.
Make sure your complex carbohydrates are unrefined, which in general means choosing brown instead of white. For example, wholewheat bread, brown rice and wholemeal flour as opposed to the white versions which have been refined and therefore stripped of essential vitamins, minerals, trace elements and valuable fibre content. In order to digest these refined foods your body has to use its own vitamins and minerals, so depleting your own stores.
It was originally thought that fibre's role was only to speed up the passage of food residues to prevent constipation. It is now known that some forms of fibre can actually slow down the absorption of sugars and help to maintain our blood sugar balance. Without fibre, food will affect the blood sugar level more quickly and it is harder to eliminate the food residues. The food stays in the body longer, which means that it absorbs more calories so preventing you from shedding those pounds.
Cravings and food allergies
If you experience cravings it's likely to be an indication that you suffer from blood sugar imbalance. They may also be symptoms of a food allergy, so this is worth checking. Ironically, if we are allergic to a particular food, we tend to crave it and eat it more. Ask yourself the question: "Which foods or drinks would I find it hard to give up?" The answer will give you a clue as to what to look out for
Shirley had been experiencing bad PMT symptoms and throughout the month would feel extremely hungry by about 5pm even though dinner was not until 6pm. We talked about her pattern of eating and she said that she was drinking up to eight mugs of tea a day. I explained the effects of drinks like tea and coffee on blood sugar balance and their link to PMT symptoms and advised her to gradually wean herself off drinks containing caffeine. Unfortunately, Shirley decided to cut out the eight mugs of tea straight away and rang me a couple of days later complaining of a bad headache and flu-like symptoms. Cutting caffeine out of your regime really must be done over a few days and it is best to begin by having half your drinks caffeinated and half de-caffeinated. Then over the next few days reduce the amount of caffeinated cups even further. Eventually you should cut out the de-caffeinated coffee because it still contains stimulants despite the absence of caffeine. Gradually introduce herb, fruit or grain tea so that you are still drinking the same amount of liquid. Once Shirley had taken the advised course of action it took her just a few days to feel a lot better. By the time I saw her two cycles later she was eating little and often and this pattern of eating had really helped with the PMT symptoms.
2. Avoid refined foods, especially sugar
The simple carbohydrates (with the exception of fruit) are all refined foods and should be avoided. Although fruit contains fructose (fruit sugar) which is a simple sugar, the fibre content of the fruit is a complex carbohydrate which slows the digestion rate. So fructose is acceptable when taken in the whole fruit, like an apple, but not when used in the refined form of powered white fructose, which is bought in boxes.
Pure fruit juice can also cause a rapid change in blood sugar levels because it is not buffered by the fibre that is normally present. It is better to dilute fruit juice in water to make it less concentrated.
Sugar sneaks unexpectedly into many foods. By the way, the brown-is-best theory doesn't apply to sugar, all colours do the same damage to your blood sugar balance! A can of cola may contain up to eight teaspoons of sugar as may a pot of fruit yogurt. Most of the convenience foods and drinks we buy are laden with sugar including savoury foods such as baked beans and mayonnaise. Did you know that tomato ketchup has just 8% less sugar, weight for weight, than ice cream and that the cream substitute for coffee is 65% sugar compared to 51% for a chocolate bar?
Sugar is an inexpensive bulking agent. Even some toothpastes contain sugar but as toothpaste is not a food, sugar does have to be included on the ingredients list.
When sugar is in its natural form - the whole sugar cane - it is fine to eat. It has all the right amounts of fibre and is a wholefood. When it is refined sugar is just 'empty' calories - it contains no nutritional value so you can stop eating it and lose nothing but weight.
You may be tempted to substitute sugar with artificial sweetners - DON'T! You are simply introducing an alien chemical which the body then has to deal with. Nobody really knows what havoc these chemicals can cause when introduced to the body's own delicately balanced biochemistry.
If a food or drink is described as 'low sugar' or 'diet' it will usually contain a chemical sweetner. These are also found in some non-diet crisps, ice lollies, sauces, pot noodles and some over-the-counter medicines. It's worth checking labels carefully.
3. Reduce foods and drinks that are stimulants
Sugar, smoking, caffeine in tea, coffee, chocolate and caffeinated soft drinks are all stimulants and cause a fast rise in blood sugar level followed by a quick drop which contributes to the roller-coaster ride of blood sugar swings. Avoid them whenever possible, even better, cut them out of your diet completely. Substitute them for example with herbal teas, grain coffee, spring water and diluted fruit juices.
Last edited by John (Gold) on 11:36 AM - Apr 12, 2009, edited 1 time in total.

