Do I really need to know how to balance blood sugar? Should I cut out carbs? Are fruits bad for me? Should I try the Keto diet, Intermittent Fasting, Carnivore diet? The current low-carb trend isn’t totally unwarranted, but is forcing yourself into a trendy diet necessary? No.
When discussing the concept of blood sugar regulation, I’m talking about the process by which the levels of sugar in our blood are maintained by the body. This sugar is called glucose, which is created by breaking down the food we eat and is the form that the body can use for energy. When we eat excessive amounts of sugar and carbohydrates and lower amounts of fat and protein, our glucose levels spike and this can result in unstable blood sugar levels. It can lead to more sugar cravings and keep you reaching for processed foods and drinks.
Let’s talk about the 3 ways on how to balance blood sugar and help keep you feeling happy and craving-free.
THE HARSH TRUTH
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the average American consumes between 150 to 180 pounds of sugar each year – an unbelievable amount compared to two or three hundred years ago when normal sugar consumption was one to five pounds per year. Never before in the history of mankind have we been so heavily reliant on these processed, lifeless foods and it’s wreaking havoc on the health of our nation.
If you wrote down every single thing you ate each day for a week, you would be AMAZED at how much sugar you consume without even realizing it.
The 3 Ways to Balance Blood Sugar
- The first way to regulate blood sugar is balancing your macronutrients (meaning the fats, protein, and carbohydrates that you eat). Make it a priority to incorporate high-quality proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and filtered water throughout your day. These foods will fuel your body and help your system naturally regulate blood sugar levels. Avoiding refined sugars and processed carbohydrates are equally as important, as these foods are addictive and can create a blood sugar roller coaster. It will look like this: crave something sweet or caffeinated for an energy boost, our blood sugar spikes, shortly after we crash, and soon thereafter we crave sweets or caffeine again to maintain the “high”. You can break this vicious cycle by removing these stimulants, and incorporating a plentiful amount of protein and fat, along with your other macronutrients and an overall healthy diet.
- The second way to maintain healthy blood sugar levels is exercise. Exercise is typically one of the first suggestions people receive when trying to get their weight or diabetes under control. Together with diet and behavior modification, exercise is an essential component of all diabetes and obesity prevention and lifestyle intervention programs. Exercise of all types, is extremely important. I have 2 things I do throughout the week to make sure I am always getting my body moving, Orangetheory and morning walks. Take the time to find out what you truly enjoy, so that you actually stick to it.
- The third way is stress management. Stress management comes in many forms, such as massage, exercise like yoga, walking, pilates, or simple at-home techniques such as deep breathing, a hot bath, or a foot soak. It can even be just the things you enjoy the most. My personal favorites for stress management are listening to music, playing with my dogs, going to the beach, traveling, etc. When you’re stressed and your body enters “fight or flight” mode, glucose is released to give your muscles the energy needed to run and escape. Practicing stress management techniques will take the body out of this constant “fight or flight”, allowing our blood sugar levels to regulate.
So, yes, this does require some work on your habits, but there are so many benefits to it. You will be happier and more energetic. You will have fewer of those roller coaster crashes throughout your day, and a major bonus is that you will most likely lose weight, reduce some of the chronic inflammation and more!
I do want to clarify something, though. Fruit is not bad, y’all. Some seem to think that you should cut out fruit and that is not the case. Fruit has so many wonderful benefits to your body, so just keep that perspective when cutting your sugars down.
Hopefully this is helpful if you are just beginning your health journey and not sure where to start first. And if you have been on it, keep going!
Keep it Fresh. Keep it Simple. Keep it Real.