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How to Balance Your Blood Sugar

With Samantha McKinney, RD

Season 5, Episode 12 | July 12, 2022

It’s estimated that as many as one in three U.S. adults have impaired blood-sugar control — and most are unaware until disease diagnosis. This often means missing months or years of opportunities to intervene with lifestyle habits. Samantha McKinney, RD, CPT, explains how blood sugar impacts nearly every aspect of our health and walks us through the many things we can do to better control it.

Samantha McKinney, RD, CPT, is the manager of digital nutrition programs, content, and coaching at Life Time.

One thing McKinney emphasizes in this episode is the importance of regular testing to be aware of your blood-sugar levels. She recommends testing levels for these items:

  • Fasting blood glucose. Because this can be thrown off by a lot of things — a poor night’s sleep or high stress, for example — it’s ideal to test regularly to look at how your levels trend over time. Ideal target for optimal health: 82 to 88 mg/dL.
  • Hemoglobin A1C. This is probably one of the best markers to track, McKinney says. This looks at what your blood-sugar levels have been over the past three months. Ideal target for optimal health: less than 5.3 percent.
  • Triglycerides. This assessment is run with almost every standard physical as part of a lipid panel. Triglycerides are often high in uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. Ideal target for optimal health: less than 100 mg/dL.
  • Insulin. This hormone is released when blood sugar increases. You may be able to ask your doctor to test for this, otherwise it’s available via direct-to-consumer lab testing. Ideal target for optimal health: less than 10 mIU/L.

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Transcript: How to Balance Your Blood Sugar

Season 12, Episode 12  | July 12, 2022

[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome back to Life Time Talks, everyone. I am Jaime Martin.

And I’m David Freeman.

And we have a fan-favorite guest back today. We have our friend, Samantha McKinney, with us today. And she has been here before, talking about gut health and metabolism and answering lots of questions about health and nutrition. Today, we’re talking about blood sugar control.

But before we get into that, a little bit about Sam. Sam is a registered dietitian, trainer, and manager of digital Life Time nutrition programs, content, and coaching. Since starting with Life Time in 2011, she’s served in various roles, supporting member nutrition and fitness programming, and is known for her passion and expertise in wellness and metabolism.

When she’s not working, she’s focused on expanding her knowledge. She’s a big fan of learning– we just discussed this– and understanding of human health, staying active, and spending quality time with her husband and son. Sam, thanks for coming back.

Hey, guys.

Welcome, welcome.

Thanks for having me.

How are you?

Great. I’m happy to be here. It’s a very cold day in Minnesota today, but we made it.

[LAUGHTER]

We always– we find a way when we’re here, right?

Yes.

All right. So we’re going to jump right into today’s topic of blood sugar balancing control. I know you get a ton of questions about this, coming through the programming that you’re coaching through. Let’s start by level-setting about what blood sugar is and why it matters for health.

Oh, gosh. This is– I feel like I say this about every topic, but this really is one of my favorite topics. So when we talk about blood sugar– in other words, blood glucose. It’s the same thing. That’s basically a really simple way of saying the actual level of sugar in your bloodstream, which, obviously, sounds a little bit obvious.

But, oftentimes, when people hear “blood sugar,” they usually just associate that with, oh, how much sugar I eat. Do I eat dessert? And, really, it’s way more complex and all-encompassing than that.

It impacts nearly every facet of your health. A lot of things can throw off your blood sugar, and there’s also a lot that you can do to control it. And there’s, usually, a lot of symptoms and chronic health conditions that people are struggling with that they don’t even realize, go back to, what their blood sugar levels, chronically, are. [? So ?] huge topic to unpack.

Yes.

Yeah. So when we think of just as functional role– what it does for us, day-to-day– what would you consider optimal for us to make sure that we’re in optimal ranges, when it comes to blood sugar levels?

So your body has a really complex web of systems to keep it in a pretty narrow range. So, generally speaking, it’s going to run somewhere between 80-ish fasting– and this is optimally speaking– up to around 110 or so after meals. And so, it should, ideally, stay in that range.

Now, there’s obviously huge variation there. There are certain conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, which is basically an autoimmune condition that does not allow you to control blood sugar. You are reliant on external insulin and medication for that.

