Glucose is not just important for people who have, or who are at risk of having, diabetes. It is vitally important for all of us and has a huge impact on our lives, in ways that we might not even realise. Imagine how you feel stepping off a rollercoaster - relieved, steady, calm, energised. If we work to level out our glucose spikes and dips it will have a similar dramatic impact on how we feel day-to-day.
It is important to know that glucose spikes tire our organs out. If our blood sugar is spiking and dipping, our pancreas eventually gets exhausted from producing insulin and trying to manage our glucose levels. This can eventually lead to diabetes and contributes to heart disease and cancers. It is predicted that by 2030, 1 in 10 adults in the UK will have Type 2 Diabetes. This is pretty shocking right? And it is completely preventable with lifestyle changes.
With each glucose spike comes a glucose crash - this is exhausting for our bodies and is the cause of symptoms that we ALL experience every day such as cravings, hunger, sluggishness, brain fog and poor sleep.
Good nutrition and exercise are not just about managing our weight or how we look, but so much more. They impact longevity, disease prevention, energy, mood, sleep and mental health.
I have had the pleasure in my job of running a trial of 50 non-diabetic people wearing continuous glucose monitors for 2 weeks and testing the effects of various habits that can affect glucose levels and glucose spikes. I have been completely amazed at the results!
We tried out various “hacks” and it was amazing and very motivating to see them work and to see a spiky rollercoaster graph one day turn in to a level graph the next, with a few simple dietary and exercise changes.
I was surprised by some things too, for example, oat milk caused me to have a big spike so I’ve now swapped it for almond milk, which my body seems to be able to metabolise more easily. Some people on the trial dipped very low in glucose during the night and it disturbed their sleep so they tried eating a protein based snack before bed which helped. Stress really raised most people’s glucose levels and using tools such as deep-breathing and mindfulness helped to keep glucose down in these situations.
Listed below are the methods that will enable you to step off the glucose rollercoaster and not only improve your chances of avoiding disease in the future, but also feeling more consistently energised and focused each day, without the usual slumps and cravings.
Level your glucose:
● Eat a savoury breakfast that includes protein.
● Drink 1 tablespoon of vinegar mixed with a glass of water before your main
meal or sweetest snack of the day.
● Do 10-20 minutes of brisk walking or housework or 50 squats, after you eat a meal. Don’t sit still or lie down. Move your body after you eat.
● Eat fibre first - eat some vegetables before or at the beginning of your meal.
● Eat protein and fat WITH or before you eat carbs or sweet food. Don’t eat carbs or sweet treats on their own or on an empty stomach.
● Cut out white rice, bread, pasta and swap for wholemeal
● Swap out some carbs for vegetables (eg. cauli-rice instead of rice, or reduce your portion of brown rice if you don’t want to cut it out altogether and have more protein and veggies with it)
● Exercise at least 3 times a week - raising your heart rate obv at WFC ;-)
● Build lean muscle mass with strength training to burn carbs and fat
● Swap oats for chia seeds (OR add chia seeds and nuts to your oats, along with yoghurt and berries).
For most people the “hacks” listed above work really well and for most people similar foods cause spikes, however everyone is very unique and while oats might cause one person a big spike, they might not affect another person so much.
SO, if you are interested in being part of another trial or getting some coaching on this, do let me know and I can walk you through it. It is amazing observing and understanding your body better and it really provides the extra incentive that we all need to look after our bodies well.
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