Following Jessie Inchauspe on Instagram under the moniker, Glucose Goddess, can quite literally change your life. But you first have to be open to a simple but very important concept: sugar may taste good, but it’s affecting you in ways that you may never have imagined. Her findings won’t ruin ice cream, chocolate or even fruit for you—but they will make you think differently about the immediate affects of food on your body. Read on to learn more….
A Scientific Crusader
For years now, Jessie Inchauspe has been performing glucose-related experiments on herself. But don't worry, she knows what she's doing. Known on Instagram under her handle, @GlucoseGoddess, Jessie is using the data she’s gathered with a glucose monitoring device to show her followers just how influential (and in some cases, detrimental) sugar is on the human body. The Glucose Goddess has found a unique way to teach curious people all about sugar. If you’re wondering whether Inchauspe is qualified to be performing such complex research, she is. This scientist knows what she’s doing with a very impressive education background to back it up.
Jesse Inchauspe began her studies at King’s College in London, England to study Mathematics for undergraduate degree and received her Master’s in biochemistry from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. At Georgetown, Jessie focused on nutrition and metabolism physiology, performing research in a wet lab, examining how different diets impact the likelihood of eradicating cancer. Her educational experiences made her realize that she wanted to work on the forefront of health technology. Shortly after graduating from Georgetown in 2015, she received an offer from 23 And Me, the personal genomics and biotechnology company that has made its mark for its DNA Health + Ancestry services.
Jessie was passionate about the connection of genetics to healthcare, but she explained to us that while DNA can tell you what conditions or diseases you might develop, DNA doesn’t really tell you what you can do today to feel good tomorrow. That’s where she got the idea of wearing a glucose monitor. Jessie wanted to know how the food she was consuming was affecting her health in real time. “With the monitor, I can finally speak to the inside of my body. I get real time feedback on what I'm doing from literally the inside of myself. And I thought that was coolest thing ever. So I started researching this topic and I started there were so many papers in the subject and that glucose was basically associated with pretty much everything under the sun,” said Jessie.
She’s right. Your glucose levels have a tremendous effect on everything from your sleep cycles to overall energy output, just to name a few. But Jessie was having a hard time showing her friends and family how this glucose moderator was providing such important information about her overall health.
“I thought, ‘How can I make this information actionable, and tangible, and interesting?’ And that's when I started making the graphs.”
(an actual graph showing Jessie's findings about papaya)
Jessie would take the data from her own monitor, run experiments on herself like eating a sweet fruit such as a papaya and its affect on her body after a poor night's sleep. She would then illustrate her findings into graphs. Her friends soon took notice. “My friends were like, ‘Oh my God! I like this.’ So they were asking me to test more and more stuff. It was getting a lot of traction,” noted Jessie. Instagram followers began to reach out to her as well and the Glucose Goddess was born.
“The demand [for information] got a bit too intense, so I made an app," said Jessie. "That automated the graph-making process and then I began to share them on Instagram. I did not expect it to be this big, honestly. It was just kind of like I responded to people liking the topic and I just kept doing more and more and more based on feedback I was getting.” Since starting her journey in March of 2019, the Glucose Goddess Instagram account has amassed over 34,000 followers.
Glucose Moderation: What’s in it For Me?
So why should we care so much about glucose moderation? Jessie has an interesting elevator pitch. Or rather, an airplane pitch: “I ask people to remember the last time they were in an airplane. You know when you walk into a plane before you turn to go to your seats you kind of glance into the cockpit and you're like, ‘Oh man, that’s complicated stuff in there.’ Like, all the buttons and dials and levers and you're just really happy that the pilots know what they're doing. And you just walk away. Well, imagine your body as the plane. In your body, you're the passenger. But you're also the freaking pilot. And most of the time, we don't really know how the machine works. We don't really know exactly what to do to feel amazing every day. So what I say is that your glucose levels are the most important lever in the cockpit of your body. If you're going to learn one thing, you should probably start with glucose. Keeping it steady affects better skin, better mood, balanced hormones, weight loss cravings, and energy."
