The more I learn about the body, the more I’m reminded that no matter what health concern someone is experiencing – low energy, cravings, emotional issues – the first thing to address is blood sugar imbalances. Do you ever feel shaky between meals? Reach for your 2nd cup of coffee after lunch? Feel like you want to take a nap after you eat? You are probably experiencing fluctuations in your blood sugar.
Blood sugar is the amount of glucose present in the blood at any given time. Glucose is the primary source of energy in our bodies; it allows us to make ATP, and if we don’t have that, we just don’t function well. It affects every process and every system in the body.
When blood sugar isn’t kept stable, it can hinder fat loss, negatively impact your hormones, create inflammation, and wreak a whole lot of additional havoc on your body!
One of the issues I’ve personally experienced is chronically low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. When you fluctuate between high and low, it’s considered reactive hypoglycemia which occurs a few hours after a meal. Have you ever eaten a high sugar dessert or a bag of crackers by itself? First you feel great and then you probably get shaky and maybe lightheaded – your blood glucose goes way up and then way down – not a good feeling! This then causes a surge in insulin. Some symptoms of low blood sugar include:
- crave sweets
- get irritable, agitated, upset, nervous, shaky, jittery, lightheaded, fatigued before meals
- depend on coffee to get going in the morning or to keep going in the afternoon
- after eating, fatigue is relieved
- experience difficulty staying asleep
Conversely, when blood sugar is high, it can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin rises in response to a rise in glucose. When this becomes a chronic issue, eventually the insulin receptors become desensitized. This can then lead to higher glucose levels in the blood so it’s a vicious cycle! These are some of the symptoms of high blood sugar:
- experience fatigue after meals
- crave sweets during the day and after meals
- have trouble losing weight
- experience difficulty going to sleep
In addition to the symptoms listed above, a well-interpreted blood chemistry panel including markers such as glucose and lipids can be very useful.
If your blood sugar is out of whack, the big question is WHY? Perhaps the following list might give you some clues. Try these tips to help stabilize blood sugar:
- Eat breakfast
- Include high-quality protein with breakfast
- Eat about every 3 hours if you tend to have low blood sugar
- Eat low-glycemic foods
- Avoid eating carbs by themselves - like bagels, fruit juice, crackers - include protein and fat to minimize the blood sugar spike
- Avoid adrenal stimulants like coffee, alcohol, and concentrated sugars
- Get an adequate amount of sleep
- Eat a diet consisting mainly of vegetables, high quality protein, and healthy fats - in other words, stay away from processed, boxed foods!
- Manage stress
When you balance your blood sugar, you should feel increased overall energy and function. If you currently experience any of the symptoms I listed above, try to implement some of the tips and let me know how it goes! When you need additional guidance, contact me to schedule a consultation.