Balanced Bites Podcast #412: Blood sugar, insulin, carbs, & metabolic flexibility with Dani Hamilton, FNTP

Dani Hamilton Balanced Bites Podcast #412

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#412 Topics:

$150 off the April 2023 Blood Sugar Mastery course with code BALANCEDBITES – go to

Dani’s personal story of hypoglycemia, “hanger,” and breaking the sugar shackles

What high blood sugar looks like and its long term consequences

Blood sugar and insulin by the numbers

How many carbs are right for YOU?

Blood sugar & insulin testing (and why it’s not the full picture)

Adrenals & blood sugar

Being metabolically flexible

Healing by mastering your blood sugar 





Blood Sugar Mastery Waitlist:

Check out more Balanced Bites Podcasts

Balanced Bites Podcast #412 with Dani Hamilton, FNT

Welcome to the new Balanced Bites Podcast! I’m your host, Liz, a nutritional therapy practitioner and best selling author bringing you candid, up-front, myth-busting and thought-provoking conversations about food, fitness, and life. Remember:  The information in this podcast should not be considered personal, individual, or medical advice.

I have spent YEARS researching whether a good multivitamin is truly necessary for overall health. The truth is, there are a LOT of opinions out there. Including from people like me, who love to ask lots of obnoxious, overly detailed questions. But the truth is, if I’m paying attention to how I FEEL, my answer was clear: I will be taking my multivitamin. And it will be from the brand Needed. Needed third-party tests EVERY batch for performance and quality. Which is incredibly rare in the supplement industry and incredibly important to me! To get started with Needed, head to Use code balanced for 20% off your one-time order or your first three months’ subscription. While you’re at it, add Stress Support to your cart. I’m loving that one, too.

“Now about today’s episode…

I am chatting with Dani Hamilton, Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, who specializes in helping people with hypoglycemia, reactive hypoglycemia, and high blood sugar as well as helping people optimize their digestion, particularly in digesting fats and proteins, as a means to support blood sugar management. Dani is all about nurturing metabolic flexibility as part of the journey towards blood sugar control.

After going on a Paleo diet, Dani healed multiple health issues. But as others popped up over the long-term, including hypoglycemia, PCOS, and blood sugar related issues, she realized that there was more to the puzzle. Once Dani got her blood sugar stabilized, she was able to achieve a level of metabolic flexibility that enabled her to stay healthy over the long term. AND she’s passionate about helping others do the same. Dani knows from experience that the low blood sugar people often get overlooked or told to “just go keto” and this doesn’t work for them; but she also knows that the other extreme – the concepts of  “all foods can fit” and “intuitive eating” while well intentioned, often fail for as well because they do little to get people off their blood sugar roller coaster.

In our interview, Dani talks about the TOOLS that are available for you to ensure your blood sugar, insulin, and carb intake is managed thoughtfully and smartly and in the best possible way for YOU, and her Blood Sugar Mastery course is a deeper dive into this topic and don’t forget – enrollment opened April 10, 2023. And you can find that course at

Don’t forget to use your $150 off code BALANCEDBITES, one word, all caps.

Today’s episode is a big one for me, because for so long I’ve been a little bit wary of getting granular about things like blood sugar. Because it also requires getting granular about CARBS. And as much as I roll my eyes to say it, this can be really triggering for some people! For a while, I had settled into a place in my own life where counting anything just wasn’t on my radar, and frankly I think I have been a bit intellectually lazy in not making the distinction for myself between AWARENESS of what food does to my unique body and OBSESSION over every little thing that goes in it. Now, I think just rejecting any and all quantifying served me for a time. But it’s time now for me to get more granular, and I’m in a great mindset for that.

So that’s what it comes down to, right? Mindset.

