Keeping your blood sugar in check is the key to better health, slim waist and youthful looks. Excess sugar damages your blood and arteries, intensifies food cravings, causes inflammation, making you gain weight, age faster and develop a number of serious health conditions.
With all contradicting information out there, most people are still in dark about what they should or shouldn’t eat. After all, there is a lot of money in weight loss industry and obviously many marketers took an advantage of that. Just take a look at SmartMoney article 10 Things the Weight Loss Industry Won’t Say.
Most people know that controlling your blood sugar levels is about controlling carbohydrates. Here where it becomes a little more complicated, because not all carbohydrates are bad. While you should make an effort to eliminate some carbohydrates altogether (bad carbs), some carbohydrates are necessary for your optimal health (good carbs).
Fiber is one of the main reasons why you should include carbohydrates into your diet. Just to say fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods that cleans out our colons and intestines is not enough. Fiber gets bad stuff out of the body. This means your exposure to carcinogen-containing foods is shorter. It also minimizes the formation of carcinogens WITHIN your body, which happens if the food passes slowly and, as a result, rots inside of you. Limiting your fiber intake for any prolonged period of time is not a good idea.
Despite what your low-carb guru has told you, you actually need those whole grains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds and of course vegetables. It’s not that all low-carb gurus are bad. Low-carb is a good concept. The problem is many of these gurus have gone into extremes. This happens because while the concept is basically the same, each of them feels he needs to tell you something different to stand out. It’s not about your best interests anymore. It’s about money and control.
What makes your blood sugar unbalanced?
Obviously, eating too much sugar and sweets will get you there. However, there are other kinds of food that raise your blood sugar and these foods are not always the ones you would expect. The excessive use of many stimulants, such as coffee, cola drinks and cigarettes will cause a drop in your blood sugar levels, making you crave for another candy. Alcohol is a chemical cousin of sugar. Over time, consumption of alcohol will decrease insulin effectiveness, upsetting your blood sugar. The combination of all three – candies, stimulants and alcohol – will undermine your ability to deal with blood sugar levels.
How to deal with this?
The best way to deal with this is to eliminate alcohol, candies and cigarettes, control sweet foods AND start eating foods that actually keep your blood sugar even. Here is where good carbs come in. Some types of foods, such as all kinds of beans, peas, lentils, oats and whole grains, contain special factors that help release their sugar content gradually. In addition, these foods are high in fiber. These are called complex carbohydrates, aka the carbs that help keep your blood sugar even.
Eating Bad Carbs
Give up all candies, white bread, pasta and white rice – good advice, but it’s easier said than done. You certainly should take steps in that direction and if you can do that – good for you! But if you still eat some of these things (hopefully in small amounts only), eat them with protein. Adding a protein will help slow the sugar release into your blood stream. Again, you should eliminate them as much as you can.
Eating Good Carbs
Good carbohydrates are good because of their chemical makeup. They contain longer chains of sugar molecules, which basically means a slower release of sugar into the blood stream. This means that these types of “good carbs” will provide you with even stable energy levels. They are also typically high in vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The more fiber and protein you include, the slower the release of carbohydrate. Your best bet is to combine high-protein foods with high-fiber carbohydrates. Here are some ideas:
- Eat fruits with nuts or unsalted seeds.
- Add seeds and nuts to your breakfast cereals.
- Eat wholemeal toasts with eggs, nut butter or beans.
- Add chicken or salmon to brown rice.
- Eat wholewheat pasta with meat, beans and cheese.
- Choose sugar-free versions of your favorite foods, such as sugar-free peanut butter.
- Learn to eat healthy snacks, such as pumpkin seeds and oatcakes instead of potato chips,
- fruits and nut bars instead of biscuits,
- fresh and dried fruits instead of chocolate and candies.
Finally, just because the food is considered to be healthy, it doesn’t mean you should overeat. Moderation is the key.