But if it goes too high or too low, that’s life-threatening. I don’t really think that’s going to be, necessarily, the focus of this conversation. It’s more about, hey, if it’s a little bit too high or a little bit too low and not quite in diagnostic ranges, what are some practical implications to your health for that? And then, what can you do about it?

Awesome.

Absolutely. So that’s talking optimally, but we know that a good portion of Americans do not have their blood sugar in control. Can you speak a little bit to the stats? And how did we get here?

Yes. OK, so about one in three– so I don’t know. There’s three of us at this table. Who is it, right?

Which one?

About one in three US adults have impaired blood sugar control. 1 out of 10 have full-blown diabetes, which, again, everything with– blood sugar is on a spectrum, and there’s health on one side and there’s disease on the other. And the full-blown diabetes– specifically, type 2 which is more related to lifestyle– typically, more controllable– is the full-blown piece of that. The scary part is that most people are unaware that they have blood sugar issues until, sometimes, they get diagnosed with diabetes.

And they’ve been on this path for months, years, or even decades that they could have made changes, had they known. So the stats, there, can get pretty scary and staggering. But, again, there’s this undertone of there’s a lot we can do.

And to your question of how did we get here, also multifactorial. So it has to do with our food supply, how we’ve been eating, whether or not we’re active, and our overall stress levels, too. So it’s this perfect storm of a lot of people struggling with chronically high or really varying blood sugars.

I just want to clarify something real quick because you mentioned type 1 diabetes earlier. We’re talking specifically with these factors, with type 2 diabetes, correct?

Yeah. There’s a couple of different ways that your blood sugar can be off. So type 1 diabetes is a little bit in its own category, and that needs to be medically managed in most cases. So that, I feel like we could set aside because it’s less controllable with nutrition lifestyle factors.

I think the imbalances that we can focus on fall into a few categories. So the first one is– we talked about the study blood sugar levels. Some people start to struggle with low, hypoglycemic– you might have heard that word before; that means your blood sugar is going low– episodes.

And that, actually, is not great for your health, either. And the classic way of identifying that is, if you go too long without eating if you get what I call “hangry”– hungry and angry at the same time– or you get irritable or shaky in between meals. That’s not a good thing.

That actually causes an immense amount of stress on your body. Every time your blood sugar dips too low, your stress hormones surge. Not a good thing. Actually, part of the reason that people with blood sugar issues don’t sleep well overnight is because they’re having blood sugar lows and it’s surging cortisol and epinephrine, which is making them toss and turn.

The next category is what we call pre-diabetes. That’s really the time to take action. So it’s whenever your blood sugar levels are starting to get chronically high, but they’re not at a place where most physicians are going to be super concerned yet. But you’re starting to notice symptoms that you might be normalizing, such as trouble sleeping, cravings, belly fat, energy level ups and downs, et cetera.

And then it goes into full-blown diabetes, which a lot of people can actually put themselves in remission there, too. Not a guarantee, but a lot you can do.

Well. GI Joe reference here– knowing is half the battle. And if you actually are aware– I know you just mentioned a few of those symptoms– is it other ways, from a testing standpoint– or how regularly we should be tested to make sure we can be proactive in this space?

Yes. I love that question, so thanks for bringing that up. I would actually say one of the biggest things that I love people to take away from this conversation is you should know your blood sugars. You need to know your testing. So fasting blood glucose, that’s a great thing to test regularly, but it can be thrown off by a lot of things. So, for example, if you have a poor night’s sleep, your fasting blood sugar is probably going to be a little bit higher. If you’re stressed out, your fasting blood sugar is going to be higher.

So knowing your fasting glucose trend every couple of months, over time, would be ideal if you’re looking at fasting glucose. Some people actually use continuous glucose monitors, so CGMs, those are becoming more popular in the general population– even for people that don’t have diabetes, to see how foods are impacting their blood sugar. Hemoglobin A1C is probably one of the best things to track.

You ideally want it to be under 5.3. A lot of traditional medical reference ranges go up to 5.7 or so. What that’s looking at, measured in percentages, is what’s your average blood sugar been over the last three months?

So the other term for that is called glycosylated hemoglobin. So one of the problems with higher blood sugar is when you have higher levels of glucose in your blood– and I’m going to tend to say this a little bit simply. This is directionally accurate, not fully physiologically accurate.

