How To Lower Blood Sugar Naturally Through Diet
There are 4 main components that influence blood sugar and A1C.
Were only going to cover the first 2 because were talking about diet. But just so you know, stress and lifestyle factors also play a part here.
Diets Used With Caution For People With Diabetes
Extreme diets may put you at risk, depending on which diabetes medications you may be taking or if you have other medical issues in addition to the diabetes, says Dunn.
Here are her suggestions of what to avoid.
1. Low or no-carb diets. Using insulin or taking a sulfonylurea and avoiding carbohydrates can put you at risk for low blood sugar. If you do want to follow this kind of diet, you should definitely check with your physician first.
Depending on how low the carbohydrates are in the diet, your doctor may ordermonthly lab work to rule out low potassium or magnesium or elevated lipids or uric acid levels, says Dunn.
2. Intermittent fasting, extreme calorie reduction or skipping meals. Any diet that promotes fasting for long periods can cause low blood sugar. Even if you arent taking medication for your diabetes, its important to maintain consistent eating patterns for weight management and blood sugar control. Be aware of how much you eat at any one time to avoid spiking your blood sugar.
Any diet that encourages very low caloric intake can also increase the risk of low blood sugar and reduce muscle mass. This diet should also be supervised by a physician.
How To Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels
Any of the foods above could become the linchpin in a diet that allows you to control your blood sugar levels and achieve better preventative health. Monitoring how they affect your blood sugar levels is the key to finding which foods fit your metabolism best.
By using NutriSenseâs Continuous Glucose Monitoring system, you can get real-time blood glucose readings right on your phone. You can accurately measure the effects of food, sleep, exercise, and stress while working with your personal dietitian to discover more about your own metabolic health. Whether you have diabetes, pre-diabetes, glucose intolerance, or are simply looking for ways to optimize your health, NutriSenseâs program gives you the tools to take your preventative health into your own hands.
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Diet Principles To Maintain Sugar Levels
Your diet has a massive influence on the management of diabetes. The ability of food to lower blood sugar or spike it is well researched. Often, a significant impediment in the successful management of diabetes is a lack of a disciplined diet.
While the importance of diet in maintaining healthy sugar levels is well known, it is equally important to engage in physical activity, control stress, and get adequate sleep. Below are some of the critical diet principles to follow for effectively controlling diabetes:
1. Include complex carbohydrates
For a long time, carbs had gained a bad reputation due to fitness experts. This misconception has been put to rest, as people have realised the incredible health benefits of carbohydrates. But, eating the right type of carb in the right amount can be healthy and help maintain sugar levels. Your body breaks down carbs into sugars, which is then used by the body for energy.
And since they are so quickly broken down into glucose for energy, carbs have a significant impact on your blood sugar levels compared to fats and protein. So, you must ensure that your carb intake is under control, but there is no need to avoid it. Avoid unhealthy refined carbs such as white rice, white bread, candy, soda and other processed foods.
2. Low glycemic foods need to be consumed
3. Include more fibre-rich foods
4. Include PUFA, MUFA
5. Low dairy consumption
6. Immunity boosting foods intake
7. Avoid trans fats
8. Eat less meat and processed meat
Relation Between Food And Managing Sugar Levels To Control Diabetes
Your body converts the food you eat into sugar . This sugar that circulates in the blood is used for energy and is called blood sugar. Too much sugar in your body has a detrimental effect on your health and causes diabetes a condition characterized by excess sugar in the bloodstream.
Your body breaks down food differently it separately breaks down the protein, fats, carbohydrates and vitamins. Carbohydrates have the highest impact on your blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates are broken down and turn into blood sugar. The more carbs you eat, the more sugar will be released into your bloodstream. Carbs in liquid form are absorbed even quicker thus, it instantly spikes your sugar levels.
So what is a healthy blood sugar range? A blood sugar level less than 140 mg/dL is normal.
But fibre is one such part of carbohydrate that is not turned into sugar hence it helps control the blood sugar levels. Therefore, the food you eat directly impacts the sugar levels, either increasing it quickly or causing a slow, gradual increase.
Continue reading to learn about the 10 diet principles that will guide you on how to maintain sugar levels in your blood through a proper diet.
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Foods To Avoid With Gestational Diabetes
Some other things that I noticed is that I got my highest readings that were out of the target range after eating a high fat, high sugar combo.
The two meals that elevated my blood sugar the most were when I ate brie cheese with cranberry sauce on three rice crackers after eating oatmeal. My other highest reading was after I ate half of a big vegan chocolate bar before my dinner. When I looked back at the chocolate bar, I realized that it had 20 grams of fat plus sugar plus my dinner.
