Have you ever wondered what and when you should be eating for blood sugar control? A big concern I hear often is how carbohydrates increase blood sugar. You may have been told my a medical professional or heard on social media that eating low carbohydrate is better for blood sugar control.
It's true that you may see better blood sugar numbers when you severely reduce or eliminate carbs but the downside is your body is missing the nutrients from an entire food group! I see it time and time again when low carb results in unsustainable eating and burn out.
Okay, now for the good news! You don't have to totally eliminate carbohydrates to get great blood sugar control. You can actually regulate post-meal glucose levels better when consuming the carbohydrates last.
Here are five simple changes you can make for better blood sugar control:
1. Eat carbs last and protein first in a meal for better blood sugar control
Saving carbs for the end of your meal could help keep your blood sugar under control. Studies have shown that people who eat protein and non-starchy vegetables before carbs like fruit, bread, or grains, have a significantly lower increase in blood sugar after the meal. This could be because protein, fat, and fiber take longer to digest, which slows how quickly sugar gets in your system.
Eating protein before carbs also results in lower insulin secretion and higher levels of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a gut hormone that helps regulate glucose and satiety. In addition, people usually tend to eat less carbs after loading up on protein.
2. If you eat dessert, consume after a meal
Similar to the tip above, saving a higher carb (especially refined carb) for after a full meal will lessen your chances of having a blood sugar spike. Since many desserts do not contain protein or fiber, it's really important to make sure those are in your system first to help slow down how quickly sugar gets into your system.
3. Always pair carbs with protein, fat, and fiber
Carbs are an essential macronutrient, serving as the main fuel source for the body and give the brain and muscles the energy needed to carry out daily activities. However, eating simple sugars (i.e. most carbs) on their own will cause your blood sugar to spike, perpetuating insulin resistance symptoms and slowing weight loss progress.
Proteins, fats, and fiber take longer to digest than carbs, so eating protein along with the carb slows down digestion in the stomach and absorption in the intestines. This will help slow the rate of sugar entering the bloodstream, keeping blood sugars steady and preventing blood sugar spikes (and crashes).
For example, instead of just eating a bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar, create a balanced oatmeal bowl with oatmeal, collagen powder (or clean protein powder), berries, and my favorite seed mix or nuts.
4. Eat whole fruit instead of juiced or dried
While 100% pure fruit juices contain vitamins and minerals, I always recommend choosing whole, fresh fruit over juice. You get the same vitamins and minerals you would get in the juice, but without the blood sugar spikes. Juices lack the fiber of the pulp and skin of fresh fruit, meaning it will be quickly digested and speed up the rate of sugar entering your blood.
While dried fruits still contain fiber, they have a higher concentration of sugar and it's very easy to eat too much. So if you can, always choose fresh over dried fruit.
5. Go for a 10 minute walk after each meal
Did you know that a simple, short walk after your meals could improve your blood sugar? In fact studies have shown that a few 10-minute walks throughout the day may be more beneficial than one 45-minute walk in the day.
As I talked about in this post, when you exercise, your muscle become more efficient at absorbing glucose and our blood glucose levels drop. In addition, while your body typically needs to release insulin to get glucose into cells, exercise allows muscle tissue to absorb glucose without insulin. Keeping insulin levels under control is key to managing insulin resistance.
There you have it! Five blood sugar hacks to help you manage your insulin resistance. I hope these are helpful. Send me a DM on Instagram if you have questions or if you've implemented any of these ideas. I'd love to hear from you!
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