Blood sugar management : How to eat
How to eat
My broad rule for eating is pretty simple: following a low glycaemic load (GL) way of eating and never eating carbohydrate without pairing it with fat or protein. There are a number of different websites and apps that help you to understand the glycaemic load of food (the glycaemic load is a measure of the impact of a carbohydrate on blood sugar) so you can choose your carbohydrates more wisely. Go for wholegrains where possible.
Slowing down blood sugar release also helps to buffer your cortisol response, because when your blood sugar levels crash, your body perceives this as a stress, which is why your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. Following a low GL diet improves your stress resilience by reducing cortisol surges, which also promote fat storage around the middle.
After you eat, your blood sugar levels increase and trigger the release of insulin, an important hormone in managing how your body uses glucose. Different types of nutrients affect blood sugar differently, and maintaining an appropriate intake of carbohydrates, proteins and fats will help control blood sugar levels and prevent or manage chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.
Incorporate protein in your breakfast
Breakfast should contain protein. Adding a good vegan protein such as hemp, pea or rice protein to a smoothie is a great way to increase plant sources of amino acids and ensure healthy neurotransmitter production, which leads to better mood! Starting the day with a bowl of refined carbohydrate in the form of sugary cereal (and if you check, most cereals have added sugar in some form!) is a recipe for disaster. Instead, why not try a smoothie or porridge with a spoon of plant protein, nuts and seeds to help blunt your cortisol response and keep you feeling fuller for longer. There are some amazing smoothie recipes on Pulsin’s blog page.
Ensure you snack between meals to keep your blood sugar balanced
Pair fruit with nuts or nut butter, oat cakes or celery with hummus or try a beond bar or Pulsin Protein Snack Bar or Bite, most of which contain a good low GL of up to 5. Ensuring there’s enough protein in the diet can help to reduce hunger signals and cravings which means you will be less likely to reach for something sugary or make poor choices for your next meal. I see a huge change in my weight loss groups when they do this! Studies have also shown that following a low GL diet can help to reduce body fat percentage, so if you are trying to lose weight (and I strongly suggest avoiding faddy diets and focusing more on a long-term healthy and sustained weight loss), this is the key!
Avoid eating too late at night, but make sure you do eat something
If you go to bed hungry or you eat something sugary late at night, you will probably find your sleep is quite disrupted. Ensure a good night’s sleep by filling your evening meal plate with leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables. I always tell my patients to eat a rainbow of vegetables to ensure they are getting a good array of phytonutrients in their diet to encourage a healthy immune response. One of cortisol’s other effects is to suppress the immune system, which leaves you more susceptible to picking up colds and other bugs.
Want to know more about Healthy Blood Sugar Management? Carolina is running a webinar on the 12th January looking at this topic as well as how to prevent & reverse Type 2 diabetes.