But think of it as it’s sticky in your blood, and it starts to abnormally stick to proteins. And so it will stick to hemoglobin. So glycosylated hemoglobin, or hemoglobin A1C, just means hemoglobin that has the sugar stuck to it. But that’s not the only compound that sugar sticks to. It’ll stick to other proteins, and that’s part of the reason that it ages you faster inside out when you have higher blood sugar.

Another one to look at is triglycerides. So that one is run in almost every standard physical. It’s part of a lipid panel, when your doctor is looking at your heart health. And we, ideally, want those under 100.

But it’s not usually a concern until it’s over 150. So it’s a 50% increase from what’s optimal before we’re getting talked to about it. And then, if you can get a doctor to run– or if you want to do direct-to-consumer lab testing– and check your insulin levels, sometimes the units or the levels of insulin, medically, go up to 25. But you actually want to keep them under eight. Some people say under five.

OK.

Oh, yeah. I mean, I want to make sure all the listeners were able to digest that, right? Because it was a good, great amount of content there. So I want to write down– and want everybody else who’s listening right now or watching to write down the top three ways to go get checked. So one, two, three. Let’s hear it.

I would say hemoglobin A1C. Probably one of the most accessible ones. I would say triglycerides is another one. And the, the last one– oh, gosh. It would be a toss. If you can get insulin drawn– fasting insulin– I would do that one. If you can’t do that, then I would just figure out a way to, on a pretty regular basis, check your trend of fasting sugar. So I cheated there. That was four instead of three.

I like it. A bonus.

It’s a bonus.

It’s a bonus. I like that.

Bonus one. Look at us, saying the same thing. We’re on the same page. OK. You mentioned the continuous glucose monitors. And I want to talk a little bit about that because it seems that that’s becoming a more direct-to-consumer product. How accurate are those? Do we know yet, or is it still up in the air? And is it right for everybody to use that, or is it better to work with your doctor?

So what’s funny is that I’ve been on the podcast before. You guys know that my answer is often–

It depends.

It depends, yeah. So the accuracy is, obviously, going to be pending the company and the manufacturer and everything. For some people, if you are stressed out super easily, it might not be the best approach for you. Some people are analysis by paralysis with data, and other people actually see strong behavior change what data. I’m pro- knowing whenever you can, as long as you feel empowered and you know what to do if things are off.

A little anecdote, actually. I have a coworker right now. He’s not a registered dietitian, but he’s playing around with using a CGM. And it’s been really interesting to hear his experience so far.

What I do like about them is there are some general things that you can do to manage blood sugar, like foods to focus on or foods to avoid. But there really is variation from person to person. One person might be able to eat a bowl of oatmeal or some chickpeas and process that fine, while another one, that might really spike blood sugar a lot. So, for example, this particular colleague, white potatoes, even if it’s mixed in with a meal with protein and fat, spikes his blood sugar higher than a pint of ice cream.

Ooh.

Wow.

But he wouldn’t have known that otherwise. Now, I’m not advocating going to eat a pint of ice cream, but it’s interesting. And he’s even said, just by monitoring this, I’ve always known– because he’s a trainer. He’s like, I’ve known that blood sugar is tied to cognition and even mental health and focus. He goes, it’s mind-blowing, experiencing it on my own. No that I know what foods spike my blood sugar– and this is verbatim– he’s like, it is unbelievable how much mental focus I have, now that my blood sugar levels are stable, which is really cool to hear.

It is cool.

That’s awesome.

So that’s more from the nutrition perspective. Now, if we were to say I want to be able to manage the blood glucose levels from training or let me say management of stress, sleep, what are certain things that we could do in that space?

Well, let’s actually talk a little bit about exercise because that’s one of the most underutilized ways of bringing blood sugar into balance. Strength training, especially for the people that are prioritizing blood sugar– which should be everybody, or anybody that has confirmed symptoms or confirmed labs– strength training is the best-kept secret for controlling blood sugar. So there’s this whole process of what starts to happen whenever your body’s blood sugar is chronically high. One of the hormones that brings blood sugar down is insulin.

