Keeping it steady

2018-10-09 06:01
Simple carbohydrates like pastas are very low in fibre, the nutrient that helps control blood sugar spikes by delaying how much sugar your body absorbs.

Simple carbohydrates like pastas are very low in fibre, the nutrient that helps control blood sugar spikes by delaying how much sugar your body absorbs.

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FORGET kilojoules for a minute — let’s talk about blood sugar. It’s the glucose found in your blood, and insulin is the stuff that brings glucose to your cells for energy. You may already know that blood sugar ebbs and flows throughout the day depending on what you eat, and letting it drop very low can leave you irritable, shaky, and fatigued. But here’s a nugget worth writing down: keeping your blood sugar stable could help you lose weight, says nutritionist Stephanie Clarke.

“When your blood sugar is balanced, you’ll feel more energised, less hungry and you may not cave into cravings, which can help you lose weight by lowering your overall kilojoule intake.”

Keeping your blood sugar in check can also help prevent insulin resistance, which can lead to weight gain, by minimising frequent spikes. In short, it’s a crucial part of getting your weight-loss game on point.

The crash and burn that comes with low blood sugar (called hypoglycemia) isn’t hard to detect: it can make you feel sweaty, weak, dizzy, annoyed or even lead to a rapid pulse, says Clarke.

You can have a blood sugar crash after not eating for a long time, or after eating a big meal packed with processed carbs, like white pasta or bread, which causes it to shoot up and then drop quickly.

Blood sugar that’s too high, called hyperglycemia, can lead to thirst, headaches and blurred vision. But these symptoms don’t usually show up unless it’s through the roof. If this happens to you, see a doctor to rule out diabetes.

Here’s how you can level out your blood sugar to crush cravings and feel energised.

WATCH THE CLOCK

After three or four hours of not eating, hypoglycemia can kick in, said Clarke. To keep this from happening, set an alarm so that hunger doesn’t creep up on you while you’re busy at work. Eating small, frequent meals every three to four hours is critical for keeping your sugars in a healthy range, she said.

PICK WORTHY SNACKS

Aim to include at least two of the three major nutrient groups — carbs, protein, and fat — in each snack, she said. For example, one snack might include a healthy fat, like peanut butter, and a high-fibre carb, such as wholewheat bread. Another might include protein and healthy carbs in one, like edamame.

SKIP SIMPLE CARBS

Breads, pastas, sweets, even juices are very low in fibre, the nutrient that helps control blood sugar spikes by delaying how much sugar your body absorbs. You can get a better dose of fibre in less processed carbs like whole grains and sweet potatoes.

ADD PROTEIN

Protein-packed foods, like lean chicken, fish, quinoa, legumes, nuts and seeds, are also slow to digest and key for glucose control. Bonus: They will keep you satisfied much longer than processed carbs.

SLIP IN HEALTHY FATS

Good fats work like protein to keep your blood sugar levels stable, as long as you watch your portion sizes. Avocados, nuts, olives, and fish are all great sources for any meal — and cooking with olive oil or avocado oil helps too.

HIT THE GYM

Working out allows your body to burn stored glucose for energy, which leaves you feeling like a happy camper for longer.

— Women’s Health.

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