Why Fiber Is So Beneficial And How It Can Keep Blood Sugar Steady
Think of fiber as your body’s roughage, which fills you up but keeps blood sugar steady. Its a type of carbohydrate that cant be digested and helps to regulate how our body uses sugar. You find it in more of those complex carb foods including whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts.
A recent 2021 study published in a respected journal, the Recent Patents on Food, Nutrition & Agriculture, determined that the fiber content from salad vegetables was beneficial in keeping glucose rates from skyrocketing after meals. The researchers tested red oak leaf lettuce, red coral lettuce, green oak lettuce, butterhead lettuce, and romaine. The results found that the fiber content of these lettuces inhibited specific enzymes that are important in breaking down carbohydrates. When these enzymes are inhibited, the rate and extent of glucose absorption is reduced, which prevents hyperglycemia, so blood sugar stays low.
Although more research needs to be completed on human studies, there is nothing harmful about adding a leafy green salad to your meal to help keep your blood sugar stable. Better yet, turn it into your entire meal with the addition of healthy fats from olive oil, nuts, and seeds and protein from beans, lentils, or tofu.
Start With These Tips To Lower Blood Sugar Levels
To help you get started on filling your plate with more blood sugar friendly foods that will help lower your blood sugar, start by removing refined sugar, refined grains, and most processed foods from your diet. Processed foods all contain chemicals and refined ingredients that our bodies dont recognize as real nutrients, so our cells never really get what they need and we feel hungry all the time as a result. This also leads to blood sugar swings and spikes that cause insulin to work less efficiently.
What helps insulin work best so that blood sugar stays in a stable place are foods that pack dense amounts of nutrition and contain amino acids , fiber , and healthy fats from real food.
Lets check out some foods that can help lower blood sugar levels by offering us these nutritional benefits, shall we?
The 10 Best Foods To Control Diabetes And Lower Blood Sugar
If you have diabetes, you know how difficult it can be to manage your diet and control your blood sugar levels. Certain foods cause massive spikes while others actually lower blood sugar, but many people go through years of trial and error before they find out what works for them. Luckily, thanks to years of scientific findings, weve been able to determine what foods are better than others. In this article, well discuss the 10 best foods to control diabetes and lower blood sugar.
To get the most out of your food, consider diabetic meal planning. Planning and preparing meals ahead of time will reduce the likelihood of snacking or unhealthy eating and will help you save time and energy throughout the week.
Non-starchy vegetables are one of the best foods you can eat as a diabetic. Not only will they fill you up, but theyre full of essential vitamins and minerals that help regulate your blood sugar. Since theyre a whole food with trace amounts of sugar and high levels of fiber, you can eat as many non-starchy vegetables as you want without having to worry about high blood sugar spikes. To get the most out of your non-starchy vegetables, choose fresh, canned, or frozen vegetables that have no added salt or sauce.1 Some examples of non-starchy vegetables include the following:2
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Are You Ready To Try Something New
The Ketogenic Diet is based on the reduction of sugar intake to induce the release of fat into the bloodstream. This had two very specific benefits:
1. It provides very fast, instant gratification at seeing fat virtually melting away without the anxiety and hunger pangs of traditional diets.
2. By default, helps pre-diabetics and diabetics regulate their blood sugar levels. Many studies have shows that low-carb diets such as this have been effective in stalling the effects of Type 2 Diabetes, and even complete reversal in pre-diabetics.
After You Have Low Blood Sugar
If your low blood sugar was mild , you can return to your normal activities once your blood sugar is back in its target range.
After you have low blood sugar, your early symptoms for low blood sugar are less noticeable for 48 to 72 hours. Be sure to check your blood sugar more often to keep it from getting too low again, especially before eating, physical activity, or driving a car.
If you used glucagon because of a severe low , immediately call your doctor for emergency medical treatment. If you have had lows several times close together , you should also tell you doctor. They may want to change your diabetes plan.
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Best Ways To Eat Watermelon With Type 2 Diabetes
If a person adds watermelon or other fruit to their meal or snack, they should also balance it with nutritious fats and protein. The fat and protein help slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. This can be helpful for people living with type 2 diabetes who use their eating patterns to control their blood sugar levels.
