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How to Control the Blood Sugar Rollercoaster - Part 2

More on the Importance of Taking Control Over our Blood Sugar Levels....


Every single one of our cells uses glucose for energy and performance. However, if we consume too much, our blood sugar becomes “imbalanced”. Like we talked about here in 'How to Control the Blood Sugar Roller Coaster'.


If you're experiencing these blood sugar spikes daily, like cravings, urgent hunger, hunger immediately after eating (90 minutes to 2 hours), or the mid-afternoon “slump”, these are all signs of blood sugar imbalance.



Important to keep in mind...

Not everyone experiences or metabolises sugars differently and probably the most important thing to remember is that blood sugar spikes and dips are not good for our long term health. In the long-term, see-sawing glucose levels contribute to signs of ageing and to the development of conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease.


Additionally, glucose spikes lead to hormonal imbalances that can wreak havoc on our libido. Add that to the fact that glucose highs and lows also trigger a lack of energy, poor sleep and depressive moods, you can see why steadying your glucose levels and avoiding the spikes can lead to improvement your sex life!


You do not have to give up glucose or carbohydrates altogether in order to stabilise your blood sugar! This is a common misconception and also very difficult to achieve. Not only is it difficult to do, it doesn’t feel great, and it isn’t good for you.


So what can we do instead?

Remember all the tips and tricks we talked about here in part 1. These included changing the order we eat the foods on our plate, making small changes to how we eat like movement following meals, and combining sweets with protein.


Examples for a glucose steady breakfast

Avoid the cereal box and pastries to avoid ongoing sugar cravings

  • Eggs with toasted rye bread, tomatoes & sauerkraut

  • Roasted veggies (dinner leftovers perhaps) with hummus, kimchi & seeds

  • Natural yoghurt & kefir with mixed nuts, berries & sliced apple

  • Cheese, ham & mushrooms with wilted spinach on sourdough

Blood Sugar and Performance

How we fuel our bodies can greatly impact not just our day-to-day performance, but our athletic performance as well. Heart rate, power, and speed are all metrics we continually monitor when we are thinking about fitness levels. But what if we were monitoring the connection between how we fuel ourselves and how well we perform?


We know that athletic performance is tied to the fuel we put in our body. So taking into account what we have learned so far about the relationship between glucose and our general feelings of energy and wellbeing, what happens when we work out and are sugar-imbalanced? As pointed out here: 'The Close Ties to Glucose Levels & Athletic Performance' putting crap in our bodies is equivalent to putting cheap fuel in a fancy sports car.


Finding foods that provide sustainable and efficient energy means taking a hard look at the impact that glucose has on our ability to perform.


An easy test to conduct is eating a banana in advance of a workout. How does it make you feel? What about when you work out in a fasted state? Is there a difference?


Improving Performance

In addition to the tips we talked about here , here are some ways we can harness the power of things within our control to make our workouts work for us, make our days more productive and less sluggish, and just generally feel better!

  1. Change your portion sizes and variability: add fat, fiber and protein to every meal. While staying with friends over a number of days, I witnessed their child refusing to eat anything other than white bread and sugary foods (just a phase we hope!). However his mood swings represented everything I’d learn on glucose spikes. Something to think about if you’re seeing this in your kids and an important part of how you educate them about foods.

  2. Take a walk after your meal. Get moving.

  3. Think carefully about how you start your day. Think protein not sugar.

  4. Use resistant starch in your favour. Resistant starch acts as a prebiotic in your gut, and acts as a stabilizer for the glucose that is consumed, meaning less glucose rushes.

  5. Don’t skip any meals. Keep a consistent level of glucose in the body by consuming some carbohydrates (along with all the other important things, like fats and proteins) with every meal.

  6. Sleep! Poor sleep causes our bodies to feel “hungrier” and therefore make poor food choices. Lack of sleep also makes it more difficult for our bodies to control glucose levels.


Now that you have two lists of things you can do to improve your relationship with sugar, which ones are you going to try?



References

Bangsbo, J., L. Nørregaard, and Fjijosm Thorsøe. "The effect of carbohydrate diet on intermittent exercise performance." International Journal of Sports Medicine 13.02 (1992): 152-157.

Hargreaves, M., et al. "Effect of carbohydrate feedings on muscle glycogen utilization and exercise performance." Medicine and science in sports and exercise 16.3 (1984): 219-222.

Hawley, John A., et al. "Carbohydrate-loading and exercise performance: an update." Sports medicine 24 (1997): 73-81. Hawley, John A., et al. "Carbohydrate-loading and exercise performance: an update." Sports medicine 24 (1997): 73-81.


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