Why balancing blood sugar is important
It is important to keep our blood sugar (glucose) levels balanced for a few reasons. It will reduce stress on your body, balance energy levels (especially the afternoon slump) and help with cravings.
Blood glucose can swing from high after we consume a high carb meal to low when we skip meals.
Eat regular meals and snacks which include protein, carbs and good fats (think nut butter smeared on celery sticks). Try not to get ravenously hungry. If you are out of touch with your hunger use this hunger scale. I often get asked about which ratios and quantities to eat. This again would be different for all individuals. As a rough guide; start with a palm size piece of protein, a fist size of starchy carbs (starchy veg or brown rice, quinoa), a thumb of good fat and an armful of non-starchy veggies 😉 with each meal.
A good way to measure if this is right for you is to keep an eye on your Hunger, Energy and Cravings (HEC). If any of them are shouting at you then adjust the ratios slightly and see how that feels. Keep a food and mood diary really helps, to get long lasting results you need to become of a detective. Once you get ‘HEC in check’ you will have much more balanced mood and hormones. This will improve your peri-menopause symptoms greatly.rmful of non-starchy veggies 😉 with each meal.
Another reason we need to keep blood sugar levels purring is we need to keep insulin levels under control. Insulin is a hormone that is secreted from your pancreas, it helps muscle, liver and fat cells absorb glucose from the blood stream. It keeps you blood sugar levels in check.
When we eat a meal we release insulin into the bloodstream where it transports the glucose into the cells, it also helps make the cell more permeable and receptive to glucose. If we keep pumping out insulin because of high carbs diet, stress and stimulants then the beta cells in the pancreas will eventually get tired and not produce enough insulin. Or we produce too much and the body cannot deal with it (insulin resistance).
Insulin stimulates the liver and muscle tissue to store excess glucose, any excess will get stored in fat cells around your body causing fat gain L. If we have too much insulin we can become insulin resistant which means the body is producing insulin but it cannot be used which means excess glucose stays in the bloodstream which can lead to pre-diabetes. There are not really any obvious symptoms of pre-diabetes (hard to shift weight is one).
If blood sugar levels swing too low our body uses cortisol (a stress hormone produced in the adrenal glands) to try and push up our glucose levels. When we produce too much cortisol throughout the day it stresses our adrenal glands and if left too long will cause adrenal fatigue and then you have a whole host of issues. Adrenal health is SUPER IMPORTANT during the PM because our adrenals help in the production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
Not only that but high cortisol levels been shown to cause belly fat! Belly fat can lead to insulin resistance.
Exercise is also key in insulin sensitivity as exercise will use the glycogen (glucose) in your muscles allowing the muscles to absorb more glycogen.
Tips to balance blood sugar levels
- Eat regularly (try 3 meals a day with 2 protein based snacks)
- Avoid getting over hungry
- Eat your ratio of protein, starch and non starchy veggies with each main meal
- Aim for 8 hours of sleep per night
- Move your body everyday
- Limit refined high sugar foods and high sugar fruits
- Limit caffeine and other stimulants
- Don’t skip breakfast, try and eat within a few hours of waking
- Reduce artificial sweeteners (that includes diet drinks).
- Limit high GL foods like white bread, pasta, mashed potatoes