Toast (GOLD )
Toast (GOLD )

9:19 PM - Jun 20, 2001 #2

Heya Zep,

FABULOUS article! One, such as me, who has been prone to anxiety since puberty, and likely smoked as much to self-medicate, appreciates insight into how blood sugar may contribute to the anxiety too. Esp. regarding how adrenaline is dumped into the system when blood sugar drops.

Thanks for the great article!


4 Weeks 10 Hours 20 Minutes 12 Seconds ago I decided to express how much I care about myself by putting down cigarettes. Since then, I have not smoked a potential 568 cigarettes, at a savings of $76.76.

Curly (green)
Curly (green)

9:31 PM - Jun 20, 2001 #3

Thank you for this article, Zep - just what I needed to hear/see! Now I see why I was so confused at times - "Why do I feel like this when I'm not wanting a cig?"

I couldn't do my quit AND change my eating habits at the same time - now that I'm comfortable with my quit, I've finally been able to get control of my diet/exercise, and all's doing pretty well (but I still bite my fingernails! Melissa, I know what you mean about prone to anxiety - I like to think of myself as HIGH-MAINTENENCE!).

Free for 4 Weeks 1 Day 13 Hours 49 Minutes 48 Seconds. 739 nasty cigarettes not smoked, and $110.91 not wasted (Yeah! Let's go shopping!).



2:50 AM - Jun 21, 2001 #4

Good review Zep. It is so important for everyone to recognize that life goes on without smoking. While smoking causes many problems and aggravates a whole bunch others that it may not cause, other things can go wrong with your body even if you quit or even if you never smoked. The more everyone knows about measures that can be taken to improve general health, the better.

Proper diet and exercise are other areas that people may want to work on once they quit smoking. These are of course separate and independent issues. In other words, we are not saying you have to change other areas of your life when you quit smoking, but you may find that if you like feeling better, you may want to pursue other changes to continue the process of optimizing your health. Articles like this help give us some guidelines to follow.

Also, as we have talked about here at Freedom before, many of the initial symptoms encountered from quitting are blood sugar issues, so this article will be good to bring up often for our new members just starting a quit. Keeping blood sugar constant is very important in the early stages of the quit and this gives good insights on how to accomplish this.

So once again thanks Zep for keeping our members educated here. The better nourished you are, the better you can focus in general. The better you can focus in general, the better you can focus on the importance of understanding that to stay smoke free you must never take another puff!


Chet Kast (Gold)
Chet Kast (Gold)

6:33 AM - Jun 21, 2001 #5

Hey Zep,

This article is great and I printed it out to bring with me to my doctor's office. There are several problems that she talks about that apply to me. I have had some tests; but, there has been a problem identifying anything. I wonder if this will help. It certainly can't hurt. Thanks again.



Jenni (green)
Jenni (green)

5:00 PM - Jun 21, 2001 #6

Hello Zep,
Thanks for the article. I am now nicotine free for 1 week, 3 days, 13 hours, and I am stuffing myself less on food now, but.... I still am. And now I understand how I am not helping myself, especially as I have all 4 of the symptoms of blood sugar fluctuations - cravings, excessive thirst, water retention, and mood swings. Yes, these could be due being nicotine free, but it is out of my system now... right? So maybe I need to take care of myself by choosing what food I put in my body. Thanks a lot. love Jenni xx

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

9:41 PM - Jun 21, 2001 #7

Jenny, as you approach two weeks of freedom the word "crave" is still very real when it comes to encountering an, as yet, unencountered emotion, place or event during which you used to smoke that will trigger a very brief (up to three minutes) yet intense anxiety attack for a nicotine fix. You've already become a master at handling your psychological trigger craves and you've learned that it usually only takes a single encounter with a specific triggering event to recondition the trigger and break the link from those specific memories and your mind's crave generator.

