If you are feeling tired, lethargic, more easily anxious, thirsty, are getting headaches, and gaining body fat, and your GP has not found anything wrong, it might be that your blood sugar balance needs addressing
Why is blood sugar balance so important?
We need to have sugar: glucose, in our blood at all times so it is available for the cells, especially the brain, to use as fuel.
Too much sugar in the blood is, however a danger to our health. It can attach to our blood vessels and nerves, creating damage and accelerating the ageing process through glycation, which creates AGEs (advanced glycation end products).
This does more than damage your collagen increasing the signs of ageing, it also contributes to health problems like cardiovascular disease, dementia, sight loss or the need to amputate limbs. Imagine biting into a toffee apple; once you get through the hard sugar coating the inside apple is soggy and past its best.
Our bodies work hard to protect us, and so when blood sugar levels rise we release insulin from the pancreas, this tells our cells to take up the sugar and stop it from free-flowing in the blood where it can cause damage. This was a great mechanism when we were hunger-gathers and didn’t have processed and high-sugar foods available. Excess blood sugar is then stored as glycogen in our liver and muscles as a backup fuel.
Blood Sugar: Short-term challenges
The balance between the fuel we eat, the amount we need to run our brains and bodies, and how much to store isn’t just about long-term health prevention, it is about how we feel in the moment and through our day.
If we eat too many fast-release carbs and sugars our blood sugar can quickly rise, to product us our bodies then store it away leading to a slump in energy, and motivation and a host of other symptoms like dizziness, thirst, headaches and anxiety.
In this dip, we crave things to pick ourselves back up, sugar, stimulants like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine, and before we know it we have reached for these and triggered another blood sugar peak and through.
By the end of the day when we get to our well-deserved evening time, we are too tired to make the most of it. The energy dips can also lead to snacking on calorific foods, and too high a blood sugar level can lead to body fat production so we also tend to gain body fat we likely didn’t plan to.
Blood Sugar : Long-term losses
If we over-use and abuse insulin long-term, then our cells can become desensitised to its call to allow in excess blood sugar to be used as fuel or stored. The body compensates by producing more insulin.
If we keep taking in more carbohydrate fuel than we need, the body can become insulin resistant, a step on the path towards type 2 diabetes. This also triggers more weight gain as the insulin isn’t helping to get the fuel into the muscle cells so it gets stored in our fat cells.
As our cells still need the fuel, we feel hungry and eat more. As fat cells fill up, we then increase the visceral fat in our internal organs, the fat around the middle, which triggers inflammation and narrows blood vessels increasing cardiovascular risk
Getting off the blood sugar rollercoaster
My blood sugar balancing dietary strategies can help you to get your blood sugar, and potentially insulin levels, back into balance; these may include:
· Plate ratio planning to help find the best balance of protein, fats, carb and veg to support your energy and lifestyle needs
· Meal planning to fit in with your lifestyle and with the meals you share with others
· Stress management support to help reduce the impact stress hormones have on blood sugar levels
Need tailored nutrition support? Find out more about my nutritional therapy services here.
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