Tips For Keeping Your Blood Sugar Balanced
By Tyler Woodward
Do you struggle with mood swings, shakiness, or post-meal fatigue? Your blood sugar may be to blame! Let’s dive into how to keep your blood sugar under control.
How Your Blood Sugar Works:
Blood sugar or blood glucose is a measure of the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. Glucose is the main fuel source of your cells which is utilized to fuel everything from normal cellular processes, to exercise, walking or talking. Your cells absorb glucose and convert it into ATP, water and CO2 to fuel the cell. When your blood sugar levels drop too low your body is forced to pull from an alternative energy source.
- Glycogen Stores - The body first turns to its stored glucose/sugar, also known as, your glycogen stores. In most adults, the liver can store between 100 -120 grams of glycogen which is equivalent to about 800 - 880 calories (kcal). Once your blood glucose levels are low enough your body releases the hormone glucagon to signal to your body to begin to break down its glycogen stores.
- Fat Stores - Next, your body releases adrenaline which signals to your body to begin to break down its fat stores, which in part shifts the body from primarily burning sugar to burning fat.
- Protein (AKA muscle) - Finally, your body releases cortisol to signal to break down amino acids through muscle to be converted into sugar via gluconeogenesis.
As these hormones are emitted to continue to provide fuel to the cells, a hormone known as ghrelin will also be released and gradually increase over time. Ghrelin is commonly referred to as the hunger hormone and is believed to regulate hunger. When ghrelin levels get high enough and you eventually eat, your blood glucose will rise from the food you eat. Finally, insulin will be released in order to keep your blood sugar levels from rising too high, while also signaling to your cells to uptake glucose either to be burned or stored.
Read More: Why Does Blood Sugar Get Too High And Why It's Dangerous
Tips To Keep Your Blood Sugar Balanced:
1. Consume A Protein, Carb & Fat -
One of the best strategies to keep your blood sugar balanced is to consume nourishing meals that supply your body with fuel to last for hours, while at the same time not consuming too much food that causes you to crash. When most people consider keeping blood sugar levels balanced they focus exclusively on sugar and forget protein and fat which both have an effect.
Protein can also trigger the release of insulin, so consuming protein without adequate carbs to match can cause your blood glucose levels to drop, forcing your body to pull from its other energy reserves.
Consuming fat with a meal helps to slow the absorption into the bloodstream, helping to prevent a big spike in blood sugar and crash resulting from a large release of insulin.
Additionally, your body requires adequate levels of amino acids (protein) and fatty acids (fat) in the bloodstream and if either gets too low, the body will be forced to release the necessary hormones to increase their levels in the bloodstream.
Lastly, having some fiber in your meal can also help to prevent your blood sugar levels from spiking too much and then crashing.
Combining a protein, carbohydrates and fats within the same meal will help to keep you satisfied for hours after eating, without causing a post-meal crash.
Read More: 10 Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Effective
2. Strategic Snacks -
When your blood sugar levels begin to drop a useful strategy is to have some go-to snacks to prevent it from falling too low. Some of my favorite snacks are gelatin gummies, the adrenal cocktail, chocolate, ice cream or just plain juice. Again, snacks that have a good balance of protein, carbs and fat are likely ‘ideal’, but as long as you get some sugar in this will keep your blood sugar levels from crashing too low.
3. Consume adequate Potassium -
Potassium is a very important mineral that is said to have insulin-like effect, helping facilitate the cells to uptake glucose getting it out of the bloodstream. Potassium is also believed to be necessary for proper insulin production.
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