Foods With A Low Glycemic Load
We mentioned previously that blood sugar levels can be controlled by considering a foods glycemic load.
The glycemic load is calculated by multiplying the foods carbohydrate content by its glycemic indexa measure of how much a food affects blood sugar levels and then dividing by 100.
White, processed bread, for example, tend to have a higher glycemic index because they largely contain a mixture of carbohydrates but often lack fiber32. Sprouted grain or whole wheat bread, on the other hand, has a lower glycemic index due to the presence of fibers.
Its important to consider a foods glycemic index, but also to look beyond it when designing your diet.
Studies looking into the effectiveness of a diet enriched for low glycemic index foods found a mild but significant decrease in participants blood sugar levels compared to those who ate a regular diet containing more carbohydrates33.
This may be because a food with a high glycemic index may not deliver a large amount of sugar when eaten in moderate proportions.
Instead of glycemic index, it may be better to focus on a foods glycemic load. Foods with a low glycemic load include oats, barley, beans, and non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus and Brussels sprouts.
Absorb Less Sugar By Eating More Fiber
If you increase your fiber intake you also decrease your sugar intake even eating the same amount of sugar. Fiber adds bulk without sugar or calories.
Cold-pressed apple juice is basically apples minus fiber. In seconds, you can drink enough juice to get the same amount of calories in five cups of apple slices.
Without the fiber, apple juice is absorbed as soon as it hits your intestines and spikes your blood sugar. Meanwhile, the trapped sugar in the apple slices is absorbed slowly through your intestines. Nutrients are absorbed when they have contact with the side of your intestines.
Because fiber never absorbs, it can carry or eliminate calories, fats, or sugars through digestion.
What diabetes diet makes the problem worse?
Keep An Eye On Your Carb Intake
Paying attention to carbohydrates is important for people with type 2 diabetes. Carbs are what cause your blood sugars to potentially fluctuate, Crandall Snyder says.
How many carbs per meal is ideal? Its tailored to each individual, says Weisenberger. How much you exercise, your weight, and your age can all affect how long sugars stay in your system, according to the CDC. A typical starting point for people with diabetes is to limit carb intake to 200 to 245 grams per day, which amounts to about one-half of your daily calories coming from carbs, according to the CDC. From there, make adjustments according to your blood glucose readings or as recommended by a dietitian, Crandall Snyder says.
And keep in mind that carbs arent only found in the usual culprits, like bread, potatoes, and pasta. They are also in fruits, vegetables, sweets, and dairy, so you have to take all of those into consideration as well, Crandall Snyder says.
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Eat Foods With A Low Gi
The glycemic index helps rank foods by how they affect blood sugar. Foods with a low GI release sugar slowly into your system, rather than flooding your blood with sugar all at once.
Aim for foods with a GI of 55 or less .
“Having a healthy diet is a proven way of keeping blood sugar within reasonable limits,” Velikova says. “I recommend eating foods that the body absorbs slowly, with a low and medium glycemic index, such as sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and most fruits, including berries and apples.”
Choose Low Glycemic Index Foods
The glycemic index measures and ranks various foods by how much they cause blood sugar levels to rise. Research shows that following a low glycemic index diet decreases fasting blood sugar levels.
Low glycemic index foods are those that score below 55 on the glycemic index. Examples of low glycemic foods include:
- sweet potatoes
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Things That Cause High Blood Sugar
High blood sugar can be caused by a variety of factors. The most common factors that contribute to high blood sugar include:
- Overeating/eating large portion sizes
- Using old, expired insulin
- Injecting insulin incorrectly
Most patients with high blood pressure dont have a known cause. This is called essential hypertension or primary hypertension, Dr. Raja adds.
What Is The Glycemic Index
The glycemic index is a number given to foods to indicate how fast they will affect the glucose level in your blood . Dr. David Jenkins developed the glycemic index at the University of Toronto in 1981.5 Dr. Jenkins was conducting research on how people with Type 1 diabetes can control blood sugar, and that led him to understanding more about the role of carbohydrates in blood glucose levels. When you eat, your body converts the food to energy for the body, and one of those conversions is to provide sugar to the body. Foods that convert to sugar more slowly provide a more continuous source of energy, without the spikes in blood sugar that can lead to a “crash”, causing low energy and lethargy. The list below is incomplete, but it can help you start thinking about foods that that provide slow and steady energy to the body. Harvard has a longer list of foods and their glycemic index at this link2.
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Adopt A Healthy Morning Ritual
Developing a morning ritual is a great habit for a healthy mind and body and it will also help lower your morning blood sugar as well.
When you get up, have a small protein/ fat combined snack , then try doing some stretching or go for a shortwalk first thing in the morning just 5-10 minutes to get moving.
Exercise improves insulin sensitivity and moves glucose out of the muscles and into the cells.
