Diet is one of the most important influences on blood sugar levels. Before we dive into how diet influences blood sugar levels, let’s revisit what blood sugar levels are and why they fluctuate. Then, we’ll investigate the role diet plays in changing blood sugar levels. Finally, we’ll sum up some ways you can easily change your diet to make maintaining your health easier and more accomplishable!
Blood sugar is a measure of the amount of glucose in your blood. Glucose, also known as dextrose or blood sugar, is an important energy source for your body’s cells and organs. It comes from the food you eat and can be used immediately by your body or stored for later use.
‘When we eat foods such as carbohydrates (breads, grains, fruits, vegetables) our bodies break them down into glucose molecules which are then absorbed into our bloodstream resulting in an increase in blood sugar levels.’
As well as being produced naturally when we digest food, our bodies can also convert proteins and fats to produce more glucose if needed so we have enough stored energy available at all times throughout the day. The amount of glucose circulating through the bloodstream will fluctuate depending on what type of activity you’re doing. Exercise increases demand for fuel which will result in higher levels whereas rest decreases this demand therefore lower concentrations should be expected during these periods.
Here’s how carbohydrates and fruits/ vegetables can impact your blood sugar.
Eating a balanced diet that emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables can help keep your blood sugar in a healthy range. Foods that are high in fiber and protein can help slow the absorption of glucose into your bloodstream after meals, preventing spikes in blood sugar levels.
1. Eating carbohydrates can have a major impact on blood sugar levels. When we eat carbs, our bodies break them down into their most basic form – glucose – and release them into the bloodstream, raising our blood sugar level.
This is why people with diabetes must closely monitor their carbohydrate intake as part of managing their illness. For non-diabetics, eating too many carbs in one go – especially those that are high in refined sugars like candy or soda – can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar. This eventually leads to an energy crash soon after.
Eating complex carbohydrates (whole grains) which release glucose more slowly over time helps to keep your energy levels more sustained throughout the day. This also helps to prevent extreme spikes and drops in blood sugar levels. Additionally, pairing healthy fats such as avocado or nuts with your meals helps slow digestion further by providing essential fatty acids which help regulate insulin production. Taking the time to eat foods that will balance each other out can greatly improve your gut’s overall health and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
2. Eating fruits and vegetables can have a positive impact on blood sugar levels. Fruits and veggies are naturally low in calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium but high in important vitamins and minerals like fiber, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin C. All these nutrients help support overall health as well as your body’s ability to process glucose from food. Eating more of these foods helps reduce inflammation which is an underlying factor for many chronic diseases including diabetes.
‘Additionally, the natural complex carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables are digested slowly by the body allowing glucose to be released gradually into the bloodstream rather than all at once.’
This results in lower blood sugar levels over time when compared with processed foods or sugary snacks that cause rapid increases of glucose entering the bloodstream thus spiking insulin levels quickly. Rapid insulin level spikes lead to fatigue or other complications associated with high blood sugar levels. In addition, adding some healthy fats such as nuts to fruit or eating cooked veggies with avocado can further slowdown digestion, which as discussed previously, has a positive impact on maintaining a balanced diet and healthy blood sugar levels.
In conclusion, limiting simple carbohydrates such as white bread or sugary snacks will reduce fluctuations in blood sugar. It is important to avoid processed foods with added sugars or trans fats to maintain healthy glucose levels over time. Regular physical activity also plays an important role by helping cells respond better to insulin. By eating well-balanced meals throughout the day and staying active, you’ll be able to achieve optimal health while managing your blood sugar levels.