Most people don’t think to themselves, well, where does the blood sugar go? It goes into your liver, into your muscles, and into your fat stores whenever insulin is released. What happens is, as blood sugar is high– and I’m circling back to exercise here, if you’re wondering why I’m going off on a tangent here– when it comes to insulin– so your body’s secreting insulin trying to get blood sugar levels down– the insulin receptors on your cells, where the insulin attaches that help bring the blood sugar into the cells and lower it, they start to become resistant.

So it’s almost like a neighbor, knocking on your door over and over and over. Eventually, you start ignoring it. That’s what your insulin receptors start doing. It’s getting flooded with insulin too much. The beauty of strength training is that, even if you’re starting to get insulin resistant– which is a progression through pre-diabetes and, eventually, diabetes– when you strength train, it’s like there’s this alternate door on your cells. It’s called a GLUT4 transporter, and it opens up and it will lower your blood sugars, even if you’re insulin resistant, which is awesome.

There are even mouse studies that say that– and, granted, we’re not mice, but this is, I would believe, directionally accurate. There are mouse studies that show after just implementing two weeks of exercise will start to lower your blood sugar. So it happens relatively quickly, and that movement is so important. And actually, I’m going to give one more anecdote, too.

So gestational diabetes. In a lot of cases, it’s complex. But for most people, that goes back to pre-existing blood sugar issues that first get caught in pregnancy. So for me, personally, I failed my gestational diabetes, the first screen.

There are limitations to that test. And so, instead of doing the second one, what I opted to do is– I said to my doctor, isn’t the main thing to see what my blood sugars are doing? He agreed, yes. I said, let me just monitor my blood sugar, fasting and after each meal, so that we can see.

I was convinced. Ended up being right. I did not have gestational diabetes, personally. But I was tracking it. And what was so interesting, for me– I, pretty much, could eat whatever I wanted without my blood sugar going over that 110 after meals. The only time it spiked was whenever I went on a summer road trip and was sitting in sedentary for seven hours in the car. And I wasn’t eating poorly in the car. It literally was just because I was sedentary. So whenever you go back to movement, crucial.

OK So we’ve got the movement. And we also need to recover, and that’s what happens when we’re sleeping. Our bodies work really hard when we’re in bed and getting some shut-eye. So let’s talk about that.

Yes. In terms of how your sleep impacts your– or both?

Both, I think. How does it impact our system?

What I mentioned earlier is, when your blood sugar is spiking up and down, whenever it has those overnight lows, that’s when you’re going to toss and turn. So it’s a downwards spiral because, then, if you’re waking up a lot at night, that causes stress on your system, and that will raise your morning blood sugar. So sleep and blood sugar control are just intricately connected. You can’t really unwind them.

And, in fact, Jamie and I, let’s say we eat the same exact nutrition and have the same exact exercise, if you were sleeping eight hours a night and I was sleeping six hours a night, my fasting blood sugars are more likely going to be higher and look pre-diabetic, whereas yours might not. So prioritizing sleep is huge.

I want to throw a wrench in there. Can I throw a wrench in there? You know–

Please.

Throw a wrench.

–I like to. Caffeine. Dependency on caffeine, how your body responds to it– does it have any kind of correlation to blood sugar levels?

It might. Caffeine intake isn’t usually the first thing I would address with a client with blood sugar issues. The only caveat to that is, if somebody has adrenal issues, you have trouble regulating blood sugar, for sure. Your adrenal glands and your blood sugar, those are like BFFs. So if you are overdoing it with caffeine and you have pre-existing adrenal issues, and it’s worsening those, your blood sugar is going to be really hard to control. So in that scenario, probably. But generally speaking, it’s not usually the first thing that I address.

But I’m going to throw a wrench in, too.

Go for it.

I think it might also be helpful for the listeners, if you guys are OK with it, of going into other things affected by blood sugar, too– unless that’s a little bit later in the conversation.

No, let’s go for it. Let’s go for it now.

So part of the reason that all of this is so important– I mentioned cognition and focus, but your chronic blood sugar levels are tied to, like I said, almost every facet of health. So heart disease is the number one killer. It’s tied to heart disease, hands-down. If you have lipid issues, you need to be controlling your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is high, you naturally retain sodium. That will increase your blood pressure. So think about how many people have blood pressure issues, right?

