Balancing Blood Sugar
This blogpost is for you if:
- you suspect blood sugar issues
- you get ‘h-angry’ before meals
- you are jittery after meals
- you eat a lot of sweet treats
- you crave sugar
- you want to know more about blood sugar related challenges and solutions
One stop at a coffee shops give a clear picture of what is a staple in today’s Western diet – and it isn’t green juice! Carbs are most definitely a key food, whether it be in the form of chips, chocolate bars, donuts, speciality coffees loaded with whipped cream and caramel sauce, an ice-cream Sunday, or deliciously inviting pastries. The unfortunate reality is that these sweet treats are far from nutritious. And to make matters worse, they often aren’t consumed along with a healthy fat, or protein to slow down the a blood sugar spike.
Our body wasn’t built for the constant sugar roller coaster we are putting it on.
Ideally, blood sugar levels should remain steady across the day. Blood sugar is regulated by a hormone produced in the pancreas called insulin. When blood sugar levels are high, insulin signals the body’s cells to uptake the glucose to be used for energy or stored for later. When blood sugar levels are low, cortisol is released to raise these levels up by signalling the release of glycogen stores from the liver and muscles.
However, the modern western diet, combined with chronic stress has resulted in constant cycling of blood sugar levels, much like a roller coaster. The consumption of simple carbohydrates and sugary foods spikes blood sugar. This results in the release of insulin, which requests the cells to uptake sugar in order to regulate blood sugar levels. What typically follows a blood sugar spike is a significant drop in blood sugar. The low blood sugar then triggers the release of cortisol, which triggers the release of glycogen stores which then increases blood sugar, and the cycle continues. In order to break the cycle and maintain steady blood sugar levels, sugars and simple carbs should not be consumed on their own. Rather, a balanced diet that includes a healthy fat and protein, as well as regular snacks will help to stabilize blood sugar levels and restore balance.
Signs that you have blood sugar problems brewing
Hypoglycaemia is when your blood sugar levels drop too low. Hypoglycemia is often linked with Adrenal/HPA axis dysfunction; when the adrenal glands cannot produce a sufficient amount of cortisol, the body cannot effectively adapt to low blood sugar levels and the individual must consume food in order to raise blood sugar levels back up to a healthy level.
o Cravings for sweet foods after a meal
o Blurry vision
o Poor memory
o H-angrys if meals are skipped
o Feeling agitated, nervous, shaky or jittery
o Eating relieves feelings of tiredness
o Increased energy after eating
Insulin resistance occurs when blood sugar is chronically high. This can happen as a result of consuming a lot of carbohydrates, or foods with a high glycemic index. The cells begin to adapt to the constant high levels of insulin, by reducing their sensitivity to insulin, therefore decreasing their update of sugar. As a result, the body’s blood sugar levels continue to remain high, as well as insulin levels.
o Challenging to lose weight
o Feelings of fatigue, particularly after meals
o Constant feelings of hunger
o Urinate frequently
o Migrating pains and aches
o Must have sugary foods after meals, cravings not relieved by eating them
Tips to restore blood sugar balance:
o Eat a diet high in vegetables and proteins and healthy fats
o Eat a breakfast that includes protein and a healthy fat.
o Eat foods that are lower on the glycemic index
o Eat a snack every two to three hours; this is especially important if you suspect hypoglycaemia.
o If you are snacking, make sure to include a protein with your carbohydrate to slow absorption and decrease the blood sugar spike