Editor’s note: This article mentions and discusses eating disorders.
Self-proclaimed Glucose Goddess and media personality Jessie Inchauspé is the author of Glucose Revolutiona recently released #1 bestseller on Amazon that claims an abundance of health benefits by flattening your glucose curves.
I’ve battled a severe and chronic eating disorder for 18 years, and books like Glucose Revolution have only fueled my illness.
Given the effect these books have had on my health, I called on leading experts in the field to examine the “benefits” and “hacks” in detail. While I consulted with many in private – joining me publicly is Rachael Hartley, an RD, NT and author, and Abby Langer, RD, author, and founder of Abby Langer Nutrition.
In the book’s writing, Abby Langer stated, “Inchauspé does not appear to have any relevant education to dispense health and nutrition advice. In fact, she seems to think that she’s a guinea pig of sorts, running experiments on herself and then writing a book about them and making it appear as though these outcomes are available to anyone.”
Inchauspé, who recommends wearing a CGM device despite not having diabetes, claims that some of the “benefits of flattening your glucose curves” can lead to less hunger, fewer cravings, better energy and sleep, better immune system and defense against COVID, and fewer polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) symptoms.
Jessie recently claimed through an instagram stories that her book can reverse PCOS. Abby’s thoughts were that “there is no cure for PCOS. Diet may help with symptoms, but in the usual fashion, here we have an unqualified person making promises they can’t keep.”
The founder of @GlucoseGoddess proceed to tell us how we can “hack” our bodies to achieve these benefits. Her “hacks” include: eating foods in the right order, adding a plate of vegetables to all meals, having a savory breakfast, and eating only whole fruit.
Already this non-diet book is sounding like another fad diet.
Is there a right way to eat foods?
If you want to “lose weight, gain energy, and boost your sex drive”, Unrestrained wrote for DailyMail that it “could be as simple as deconstructing that lunchtime tuna sandwich so you eat the salad first, then the tuna and the bread last.”
We work hard in eating disorder treatment to reverse these ritualistic food behaviors that Jessie is encouraging. Langer says, “Jessie speaks in a way that’s very concerning in terms of eating disorder triggers and disordered eating behaviors.”
Explaining her “hack,” Jessie stated in her DailyMail article that having the vegetable “first creates a viscous mesh in the small intestine which makes it harder for glucose to reach the bloodstream.”
“There are some very small studies that suggest eating carbohydrate foods later in a meal may have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels. However, the studies Inchauspé cites are extremely small, with 8-20 study participants, and most studies were done on people who have diabetes. Certainly, eating carbohydrates later in a meal may be a helpful intervention for some people with diabetes for some meals, like those that contain a protein, starch, and vegetable cooked and served separately,” says Rachael Hartley.
“However, it is a huge leap to suggest this as a food rule for everyone, particularly people who do not have diabetes, whose well functioning glucose management system is already keeping their blood sugars in a healthy range.”
Langer had her own thoughts, “Inchauspé seems to have made up her own science. First, she talks about fiber making a mesh in our stomach and in our intestines while this doesn’t technically happen. Also, she talks about glucose levels and fructose levels. Fructose levels are not a metric for anything; in fact, this is a metric she seems to have made up.”
“One notable thing Jessie also made up was that she said that fructose is only stored as fat. She clearly does not understand basic human physiology. Fructose is stored in the liver as glycogen, and when over-eaten, it may be converted to fat, but it is not only converted to fat – this is only an occurrence when fructose is over-eaten.”
Unrestrained compares the inner workings of our stomach to a sink, as though the food we eat stays in the same order that we eat it in. However, Hartley says, “When we eat food, our stomach turns it into what I like to call a “food smoothie,” as our stomach mechanically digests it. It slowly leaves our stomach and goes into the small intestine, where nutrients are absorbed. The brain is able to sense a rise in blood glucose, amino acids and fatty acids and signal satiety. Inchauspé forgets that despite the order in which you eat, food is immediately combined and mixed together in the stomach.”
Jessie says we should add a vegetable starter to all meals to keep our “glucose steadier and avoid cravings and energy slumps later on.”
“Aiming to include a vegetable at most meals is perfectly fine nutrition advice for those who have adequate access to produce,” states Hartley.
“However, Inchauspé recommends starting every meal with a plate of vegetables as a way to “flatten the glucose curve,” claiming the fiber in vegetables “coats” the small intestine to slow down stomach emptying. While fiber does slow gastric emptying, resulting in better blood sugar levels, particularly in people who have diabetes, there is also a good bit of fiber in whole grains, beans, starchy vegetables, and fruit. Why would the fiber from vegetables result in this effect but not the fiber from these other foods?”
What about stress and mental health?
“One thing Inchauspé does not account for is the effect of stress on blood sugar levels. By taking what could be general helpful nutrition guidelines and turning them into rigid, complicated food rules, Inchauspé adds an incredible amount of stress to mealtime,” says Hartley.
“How this stress affects blood glucose – and one’s mental health – is ignored.”
“Inchauspé’s advice is a perfect example of how diet culture often takes kernels of nutritional truth, then twists and exaggerates [it] into something that’s no longer accurate or helpful for the average person trying to eat healthfully. [Inchauspé] creates a complex system of tracking and food rules that can easily fuel disordered eating,” concludes Hartley.
According to The National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED), 1 million Canadians live with a diagnosed eating disorder. Eating Disorders have the highest overall mortality rate of any mental illness. If you or someone you know might be suffering from an eating disorder, check out these resources.