Like other fruit, it is generally best to eat watermelon without added sugars and in its whole and minimally processed form. However, a person could add it as part of a fruit salad and consume a reasonable portion as part of a larger meal.
However, when eating watermelon, an individual should avoid pairing it with other high GI foods. Instead, they should include it with foods such as nuts, seeds, and other sources of nutritious fat and protein.
The Defeat Diabetes Foundation suggests avoiding watermelon juice because it may have a higher glycemic load than fresh, solid watermelon.
People With Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes can occur during pregnancy. Often, it is a temporary condition, but it can lead to pregnancy complications.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with a diagnosis of gestational diabetes aim for blood sugar levels similar to those for people without diabetes, although individual targets may vary.
The ADA offers the following as a guideline:
|Blood sugar level|
- blood vessels
A wide range of complications can also result, such as slow wound healing and frequent infections. Other possible complications include:
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
Different people may feel low blood sugar levels differently. People with low blood sugar may:
- feel hungry or have hunger pains in their stomach
- feel shaky or like theyre trembling
- have a rapid heart rate
- feel sweaty or have cold, clammy skin
- have pale, gray skin color
- have a headache
- have seizures or convulsions
- lose consciousness
If you have diabetes, try to remember how your body reacts when your blood sugar levels are low. It may help you figure out when youre having a low blood sugar level more quickly the next time.
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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Lower Your Stress Level
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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The #1 Snack To Lower Blood Sugar According To A Dietitian
Though you might have heard the phrase before, you might not be as familiar with the basics of how blood sugar works. After you eat or drink anything that contains calories, your body breaks down the food into simple glucose molecules. This is the form of energy that all of the cells in your body can use, and the hormone insulin acts like a key to allow glucose to get into our cells. To get the energy to your cells, glucose must travel through your blood, hence the term “blood glucose” . Therefore, after you eat, your blood sugar will go up. And if your body runs out of glucose from that meal, your blood sugar will fall. This is natural and happens in all of our bodies.
Certain foods can affect our blood sugar levels more than others. For example, foods high in simple or added sugars like soda, candy and highly processed foods can lead to a sharp increase in blood sugar that quickly burns up and falls just as rapidly. Consistent steep spikes and falls of blood glucose can make it harder and harder for the body to produce insulin. Without enough insulin, our blood glucose can be dangerously high which can damage cells. This is what can lead to type 2 diabetes over time.
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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Baby Carrots Cherry Tomatoes Or Cucumber Slices
Non-starchy vegetables are a great choice for a snack. They are very low in calories, fats, and carbohydrates, while offering plenty of vitamins and minerals.
These vegetables also provide antioxidants and a good dose of fiber to boost heart and gut health. For more protein, add a low-fat cheese slice to this low-calorie snack.
Why Adopt A Low
Many studies support low carb diets for the treatment of diabetes. In fact, before the discovery of insulin in 1921, very low carb diets were considered standard treatment for people with diabetes. Whats more, low carb diets seem to work well in the long term when people stick to them.
In one study, Type 2 Diabetics ate a low carb diet for 6 months. Their diabetes remained well managed more than 3 years later if they stuck to the diet.
Similarly, when Type 1 Diabetes followed a carb-restricted diet, those who followed the diet saw a significant improvement in blood sugar levels over a 4-year period.
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Best Snacks Before Bed
People can tailor their snacking based on their weight goals and how their body reacts to sugar overnight. A dietician can help.
The best snacks for each person will depend on how the body responds to the dawn phenomenon and the Somogyi effect, as well as personal preferences and goals.
The ADA recommend that people develop a personalized meal plan with their healthcare team, and this can include snacks and their timings.
Little scientific evidence points to an ideal bedtime snack, but researchers believe that beneficial snacks will contain:
- high levels of protein
- healthful fats
- limited carbohydrates
Foods with this composition may help limit blood glucose spikes during the night and ensure lower blood glucose levels in the morning.
Try one the following healthful snacks before bed to help manage blood sugar levels and satisfy nighttime hunger:
What Does Eating Right Mean For You
If you have type 1 diabetes, carb counting is really important to keep your blood glucose levels steady. This is where you estimate how many carbs are in your meal and match it with how much insulin you need to take.
