Friday, 18 July 2014

Balancing Your Blood Sugars Through Diet

      Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms?
      Fatigue, energy dips in the afternoon, imbalanced sex hormones, sugar cravings, difficulty shifting weight? 
     
      Chances are you have imbalanced blood sugar levels. 


      Balancing our blood sugar levels is an important factor in weight loss, hormone balancing and energy levels. While fasting is very popular in Paleo circles, I don't believe it is for everyone. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, I would consider trying to balance your blood sugar levels to see if your symptoms improve. 

      Our hormones are all highly dependent on one another. Insulin is one of the major hormones in the endocrine system. It is released in response to increases in blood sugar levels


      
      When we eat any food, it is converted into glucose for transportation into the cells as energy. Insulin is released from the pancreas and plays a role in acting as a "key" to allow glucose to enter these cells.

      When we eat a diet rich in refined foods (such as bread, pasta, scones etc, even healthy wholegrain versions) or drink a stimulant like coffee on its own,  it causes a swift increase in blood sugar levels. Insulin must be released by the pancreas to effectively "mop up" this excess glucose from floating around your bloodstream and either allow it to enter cells as energy or convert it to adipose tissue or fat. This sudden peak in blood glucose is therefore followed by a swift DROP in blood glucose later on when insulin has effectively done too good of a job sequestering the blood glucose, leading to hypoglycaemia and corresponding dips in energy. 

      What effects can imbalanced blood sugar levels have on the body? 

Insulin & Stress
Insulin is linked to all hormones, most notably cortisol which is our stress hormone. When our blood sugars spike or dip throughout the day it causes our bodies to release cortisol. Therefore elevated blood sugar/insulin levels can contribute to stress levels.

Insulin & Sex Hormones
High Insulin levels have a role to play in reducing Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG), a transporter of sex hormones in the blood. If SHBG is reduced, the bioavailability of these sex hormones (important for fertility) is reduced. Hence by balancing blood sugars and insulin levels, we also balance sex hormones.

Insulin & Thyroid
Increased levels of insulin in blood can be linked to decreased thyroid function.
It is all linked!

How do we balance blood sugars through diet?


Protein, protein, protein!
·         Protein with every single meal and snack! 
      Eats nuts/seed with fruit, do not eat fruit on its own.
      Ensure good quality meat, fish or hemp protein in every meal or snack. Protein slows down the uptake of glucose into the cells and keeps blood sugar levels more stable - It also keeps us fuller longer
·          Remove sugars of all kinds including honey, sugar, maple syrup and artificial sweeteners. 
·         Eat regular meals – three main meals and two snacks per day. 
     Do not skip meals.
·        Avoid refined carbohydrates – Choose a Paleo Diet rich in vegetable sources of carbohydrates instead. These have less of an effect on glucose levels as they contain fibre to slow down absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. 

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