I would also get my highest post-meal blood sugar reading after dinner. Generally, I eat a late dinner after a 5 pm snack. I focused on eating a lighter and earlier dinner since I wasnt doing much physical activity after dinner.
A trend I noticed is that I would get my highest fasting blood sugar levels following a previous dinner that contained high amounts of saturated fats or refined fats such as fries, red meat, and coconut cream.
Processed fats, saturated fats and refined sugar are foods that should be avoided with gestational diabetes.
Understanding High Blood Sugar At Night
Blood sugar, also called glucose, is the body’s main source of energy. The body gets most of its glucose by metabolizing the carbohydrates in food, per Kaiser Permanente. For people with diabetes, their systems struggle to manage glucose correctly, leading to high blood sugar. But the treatment of diabetes can also cause low blood sugar .
“Some diabetes medications lower blood glucose levels during the night,”Jo-Anne Rizzotto, a registered dietitian nutritionist and director of educational services at Harvard’s Joslin Diabetes Center, tells LIVESTRONG.com. “But if blood sugar levels drop too low, the liver responds by releasing stored glucose.” This nocturnal release of glucose can cause high blood sugar during the night and into the next morning, known as the Somogyi effect. The good news? “People with type 2 diabetes don’t have this issue unless they’re on glucose-lowering medications,” says Rizzotto.
The Somogyi effect should not be confused with the so-called “dawn phenomenon,” another cause of high morning blood sugar, Rizzotto says. The dawn phenomenon is a product of human evolution it occurs in all people and involves the body pumping out extra glucose in the early morning hours to get the body ready to wake up.
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Think Long Term For Your Health
“There isn’t a magic diet for people with diabetes,” says Wylie-Rosett. “It’s about how your diet relates to metabolic factors like blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol,” she says. To suss out exactly what you need, many insurance plans cover medical nutrition therapy, which pairs you up with a registered dietitian to create the best plan for your unique needs. And remember, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a nutritious diet and staying active all go a long way in keeping your blood sugar under control.
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Stick To An Eating Schedule
Dr. Kara warns against skipping meals frequently to avoid the rollercoaster of high to low blood sugar surges and dips. Spreading your meals out throughout the day, rather than eating a large breakfast or large dinner can help to regulate blood sugar. Eating regularly from morning through evening is the best strategy.
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Treating Low Blood Sugar
You are at risk of having a low blood sugar reaction if you:
- Skip or delay a meal or snack
- Take too much insulin or eat too few carbohydrates
- Drink alcohol, especially without eating carbohydrates
Check your blood sugar if you have any of these symptoms:
- Weakness and/or fatigue
If your blood sugar is less than 70 milligrams per deciliter :
- Eat 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate
- Wait 15 minutes and then recheck your blood sugar
- If your blood sugar is still less than 100 mg/dl, take another 15 grams of carbohydrate and retest your blood sugar in another 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
Important: If you have frequent low blood sugars speak to your doctor. You may need changes in your medication and/or meal plan.
The Cause Of Diabetes
Diabetes is an illness related to elevated blood sugar levels. When you stop releasing and responding to normal amounts of insulin after eating foods with carbohydrates, sugar and fats, you have diabetes. Insulin, a hormone thats broken down and transported to cells to be used as energy, is released by the pancreas to help with the storage of sugar and fats. But people with diabetes dont respond to insulin properly, which causes high blood sugar levels and diabetes symptoms.
Its important to note that theres a difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Heres an explanation of the two types of diabetes and what causes these conditions:
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is commonly called juvenile diabetes because it tends to develop at a younger age, typically before a person turns 20 years old. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.
The damage to the pancreatic cells leads to a reduced ability or complete inability to create insulin. Some of the common causes that trigger this autoimmune response may include a virus, genetically modified organisms, heavy metals, or foods like wheat, cows milk and soy.
The reason foods like wheat and cows milk have been linked to diabetes is because they contain the proteins gluten and A1 casein. These proteins can cause leaky gut, which in turn causes systemic inflammation throughout the body and over time can lead to autoimmune disease.