Are you curious, gathering data, and detached from the outcome? Great. Are you obsessive, anxious, and beating yourself up about not reaching some particular outcome? Not so great. I have taken the path of adjusting my mindset over the years. And I’m ready now to really take an honest look at how what I eat, sometimes from a macronutrient perspective and sometimes from a nutrient perspective, affects me. Partly because over the last few years I accepted the reality that I am getting older, that muscle mass is critical for healthy aging (and health in general) and to support that, I’ve got to pay attention to at least one macronutrient: protein.

That’s a completely balanced and reasonable and scientific mindset. Well, no less important than muscle mass is good blood sugar management and insulin sensitivity. This involves – god forbid – knowing how carbs AND other foods and physiological states that interfere with good blood sugar regulation are functioning in my life. 

That’s where Dani comes in.

In this episode, Dani and I talk about CARBS and guess what? Sometimes carbs are a piece that needs to be thoughtfully considered in a multi-faceted approach to balancing blood sugar. And this is highly individual. We talk about at one point…

It’s not the grapes…it’s how YOU tolerate the grapes. And if you’re feeling bad and you want to feel better, it DOES matter. There ARE consequences to what we eat, or maybe a better word is that there are RESULTS. In broad categories, foods can be regulating, disregulating, or neutral. 

In that vein, I think it’s fair to say that if you seek a resilient state of general well-being, Balancing hunger IS important. Now, we’ll always be primed to seek food, to want certain foods. And to a degree our ability to use our intellect and our knowledge of food and the human body helps us to negotiate such things. But it becomes much harder to do so if the blood sugar. And as a consequence, the appetite, is not balanced. And this involves many hormones and processes, but the lowest hanging fruit. Also, possibly the most impactful of those carby low-hangers, is blood sugar balance and insulin function.

I want to also give due to the concept of weight loss, which we touch upon briefly, and how triggering it can be.

The anti diet culture movement has it right in so many ways. But to avoid becoming beholden to any set of ideas, I am going to say right here that not all discussion of weight loss is a submission to diet culture. Some people need to lose weight. Some people want to lose weight. Often times balancing blood sugar and optimizing insulin sensitivity leads to weight loss (not always! But often) and consenting adults can go on that journey, decide what’s worth it and what’s not. And hopefully learn a lot about themselves along the way.

You’ll notice Dani talking about weight coming off as a result of dietary changes. And WOW is it surprising how triggering that can be for some people! If that’s you, I encourage you to listen to what Dani is saying. She’s saying that in working to balance her blood sugar issues, she saw other physiological changes that came as a result of resolving issues that were very much affecting her life in a negative way. 

I also want to say, and I’ll discuss this more in the future, I hope, that while I like the idea behind being anti-diet-culture, we need to remember something: It is a FACT that the modern world is set up to make us sick. And there are times when that sickness manifests as overweight. It manifests as a LOOOOOT of other things, too. Big Food is a BEHEMOTH, and when I say Big Food I mean corporations who have entire multi-million dollar wings devoted to making nutrient-poor food hyperpalatable so that you EAT MORE OF IT.

Big food DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU. They just don’t.

You cannot go ANYWHERE without being confronted by the very unnatural, novel and hyperpalatable edible items. And these items, VERY intentionally, speak directly to your body’s incredibly wise, finely-tuned-over-millenia systems that exist to keep you alive. IT IS NO WONDER. That in general, as a society, we are struggling with anything from poor digestion to food sensitivities to mental health issues to overweight associated with this massive industry built to make us want to eat more. It’s no wonder that our genes are responding to this environment in ways that are frustrating.

I think it is wise to not just throw the baby out with the bathwater and decide any discussion of blood sugar balance, weight loss, increasing health, is diet culture. Rather, we need to identify where we are being manipulated for the sake of profit. And HOW we might create the best environment possible for us to thrive despite REALITY. And often, this starts with a deep understanding of HOW we are being manipulated and what consequences it is having on our health. From there, we do our best to change the things that can be changed to enhance health and longevity while balancing our own mental health.