And everybody’s concerned about sodium in foods. OK, fine. Sodium in foods, for most people, is not as much of a concern as the sodium you’re retaining from higher levels of insulin due to high blood sugar. So that’s another one. People are always concerned about hormones. I think I’ve been on here, talking about thyroid health. It could be PMS. It could be menopausal hormones. For men, it could be testosterone levels. For men, also, erectile dysfunction. All of that goes back to blood sugar. It really, truly does.

So out-of-whack blood sugars will stress out your system, which will throw off your thyroid. Your hormones– your sex hormones in particular– estrogen, progesterone, testosterone– have zero chance of being balanced when your sugars are off. And so, I’ll even just give this as an example. Sometimes, when men have low testosterone, they’re like, OK, I just need to go on testosterone therapy. Testosterone replacement has a time and place. But testosterone can be converted to estrogen.

The enzyme that does that, aromatase, can increase when your blood sugars are high. So think about this. You have a male who’s, maybe, not sleeping, not exercising, has low testosterone, feels like trash. If he’s just assuming he has higher blood sugar levels, he just goes on testosterone. His body is going to be raising his estrogen. So, again, this is–

So intertwined, all of it. It’s just this web.

Yes. And so, for members that do lifetime lab testing, usually, they’re doing it because they feel stuck or they’re really achy or they feel like their thyroid is off or they’re just worried about something with their metabolism. And yes. Usually, they’re right. Their thyroid is off or the hormones are off or their blood lipids and their cholesterol are off. But I hone in on that sugar because those will not regulate until you regulate your blood sugar. And doing that is relatively straightforward for most people. It doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s straightforward, though.

Right. But, again, it goes back to there’s a lot of foundational lifestyle habits that can influence that, and that we do have a level of control over.

Absolutely, yes.

So walk us through it. I mean, you just said it. Lab testing from Life Time, for example. So now, what would be the suggested test? Is it a full panel? What would you suggest, as far as from your expertise– this is what you should do, and then, we give you this course of action based off the results.

Yeah. So, it depends.

[LAUGHTER]

It depends.

So– sorry, but if somebody is having like low blood sugar issues, for example– that can be an issue– it’s going to have a little bit of a different strategy than people that have chronically high. Low blood sugar, for example, that’s somebody where I’d be like, hey, I know it’s popular, but you might not want to intermittent fast right now. For somebody whose blood sugars are a little bit higher, there’s a couple of foundational things that we need to address first.

Number one, what is your protein and your fat intake? Because food pairings do matter for what your blood sugar does after a meal. So I’ll use oatmeal, as an example. You could eat oatmeal. If you have oatmeal with eggs, for example, that protein and fat is probably not going to spike and drop quite as much. You want this even blood sugar throughout the day. And if you have carbs or sugar by itself, it’ll spike.

Strength training is another one. Omega-3 fatty acids can be super helpful. So people that choose to supplement with fish oil, it can help with your triglycerides. It can help with your hemoglobin A1C, now, again, alone. I would suggest this in context with other things. Your vitamin D status, which most people are not supplementing, are low, and your magnesium status are really intricately related to how well your body can manage these blood sugars.

So those are like table stakes. But for a lot of people, I do recommend a lower-carb, border-ish ketogenic approach temporarily. This is not medical-grade therapeutic keto, but two to six weeks or so until their bodies start becoming a little bit more insulin-sensitive can, potentially, be helpful, too.

So, right now, I’m going to the Life Time site, and I’m looking at panels or labs. Which one would you say is going to cover all the things you just talked about?

Well, for people that do direct-to-consumer lab testing, I always defer to our all-encompassing all-in-one panel to start as an annual. This isn’t something that you have to do all the time, but just an annual check of everything because, yeah, your blood sugar matters. But guess what? Some of the things it’s impacting, like your lipids, or your cortisol, or your hormones, if those are off enough, you might need to be addressing those in tandem with your blood sugar.

So I don’t like looking at things in a silo, but some of the markers that we talked about at the beginning of this episode, I would recommend that you just keep tabs on all the time. And you should be able to get those done at your doctor, I would hope.

Ask for them, no, can I go with a list, probably, with what you want to address in any given appointment?

Yes.

