- Maintaining balanced blood sugar levels is crucial for optimizing overall metabolic health and reducing the risk of chronic disease.
- Factors that contribute to blood sugar fluctuations include food choices, meal composition, exercise levels, insulin resistance, and stress.
- Strategies to manage blood sugar fluctuations include emphasizing fiber, protein, and healthy fats in meals, practicing mindful eating, engaging in regular exercise, and managing stress levels.
We often joke about "hanger" when blood sugar dips and we're left feeling tired, irritable, and hungry. But aside from hanger, what are some other symptoms of hypo and hyperglycemia? What if we could tune into these physiological cues to use them to our advantage and optimize metabolism in order to stabilize energy, reduce sugar cravings, balance hormones, and promote longevity?
It wasn't until I had the opportunity to wear a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) that I realized my blood sugar was regularly dropping quite low. In fact, it was a bit of a relief to find out, as it helped to explain my lack of concentration and focus! I took this as good news – having answers meant that I could finally step off this blood sugar rollercoaster and access more stabilized energy, helping me to reach my long-term health goals.
With this in mind, today we are sharing more about the blood glucose rollercoaster, and how to spot fluctuations in your blood sugar by tuning into the cues of your body. We'll discuss some simple ways that you can manage your blood sugar to help minimize these fluctuations.
why is stabilized blood sugar important?
Maintaining balanced blood sugar levels is crucial for optimizing overall metabolic health. Riding a blood sugar rollercoaster can put you at risk for developing diabetes, and has been linked to depression, anxiety, and mood swings, impaired cognitive performance, imbalanced hormones, pre-diabetes, low energy, and poor sleep. Read more about the glycemic response and potential risks of blood glucose fluctuation here!
factors that contribute to blood sugar fluctuations
Several factors can influence blood sugar levels and contribute to fluctuations throughout the day:
Food - Your food choices and meal composition play a significant role, as certain foods can cause rapid spikes or drops in blood sugar. Food that is high in refined sugar carbohydrates is likely to spike your blood sugar. Some examples include: donuts, cereal, granola bars, pizza, muffins, fast food.
Exercise - Physical activity levels also impact blood sugar, as exercise can either help stabilize or temporarily elevate glucose levels.
Insulin resistance - commonly associated with conditions such as prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance can lead to persistent high blood sugar levels.
- Stress - and other emotional factors can trigger hormonal responses that affect blood sugar regulation. In particular, stress can result in elevated glucose levels. In turn, chronically elevated glucose can result in insulin resistance. Insulin is known to elevate stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. The result? A vicious cycle of stress and reduced metabolic function.
recognizing high vs low blood sugar levels
Being able to recognize the symptoms of both hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is crucial for effectively managing blood sugar fluctuations and becoming aware of how the food you eat impacts your overall health!
Common symptoms of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) include:
- increased thirst
- frequent urination
- blurred vision
- slow wound healing
Typical symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) include:
Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can also impact energy levels and mood, leading to feelings of fatigue or mood swings. Developing self-awareness and listening to your body's cues can help you identify these fluctuations and take action.
strategies to manage blood sugar fluctuations
Balanced meal planning plays a crucial role in stabilizing blood sugar! Here are 4 simple changes that you can action right away to stabilize your blood sugar:
emphasize fiber, protein, and healthy fats
Ensure that each meal contains a source of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, while limiting starchy, high carb, and sugary foods. To take this a step further, you can also minimize glucose spikes by eating your fiber first (eg start with a salad), protein and fats second, and any carbohydrates (starchy and sugary foods) last! This simple change in the order that you eat your food can reduce glucose spikes by up to 75% and reduce insulin by up to 40%.
When it comes to sweet snacks, reach for options that include a source of healthy fats and protein such as nomz organic bites. With 14 g of fats, 4 g of protein, 2 g fiber, and just 6 g of sugar from organic medjool dates – nomz organic bites are a great way to satiate your sweet tooth without getting onto that blood sugar rollercoaster. Best of all, our bites taste like a fudgy, nutty brownie.
Mindful eating is the practice of using both your physical and emotional senses to be present while experiencing and enjoying the food you're eating. When we tune in to what our bodies are telling us, we become more aware of our eating habits and how they make us feel. As a result, it becomes easier to change your behaviour and swap processed, fast food for more nutrient-rich, whole foods that will nourish your mind, body, and soul!
Speaking of foods that nourish your mind, body and soul... eating for balanced blood sugar does not mean that you need to give up your favourite fun foods! We all need a chocolaty dessert from time to time. Nomzicles are a great choice to reach for – with clean and simple ingredients including cashews, dates, cocoa, and spring water – it doesn't get any more pure than this. Similar to our bites, nomzicles contain 7 g of healthy fats, 4 g protein, 2 g fiber, and 6 g sugar per serving, allowing you to enjoy the crave-worthy taste of a fudge pop, with good-for-you ingredients.
Get active after you eat! 10 minutes of movement after eating can make a big difference in blood glucose levels. In addition, regular exercise can boost your body's sensitivity to insulin. Your muscles store glucose in the form of glycogen – the more you can build muscle mass, the more "storage space" you have for glucose, therefore lowering blood glucose levels.
Manage stress levels through relaxation techniques and prioritizing emotional well-being can also contribute to stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Understanding the glucose rollercoaster and being able to spot fluctuations in blood sugar is vital for maintaining optimal health. By recognizing the factors that contribute to blood sugar fluctuations, being aware of the symptoms of high and low blood sugar levels, and implementing practical strategies for managing blood sugar, you can achieve stable glucose levels and elevate your everyday wellness.
With proactive blood sugar management, you can navigate the glucose rollercoaster with confidence and promote a healthier future!