Guide to Sugar #5: How to Eat to Stabilize your Blood Sugar
No one diet plan works for everyone. But one thing you can’t argue with is that stabilized blood sugar (avoiding extreme highs and lows) is crucial for health. It is also undeniable that processed sugars and refined carbohydrates should be limited. When your diet is full of empty calories and an abundance of quickly absorbed sugars, liquid calories (sodas, juices, sports drinks, vitamin waters), and refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes), your cells slowly become resistant or numb to the effects of insulin, and need more and more of it to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. This problem is known as insulin resistance.
Balancing your blood sugar is also important for fertility. Following a low glycemic diet is important to balance hormones, rebalance the digestive system, promote thyroid health, and moderate inflammatory levels, all crucial aspects of optimal fertility. The type and amount of carbohydrates can have a significant influence on fertility. It has been shown that diets high in refined and quickly digested carbohydrates increased ovulatory dysfunction. While diets high in fiber, good quality proteins, and healthy fats were associated with improved fertility. Focusing on slow carbs and fiber before and during pregnancy can help prevent gestational diabetes.
What exactly is a low glycemic diet? A glycemic load index is a numerical rating of a food and how much it spikes your blood sugar after consuming it. Factors such as fiber, protein, and fat content affect these numbers. Foods that have a high glycemic load spike the blood sugar, so making sure to eat low glycemic load foods as much as possible will help stabilize your blood sugar throughout the day and avoid high spikes and low crashes. If you are choosing to eat foods higher in the glycemic index, it helps to consume them with low glycemic foods (fat or protein) along with it, for example a slice of bread with coconut butter on it will be less detrimental to the blood sugar due to its high fat content. This will help slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream. You can also add lemon juice or vinegar to your meals and drizzle foods with olive oil, walnut oil, or organic butter. Check out this link here for more information about the glycemic index and the specific rating of each food.
Generally, I tell my patients to focus on good quality proteins (nuts, fish, beans, legumes, antibiotic free and organic meats), healthy fats (coconut oil, olives and olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds), fiber (veggies, whole fruits, sprouted whole grains, beans), and plenty of vegetables. These foods are low on the glycemic index and help promote health by stabilizing blood sugar. I tell most patients to limit carbohydrates, which are the primary determinant of blood sugar and insulin levels. Fats and proteins are digested slowly and do not have as extreme of an impact.
Check out Acubalance’s Diet e-book. It is in general an anti-inflammatory, low glycemic diet that works on minimizing or avoiding inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, refined sugar, and processed foods. I know it says it is a fertility diet, but really it’s an ideal diet nearly everyone should adopt for balanced blood sugar and optimal health.
Your diet may be different for your specific health needs. Feel free to give Acubalance a call at 604-678-8600 to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation to see how we can help you reach your diet and overall health goals.