The Trouble With Marketing
While we all need glucose to survive, we certainly don’t need artificial or added sugars. This is an issue that all too often consumers must deal with. However, they may not even know their product is filled with added or artificial sugars because they don’t know what a word like “turbinado” or “barley malt” means.
“Were trained as consumers to avoid the big you know words like sugar,” said Jessie. “But when we see something that's a little bit different, we might get trapped into thinking it's good for us. There's a lot of a lot of marketing tricks that are being used by the food industry to make things look healthier than they are, unfortunately. And I feel like the list is growing all the time, too.”
Jessie is trying to make consumers aware of what food products may do to your glucose levels. “One of the things that I tried to do in my community is to test as many products as possible-- like all the packaged bars to show what they actually do to you so you can be educated and not be fooled by all the marketing tricks.”
A Crash Course in Glucose
Although we all have glucose running through our bodies, it’s safe to say not everyone can define exactly how it got there. Jessie has an uncanny ability to provide clear, easy to digest insight on this complex topic. “Essentially, glucose comes from carbohydrates. There are two types of carbohydrates: The first type is sugars: things like sodas, candy, and fruit juice. They contain glucose. The second category of carbs is starches, like bread, potatoes, rice, beans, and anything made from flour. Starches are actually trillions of little molecules of glucose that are hooked up together. And when you eat a starch, your body breaks down these chains of glucose into single molecules of glucose. So when you eat bread, you're actually eating glucose. If you're trying to reduce your sugar intake you not only need to make sure that you're not eating things that taste sweet, like candy, but also you have to think about the starches you're ingesting.”
Although you may not think of foods like bread as being sugary, Jessie has a clever way to prove this notion. “There’s this really cool experiment that I recommend everybody does: take a piece of white bread. Put in your mouth and chew it without swallowing it for about 90 seconds. You'll notice that the bread starts tasting sweet. Just like if you just ate some sugar. And that's because the starch is breaking apart into individual molecules of sugar.”
Exercise and Glucose Levels
Jessie knows all about the relationship between exercise and glucose. Essentially, if you’re going to maintain a healthy lifestyle, exercise needs to be at the top of your list. As Jessie made it clear, “First of all, I have to say that working out at anytime is better than not working out. So like exercise is always a good idea regardless of when it is. But when you keep your glucose levels as steady as possible, you can actually time when it’s best for your body to exercise.”
“When your glucose gets digested into your intestine and goes into your bloodstream, that creates a big glucose spike in your blood. Your body, at that point, doesn't want to leave all this glucose in your blood because it's detrimental to your health,” said Inchauspe.
Most importantly, Jessie added that “Your body absorbs the glucose with the help of insulin and it puts the glucose away in your muscles, your liver, and then in your fat cells. So when there's a lot of glucose, your fat cells actually increase in size and you can put on weight. You will notice that one of the places your body puts its excess goes is in your muscles. And the more your muscles need energy, the more glucose can go into them. So if you just worked out, for example, or if you're about to work out, your muscles are going to need a lot of energy. The glucose in your blood is going to be given to your muscles. And the more your muscles need glucose, the less is going to be left over to put in your fat cells or your liver. So, essentially, if you're going to eat something sweet, eat it right before or right after a workout. Because a lot of the glucose that's in that food will be put into your muscles instead of staying in your bloodstream or potentially making you put on weight.”
So how do we eat food that be considered “bad for us” in a way that doesn’t cause as much for us? Beyond exercise or the currently popular apple cider vinegar, one way Jessie advises involves never having something such as a cookie on an empty stomach.
“I'm never going to have it first thing in the morning. I'm never going to have it as a snack. I'm going to have it after a meal. So why is that? Why is having a dessert better than having a snack? Because when your stomach is already full, the speed at which the sugar from the cookie will enter your bloodstream is going to be a little tapered as opposed to if you just woke up or if you're super hungry and you eat a cookie when your stomach is really empty. That’s because it's going to enter your bloodstream super quickly, causing a big spike in blood sugar which leads to inflammation and weight gain, while big drops [in blood sugar] lead to lethargy, feeling sleepy, and having more [sugar] cravings.”