Its often best to have that protein/ fat snack first though, before you do the exercise.
When To Avoid Exercise
People with blood sugar levels above 240 mg/dL should check their urine for ketones before engaging in physical activity. If ketones are present, do not exercise. Ketones are the result of stored fat being broken down for energy. Your liver starts breaking down fat when theres not enough insulin in your bloodstream to absorb blood sugar into cells. When too many ketones are quickly produced, they can cause DKA. In this state, ketones may actually make your blood sugar level go even higher and you may need intravenous fluids to rebalance.
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Ramp Up Your Movement Each Day
Exercise helps improve blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity and the bodys ability to use glucose as energy, according to the American Diabetes Association. In type 2, exercise helps improve insulin resistance, says James G. Beckerman, MD, a cardiologist in Portland, Oregon. The end result is lower blood sugars.
Crandall Snyder tells patients that exercise is like spring cleaning for the body. It takes the stored form of glucose and uses it for energy so the next time you eat carbohydrates there’s a place to put it, she says.
Because exercise can immediately reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, work with your healthcare team to determine the right amount of activity and timing for you. A study published in September 2017 in Frontiers in Endocrinology found exercising 30 minutes after the start of a meal is usually best for maintaining blood sugar controls.
Learn more about managing your blood sugar in Diabetes Daily’s article “HbA1C: Everything You Need to Know.”
How To Lower Morning Blood Sugar
It seems strange to be able to keep blood sugar levels in control throughout the day and have morning blood sugar high, right?
I mean, it doesnt seem logical. After all, you havent eaten anything so it should be lower shouldnt it?
Its a common assumption and it would seem logical, but it is common for people with type 2 diabetes to have high blood sugar in the morning.
Because your body continues to produce glucose even when you dont eat. Its called gluconeogenesis.
This is a natural process for all of us. But in diabetes many people have increased gluconeogensis.
Another reason is that cortisol is the hormone that slowly increases in levels from around 3 am onwards to reach its peak early in the morning. Cortisol has a direct influence on blood sugar levels too elevating them.
Still, there are practical things you can do to lower morning blood sugar levels, heres how
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Consider Apple Cider With Meals
Apple cider Vinegars possible secret weapon is helping increase glucose uptake into your cells . ACV is one of the rare foods that can decrease both blood sugar and insulin spikes. And it can also help improve insulin sensitivity
You can mix apple cider vinegar with water or use it mixed in a salad dressing.
Dont forget to consult with your health care provider before taking ACV if youre on blood sugar lowering medications.
How Can I Lower My Blood Sugar Quickly
Science-backed facts to help you control diabetes without medication
Jeff was a type 2 diabetic but, by his third day of eating and exercising at Pritikin, he had lowered his blood sugar quickly – it plummeted to normal, non-diabetic levels.
Within two to three weeks, people with diabetes who adopted the Pritikin Program noticed they lowered their fasting blood sugar by about 19%. For many people this meant that prescription drugs were no longer needed, or dosages were substantially reduced.
Yes, its possible to lower your blood sugar quickly! Not everyones blood sugar levels will tumble in 3 days, but scientific evidence strongly points to the use of a healthy lifestyle can help you reverse diabetes in as quickly as two to three weeks. Nearly 10% of the U.S. population has diabetes. Are you ready to make a change? Heres how you can lower your blood sugar quickly.
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Manage Your Stress Levels
When stressed, your body prepares itself with extra glucose for emergency use. It does this by changing hormones to decrease insulin sensitivity and increase glucose release from cells. This causes blood sugar to increase. By managing your stress levels, you are also helping your body regulate blood sugar.
Finding ways to relieve stress is vital to regulating blood sugar. Everyone has different ways of managing stress. If you dont know where to start, you can try these simple steps to start at home yoga. Studies show yoga practice may improve blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetes outcomes.
Eat Smaller More Frequent Meals
It’s recommended that people with diabetes eat 4-5 small meals per day rather than larger meals.
A simple way to control portions is to use the Diabetes Plate Method. Start with a 9-inch plate or similar size. Make half the plate non-starchy vegetables, one quarter lean protein, and the rest whole grains or starchy vegetables. For snacks, try to buy individually packed snacks or pre-portion your own, such as a cup of yogurt, cheese sticks, or a small apple. For a more decadent treat that’s still nutritionally balanced, try this sunflower butter strawberry toast.
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Tips For Cutting Down On Sugar
Keeping tabs on how much sugar youre swallowing is an important part of a heart-healthy lifestyle, especially if youve been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes. The empty calories from added sugars in desserts, some drinks and candy can lead to weight gain and spikes in blood glucose levels.
The good news is that cutting down on sugar may be easier than you think.
