Are you hit with the 2-4pm crash? How about sugar cravings in the evening?
Blood sugar regulation can help deal with both of these issues and is important for both weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
When we eat carbohydrates our blood sugar levels increase and the hormone insulin is produced to take the excess sugar out of our blood and into our liver, muscles and fat cells to use as energy or store for later use.
This is a normal process and throughout the day we aim to use the energy stored in our liver, muscle and fat cells.
However, we want to avoid big peaks and valleys in our blood sugar levels. If they are too high for too long it can cause nerve damage and insulin resistance, if they are too low for too long it can lead to physical and mental fatigue. Insulin resistance means that our insulin levels will consistently be high. This is counter productive to weight loss and to general health as it decreases out ability to burn fat.
Here are 7 steps you can implement today to help control your blood sugar levels!
Fats were given a bad rep for a long time, however the right fats are a key part of a well balanced diet. They take longer to digest and thus slow the absorption process of carbohydrates into the blood stream, avoiding a spike in blood sugar.
Nuts, seeds, oils, butters and avocado are all sources of healthy fats and should be included in your diet regularly.
Fiber is similar to fats in that it takes longer to digest and so slows the absorption of carbohydrates into the blood stream. Most people do not get enough fiber in their diet. Aim for 30g+ each day, but build up slowly in 5g increments so you don't overwhelm your GI tract!
Good sources of fiber include vegetables, some fruits, beans, nuts, legumes and seeds.
Exercise does so many wonderful things for the body but did you know that it can help increase insulin sensitivity?
Get out and sweat every day to help improve the way your body responds to sugar!
Cortisol is the fight or flight hormone - great if you are being attacked by a bear. Not so great if you are sat at a desk all day at work. Stress and low blood sugar cause the release of cortisol, which over time can lead to muscle wasting, decreased bone density, an impaired immune system and an increase in abdominal fat.
Stress also causes an increase in sugar cravings so be mindful and stress less!
Sleep can affect our blood sugar levels two fold. First, bad or not enough sleep can decrease insulin sensitivity. Second, when we are tired and lacking energy we reach for high sugar snacks and foods.
So get those ZZZZzzzzz's people!
Alcohol can have a mixed affect on our blood sugar levels, depending on how much you drink. A few drinks can increase levels whereas a lot of drinks can decrease. Consistent alcohol intake over time can also increase our cortisol levels, which we know is something we are trying to avoid.
A good place to start is to avoid syrupy/sugary cocktails!
7. ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
Although research shows that most artificial sweeteners don't affect blood sugar levels, they do cause an increase in sugar cravings! Avoid sweeteners whenever possible.
Have you ever thought about nutrition coaching? Learn how to implement these tips into your daily life to reach your health and wellness goals!