Blood sugar balance is one of the foundational keys I work on with every client. Why should you ensure you balance your blood sugar, and what exactly does that mean?
Blood sugar refers to the level of glucose, or sugar, circulating in your bloodstream. This comes from the foods you eat—not just sugary foods like cake and candy, but also from healthy sources such as starchy vegetables, whole grains, and fruit when they break down during digestion.
Effects of High Blood Sugar
Glucose is used by the body as energy, and therefore serves an important purpose. When we eat too much of any of these foods, or get this sugar from low quality sources, this causes spikes in blood sugar that lead to:
- Sugar cravings
- Symptoms of hypoglycemia such as shakiness, weakness, fatigue, confusion, irritability or being “hangry”
- Increased risk of developing insulin resistance related diseases such as diabetes, PCOS, heart disease, and even Alzheimers
Avoid Blood Sugar Spikes
So how do we avoid these dangerous blood sugar spikes? A meal comprised of the following elements will provide a slow release of glucose into the bloodstream that will keep you balanced and satiated until your next meal.
- Each meal should contain a serving of protein. This is about 4oz of animal protein (which is the size of a deck of cards) and includes meat, poultry, or fish. This is also about 8oz of vegetarian protein such as beans, lentils, or unprocessed soy foods, like tempeh, sprouted tofu, or edamame.
- Non-starchy vegetables like greens, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery should make up about half of your plate. These are a rich source of fiber, which slows down the rate glucose hits your bloodstream.
- Healthy fats like avocado, nuts, seeds, dairy, and coconut are not only healthy sources of fuel, but also balance carbohydrate intake.
- People are often surprised to find I recommend fruit with every meal because of its sugar content. However, it’s the healthiest form of sugar we can eat, and eating it with a meal provides balance and reduces the rate at which it is absorbed. Eating fruit also reduces sugar cravings by providing the body with the fuel it needs.
- And finally, include carbohydrates (also called starches). Limit starches to ½ cup per serving and focus on high quality, nutrient dense sources like starchy vegetables and whole grains.
By including all of these elements in each meal, and choosing high quality, nutrient dense sources of complex carbohydrates, you can balance blood sugar and avoid the health risks of insulin resistance.