Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is an important source of energy for your body. Frequent changes in blood sugar levels may put you at a higher risk of health complications. Healthy, balanced diet plays a significant role in managing your blood sugar levels. Olivia Marrone, Registered Dietitian at CHA HPMC, shares tips to prevent high blood sugar levels.
- Include protein with every meal: Including a lean protein source with every meal is an effective way to prevent spikes in blood sugar because of the way protein is metabolized in the body. Protein is a complex nutrient and takes longer to break down in the gut than simple carbohydrates and fat. Including protein with meals keeps the gut preoccupied with metabolizing protein and buffers the impact of carbohydrates. When protein and carbohydrate are consumed together, they are metabolized slower and thus the sugar enters the blood stream at a more gradual rate.
- Consume fiber with meals: Fiber is an important component of every meal, as it promotes gut health, aids digestion, and lowers cholesterol levels. However, a less known fact is that fiber can also prevent spikes in blood sugar. Similar to protein, fiber buffers the blow of a carbohydrate-rich meal due to its complex molecular makeup. Fiber is indigestible by the body. So, when fiber is consumed with other carbohydrates, it takes longer to breakdown in the gut and results in a slower, more gradual release of sugar into the blood stream. This is why it is important to include whole grain carbohydrates and lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Eat complex carbohydrates first thing in the morning: Simple carbohydrates are broken down fastest in the body, compared to other macronutrients due to their non-complex molecular makeup. As soon as these carbohydrates reach the stomach, the body quickly digests them and they are released as sugar into the blood stream, causing a spike in blood glucose levels. Therefore, if you wake up and grab a donut or bagel on your way to work in the morning, you should expect to see a massive spike in blood sugar levels. Since your stomach is empty in the mornings, there is nothing else to slow down the metabolism. To prevent this spike in blood sugar, we recommend eating more complex carbohydrates in the morning, such as whole wheat toast, fruits or vegetables, oatmeal, etc.
Incorporating these simple dietary changes, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and staying hydrated can help you manage blood sugar levels effectively.
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