Nutrition Part 2: Blood Sugar Balance
The sweet life
Welcome to this series on nutrition in collaboration with Strong Friend Gus Martin, our resident expert and Gut Health Guru.
There's a lot to unpack on this topic, and we would love to talk about the subjects that interest you most. As usual, pop your suggestions in the comments below or head over here to drop in the details more privately.
Today is the second in the series, and it's all about blood sugar balance. You can check out part one here.
Please enjoy part two!
What is Blood Sugar Balance?
Your Blood Sugar Balance is the measure of the amount of glucose found in the blood stream at any one time. When our glucose levels are too high or too low, problems can occur.
Let's look at two ways imbalances can affect you:
1. Insulin resistance, which is characterised by two things: high blood glucose levels and the subsequent high insulin levels that follow this (at least in the beginning)
2. Hypoglycaemia which is commonly known as low blood sugar, but is more accurately described as blood sugar fluctuations
What is Insulin Resistance?
In the case of Insulin Resistance, the body cannot successfully transport glucose into the cell. This is primarily as a result of cells becoming resistant to insulin, the hormone that is responsible for shuttling glucose into the cell. This results in an increase in insulin production (from the pancreas) which initially aids the process, but over time adds to the cells becoming more resistant to insulin.
What does that feel like?
The characteristics of this type are the craving for sweet things, feeling of fatigue after meals an increased thirst and urination.
What is Hypoglycaemia?
Hypoglycaemia generally occurs as a result of stress hormone dysregulation. When in a "starved" or fasting state, the body should respond by producing cortisol to gradually increase blood sugar levels from the body’s stored sugar (glycogen).
However, those who suffer from hypoglycaemia often have poor adrenal function (the glands where stress hormones are produced) which often results in adrenaline (a more powerful hormone) rather than cortisol being produced.
The subsequent result is a blood sugar spike (hypoglycaemia) and an increase in insulin production. This creates a sugar low (hypoglycaemia) and leads to the individual feeling dizzy, lightheaded, irritable or “hangry”.
What does it feel like?
The characteristics of this type are sugar cravings before meal times, feeling better after meals and waking during the night.
What can we do to stay balanced?
To help balance blood sugar levels you should aim to have adequate protein, fat and fibre in each meal and avoid processed food and refined sugars.
You will also want to look at how much sleep you are getting and how well you are dealing with your stress.
Sleep is the master regulator!