Updated: Nov 27, 2019
Fatigue, brain fog, irritability, caffeine dependency - these are just a few symptoms of blood sugar imbalance. Sounds a bit too familiar, right?
How often do you experience that 3:00pm energy slump, where you feel desperate for a cup of coffee and a sweet treat to get through the afternoon?
Have you ever wondered why this happens?
Well, this is a tell-tale sign that your blood sugar levels are rising and crashing, instead of remaining leveled. Think about a roller-coaster ride that goes up and down – when too much glucose (sugar) enters the blood stream at once, the body alerts insulin to rush to the scene to help transport that sugar into the cells. But, it’s sort of like an emergency response – insulin tends to overdo it, and the result is that sugar levels then go crashing below baseline. The body then seeks another quick energy boost, craving more sugar, and you quickly find yourself on the roller-coaster.
It’s important to note here that I’m not talking only about consuming sugary sweets. Nutrient-empty carbohydrates like white bread and pasta are also oftentimes the culprit, as well as any meal that has a high glycemic load.
How do you know if you’re riding the blood sugar roller-coaster?
Well, some of the prominent symptoms of a sugar crash are: dizziness, headaches, fatigue, brain fog, inability to concentrate, irritability, anxiety, cravings for sweets, and caffeine dependency.
I bet some of these sound familiar.
And beyond just generally feeling “blah,” blood sugar imbalances over a long period of time can wreak havoc on your adrenal glands and throw your whole endocrine system out of balance, leading to more serious health issues.
How can you stop the roller-coaster?
The good news is, that there are some fairly simple steps you can take to stabilize your blood sugar levels. By doing so, you’ll wake up feeling less groggy, you’ll have way more energy throughout the day, and you’ll sleep better at night. Sounds good, right?
Here are some tips to get you started:
Eat breakfast within one hour of waking. Your breakfast should be high in protein and fat, and low in carbohydrates – this will help fuel the brain in the morning and provide the long-burning energy to sustain you throughout the day. Sorry breakfast cereal, but you’re getting the boot!
Eat every 2-3 hours, and include some protein in all meals and snacks. This should look something like: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and possibly a nighttime snack.
Limit carbohydrate-rich foods, as these have a significant impact on blood glucose levels. Each person will react differently to carbohydrate intake and should determine their own personal limit. A fairly good indication of over-consuming carbs is feeling sleepy or craving sugar immediately after eating.
When eating carbs, especially high-glycemic ones, be sure to include plenty of fiber, healthy fat and protein in the meal. This slows down the release of glucose into the body.
Avoid carbohydrates and sweets before bedtime.
Wondering what a blood-sugar balancing diet actually looks like? Take a look at my next post about what a well-balanced breakfast should look like.