The word "crave" as used in Dr. Glenville's article may have subtle similarities but we need to be careful when using generic words like "crave." I have not studied food craves although I probably should have : ) My big food secret is that I have not been a regular breakfast eater for my entire life and by dinner time I am extremely hungry and probably eat enough for two : ) It may have nothing to do with me smoking three packs a day other than the important fact that I relapsed during at least a dozen prior quit attempts because I didn't believe that I could handle my withdrawal anxieties.

Smoking and tobacco withdrawal was not the focus of this article and I fear that for smokers and quitters the blood sugar puzzle is a bit more complicated. A single puff of nicotine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant that by itself causes the release of adrenaline and all of the effects mentioned above ("heart speeds up, arteries tighten to raise blood pressure - hence a 'beating' heart, liver immediately releases emergency stores of glucose to give energy, digestion stops because it is not necessary for immediate survival, clotting ability of the blood is increased in case of injury"). I've also repeatedly read that nicotine directly controls glucose levels in certain parts of the brain.

Who was I for the thirty years that I lived from fix to fix and what price did this brain and body pay to sustain the dopamine and adrenaline levels produced by almost 500 puffs a day? At what emotional and alertness levels would I have lived my life if I had only allowed me to be me? I like the comfortable me that slept beneath my addiction, I only wish we'd met year earlier. Yes, part of the complete sense of calmness that I feel today is the absence of the adrenaline but now I decide when I get excited and not some **** drug!

Do you want to hear my crazy theory? Well, I'm going to share it anyway : )) If you really think you need a fix and you want to experience a similar brain sensation, I strongly encourage you to run out into the street and hug a stranger instead. You see, it's my "theory" that the same dopamine "ahhhh" feeling that an active nicotine addict experiences each time new nicotine arrives to replenish their brain's rapidly falling dopamine level can be found in a "good" ole hug (ahhhhhhhhhh). And ....... if the prospect of running out into the street to hug a perfect stranger doesn't get your adrenaline flowing you're probably dead anyway. It's just my theory but it's better than running for you know what : ))))
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long, YQB Zep : )

mirigirl (silver)
mirigirl (silver)

12:25 AM - Jun 22, 2001 #8

OK Zep and the Freedom Gang... I'm going to tell you my theory now!!:-))
This theory has been developing as the fog of smoking has lifted: I've been following the myraid of symptoms I've been experienceing since I Quit - all of which may or may not be related to Quittting.
I've been following the trail of - severe clinical depression, fluid retention, fluctuating blood pressure, viral infections, mood swings (even had a look at chronic fatigue sydnrome for a while but decided not to go there!), hormone problems...... and sugar!!
So Today, I am not on any medications for anything (other than viatmins)....
and my theroy is that the link between all these issues is:
brain chemistry...
neurotransmitters...and what chemicals
(be it nicotine, and for some of us alcohol, drugs, sugar...... whatever)
we put into our bodies and how that affects our biochemical makeup.
This isn't my theory...I'm not taking any credit for it...
I'm just sharing some of my discoveries as I keep learning.
You are of course free to take what you like and leave the rest!!
Somehow as I keep learning this stuff I can feel an incredible healing taking place inside me
this is the healing energy that quittting smoking has released in me.
Now some of you know what a battle I've had on this journey..probably I don't know if it's more or less than anyone else, but....
With all those symptoms... it has been hard not to blame it on the Quit.
But I can honestly say I have come to see this whole process as a journey of healing.
Today I don't crave for cigarettes (and I am SO grateful)
or alcohol
or any other drugs
and now I'm aware of the sugars!
I must be mad! or growing in my Freedom!!
I think I'm growing in my Freedom.
I have NEVER in my life been a healthy person!
I am truely amazed what Quitting smoking has made possible in my life.
Thank you all so much.
Zep, I hope you are eating breakfast now! It's good for the biochemistry!:-)))) as is hugs!!
yqs Maz
Five months, one day, 2 hours, 19 minutes and 44 seconds of FREEDOM!!
3802 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,217.11. Life saved: 1 week, 6 days, 4 hours, 50 minutes.
Last edited by mirigirl (silver) on 11:36 AM - Apr 12, 2009, edited 1 time in total.

Joanne Gold
Joanne Gold

12:48 AM - Jun 23, 2001 #9

Thanks Zep for the continued research you do to help us stay on track. I appreciate all the wonderful insight here, you folks are terrific.

I also brought this up for our Kelli in case she missed it.