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Can You Avoid Diabetes If It Runs In Your Family
Yes, your genes dont have to define you! There are genetic factors that can predispose some people to be heavier than others. Yet, your heredity doesnt define your health. Your health is determined by your environment. And, you can control your environment. For example, researchers have noticed stark differences between Pima Indians living in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico eating a traditional diet, and those living in urban areas of Arizona eating a traditional Western diet. The Pima Indians of Arizona are among the most obese groups of people in the world and have a diabetes rate that is 8 times greater than the national average. Their lifestyle is mostly sedentary, and their diet is a typical American diet . Meanwhile, despite their genetic similarities, the Pima Indians of Mexico, weigh an average of 65 pounds less than their Arizona counterparts, and fewer than 4% have type 2 diabetes. The reason is in the stark differences of their lifestyles: the Pima Indians live an active lifestyle working their farms, and eat a diet rich in the whole foods . It is clear that lifestyle has an extremely powerful influence on health. You can adopt a healthy lifestyle, and enjoy a healthy body, irrespective of your genetic heritage.
Signs That Your Blood Sugar Is Not Stable
Besides feeling hangry, Shapiro says there are other signs that your blood sugar is low, often as a result of spiking it too high previously. “If you eat a large load of sugar or carbs solo , you may feel energized for a bit but in an hour or so you might find yourself sweating, tired, shaky, confused. These are signs of low blood sugar, a quick drop in energy that leaves your body weak,” explains Shapiro.
People may joke about hanger, but the feeling is very real, according to Shapiro. When your blood sugar is low, “You may also find you feel agitated, and hungry, which makes you feel angry or grumpy too.”
At the end of the day, you shouldn’t feel extremes in either direction. If you’re eating balanced meals, you should feel good most of the time and when you get hungry, it should happen slowly rather than being a dramatic feeling all at once, according to Shapiro.
Healthy sources of protein like fish and healthy fats like nuts and avocados can help keep your blood sugar balanced.
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Whats A Healthy Level For Blood Sugar
According to the American Diabetes Association, fasting blood sugar levels for healthy people should be under 100 mg/dl. Note that blood sugar levels in healthy individuals can spike to 180 mg/dl after a meal, but 2 hours later, levels should be under 140 mg/dl.
Theres another way to measure blood sugar as well. A blood test to measure hemoglobin A1C reveals how your blood sugar levels have been over a span of 2 to 3 consecutive months. This can give a good indication of your blood sugar control over time. The value should be under 5.7 percent.
Why Do Fasting Blood Sugar Lebels Need To Ne Lower Than Daytime Numbers
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Essential Foods To Help Control Blood Sugar Levels
Over 120 million Americans have high blood sugar or diabetes. Thatâs a scary fact. What might be an even scarier one is that most of them donât know they do. Fortunately, we know that the most successful preventative care approach for these conditions is watching your blood glucose levels.
When it comes to blood sugar levels, nutrition is the leading factor impacting them. Most foods will not lower glucose levels, but certain foods have shown they can help control them. You might think that blood sugar is only affected by the amount of sugar, carbohydrates, and fats you eat. Surprisingly, thatâs not the case! Vitamins and minerals in your diet also play a key part in controlling your blood sugars.
Key Nutrients For Blood Sugar Balance: Protein Fat Fiber
Just because carbohydrates and sugar spike your blood sugar doesn’t mean you have to avoid them all the time. The best way to balance out your blood sugar is to pair your higher-carb foods and sugar with protein, healthy fats and ideally fiber. When you pair carbohydrates with protein or fat, the rate that the sugar or carbs are absorbed is slowed, making it easier on your blood sugar, according to Shapiro. When you look at your plate, the goal is to balance the ratio of carbs with healthy protein and fat so you know that your blood sugar won’t spike too high, which can result in a crash or dramatic dip later.
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Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar
The medical term for high blood sugar is hyperglycemia and the term for low blood sugar is hypoglycemia. Having high blood sugar occasionally usually wont result in any symptoms.
Symptoms of high blood sugar tend to occur when blood sugar is very high for a prolonged period. This is why prediabetes and diabetes can go undiagnosed for years there arent immediate, noticeable symptoms.
Some of the early signs of chronic high blood sugar, which may tip someone off enough to visit with their healthcare provider, include:
For chronic hyperglycemia, more symptoms can occur, such as:
Poor wound healing: High blood sugar delays wound healing, which is one of the many reasons long-term diabetes can increase the risk of wounds requiring amputation.
- Numbness and tingling of the hands and feet: Prolonged periods of high blood sugar can cause nerve damage. One of the more well-known nerve damage types, peripheral neuropathy, can cause numbness or tingling sensation in the hands and feet and spreading to the arms and legs. Those with neuropathy may not feel a wound on their feet, leading to diabetic foot ulcers.
- Increased infections: High blood sugar interferes with the immune system, increasing susceptibility to illness and infection.