When talking about“blood sugar levels,” many people think of diabetes.
This is understandable. However, it’s important to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, even for those who don’t suffer from this condition.
Excess sugar is hidden everywhere. The American Heart Association contends that the average American should only consume around 22 lbs of sugar in the course of a year… and yet the figures suggest we actually consume 142 lbs in a year!
If we’re consuming more than 6 times as much sugar as recommended, it’s clear that we are affecting our blood sugar levels in adverse ways. The following information will hopefully offer some insight into keeping your blood sugar at healthy levels.
Remember, if your blood sugar levels are severely impacting your health, make an appointment with your physician.
Sugar has a bad reputation… but it really shouldn’t be that way.
Plenty of us associate sugar with health deterioration. But it doesn’t need to be that way.
There are plenty of benefits behind natural sugars. Which is good, because they aren’t easy to avoid!
Most sugar benefits happen instantaneously… such as an immediate uplift in mood or boost of energy.
Sugar doesn’t bring us problems… too much of it does.
The vicious sugar crave/crash cycle.
We spoke about this cycle in our last blog post. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to read about it, we’ll recap now.
Our body’s blood sugar levels naturally start at the fasting glucose level. When we consume sugar, this level rises. Our body produces insulin in an attempt to curb the blood sugar level, and slowly restore it to its original state.
Our bodies are not equipped to handle the ridiculous amount of sugar we ingest. As a result of this, our blood sugar levels do not gently rise, but violently spike.
Our body has to produce extra insulin in an attempt to control these spikes. So much that the insulin doesn’t simply return us to our fasting glucose state… but far below it. This is known as a sugar crash.
Once we’ve crashed our body starts to crave another dose of sugar in an attempt to bring itself into its fasting state. It disengages the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the part that controls our inhibitions, and we start to stuff ourselves with more sugar with no regard for the health impact.
Our blood sugar spikes, insulin is released, and the cycle starts again.
So how can we be more conscious of our blood sugar levels?
Learn all about the glycemic index.
The glycemic index measures and ranks individual foods by how much they cause your blood sugar levels to rise.
Starting to substitute low-glycemic foods for higher-glycemic foods is a great way to start managing your blood sugar levels.
A food that scores a 55 or lower on the index is considered a low-glycemic food. Some examples of these foods are:
- Sweet potatoes.
- Green vegetables.
- Raw carrots.
- Kidney beans.
- Most fruits.
Understand the relationship between carbohydrates, sugar, and fiber.
Many fad diets insist on trying to cut carbs from your diet. This is because after we eat carbohydrates, our body breaks them down into glucose.
However, carbohydrates are incredibly important for our health, and cutting them out entirely is not healthy.
Moderating your carbohydrate intake is encouraged, but also understanding the role of fiber as it pertains to carbs and glucose.
Fiber slows down the process of carbs turning into glucose. It also slows the rate at which the body absorbs glucose and subsequently our blood sugar doesn’t rise as quickly.
A diet that is high in fiber could help keep your blood sugar levels in check. Some great sources of soluble fiber include:
- Brussels sprouts.
- Black beans.
It’s been very easy to overeat recently!
Monday’s blog spoke about the “quarantine 15,” referring to the average weight gained during this past quarantine.
We discussed how eating is often used to break the “monotony” of lockdown, consciously or not.
Of course, this can lead to overeating.
While overeating over the course of a day as opposed to one sitting won’t have as much of an affect on blood sugar, it’s still something to be mindful of.
How many calories you should be consuming per day is determined by numerous factors, and you should consult a doctor to help ascertain the calorie count that is right for you.
In the heat of summer, hydration also plays a role.
We all know that we have to drink enough water to prevent dehydration. But did you know that proper hydration also helps your kidneys flush extra sugar from your body via urination?
Remember, the key to hydration isn’t about consuming a lot of liquid, but consuming the proper amount of water.
This distinction is important, as drinks such as sodas, juices, and diuretics such as coffee do not actually hydrate you. In fact, many of them have been shown to have the opposite effect, and actually remove water from the body.
Invest in stress-relieving activities.
Many of us have found ourselves under immense stress recently, and that’s hardly surprising.
When our body perceives a threat it releases stress hormones such as cortisol that triggers the body’s fight or flight response. Of course, sometimes this threat isn’t physical, it may be financial or work related.
It’s very important to find a way to manage this stress because these hormones do raise our blood sugar.
It can be very easy to succumb to chronic stress, and find our stress hormones perpetually out of control.
We recommend finding stress-relieving hobbies that work for you. Some potential options include:
- Coloring or painting.
There are plenty of ways to try and manage your own blood sugar levels. However, none of these supersede a conversation with your doctor. Make an appointment with your physician if you feel high blood sugar is interfering with your life.
* Featured Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash
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