Keep up the good work.

Love and hugs to all.


OBob Gold
OBob Gold

3:37 PM - Dec 29, 2001 #10

I'm cross-posting my note below in the hopes that I may attract the attention of somebody who's experienced blood sugar problems after quitting. Any personal experiences would be greatly appreciated. I'm doing pretty well with the never puff stuff, but after almost 13 days, I'm not feeling the best.




Day 13 drawing to a close, and I'm up and down. In terms of considering the puff option, I had only a fleeting thought, which I quickly dismissed. Still, the information you put up on blood sugar has me concerned. For most of the day, my physical symptoms have been omnipresent. I've tried to examine them as best I could. I'll try to be clearer than my earlier description of "edgy".

I guess you could describe it as a light-headed, dizziness. It's nothing that affects my balance or threatens my consciousness, but more at the concentration, ability-to-do-work level. Concentration is a big problem. My head just feels light. Kinda like you get at high elevations.

I guess another part of it is a sort of sensory hypersensitivity. For instance, earlier, at a department store, walking down near the end of an aisle, somebody comes around the corner going the other direction. The degree of physical reaction on my part was out of porportion. I wasn't really startled, but my body felt as if I had been. Playing a game like pinball, the ball seems to be moving more quickly, and I don't have the dexterity I normally would in pursuing it. Even touch (and this is at least a good thing). Normally, I appreciate a good backscratch as much as the next person. Since I've quit, (actually, I've noticed this during previous quits), a back scratch feels like I've got 5 times as many nerve receptors. It's one of the things I use (with my wife's cooperation) to help me get through tough spells.

Up until your posts, I chalked these symptoms up to continued nicotine withdrawal symptoms. I've been hoping that by day 15, they'll be gone. But, now I'm starting to wonder if this really isn't a sign of a bigger issue beneath the surface of my addiction. Looking back on how I really got hooked in the first place might shed some light.

I started smoking late (mid-20s). And then, it was only occassionally, and always associated with drinking. 5 or 6 years ago, I was doing some very concentration-intensive work (copywriting) with a heavy deadline. The stakes were high, and I was pulling late/all nighters. But as the pressure increased, my ability to concentrate decreased. It was driving me nuts. I started smoking to hold my concentration.

It worked. Ever since, and in increasing quantities, I've used cigarettes to overcome my inability to focus. Actually, it's wierd. If I look back at college (when I didn't smoke), I had a brutal struggle with concentration and focus. I remember several binge-eating episodes during periods of high-stress, that seemed to help. I wonder if I have a blood-sugar problem that dates back that far?

Anyhow, I'm concerned. The last couple of days haven't exactly been pleasant. It's like being in a fog. As long as there isn't much going on around me, I'm fairly okay. It's just when somebody asks me a question, or something goes wrong that my head starts to cloud up.

I don't think I can get to my doctor until after the holiday weekend. So, I may be stuck with it until then. I'm going to work the dietary angle as best I can until then. I only had 2 cups of tea this morning, and none the rest of the day, but, as that didn't solve the problem, I'm going to bite the bullet tomorrow, and have none. Boy, I can't WAIT for the caffeine withdrawal headache. The rest of the dietary stuff is really going to turn my eating habits on their ear. It's a little much to cope with at the moment, and I'm feeling a bit insecure about it. I was hoping I could focus on my nicotine addiction, and not have to deal with a bunch of other major life-altering changes as well. Well, I'll see what the caffeine elimination does, and cut back on the sugar as best I can without pulling out what's left of my hair (not much).

I'm going to head to the drug store tomorrow, and pick up one of those blood sugar testers. Maybe I can get some data to support or refute a blood sugar problem.

In the mean time, any other information you or anybody else has on the subject would be appreciated. I'm scouring the Internet for information (vitamins, minerals, other approaches, over-the-counters, etc.). I'm going to post this same piece on one of your blood sugar discussion boards in the hopes that one of the 1% might be able to shed some light, and offer guidance from a personal perspective.

Thanks again, and here's to another smoke-free day.

I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Week 5 Days 19 Hours 3 Minutes 41 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 127. Money saved: $31.99 (aw shucks, make it an even $32).