That makes sense. One other factor that I want to address, because it is something we can do, is stress management because we know that a lot of people are stressed out with, then, chronic cortisol and all these other pieces. So talk to us a little bit about stress.

OK. So if we go back a little bit and think about how your body responds to stress– so for those listeners that are familiar with adrenal issues, you already have a baseline. But I’ll give a quick overview. Your main stress hormone is called cortisol, right? And cortisol is not all bad. Sometimes, we call it bad. But it basically follows a pattern throughout the day where it’s a little bit higher in the morning, dips off by noon, and trails off in the evening. And it’s just supposed to oscillate like that every day.

Well, if you think about stressors that we are biologically programmed to respond to, they’re not the type of stressors we’re dealing with today. Whether it’s a work deadline or traffic, the type of stressors we’re biologically programmed to respond to are like, hey, there’s a tiger or a bear chasing me. What do you think your body needs if a tiger is chasing you?

Adrenaline.

Yeah. Adrenaline, and you need the energy from sugar. So even if you’re eating perfectly– this is what I want to emphasize. Let’s say you’re eating perfectly. You’re eating good protein, good fiber, lots of veggies, healthy fats, all that type of stuff. Your carbohydrates are appropriate for your activity level.

There’s a process called gluconeogenesis– that means genesis of new glucose– that your body will do under stress. And so, what it does is it literally forms glucose out of your liver to give you the sugar that it perceives you need to run away from the tiger.

To escape and survive.

But you’re usually sitting in your office, looking at your computer, during this stress. So all it’s doing is raising your blood sugar. And you’re not burning it off.

So those that are really, type-A, high-stress personality, sometimes, they’ll get really frustrated because they’re like, I’m doing all of these things. I’m doing all of these things, and my blood sugar’s still running high. I’m like, you’re not managing your stress, and your body is doing exactly what it should be doing under stress. The problem is that, for you, it’s chronic, and you’re not burning off the sugar that it’s giving you.

So the stress management piece is huge. And that’s where I had mentioned that cortisol and blood sugar are BFFs. And it works the opposite way, too. So if you’re super stressed out, your cortisol goes up. Your body is like, oh my gosh, something’s going on. I need to give you energy, so here’s some sugar.

The sugar.

Well, the other end of the spectrum happens, too, where, if your blood sugar dips down– so let’s say, maybe, you ate a meal that wasn’t balanced. You just grabbed, maybe, a high-sugar granola bar. It wasn’t really balanced with protein or fat. Your blood sugar spikes. What goes up, must come down. It drops too low, so maybe below that 80 or so. Your body is like, oh my goodness, my priority right now is getting blood sugar levels back up to that narrow range that we had kicked off with in the beginning.

Very good.

And it’ll shoot out cortisol. So you just end up on this giant roller coaster with these erratic ups and downs.

It’s so interesting. We did an article in the magazine. It was called “Complete the Stress Cycle.” And part of that was movement as a way– because if we’re not moving– so how do we– it goes back to all of this is connected again. Movement, nutrition, all of these pieces are working together. Our lifestyle habits.

Think about your environment, too. So if you think about the world that we live in– what I always say is you need to manage your blood sugar on purpose. So think of this scenario– you don’t have a good night’s sleep. You wake up. You don’t realize that you’re blood sugar is higher just because your sleep isn’t good.

You’re rushing out the door. You grab a banana. Banana, it’s a healthy food but, alone, is not a meal. You eat that. It spikes your blood sugar, and then it drops. You feel a little bit irritable. You’re running late for work.

So you’re at work. You’re a little bit stressed out. Your blood sugar is going up again, right? You grab whatever’s easy. You grab some coffee. You grab some caffeine. Stresses out your system more. And you think about this. And as it’s going up and down, you’re dealing with the energy ups and downs. You’re dealing with the cravings. And what’s readily accessible? It’s not usually foods that are, really, whole foods that are well-balanced.

And this is where it goes back to planning, prioritizing your workouts, making sure that you have a really well-balanced snack and meal planned on a regular basis, there.

I just want to go off that, and then we’re going to go straight into the hot seat, yeah?

You ready?

Now, I am ready–

As long as Sam–

–but I want to make sure–

–doesn’t have anything else to add, right?

