Education for controlling your blood sugar so it doesn’t control you!
3 Action Steps below if you (like me) just want to know how to get started!
Blood sugar swings don’t just affect those with diabetes. They affect all of us. Blood sugar swings affect our hormones, our weight, our moods and leave us more susceptible to chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer, and autoimmune conditions like psoriasis, Hashimoto’s and more.
Every carbohydrate you eat…every piece of fruit, bread, pasta, bagel, cookie, muffin, vegetable, bean or grain…ends up as glucose in the blood.
Blood sugar equals glucose in the blood. So this is what we want…slow absorption of sugar for more sustained energy, weight management and overall health.
The most reputable and profound research available today seems to create a clear correlation between increased consumption of simple carbohydrates and an increase in all disease risk factors.
Carbs aren’t bad or evil, and they shouldn’t be completely avoided, but not all carbs are created equal.
The Three Types of Carbohydrates;
- Simple carbohydrates
- Complex carbohydrates
- Fibrous carbohydrates
Fiber is considered a carbohydrate, but it’s very different than the other forms. The body can’t digest fiber. It just goes through the large intestine and feeds our gut bacteria, which is a really good thing. Fiber also aids in digestion. It gives you the sensation of being fuller longer, and it helps to regulate blood sugar levels. On nutritional fact food labels, the grams of dietary fiber are usually included in the total carbohydrate count. Since your body can’t digest fiber, it doesn’t really affect your blood sugar levels—and that’s a good thing.
What carbs have the greatest effect on your blood sugar levels? You guessed it. Simple carbohydrates, which include sugar, honey, and fruit juices, are easily absorbed by the body and quickly converted into glucose, the sugar that is used by your body for energy. You should think of most simple carbohydrates as sugar, because that’s how quickly they convert.
We want to make sure we’re eating fibrous or complex carbs, which are found in vegetables, whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, and some fruits and beans.
Carbs play an important role with our hormones. Once they are broken down into glucose, or sugar, they are then absorbed in our gut. That creates an increase in blood sugar. How big of an increase really depends upon you. We’re all different. We’re so individual.
Factors that play into how your carb intake will affect you include your DNA, health status, how much you’ve eaten, what you ate, as well as the fiber, fat or protein you may have eaten at the same time. That combination could slow down the rate at which those carbohydrates are broken down into sugar. The bottom line is this: Some people tolerate carbs very well. Others can’t even look at a plate of potatoes without experiencing a serious blood sugar spike.
What you need to understand about carbs is they convert into glucose, which signals insulin to increase. Insulin tells your body to store fat. Think of insulin as your gatekeeper, the one who lets glucose in. IN-sulin!
Well, the problems occur when we’re eating too many carbs and our glucose level is too high, when we’re eating them too often, or when our insulin messenger, the one that holds the keys, gets lazy or breaks. In those cases, glucose stays in your blood because insulin either isn’t showing up or isn’t working. Those people are considered insulin-resistant.
So what do we do? Well, to keep our hormones regulated we’ve got to keep insulin low. Balancing your insulin levels is so key to this process. I simply cannot over stress the importance of balancing this hormone and not just to help regulate hunger. It will do that, along with helping to control cravings and weight while boosting energy, but it also improves all other areas of your health.
3 Action Steps; To help control your blood sugar so it doesn’t control you!
- Start tracking your macronutrient intake each day. Use Cronometer by Dr. Mercola, MyFitnessPal, or pen and paper to understand how many carbohydrates, proteins and fats you actually consume, take the guess work out of it. Have fun with this because it’s not about counting calories or setting strict rules, this is about getting to know yourself and how you can control your blood sugar and ultimately your health.
- One option to take control of your glucose level, lower your insulin, and reset your hormones, is to decrease carbohydrate intake to 5-10 percent of your total calories per day. Or, total macros depending on how you track. We also suggest you increase healthy fats to 65-80 percent of your total macros and reduce the amount of protein you consume each day to 10-20 percent. We get that these ranges are significant. There’s a big difference between 10 percent and 20 percent because we’re all so individual. Check with your Functional MD and decide if lowering your carbohydrate intake is the action step you could benefit from today.
- Measuring your blood sugar using a blood glucose monitor. If you appreciate being able to get the scoop on the intricacies of your unique blood sugar responses during the day you might want to start here.
- Blood sugar monitor
- Lancing device
- Testing strips specific to your blood glucose monitor
Instructions on measuring blood glucose, once you get the hang of it it’s quite easy!
Wash your hands with soap and water, especially making sure there is no sugar on your fingers that can give a false high reading. Use warm water if your fingers are cold to help get the blood moving.
Prick the sides of your ring and/or middle fingers. I keep my fingers down by my side letting gravity help my blood flow. Remember it’s just a couple of drops that you need.
Sources of error when measuring blood glucose.
False high reading—glucose on fingers.
False low reading—drop applied too late, finger removed too quickly, not enough blood on the strip, water or saliva on finger.
Ideal schedule for measuring blood glucose levels with functional ranges.
Immediately upon waking in the morning. Functional range; 78-88 mg/dl
40 minutes after breakfast. Functional range; <135 mg/dl
20 minutes before dinner. Functional range, if more than 2 hours since last eaten; 78-88 mg/dl.
Just before bed. Functional range, if more than 2 hours since last eaten; 78-88 mg/dl.