The Glucose Revolution

21st September 2023

Biochemist-turned-bestselling-author Jessie Inchauspé has used her struggles with anxiety and depression as the catalyst to investigate how our diet affects our mental and physical health. Her discoveries, which she discusses here with Anna Maxted, are changing lives – and now she is coming to the Goodwood Health Summit to spread the word.

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Many of us experience glucose spikes and dips: after we’ve eaten carbs or sweet snacks, our blood sugar shoots up and then plummets. Telltale signs that we’re stuck on a glucose rollercoaster include cravings, chronic fatigue, poor sleep, inflammation, low mood and brain fog. French-born Jessie Inchauspé was no exception. Following an accident a decade ago, she struggled with anxiety and depression, and decided to study biochemistry at King’s College London, partly driven by a desire to understand her own body’s responses. After graduating, she went to work for a biotech company and was asked to take part in a trial that required her to wear a continuous blood-sugar monitor. This was Inchauspé’s Eureka moment, as she began to tune in to the link between her blood-sugar spikes and her poor mental state.

It led Inchauspé, 30, to transform her eating habits and health. She started to post on social media about what she was discovering and gradually built a fanbase. Last year, her first book, Glucose Revolution: The Life-changing Power of Balancing Your Blood Sugar, was a Number One international bestseller. Now she has simplified her approach in The Glucose Goddess Method after a number of her 2.5 million Instagram fans sweetly asked her to move in to teach them first-hand her sugar spike-squashing strategies. “I thought, ‘What’s the most comprehensive, easy, encouraging plan I could create?’ And that’s how the four-week Method was invented,” she explains.

It is indeed a beautifully straightforward and user-friendly guide to adopting “the most important hacks to keep your glucose levels steady and feel amazing”, she says. “Every week for four weeks, we add a new one of these scientifically backed principles into our lives.”

So, week one, you eat a savoury breakfast (built around protein, containing fat, fibre when possible, and nothing sweet except a little fresh fruit if desired, and minimal starch, if required for taste, eg, one slice of bread.) This steadies blood sugar, reduces cravings, and should keep you full for four hours. Week two, you also drink one tablespoon of vinegar daily – ideally, 10 minutes before eating something sweet or starchy. The acetic acid therein can reduce the subsequent glucose spike by up to 30 per cent, and the insulin spike by up to 20 per cent. (Inchauspé’s suggestions include adding it to soda water, ginger, and lime.) Week three, you consume a vegetable starter before lunch or dinner (comprising 30 per cent of the meal). Its fibre lines the gut, slowing glucose absorption, decreasing the spike by as much as 75 per cent. In week four, you move after eating, for 10 minutes. Even if you just tidy up, using your muscles flattens the glucose curve.

It’s all eminently doable, and quietly transformative. Which is a relief, because we’re struggling. “The over-reliance on processed foods has hurt our health immensely,” she says. “We’re eating a lot of sugar, a lot of processed starch, a lot of industrial oils; we’re eating very little fibre, unhealthy sources of fat, and not much good quality protein. Generally, our bodies are responding with all these diseases.”

Three out of five people will die of an inflammation-based disease. “It’s truly an epidemic. The more glucose spikes, the more inflammation increases in the body. This can show as acne, eczema, psoriasis, but our organs also become more inflamed. Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, are all inflammatory-based diseases.” Steadying our glucose levels reduces inflammation.

Conversely, “High glucose levels, even in midlife, are a very important predictor of whether you’re going to get Alzheimer’s in the future.” So much so that “some scientists are calling Alzheimer’s Type 3 diabetes”.

As Inchauspé herself found, diet is a key ingredient in mental health, too. It’s notable that anxiety and depression are rife, especially among young people. Studies show they can be exacerbated the more glucose spikes you have, she says. “Glucose spikes can also increase brain fog, lack of concentration; they can make you have cravings, poor sleep. The brain, food and glucose are very closely connected.”

The over-reliance on processed foods has hurt our health immensely… our bodies are responding with all these diseases

As the popularity of the Goodwood Gut Health Programme reflects, we’re increasingly aware that nurturing our gut microbiome is imperative. Alas, says Inchauspé, when we eat in a way that creates lots of glucose spikes, we feed the bad bacteria, and reduce the good. Happily, “By switching to a diet that promotes more vegetables, healthier sources of proteins and fats, and less sugar, like the Method helps you to do, the good bugs in your gut proliferate and are happy – and this has a very important effect not only on your metabolism but also on your mental health and mood,” she says.

Inchauspé believes “Big Food” can be part of the solution, but as “supermarkets and manufacturers are profit-driven”, she suspects they will only respond to a groundswell of pressure from consumers demanding healthier produce. It is exactly this kind of thinking that lies behind the Duchess of Richmond’s Goodwood Health Summit initiative: to bring experts such as Inchauspé and her fellow panellists (see below) into the same room as policymakers and supermarket bosses with the goal of effecting fundamental change.

Meanwhile, Inchauspé is delighted (but not surprised) at the book’s runaway success. Most of us know we should eat better, but are confused about how to do it. “I think people are responding to the clear, easy, actionable, non-restrictive hacks in this method.”

It’s just the beginning. She hopes that every reader “will share the science with their friends and family”. And Inchauspé will keep posting free educational content on Instagram. Her aim? “To get this to a point where I become useless and irrelevant because the hacks are so well-known and integrated into culture.” That’s her ultimate objective, she smiles: “To become totally redundant!”

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