A common misconception is that sugar gives you energy. On the contrary, a high intake of refined sugar and refined carbohydrates causes blood sugar levels to rise and fall rapidly, resulting in mood swings, tiredness, weight gain and sugar cravings. Over time, this can lead to obesity, as well as many chronic health problems like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
The body depends on a steady and even blood sugar level. Maintaining this level will help you to feel full of energy, whilst at the same time stop craving sugar and stimulants, and help you to lose weight quickly - and keep it off. Steady levels of blood sugar also boost mood, memory and concentration, and reduce anxiety and depression, whilst cutting the risk of blood sugar-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Therefore the key to better health, energy and weight loss is to ensure steady blood sugar levels through simple dietary changes.
Some common symptoms that indicate your blood sugar levels are out of control are fatigue, poor concentration, irritability, depression, headaches, sugar and stimulant cravings, and digestive problems.
The Secret to Stable blood Sugar
Fast releasing carbohydrates like cakes, biscuits and anything made with white flour, and sweets, release their glucose in a sudden rush. They give a quick burst of energy and then a rapid burnout. So the key to balancing blood sugar is to eat fewer of these foods and eat more slow-releasing foods like wholegrain carbohydrates, fresh fruit and vegetables.
One of the best foods for balancing blood sugar and giving you the right mix of protein and carbohydrate are beans and lentils. This is because they provide both protein and carbohydrate in the same food.
In terms of fruit, bananas and grapes are fast-releasing foods, apples and pears are medium releasing, and cherries, berries and plums are slow releasing. Therefore cherries, plums and all types of berries are the best choices for blood sugar control, due to the type of sugar they mainly contain, called xylose. Other fruits contain fructose as their main form of sugar.
Here are some tips to keep your blood sugar level, help energy and weight stable, improve mood and concentration:
- Eat little and often. This will provide your body with a constant and even supply of fuel, which means fewer cravings. Snack on fruit, nuts, seeds and yoghurt.
- Whenever you eat, combine your carbohydrate with some fat and/or protein as this will lessen the effect the carbohydrate has on your blood sugar. Having said this, do not combine concentrated carbohydrates with concentrated proteins, as this impairs digestion.
- Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates, choosing wholefoods instead.
- Cut back on stimulants. According to research, participants who ate a carbohydrate snack, such as a croissant or toast, together with coffee, had a triple the increase in blood sugar levels, than those who had a caffeine-free drink.
A simple way of helping to balance blood sugar is to have a spoonful of cinnamon. Studies have reported big reductions in blood sugar with 3g of cinnamon a day (roughly a teaspoon). Further studies found that those given cinnamon with food produced less insulin after the meal. Excess insulin levels are factors for weight gain and a risk of diabetes.