I hope you’ve all been having a splendid week. I officially started my summer adventuring this past weekend with a visit to Edmonton to see some fabulous friends and watch the season finale of Game of Thrones. It was so good we watched it twice in a row, because why not? Anyhoo, I’m getting ready for about a month of travels and as often happens when we’re running around trying to get things done, my diet has slipped a little bit leading to some fatigue and crankiness. I don’t do well on a lot of carbs in my diet and since I’ve been eating more than usual it got me thinking about the importance of blood sugar balance for a clear mind, even energy, and of course vibrant beauty. In that vein today we’re going to do a quick overview of blood sugar balance and its importance in promoting optimal health and weight management.
First things first, what happens when you eat a sugary or carb-laden food?
- Salivary amylase in the mouth starts to break down the bonds between glucose molecules—this step is one of the reasons it’s so important to chew your food!
- Breakdown continues in the stomach.
- Acidic chyme (your chewed and mashed up food) is released from your stomach and instigates the release of pancreatic enzymes and the secretion of insulin. This process happens much more quickly if you eat a food that is pure sugar or carbohydrate.
- Without protein or fat to slow the release of sugar from the stomach, there is a spike in blood sugar and a surge of insulin as it tries to clear the glucose from your blood stream.
- On average a healthy amount of sugar in the blood stream is 1 tsp. Any more than this amount becomes toxic to our cells and promotes the creation of Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs), which is when a glucose molecule attaches itself to proteins in the body. This bonding causes cells to become stiffer and less pliable, which can lead to degenerative disease and wrinkles. AGEs cause aging! Pretty easy to remember.
- This sugar will also often be converted into fat for storage in an attempt to clear it out of your system ASAP, thus leading to weight gain and fat deposition.
- Too much sugar in the blood stream also causes an adrenaline surge as your body tries to clear it as quickly as possible.
- Unfortunately, adrenaline often overcompensates, causing your blood sugar to fall too quickly, which leads to the dreaded “crash” where you start to feel cranky, tired, lethargic, and dizzy. You may also get headaches and insatiable food cravings. At this point you will likely reach for another sugary hit, starting the process all over again.
- When your blood sugar drops due to the adrenalin surge you body produces cortisol to try to elevate your blood sugar once again. If you are chronically stuck in this cycle your body will constantly be producing cortisol, which leads to abdominal weight gain, decreased immunity, and inflammation.
If our blood sugar is constantly spiking and crashing our skin, hair, nails, waistlines, and mental ability will all suffer, so here are some ways to keep your sugars balanced and healthy:
- Steer clear of refined and processed grain and sugars.
- Always eat a carbohydrate food with protein and fat to slow the emptying of the stomach.
- Try adding cinnamon to starchy meals such as sweet potatoes because this spice actually helps cells uptake glucose to quickly clear it out of your blood stream.
- Eat a protein-rich breakfast within the first 30-60 minutes of waking to stabilize blood sugar for the day.
- Don’t be a grazer—constantly snacking never gives your digestive system a break and can put you at risk of constantly floods your blood stream with carbs.
So basically what happens when we eat a lot of sugary foods without balancing them with proteins and healthy fats is that we get fatter and older sooner than we should! And nobody wants that. So make sure you follow these super simple tips at every meal to ensure you stay slim and youthful for years to come.
That’s all for today friends! Thanks for stopping by 🙂