I see a lot of patients who feel like they are eating well, exercising consistently and trying to do other things to support their health goals but are not achieving them. A huge factor that can impact health goals is dysregulated blood sugar which creates metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance (cells become resistant to the effect of insulin, which means the appropriate glucose is not getting into cells). Elevated blood sugar levels over time can push someone into pre-diabetes and then eventually type 2 diabetes.
How do you know if you have blood sugar dysregulation? Any of the following could be clues;
- Fluctuating energy levels
- Resistant weight
- Belly fat (if you jump and your belly wobbles, you’re insulin resistant)
- Cravings for sweets and carbohydrates
- Hangry – angry if you don’t eat regularly
- Trouble exercising
- Mood swings
Below are 4 tips to help balance blood sugar and achieve your personal health goals whether they are weight loss, vitality, better sleep, balanced energy or running 10km.
1. Eat fat and/or protein with every meal
Carbohydrates, particularly refined, processed ones will spike your blood sugar, this is ok at times but we don’t want this happening all day, every day. Consuming fat and protein will help normalise blood sugar when you eat them with carbohydrates.
Some great sources of protein are; chicken, grass fed lamb and beef, pork, wild caught fish and eggs.
Healthy sources of fats could include; olive oil, olives, avocado, coconut oil, nuts and seeds and grass fed butter.
The best sources of carbohydrates are; vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
Exercise is really important in helping manage blood sugar. It helps cells in the muscles to take up glucose more efficiently and uses it for energy and repair, therefore there is less glucose circulating around the body and less likely to be stored as fat.
Long term, exercise will help cells become more insulin sensitive and prevent resistance to insulin which again means, less glucose circulating around the body.
3. Stress less
This is easier said than done however, we need to mitigate and reduce the stress load when and where we can. Stress in all its different forms has the same physiological response in our body. Whether its emotional, physical, psychological, chemical, infectious, electromagnetic (EMF), xenobiotic (plastics, cosmetics, toiletries, pesticides), traumatic, excessive caffeine or alcohol intake, allergic or intolerance it all has the same impact on our physiology.
Stress causes the stress hormone cortisol to be produced which causes blood sugar levels to rise that can then lead to insulin resistance and the hormonal chaos that continues from this. Cortisol is made at the expense of our sex hormones when under chronic stress and that’s where we start to see a whole load of symptoms come into play.
Stress management is extremely important and needs to implemented regularly to counterbalance the onslaught of stressors we deal with on a day to day basis.
4. Foods, spices and supplements that will help.
There are some extra things you can add into your days to help regulate blood sugar.
- Eat foods with a low GI – this will minimise the rate of carbohydras converted in the bloodstream.
- Cinnamon – helps to stimulate glucose uptake by fat cells, lowering glucose and insulin.
- Cook with ginger and garlic – both help improve glucose uptake.
- Apple cider vinegar – before eating increases glucose uptake and reduces a spike in blood sugar after a meal.
- Supplements- inositol, chromium, biotin, alpha-lipoic acid and fenugreek.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at [email protected]
Melissa Aytan, Nutritionist.
At Torquay Sports Medicine Centre we can help assess your nutrition and lifestyle and customise a protocol just for you.