BRING YOUR BODY BACK INTO BALANCE – BALANCE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR
Insulin – blocks us from using our stored fat as energy. Insulin is released when we eat too much sugar. Insulin’s job is to take this excess sugar out of our blood. When insulin is floating around our blood system – its function can be to store this excess sugar as fat. Insulin is therefore working on making us fat. Insulin puts a block on the body’s ability to use its previously stored fat as an energy source.
The body then thinks it is a famine state and keeps eating to fulfill this famine mode. We generally tend to keep eating high calorie foods (sugar) as this is an immediate source of energy for our bodies. Which makes us fatter and fatter.
Balancing your blood sugar is crucial to weight loss and helping to improve energy levels.
Blood sugar levels rise when we eat carbohydrates. As carbohydrates are being digested (broken down) into sugar (glucose) they are absorbed into the bloodstream. The blood carries this glucose around the body to supply all cells with the fuel they need.
Any carbohydrate be it white (refined) or brown (complex) e.g. bread, pasta, rice, biscuits, pastries, fruit and vegetables, all of these foods eventually break down into sugar. It is HIGH GI (Glycemic index) foods that cause our blood sugar to rise.
The pancreas produces a hormone called insulin. Insulin is released in response to rising blood sugar levels. Insulin facilitates the transport of sugar from the blood into the cells.
Glucose provides energy to all the cells of your body – especially your brain and if the supply is greater than demand (metabolism, exercise, etc) unwanted glucose is left circulating in the blood. Stimulates such as tea, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol and stress prompt the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline, which stimulates the liver to release stores of glucose, which in turn stimulates the pancreas to release more insulin.
When glucose levels in the blood are too high: The body converts this to glycogen in the muscles and liver for short term needs, and also into fat cells, especially around your middle (abdomen). Excess sugar can be converted into fat!
Excess blood sugar levels stimulate the pancreas to overproduce insulin, putting pressure on the pancreas and making cells insulin resistant. This is when type 2 diabetes can develop over time.
The most common effects of blood sugar imbalance can be felt on a daily basis. As large amounts of insulin enter the bloodstream, cells take up the glucose and the blood sugar levels dip steeply, causing very unpleasant symptoms, including:
- Tired all the time/Fatigue
- Energy crashes throughout the day
- Anxiety/Panic attacks
- Muscle cramps
- Crying Spells
This see-sawing of high and low blood sugar levels and fluctuating insulin can eventually lead to the pancreas becoming exhausted and hence inefficient in producing both insulin and digestive enzymes.
Type II Diabetes is considered to be an extreme form of blood sugar imbalance. And diet may help to prevent or indeed reverse the condition.
How to balance your blood sugar:
- Always have breakfast – it kick-starts your metabolism (burning energy).The later you leave it to eat, the later in the day you start burning energy.
- Eat regularly, every two to three hours.
- Avoid sugar and foods containing sugar. This includes honey, glucose, malt, maltose (used on savoury crisps), dextrose and sucrose.
- Avoid all processed foods i.e. convenience and fast foods and all foods containing white flour.
- Reduce tea and coffee or try to replace with herbal or fruit teas.
- Avoid soft drinks as these contain stimulants additives that raise your blood sugar levels.
- Always have some form of protein with each meal, it helps to slow the rate of digestion and the release of sugar from the carbohydrates.
- Eat whole foods:
- Whole grains (brown rice, oats, quinoa, whole grain pasta/bread).
- Beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.
- Fresh fruit: fruits release of sugar is slow as the sugar is in the form fructose and glucose. Bananas, grapes and dried fruits have the highest amount of sugar so try to limit them instead eat fresh apples, pears, berries, citrus fruits and melons.
- Fresh vegetables: 5-10 servings a day of fresh vegetables; carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, greens, peppers, watercress, celery, peas, green beans etc.
- Stop smoking easier said than done.
- Limit alcohol.