Keeping blood sugar within normal range is important (for everyone; not only diabetics!) since the blood sugar plays a critical role in:
- Appetite and/or hunger
- General energy levels
- Brain function
- Prevention of symptoms such as: dizziness, headaches, sweating and feeling irritable.
- In diabetics, it also means the prevention or postponement of side-effects such as vision and foot problems.
Higher sugar levels, often means the body puts out more insulin to stabilize blood sugar. Over time, it results in a condition called “hyperinsulinaemia” or “too much insulin in the blood.”
One of the challenges with high insulin levels is that it makes it more difficult for the body to use stored fat for energy; thus “weight loss resistance”. Often, overweight and obesity lead to insulin resistance. However, it almost certainly also works the other way around: insulin resistance promotes weight gain. Thus, a vicious cycle can be set up with insulin resistance promoting weight gain, which promotes more insulin resistance.
One way of controlling it is through the diet – as you are doing now if you are following the dietary principles of Slender Wonder.
But there are also other factors to take into consideration when it comes to blood sugar control.
Many foods labeled “sugar free” can raise your blood sugar level. Why? They can still have plenty of carbohydrates from other starches. Check the total carbohydrates on the back label and be aware of sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol. They add sweetness with fewer carbohydrates than sugar (sucrose), but may still have enough to your raise your blood sugar level.
A Bad Cold
Usually, your blood sugar rises as your body works to fight off an illness; therefore weight loss might slow down during an illness. Drink water and other fluids to stay hydrated. Be aware that some medicines, such as antibiotics and the decongestants used to clear your sinuses, can affect your blood sugar.
Feeling overwhelmed or unhappy at work takes its toll. When under stress, the body releases hormones that may cause blood sugar levels to rise. Deep breathing and exercise may help to relax. If possible, change the situation that is causing so much stress.
Sports drinks are designed to help replenish fluids quickly and some contain as much sugar as cool drinks. For a moderate workout of less than an hour, plain water is probably all you need.
Although fruit is a healthy choice, be aware that dried fruit will pack more carbohydrates than its “original, fresh source”. Stick to the fruits on your programme.
Steroids and Water Pills
One large family of drugs — the corticosteroids — can cause blood sugar to increase. Steroids treat rashes, arthritis and asthma to name a few. Diuretics used for high blood pressure, called water pills, can also raise blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. Some antidepressants may raise or lower blood sugar.
Foods that contain healthy bacteria, such as most of the commercial yoghurts available these days, are called “probiotics.” Probiotics can improve digestion and may help to control blood sugar. The best choice is plain yoghurt without added sugar.
During the summer, it might be better to stay inside or be cooled by air conditioning, during the hottest time of day. Heat makes blood sugar more difficult to control.
Sprinkling your food with cinnamon can add flavour without adding salt, carbohydrates or calories. Some studies suggest it also can improve the body’s ability to use insulin and may lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. More research is needed though.
Physical activity is a terrific health booster for everyone. If you have a high intensity workout, the blood sugar may spike up and then drop. Sometimes this drop can last for hours afterwards leaving you hungry, dizzy and tired. Eating a snack, eg yoghurt, before the exercise starts, usually helps and sometimes it may be better to do moderate exercise that does not cause sugar levels to drop too low. Suitable exercises are recommended in your Slender Wonder booklet.