We all know sugar is not good for our bodies – not only can it cause us to put on weight, but once it’s in our blood system, it can wreak havoc with our moods and the inner workings of our body. Having stable blood sugar levels, therefore, is essential for controlling our energy, mood and overall health.
Eating the wrong types of sugars can cause the spikes and dips in our blood sugar levels that, in turn, cause the mood swings and energy rise and depletion – and this is the most obvious sign of our blood sugar levels being affected.
But what we don’t always realise is the damage that this ‘blood sugar rollercoaster’ is doing to our circulatory system – spikes and dips can put a strain on the large blood vessels increasing the risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes as well as the small blood vessels resulting in damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerves.
Changing our diet can be the number one factor in how we can mess with, or stabilize blood sugar levels and cause the blood sugar rollercoaster we want to avoid.
How Diet Affects Blood Sugar Levels
Our blood sugar levels are determined by the types of carbohydrates we eat: refined sugar, refined grains and whole grains. Refined sugar and grains found in confectionary, white flour, white bread and white rice are the carbs that cause the most havoc. Consuming these are what causes our blood sugar levels to take that unwanted rollercoaster ride.
Whole grains are found in whole wheat products, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and other whole grains which help to stablilize blood sugar levels.
When we eat carbohydrates, our body converts them into glucose, pumps it into our blood stream which then goes on to feed our brain, muscles and other organs. But the difference between refined carbs and whole grains is how long it takes for them to be converted into glucose and this is key to understanding and maintaining a healthy blood sugar level.
Refined carbohydrates cause glucose to enter the blood stream extremely quickly causing a major spike in energy and mood. Alternatively, whole grains and fruit take much longer to be digested meaning it enters the blood at a much slower rate.
How Exactly Does A Blood Sugar Level Spike And Crash Happen?
When our blood sugar levels are spiked, the pancreas immediately starts to produce insulin to counteract the amount of sugar in our system because the body is always trying to maintain an even blood sugar level.
The problem occurs because the pancreas always overcompensates the amount of insulin released and the role of this insulin is to remove the glucose and send it to the cells in our body. This results in too much glucose being removed and levels dropping significantly hence a quick and massive crash in energy levels.
Sudden low energy levels mean we will crave more refined sugars to up our mood and so the detrimental cycles continues.
The Secret Ingredient To Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
It’s fibre. To prevent the blood sugar rollercoaster from occurring, we need to replace refined sugars and grains with whole grains and fruit because it’s these that contain the fibre needed to stabilize the glucose levels in our blood.
Whole grains contain soluble fibre which acts as a sponge in your stomach, soaking up everything and causing it all to be digested much slower by the body. This causes the sugars to be released at a much more stable and even level. The pancreas doesn’t need to release so much insulin to overcompensate and so there isn’t a quick removal of glucose as with refined carbohydrates.
So if you want to get off the blood sugar rollercoaster, switch to a diet rich in whole grains and eliminate the refined sugars and grains that promote the spikes and crashes that can cause your mood to dip. Cutting down on the amount of refined carbs you eat will improves your happiness levels and overall health so substitute brown rice for white or a chocolate bar for a piece of fruit and reap the benefits.
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