We all eat. Some of us eat whatever is available, some follow the patterns of our childhood, while others turn it into a more scientific practice. Whatever the strategies that influence your food choices, it’s worth questioning whether they’re doing the best job for stable blood sugar levels.
Think about these questions:
- Do you crave sweet foods or carbohydrates, or are you hungry 1-2 hours after meals?
- Do you wake up at night to urinate?
- Are you excessively hungry or thirsty?
- Is it difficult to get or maintain an erection?
- Do you gain most of the weight in the stomach?
- Do you feel faint or lightheaded if you miss a meal?
- Do you have frequent mood swings?
- Are your gums bleeding?
- Do you suffer gas, bloating, heartburn, or vaginal yeast infections/candida?
- Does anyone in your family have diabetes?
Answering Yes to any of these questions may indicate a problem with blood glucose regulation – which can be high, low, or fluctuating. Simple changes to dietary choices and to exercise regularity can help.
Digestive processes break down all foods into nutrients: protein is broken down to amino acids, fat is broken down to fatty acids, and carbohydrate is broken down to sugars. You’re probably starting to put two and two together.
Sugars from carbohydrate digestion (and also, of course, from sugary foods and drinks) are absorbed into the bloodstream. The pancreas then releases the hormone insulin, which transports blood sugar into storage sites: the liver, the muscles, and the fat cells. Eating too much carbohydrate (sugar) for your body’s specific needs causes insulin and fat storage to increase.
Of course, every body is different. Some people can eat loads of carbohydrate with little or no ill-effect. (See our blog about finding your own carbohydrate tolerance.) It may even be that your siblings can do this while you cannot. As you age, it’s likely that you can tolerate less carbohydrate than in your younger years. This is why it’s important to evaluate your body and how you feel, and then make adjustments to your eating patterns.
If you’re suffering any of the problems listed above, it’s worth talking to your doctor. In the meantime, some simple dietary changes could help1. Reduce the carbohydrates you eat2. This means reducing or eliminating bread, pastries, rice, starchy vegetables (eg potatoes), high-sugar fruits (eg tropical and dried fruit), packaged and junk foods, flavoured drinks and yoghurts, and pulses.
What’s left, you ask? Fresh foods that granny would recognise: Meat, fish, eggs, non-starchy vegetables (eg green veg and cauliflower), low-sugar fruits (eg berries), nuts, seeds, olives, and dairy foods (eg cheese and plain Greek yoghurt).
“The doctor informed me if I didn’t take my results seriously I would end up being diabetic and needing to be medicated. I did not want to go down that path so I made the call to Healthy Inspirations.
I am happy to say I did reverse my result and was back down to what they described as a healthy range for my blood sugar levels and was no longer in danger of becoming diabetic and taking medication for the rest of my life.”
Carina has lost 15kg so far, and has reversed her diagnosis of pre-diabetes without medication.
Not all ‘healthy’ foods are healthy for everyone, so eating foods you enjoy while ensuring the right balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein for your body will help normalise your blood sugar levels. Some happy side-effects are likely to be weight loss, improved energy, and better health and well-being.
Knowing the basics as outlined is one thing, but making it work for your body is another. You can find information everywhere, but it’s like learning to ride a bike: you can read and watch and listen, but until you get onto the bike and get past the wobbles, you won’t learn to ride.
For assistance in determining the right balance of nutrients for your body and your goals, contact your nearest Healthy Inspirations studio. Health Coaches work with you in a step-by-step program to help you discover your individual carbohydrate tolerance.