When To Seek Medical Care
I would say that anybody with type 1 diabetes, first of all, they should always carry ketone sticks with them, says Dr. Hong. So, if blood sugars were to run high or they were to feel sickly, they should test their urine for ketones and if that is positive, they should seek care from a doctor or an emergency room. She says anyone should seek care if they feel very sick, have nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, confusion, or trouble thinking clearly. And then, if they are checking blood glucoses and they notice that their sugars are running significantly higher than what they’re used to and it’s not responding to any of their usual care such as drinking water or taking their insulin, they should absolutely seek care and speak to the doctor as well, Dr. Hong adds.
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Monitor Blood Sugar Levels Closely
High blood sugar levels often do not cause symptoms until they run well over 200 mg/dL. As such, it is essential for a person with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar several times a day. Doing so will mean that blood sugar levels never get that high.
A person with diabetes can use a home glucose monitor to check blood sugar levels. These are available for purchase online.
Recommendations for how frequently to check glucose levels during the day will vary from person to person. A doctor can make the best recommendations regarding blood sugar monitoring to a person with diabetes.
Take A Shot Of Apple Cider Vinegar
Swigging apple cider vinegar might not sound appealing, but it could help keep your blood sugar in balance if taken before you eat. Some research has found that consuming ACV reduced post-meal blood sugar levels by about half in healthy patients. The theory is that acetic acid, a component of the vinegar, slows down the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar in the bloodstream. Pro tip: Mix a tablespoon or two into a glass of watertaking it straight will burn!
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What Impacts On Your Health Does High Blood Sugar Have
Having extra sugar in your bloodstream can be very harmful to the vessels in your body, as well as some major organs. Complications of diabetes include and are not limited to:
- Problems with your eyes which could lead to loss of vision
- Poor wound healing which could lead to an amputation
- Increased risk of heart disease and stroke
These complications are not caused by a spike in the blood sugar. They are caused by an increased number of high blood sugar events over a period of time. Do not think that one or two high blood sugars are going to cause you to go blind. However, it is important to know what caused those high sugars so that you can prevent it from happening again. Hemoglobin A1C levels are checked to see what the average blood sugar has been over the past 120 days. Your doctor will check this to see if how your blood sugar levels have been trending.
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Always talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or exercise regimen.
Check your blood sugar levels!
There are critical times that you should check your blood sugar.
There are times when our health is well out of our control. Checking your blood sugar is one way that you can stay in control. Take this control and use it to better your health and your life.
According to the NIDDK, when checking your blood sugar levels, consider the following tips:
When To Lower Blood Sugar
When blood sugar is too high, it is termed hyperglycemia. The World Health Organization recognises hyperglycemia as blood sugar thats above 126 mg/dL or 7.0 mmol/L in a period before eating , or above 200 mg/dL or 11.1 mmol/L two hours after eating.
When blood sugar is at this point, you should take steps to reduce those numbers. It goes without saying that testing blood sugar regularly is ideal, in order to know when youre hyperglycemic.
You may also realise that youre hyperglycemic if youre experiencing some of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Blurred vision
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According to the American Diabetes Association, when blood sugar levels start teetering towards 250 mg/dL or 13.9 mmol/L is when diabetic ketoacidosis can occur.
Ketoacidosis happens because of the bodys need for fuel. With high blood sugar, the body isnt getting any fuel in the form of glucose. Instead, the body tries to burn fat for fuel, but this process leads to ketones essentially acids building up in the bloodstream.
Symptoms of ketoacidosis can include symptoms of hyperglycemia, along with:
- Vomiting or feeling nauseous
- Dry mouth
- Pain in the abdomen
Meanwhile, diabetes.co.uk recommends checking for ketones if your blood sugar levels have been consistently above 13 mmol/L or 230 mg/dL.
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Eating Regularly Throughout The Day
One interesting observation is that blood sugar levels are not only influenced by what you eat, but also by when you eat.
Rather than eating three large meals a day, some studies suggest that splitting your meals up into several small meals may have a beneficial impact on blood sugar levels25,26,27,28,29,30,31.
The idea here is that you snack throughout the day and occasionally have small meals.
Blood sugar levels peak after eating a meal, and the height of that peak is determined by the amount of sugar youve eaten in that meal.
There are some important caveats to this method, however:
Studies comparing the effectiveness of eating several meals ensure that the same total amount of food is eaten by each group.
Put another way, the goal is to eat the same amount of food you would have eaten with three meals but to spread it out across six or nine meals instead.
This is a risky habit, though, because its easy to end up eating more food when snacking which can ultimately lead to more sugar intake as well as weight gain.
For this reason, meal size should be closely watched when doing this.
Similarly, the type of food you snack on should be foods that minimize the rise in blood sugar.
The next section will help you understand which foods can help lower your blood sugar.