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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Varriale

Are you riding the blood sugar rollercoaster?

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

Do you have periods of energy followed by “crashes”? Do you crave the sweet stuff or caffeine to keep going? Do you have difficulty losing weight? If this sounds like you then your blood sugar may be out of whack.

Last month I wrote about the 10 possible causes of your fatigue, this month the spotlight is on the importance of balancing blood sugar for better energy. This is often the first step I take with my clients who are keen to improve their fatigue.

First - the Basics:

Glucose is our body’s preferred source of energy - it’s needed for the body to function normally, in particular our brains. Carbohydrate is broken down into glucose which is released into the bloodstream to be transported to all the cells in the body. Fats can also be broken down into glucose for energy production, but that’s a whole different article! Your blood sugar is the level of glucose in the blood at any given time.

As I’m sure you know, our bodies like to be in balance, so insulin and some other hormones are responsible for keeping blood sugar levels within a very narrow range to ensure normal bodily function. When we eat, blood sugar levels rise and the pancreas releases insulin to help bring levels back down to within the normal range by:

  • stopping the liver releasing stored glucose (glycogen)

  • triggering excess glucose to be stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles or as fat in adipose tissue around the abdomen

Yes you read that right, one of insulin's main jobs is to make fat!

What’s driving the blood sugar rollercoaster?

When we eat sugar, refined carbohydrates, or drink alcohol or too much caffeine, blood sugar levels rise much quicker than they would after a more balanced meal containing wholegrain carbohydrates, protein and fat. This sharp peak in blood sugar is known as hyperglycaemia and causes too much insulin to be released. Insulin then triggers the body to lower blood sugar levels rapidly which results in very low levels of blood sugar known as ‘hypoglycaemia. Skipping meals, stress and lack of exercise may also contribute to blood sugar imbalance. These “ups and downs” are referred to as the blood sugar rollercoaster.

Symptoms of blood sugar imbalance:

As well as fatigue, other symptoms of blood sugar imbalance include:

  • afternoon sleepiness, night waking

  • sugar and/or starch cravings

  • weight gain/difficulty losing weight

  • excessive hunger, frequent thirst

  • headaches

  • brain fog, poor concentration, irritability

  • mental fatigue, anxiety, depression

  • pre-menstrual syndrome

Ways to balance blood sugar:

  • Have a protein rich breakfast

  • Include protein and/or beneficial fats with each meal

  • Ensure you're getting enough fibre

Why? Protein, fat and fibre slow the absorption of glucose into the blood

  • Swap refined carbohydrates to complex carbohydrates or choose more veg to increase fibre

  • Try to avoid snacking, ideally leave 4 hours between each meal and a minimum of 12 hours overnight

  • Drink plenty of water

  • Limit alcohol and caffeine intake

  • Take regular exercise

  • Manage stress levels, take time for relaxation

  • Get sufficient sleep

If you'd like some help getting off the blood sugar rollercoaster, why not book a FREE discovery call to discover how personalised nutritional therapy may help?

And if you're not already receiving my monthly emails, you can sign up here to ensure you don't miss out on future articles.

The content on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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