Gymnema Sylvestre: A Natural Approach to Weight Loss
As most anyone who has attempted dieting can attest, it isn't easy. Even if you can go so far as to count your calories and plan your meals, making sure you get the right amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates every day, it seems like there's always some occasion with sweet foods to tempt you: a holiday, a birthday, a wedding, a pie-making contest at work. Most of us just don't have the will power to deal with all these temptations.
However, there is something that can help. The same herb used to treat diabetes in India for thousands of years can also help curb your sweet cravings as well as actually prevent sugar absorption for those times you just can't resist that extra-large piece of grandma's homemade apple pie.
Introducing... Gymnema Sylvestre
Found in the tropical forests of central and southern India, gymnema sylvestre is a vine-like plant whose leaves have been used traditionally as a way to balance blood sugar. Its Hindi name, Gurmar, literally means "sugar-destroyer." This refers to its ability to make sugary foods taste less sweet. In addition to its use as a diabetic remedy, it has also been used to treat liver diseases, constipation, water retention, and stomach ailments.
Blood Sugar and Insulin
Now while it may seem obvious why blocking sugar absorption would help weight loss, there's actually a little more to it. When we eat, the carbohydrates in our food get processed into glucose, the sugar that "blood sugar" actually refers to. In order for our cells to absorb this glucose, the pancreas must secrete a hormone called insulin. A well-balanced diet (with plenty of unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables) causes the natural rise and fall of blood sugar levels and a subsequent rise and fall of blood insulin levels.
The Western Diet
In the last 50 years or so, the diet of the Western world (the United States included) has shifted away from unprocessed, natural foods and towards a collection of ultra-processed foods (boxed meals, frozen entrees, fast foods, etc). These highly processed foods are converted into glucose much faster than the carbohydrates of natural breads, fruits, and vegetables. This, along with bigger portion sizes, causes blood glucose levels to shoot up after eating a meal. The pancreas then goes into overdrive to produce enough insulin, causing blood glucose levels to fall below normal. Low blood sugar signals the feeling of hunger, which is why you can feel hungry again even an hour after eating a meal. You can probably see how this could ravage a diet.
How Gymnema Sylvestre Can Help
Along with making sugary foods taste less sweet and therefore less desirable, taking a gymnema sylvestre supplement will help prevent those jumps and drops in blood sugar levels that leave us hungry just after eating. Losing weight shouldn't be attempted without healthy diet and exercise, but gymnema sylvestre can give your will power that extra edge while you develop the healthy eating habits necessary for weight loss.