Do you find yourself getting irritable and moody when hunger strikes?
Does a simple sandwich leave you feeling tired and drained?
Do your energy levels go up and down so you suddenly feel exhausted and have to sit down or reach for a sweet treat?
There’s been so much discussion recently about blood sugars and the importance of keeping them in range, healthy and balanced, that I thought I’d outline why it’s important, what happens when it’s not kept in check and how you can keep it reasonably stable without giving up your favourite foods.
Balanced Blood Sugar: A Key to Wellbeing
Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, refers to the concentration of sugar in your blood at any given time. Maintaining balanced blood sugar levels is essential because glucose serves as the primary source of energy for your body’s cells, including your brain.
When blood sugar is well-regulated, you get great benefits, things like:
- Sustained Energy: A steady supply of energy throughout the day, helping you feel alert and focused rather than foggy and unmotivated.
- Stable Mood: Blood sugar fluctuation can cause mood swings and irritability whereas stable blood sugar helps emotional well-being.
- Weight Management: Maintaining balanced blood sugar is key to managing body weight. When we demand more insulin we tend to gain weight.
- Improved Brain Function: Your brain relies on glucose for optimal function. Keeping your blood sugar balanced means you concentrate better and remember more.
- Reduced chance of Chronic Disease: Chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease are closely linked to consistent fluctuations in blood sugar. Keeping it stable can reduce the risk of these diseases.
When blood sugar levels are out of balance, it sets off a cascade of negative effects on the body even if we don’t have diabetes.
- Insulin Resistance: Prolonged exposure to high levels of blood sugar can lead to insulin resistance. This happens when the cells become less responsive to insulin, the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar. Insulin resistance is a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
- Weight Gain and Obesity: Unstable blood sugar levels can disrupt your body’s hunger and satiety signals, making it more likely that you’ll overeat. This can lead to weight gain and obesity, both of which increase the risk of various health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. This is not all, insulin also makes us put on weight.
- Take a look at this article for more information: The real story behind insulin sensitivity and Type 2 Diabetes – Alice Yeates
What you can do to keep your Blood Sugar stable
You can do it with simple changes and you’ll truly feel the difference.
Now that we understand the significance of balanced blood sugar levels and the potential consequences of disregarding them, let’s look at practical steps to achieve and maintain that balance:
- Dietary Choices: Focus on a balanced diet that includes whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid excessive consumption of sugary foods and refined carbohydrates.
- Portion Control: This is more than just portion size, it’s the relationship between carbohydrates and protein. Yes, pay attention to portion sizes to avoid overloading your system. But mainly, look at dividing your plate into 3, one-third protein, one-third, carbs and one-third vegetables.
- Managing Sweet treats: the best way to do this is to eat your sweet things after a meal that contains protein. If you know you are going to have dessert then don’t eat carbs with your meal. Make a swap, pudding instead of potatoes or rice.
- Regular Meals: Aim to eat at regular intervals throughout the day to prevent extreme highs and lows in blood sugar.
- Fibre: Include foods that are high in fibre like vegetables, whole grains, and legumes in your diet. Fibre helps slow the absorption of glucose, promoting stable blood sugar levels.
- Physical Activity: Keep moving, it improves insulin sensitivity and helps manage blood sugar. Any movement is better than none, even 100 steps after a meal will have a beneficial effect.
- Stress Management: Chronic stress can raise blood sugar levels.
- Drink water: Staying well-hydrated can help regulate blood sugar and staying away from sweetened drinks makes a big difference too.
Balanced blood sugar is not just a trendy topic; it’s a fundamental component of overall health and well-being. Disruptions in blood sugar levels can lead to a host of health problems including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mood disorders. By understanding the role of blood sugar in the body and taking proactive steps to maintain balance, you can lead a healthier more energetic life without cutting out the occasional sweet treat.
New estimates published in The Lancet indicate that more than 1.31 billion people will be living with Diabetes worldwide by 2050.
Do something now to prevent yourself becoming one of them.