Yeah, yeah. But before that, you just said it. The people will go to a banana. If you can, we just want to throw those hacks out there. We want to make sure they can apply a lot of things. I know it depends. But if you were to say, first thing in the morning, what was probably a good go-to if you are on the run and you need something quick?

Yeah. So what’s interesting is, in the morning is– whenever your cortisol should be naturally higher, that’s actually, ideally– again, generally speaking; there are exceptions to this– where you should eat lower-carbohydrate foods. So if you could think to yourself– think a veggie omelet, for example. If you’re running late, I personally do a protein shake, just because it’s easy and it’s fast. Just something fast like that. A little bit higher-protein, higher-fat.

For those that tolerate dairy, a full-fat organic Greek yogurt with a couple of berries on there might be a great option. That would probably be the first thing that I would grab. And then, eating a regular lunch and then a regular dinner.

And dinnertime, when your cortisol is a little bit lower– most people are shocked because they want to burn carbs throughout the day, which is why they eat them earlier. Actually, throwing in a little bit– and again, generally speaking– of starchy carbohydrates– so things like roasted sweet potato or something– in with your evening dinner can be helpful, overall. So it can actually help your sleep and help your melatonin and serotonin and all of that.

And we have lots of content at experiencelife.lifetime.life that you have written, Sam, that we’ll also link to this because there’s great tips and great suggestions like that, as well. So it’s really accessible for people. Anything else you want to add? Any final note before you get asked David’s questions?

The one other thing that I want to say is that increasing lean body mass and muscle is the antidote to poor blood sugar control. So no matter what your goals are– if they’re performance, if they’re weight loss, whatever they are, you should prioritize building and maintaining lean muscle. That’s absolutely crucial. As we get older, we’re naturally at risk for losing it. And so, when it comes to blood sugar control, do everything that you possibly can to prioritize your lean muscle. It will be an absolute game-changer.

So that’s the one other thing that I wanted to note because, again, as the decades go on and all of us are older today than we were yesterday, it’s so, so important to make sure that you strength train, eat your protein, build your muscle.

Love it. All right. Sam, you’ve been through this before. Yes. Let’s–

You know–

–do it.

–the drill.

You got this. You got this all day. How would you define healthy?

I would say you’re able to do, physically, the things that you want to do. Your lab markers are within optimal ranges, and that you have the energy and vitality and just overall happiness, inside and out, to really be your absolute best self and show up every day.

I like that happiness. That stood out to me. Happiness. All right. Would you rather skydive or bungee jump?

I’ve actually been skydiving, so skydive.

Skydiving?

Mm-hmm.

All right. If your life was a movie, what character would you want to be?

The main one.

Oh. That–

[LAUGHS]

She wants to be–

–was good. She was on–

–front and center.

–it. I like that. I like that.

Well, if my life was a movie, wouldn’t I have to be the main character?

You are the main character. But if you had to have somebody– let me say if somebody had to play you–

Oh. Huh.

I just threw that in there, actually.

OK. You just made that up–

Yeah.

–right now?

On the spot.

I don’t know. Tina Fey? She’s pretty funny.

I like it.

Yeah.

Yeah, that was good.

I like it.

All right. What do you consider your greatest personality trait?

I’m detail-oriented in every possible way. I’m very thorough.

Oh.

Yeah.

Do you remember back to Danny King’s episode? It was like, if he had a superlative, it would end up being most informative.

Oh, there you go.

So, education. I like that. I like that. OK, last one. What do you want to leave as a stamp of impact in the year 2022?

Oh. I love these types of questions. I would say stamp of impact would be empowering people to genuinely take control of their health. Especially in recent years, I think there is a lot of fear and a lot of stress. And I just want people to feel like the choices you make matter, and they impact outcomes. And so, what you can control, you should.

Love that.

Awesome.

I love it.

All right. Sam, thank you for another great episode. We’re so glad you were here.

Thanks for having me. I’ll come back anytime.

I love it. Thanks, Sam.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

We’d Love to Hear From You

Have thoughts you’d like to share or topic ideas for future episodes? Email us at lttalks@lt.life.

The information in this podcast is intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge of healthcare topics. This information is for educational purposes only and should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of advice from your physician or healthcare provider. We recommend you consult your physician or healthcare professional before beginning or altering your personal exercise, diet or supplementation program.

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