How Food Can Be Draining Your Energy
We often associate the idea of “balancing blood sugar” with diabetes. But balancing healthy blood sugar levels is a key concept for maintaining energy throughout the day! Watch this video to see how food can be draining your energy on a daily basis.
Food, and the types of foods we eat, trigger the sugar, or glucose, in our blood. And when our blood sugar levels rise or fall too dramatically or too frequently over the course of the day, we’re suddenly stuck in a vicious cycle. Our energy levels are quickly depleted, we become prone to fuzzy thinking, and we start to crave sugary foods. We reach for those foods, get a quick sugar boost, and suddenly it all begins again.
And, it all Starts with Insulin.
Most of us have a vague idea about insulin. We know it’s got something to do with how our bodies process sugar, and that’s of particular concern to people living with diabetes. But it’s vital for all of us, regardless of our age or fitness levels, to have a deeper understanding of the insulin process. Here’s an intro to insulin:
When we eat carbohydrates – grains, cereals, pastas, fruit and, yes, anything containing sugar – our digestive systems start to break them down into glucose, the simple sugar found in our body’s tissue. Glucose rushes through the bloodstream, which signals insulin, the hormone produced in the pancreas, to kick in. Insulin’s job is to sweep in and distribute that glucose to various cells to our livers, muscles and brains. Those cells, in turn, turn the glucose into energy.
A well-balanced blood sugar level is crucial to your overall fitness and well-being, regulating your hormones, triggering your body to burn stored fat, and increasing your metabolism to help you lose weight.
Unfortunately, most people’s blood sugar is not properly balanced. If you’re getting too much glucose, it leads to high blood-sugar levels, which your body can’t break down and stores as fat. This can lead to a condition that leads to insulin resistance, and eventually, diabetes.
This process varies depending on our own genetic makeup, but it also depends on the makeup of our meals. The type of food we eat determines whether our insulin levels stay balanced, or whether they skyrocket too quickly, creating that infamous blood sugar “spike” we should try and avoid. That spike leads to a crash in energy quickly afterward, leaving us groggy and often craving more sugar.
Here are a few reasons for blood sugar swings:
- Sugar – Eating sugar (whether the white stuff or in the forms of cookies, cakes and cookies) has an immediate effect on blood sugar levels.
- Sugar-free foods can still raise your blood sugar levels, because they may have plenty of carbohydrates, so make sure you check the label before indulging.
- Foods high in carbohydrates and fat, such as pizza, fried foods, and even Chinese food can keep your blood sugar elevated longer.
- Sports drinks…they have a lot of sugar!
- Dried fruits…because their sugar content is so concentrated; you can get a big dose of sugar very quickly! Just 3 dates has 15 g of carbohydrates.
- Alcohol – Remember, it’s not just the alcohol that has carbs, but the sugary mixers can cause a spike!
- Stress – Feeling overwhelmed or unhappy can trigger the release of hormones which cause blood sugar to rise.
- Some over-the-counter drugs including antihistamines and cold medications may contain sugar or alcohol which can cause a blood sugar spike.
- Remember, when you love a certain food, you don’t have to give it up completely! Learning how to manage your portion sizes and taking into account total carbs and calories will keep you off the blood sugar roller coaster. Here’s to your health!
Remember, when you love a certain food, you don’t have to give it up completely! Learning how to manage your portion sizes and taking into account total carbs and calories will keep you off the blood sugar roller coaster.
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