What's the Deal with Blood Sugar?
Managing your blood sugar seems like something you only have to worry about if you have a chronic condition like diabetes, right? That may not be so. Your blood sugar is how your body responds to carbohydrates when you eat or drink them and understanding your own bioindividual response is incredibly beneficial. While there are many chronic diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease that can be improved by balancing your blood sugar, managing this major component can lead to an overall improvement in the quality of your health and life. There has also been quite an increase in conditions like insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome that can be easily reversed with some diet and lifestyle changes revolving around blood sugar management.
“When your diet is full of empty calories, an abundance of quickly absorbed sugars and carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc.), the body slowly becomes resistant to the effects of insulin and needs more to do the same job of keeping your blood sugar even. High insulin levels are the first sign of a problem they precede Type 2 diabetes by decades. The high insulin leads to an appetite that is out of control and increasing weight gain around the belly. Diabetes is often undiagnosed until its later stages.” says Dr. Mark Hyman.
Your blood sugar response to something like eating a banana may be much different than the next person. Getting a better understanding of your own blood sugar response is key to living a long, healthy life. So how do we go about this?
If you’re a numbers person, you could go the gadget route by using something like a glucose monitor. A glucose monitor will give you an measurement to tell you exactly what your blood glucose level is after eating certain foods. With this type of monitoring, you can see which foods raise your blood sugar level beyond that of normal range and use that information to make food choices that keep you in an optimal metabolic state.
If you’re into using your body’s own calculator or interoception, you can monitor your blood sugar by how you’re feeling an hour or so after eating any certain food. A good measure would be to pay attention to your energy levels an hour after a meal - are you feeling tired, lethargic or with brain fog - 3pm slump anyone? Or are you energized and feeling focused? If you’re feeling the former time and again after certain meals, it would be a good idea to reduce the amount of carbohydrates and increase the amount of protein and fat contents of that meal. If you’re feeling the former - keep things as is, your blood sugar seems to be responding well to this!
While monitoring blood sugar is a great start, you could also just start by optimizing your meals with a balance of all 3 macronutrients - fats, protein and carbohydrates, increasing the amount of green, leafy vegetables, as well as cruciferous vegetables and increasing low glycemic fruits like berries and citrus fruits all have a great effect on blood sugar.
If you’re unsure if your blood sugar is causing you problems, it may be a good idea to consult with a trained professional to discuss your health. You can start with scheduling a Free 15-Minute Consultation with myself or dive right in and set up your Initial Health and Nutrition Coaching session!
Until next time,