Blood sugar imbalance and Diabetes – are you a candidate?

Do you feel sluggish in the mornings? Need a stimulant such as coffee or sugary breakfast cereal to get you going? Do you get that mid-afternoon slump and reach for the chocolate bar? If so, it is highly likely that you have problems with your blood sugar balance.
Many of the clients I see have problems with blood sugar balance, and yet not many understand the reasons behind it or how to manage their blood sugar levels.

foods to avoid for sugar balance

image courtesy of ‘Stuart Miles / Freedigitalphotos.net’

Fluctuating blood sugar level are often a pre-cursor to other more serious conditions, and dealing with these fluctuations is nearly always the first step on the road to recovery. All hormonal and chronic disease states have an element of blood sugar imbalance. By controlling your blood sugar levels well, you’ll have better mental and physical energy, less fatigue, less stress, less dependence on stimulants like coffee, cigarettes and sugar, find it easier to manage your weight, and less risk of diabetes, hormonal imbalance and heart disease.

Your body gets sugar from the food you eat, and has a series of complex hormonal control mechanisms to keep your blood sugar levels even. Too much sugar in your blood, and your body will put some into storage, firstly in your liver and muscles and then it’ll be converted to fat for long-term storage. Conversely, if you have too little sugar in your blood, you’ll be lacking energy. Your body will start releasing some of those sugar and fat stores, and you’ll probably crave something that will deliver instant energy. So that mid afternoon bun/chocolate bar/coffee/cigarette is actually your body telling you ‘give me more energy’.

Many people get a quick energy fix by eating refined carbohydrates such as white bread/rice/pasta, cakes, biscuits, sweets, soft drinks, fizzy drinks and chocolate. These foodstuffs raise your blood sugar way too high, way too quickly. The body’s control mechanisms will leap into action to lower blood sugar levels and the net result is that you will feel more tired and depleted than before.
To overcome this you might go for another ‘hit’ of sugar or stimulant, so you end up a sugar/stimulant junkie on a roller-coaster ride of high/low energy that often leaves you more tired, stressed and overweight. As this process continues your body starts to deteriorate as your glands and hormonal systems become overworked and gradually become less efficient. This is the mechanism which leads to adrenal fatigue, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

So how do you break the cycle and get to have stable energy levels throughout the day? Well start by avoiding all the things I’ve listed above. Initially this might make you feel worse, until your body adjusts and sometimes you have to eat ‘mechanically’ to get into a more stable position.

And then follow these guidelines
• ALWAYS have a good breakfast.
• Eat whole foods and complex carbohydrates; e.g brown rice instead of white; wholegrain bread instead of white; wholemeal pasta, oats rather than sugary breakfast cereals
• Snack throughout the day – aim for six small meals rather than two or three big ones. Good snacks include fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, and hummus on crackers or with raw vegetables like carrots, celery, etc.
• Include lots of green foods – fresh vegetables and leafy greens in your diet
• Snack on fresh fruit (though not too many bananas or grapes). The sugars in fresh foods are released more slowly, and the fibre in real foods helps that process too.
• Have a small amount of protein any time you eat carbohydrates – it slows down the energy released into your bloodstream. Simple examples include nuts when you have fresh fruit; fish with rice; nut butters or hummus on oat cakes; egg or beans with toast; meat with potatoes, etc.

Try and avoid or manage your stress. Stress tends to deplete our reserves of nutrients which in turn leaves the body less capable of performing basic functions like digestion and blood sugar management. Erratic blood sugar reduces your stress tolerance. And so it goes on..

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