Glucose and Sleep
One major part of Jessie’s message is to never forget the value of a good night’s rest. The relationship between sleep and glucose moderation has been observed and recorded in medical journals. One of these studies published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that consuming more sugar is linked to more restless, disrupted sleep. So, how do you curb the effects of an unproductive rest? Exercise is the answer, according to Jessie. “When I sleep poorly, I often find myself craving something sweet. So, I’ll do a seven minute workout. I do 10 exercises for 30 seconds each, with 10 seconds of rest between them. And I find that the high intensity [workout] is the best for me to feel awake and feel like my body can sustain the lack of sleep better.”
Fighting Misconceptions about Glucose
Jessie knows that one of the primary reasons people end up dealing with the ramifications of high glucose levels is because there is a common misconception that glucose moderation is only a problem for diabetic and pre-diabetic people. In addition, people tend to lack an understanding of what actually contains sugar. It’s not just dessert you need to curb, but most importantly, an abundance of carbohydrates in your diet. Even when people are more aware of what foods may cause glucose levels to rise, mistakes are made, even with meals like salads. Jessie has a cautionary tale about knowing what’s in your favorite meals. “I had this salad that I loved making with cauliflower, grapes, raisins, and cheese and I thought, ‘This is the healthiest salad in the world.’ And then I put on a [glucose] monitor while I ate the salad and I realized that spikes were going through the roof because of the raisins and grapes. I didn’t realize the impact that dried fruit and high sugar fruits can have on your glucose levels.”
Jessie is also quick to point out some important misconceptions about certain healthy meals like juices. “When you juice, you take away all of the fiber when you concentrate fruits in to a liquid, and you digest it quickly and it just shoots up your glucose levels. You would never eat six apples in one sitting. But you will drink the sugar of six apples when you juice, which is crazy.”
Of course Jessie isn’t advocating for no longer eating fruit, but it is important to know that there are ways to get the most nutrition out of fruits than other options. “If you're going to have fruit juice, maybe turn it into a smoothie with a spoonful of almond butter, for example. At the same time, you curb the amount of sugar that's being dispensed into your body.”
Prevention Needs a Rebranding
As the American healthcare system is designed to be reactive rather than proactive, where we find ourselves treating issues once they become problems rather than taking a preventative approach to healthcare, Jessie has some interesting perspective on the issue and her insight comes in the form of some very helpful graphs with data gathered directly from her own glucose moderator.
(an actual graph showing Jessie's findings about breakfast)
“Prevention is not sexy. I think in order for us to be successful, preventive healthcare has to engage people. We can't just be like, ‘Do this. Otherwise, you're going to get cancer or you're going to get heart disease.’ That's not motivating. We're human and we live in the present. It's really hard for us to project. I think that's one of the reasons that my graphs work so well because I'm showing you a real life, tangible example. Prevention needs a rebranding.”
The Whole Body Sugar Effect
Sugar doesn’t just take a physical toll on your body, but also has an affect on your emotional state, too. The correlation between mental health and sugar intake is well documented. On her website, Jessie provides a large swath of references regarding mental health, mood studies that have shown that people on higher sugar diets more often report depressive symptoms, fatigue, mood swings at a much higher extent than people who are on a diet with low sugar.
Armed with a loyal following, Jessie Inchauspe (aka Glucose Goddess) is using her platform to spread the message that glucose moderation is imperative to your overall health and wellbeing and her supporters are following suit. “I am extremely excited about the fact that people in the community that I created are empowering themselves with knowledge and becoming citizen scientists,” said Inchauspe. “With real-time data, people are better understanding their bodies and what makes them tick. With this information, we can fix our bodies and minds with food.”
We couldn’t agree more.