If you have type 2 and youre overweight, finding a way to lose weight is important as it really improves diabetes management. This is because it can help to lower your blood glucose and reduce your risk of other complications. There are different ways of doing this like the low-carb, Mediterranean or very low-calorie diets. Losing weight can help you lower your blood glucose levels, and we now know that substantial weight loss can even put some people’s type 2 diabetes into remission.
Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you might need to lose, gain or maintain your current weight but its important to make healthier food choices while youre doing this.
Portion sizes are important to think about whether you have type 1 or type 2. It makes calculating nutritional facts when youre carb counting or managing your weight a lot easier. Remember, portion sizes are different for everyone, so whats right for someone else might not be right for you.
If you feel overwhelmed about your feelings about food and diabetes, we have plenty of information to help you.
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Why Does Blood Sugar Rise Exactly
A number of things contribute to rises in blood sugar on a daily basis. Food is chief among those things.
“Simple carbohydrates, like sugary drinks or candy, will be digested and absorbed quickly, which will raise blood sugar more than a mixed meal with protein, high fiber carbohydrates, and fat,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of NutritionStarringYOU.com and author of The Everything Easy Pre-Diabetes Cookbook.
Protein, fat, and fiber together will slow digestion and thus create a more blunted rise in blood sugar, with less drastic spikes, or even a steady elevation.
“For example, a bagel with jelly that’s nearly all carbohydrates should increase blood sugar more than an egg with whole-grain toast and berries, even if the calories are the same,” Harris-Pincus explains.
“It’s also important to know that all carbohydrates are not created equal, so certain foods like beans and oats, which contain soluble fiber, can help control blood sugar, and strawberries and wild blueberries have been shown to help with insulin resistance as well,” Harris-Pincus says.
Still, all bodies differ, so keep in mind this is just a general rule of thumb. It’s a good idea to monitor your blood sugar after meals for several weeks to gain a better understanding of how your blood sugar responds to foods.
“Every person has a unique body and will react differently, so it takes trial and error to learn how you respond,” she adds.
Ways To Better Control Blood Sugar After Eating
Do you find it difficult to stabilize your blood sugar levels after eating? Follow these mealtime tips to help keep your blood sugar in range.
When you have type 2 diabetes, life can often feel like a juggling act: You have to balance how much you eat, and when you eat it, with the right amount of exercise all while taking your medications consistently. Strike a good balance and your blood glucose can remain stable. If you don’t make it work, your risk of diabetes complications rises.
Food makes your blood sugar levels rise soon after eating. The particular food you eat, how much you eat, and the timing of your medication around the time you eat make a difference in your levels, too.
Damage to your body from high blood sugar can happen pretty quickly, and the higher the level, the greater your risk of complications, according to a 2015 review in the Diabetes & Metabolism Journal. The higher the blood sugar levels reach, the more likelihood for damage to vessels and other parts of the body.
And problems can develop when the numbers stay high for just a few days, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. The specialty medical center advises making changes to your treatment plan if blood glucose levels stay over 180 mg/dl for three days in a row.
Additional reporting by Andrea Peirce
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What Cause Blood Sugar Spikes And Are They Bad
Individuals who are pre-diabetic or have diabetes should constantly be checking their blood glucose. They either dont produce enough insulin or they deal with insulin resistance. That is when your body doesn’t respond well to insulin, which prevents sugar from entering the cells to be used as fuel. This causes your blood sugar to remain high, also referred to as hyperglycemia.
When you deal with hyperglycemia, over time it can start to damage your blood vessels which then increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, and even nerve problems. So what about people that dont have diabetes or arent pre-diabetic? Are blood sugar spikes bad? The fast answer is yes.
High postprandial blood sugar can create oxidative stress, which increases inflammation, damages those blood vessels, and increases the cardiovascular risk even in those that arent diabetic. A 2018 study published in PLOS Biology suggested that people who tend to have normal blood sugar ranges could still have patterns of blood sugar levels that increase their risk of becoming pre-diabetic or diabetic down the road.
The cause? Cereal and milk contain a lot more sugar and a lot less fiber .