5:26 PM - Dec 29, 2001 #11

Hello OBob:
I am glad you are going to get checked out by your doctor. As far as getting further advice online of what to do, I wouldn't put a lot of stock in getting any real differential diagnosis. At Freedom we have a strict policy of getting or giving medical advice. We only speak in general terms. The reason I brought up the issues on medication adjustments, thyroid issues, blood sugar issues, dietary patterns and caffeine issues are because these are factors that do affect some people. If symptoms are going on beyond the first few days, other factors should be considered and checked out as the possible cause. It is just prudent to find out if there is another underlying cause. But no one can determine online if one of these situations are a factor for any specific individual. Again, that is where the best advice that anyone should be giving you now is to get checked out by your doctor. I am attaching the link to our medical advice policy here at Freedom. It shows how we really are serious about this issue, for everyone's protection.
Again, the best advice we can give you is to work with a physician to deal with an existing medical issues, and know that the best thing you can do yourself to minimize your risk of ever developing future medical conditions is to know to never take another puff!
Medical Advice
Last edited by Joel on 11:56 AM - Apr 12, 2009, edited 1 time in total.


4:10 AM - Apr 07, 2003 #12

cheers GrumpyOmrs i,ve just had a few cups of tea and caffeine has bothered me for years because i am aware of the stimulation.I was brought up from the age of 3 drinking tea and nearly 40 years later i,m wondering if now that life is less stressful without nicotine stimulation,what would it be like without caffeine stimulation.
Rickdabler 4 weeks 16hrs17hrs happily nicotine free.
Last edited by Golddabler1 on 11:56 AM - Apr 12, 2009, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 8:00 AM - Jan 16, 2003

7:27 AM - Apr 05, 2006 #13

A lot of us smoked nicotine instead of eating.
Some of us never ate well to begin with.
Many of us have a lot to learn about giving our bodies what is needed and in a healthy and timely way.
Our bodies are adjusting to the lack of poisons, and we can help ourselves by learning to eat well and wisely.
No matter what, never take another puff, dip, or chew.
No nicotine, ever!

Flo Babe
Flo Babe

6:38 AM - Jun 15, 2006 #14

I think this article is one of those articles that is central to a successful quit. The sugar level fluctuations is a major source of distress to quitters and if they are not aware that it isn't the nicotine withdrawal but their eating habits they will often relapse either from the stress of the highs and lows in the first few days or the binging and craves that they go through in the later days/weeks of a quit. I know becuase this is what happened to me many times.

Again, thank goodness for Joel and for this site!



6:29 AM - Jul 03, 2006 #15

Thanks for popping this up, alysser! Excellent reading and now for me to put it into practice. I don't need to worry so much about weight but nutrition is a big thing for me.

Kimm - Free and Healing for Nineteen Days and 29 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 23 Hours, by avoiding the use of 285 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $78.52.


9:54 AM - May 09, 2008 #16

Wow, this is just what I am looking for! I was already overweight by 70 lbs. and am so ready to lose the excess weight now that I have become a non-smoker! I've gained 10 lbs. since I quit on April 1st, 2008 by eating every time I wanted to smoke, but that has passed. I am so uncomfortable by just gaining 10 more pounds to my already fat bod that food isn't as appealing to me as it was when I first quit smoking. I'm ready to start exercising too, I'll start with walking the dog around the block every day and increase the time gradually. This is such a great article as I was looking for exactly what I could eat and what vitamins I need to get going in the right direction with my weight and health.

I have been a non-smoker for 1 Month, 1 Week, 3 hours, 22 minutes and 28 seconds (37 days). I have saved $159.32 by not smoking 742 cigarettes. I have saved 2 Days, 13 hours and 50 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 4/1/2008 3:30 PM


7:15 PM - May 11, 2008 #17

That's excellent! This is exactly what I needed. I started smoking at 19 because I wanted to "control" my weight levels. Since I quit, I've started overeating and I've been looking for a way to control my incontrolable "hunger" (there was no way to opt for smoking again ).
And this post solves all the mystery and answers all my queries.
Again, it's our choice to feed our bodies wisely with quality foods as it was our choice to stop inhaling nicotine + 4.000 chemicals!

Free and healing for 2 Weeks, 5 Days, 16 hours, 14 minutes and 28 seconds (19 days). I have saved 38,36 Euros by not smoking 295 death sticks. I have saved 1 Day and 35 minutes of my life.