We figure out what tools we feel comfortable using. For some of us, it’s intuitive eating that best balances our mental and physical health. For some, that’s ketosis. And for some, that’s GLP-1 agonists. For some of us, it’s saying f*ck it, I’m going to just eat whatever I want until I figure out where I go from here. And we use any one of these tools until they are no longer serving us. Or until we discover another tool. Or until we are satisfied with where we are OR unsatisfied for reasons that warrant a change. 

And where people start to think OH ITS DIET CULTURE is when we think about this idea of how we should LOOK.

Diet culture is a thing – it’s all around us, media, magazines, blah blah blah. But diet culture is nothing if it is not being passed through the prism (not prison, PRISM) of our own minds. If I cannot look at a picture of Gisele and understand that her body is a different body from mine, and that trying to look like whatever society’s mass-marketed ideal is in the moment, is absolute nonsense, then there is something very disconnected in my own mind.

And so, should I put myself through dietary hell to try to look like Gisele?

Judge myself harshly in the mirror every day, restrict in a way that is attached to nothing other than making myself smaller or someone ele? Of course not. Of COURSE that is an extremely unhealthy mindset. It makes no sense. If I want to feel at home in my body, get really curious, and detach myself from the outcome. And gather data about MYSELF (not Gisele) AND chart a course to affect changes in myself in a way that tackles health first. Not size, (although yes, we can look at size and body comp. There’s nothing wrong with that if the mindset is curious and nonjudgmental and comes with a refusal to sacrifice health rather than being desperate and self-hating); … if I want to do that with an eye toward reality? I don’t consider that diet culture.

Whether that means starting with eating disorder recovery, with developing an unrelenting self-love, with becoming aware of the way the modern world would prefer that we just eat the crap and develop the conditions (or the early signs, as Dani talks about) that are directly related to eating the crap…whether it means employing dietary methodologies or supplements or medications that are there to give you an edge over this reality where our bodily wisdom is constantly exploited … it makes no difference to me.

In the end we have to develop the understanding that, one, our bodies are ON OUR SIDE.

Our food seeking behaviors and our cravings and our willpower (like I talked about in 402) is ALL on our side. It’s all there to protect us. AND two, the outside world is positioned to manipulate and exploit that wisdom and we have to understand and be aware of that. And yes, maybe even do our best to punish the industrial food system for that trespass. 

We do NOT have to remain victims of the world that has been constructed around us.

To fight that with smart tools is NOT diet culture. It seems to me that it is the mindset that makes up diet culture. Again, Food seeking behavior is completely natural. But the world is set up so that this instinct can be exploited to an astounding degree. And at times, extreme times call for extremely intelligently crafted tools. What tools we use depend on the person, the situation, the context, the mindset, and the personality type. And they might be a 1:1 relationship with a coach or NTP like Dani or a dietitian like my friend Michelle Shapiro.

The tool might be Dani’s course, blood sugar mastery.

They might be continuous glucose monitors, or biometric data. They might be ketosis. And yeah, they might be medications or peptides. Or moving millions of miles from society and only eating what you grow, raise and harvest yourself. Again, it might mean saying f*ck it and just doing whatever you want and hoping it doesn’t cause you to develop blood sugar issues or conditions that negatively affect your life. We have every right to call upon what tools feel best to figure out how to build up that shield between ourselves and the industries that exist to exploit us. 

(deep breath) I feel like I was just expelled from a vortex. Thank you for listening, now let’s start by hearing Dani’s story…”

Thanks for listening to the new Balanced Bites Podcast! Before you shut down your podcast app, PLEASE take a moment to subscribe and leave a review! It’s a small thing you can do that I appreciate more than you can imagine! And speaking of what we can do for each other, if YOU have a question you’d like to have tackled on this podcast or an interview you’d like to hear, submit the details at Let’s keep unpacking, unraveling, contextualizing and nuance-ing the important questions together so we can be empowered, informed, active participants in our own health and happiness.

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