Today we are touching on a topic that is super important to me personally. But allow this blog post to convince you that you will also deem it important to your life 😉. We are talking about why blood sugar balance is important. There is so much nuance to this topic and so many amazing benefits to balancing your blood sugar levels. Let’s dive in…
What Is Blood Sugar and Blood Sugar Balance?
Let us start off with the basics. What do I mean when I say “Blood Sugar” and “Blood Sugar Balance”. Your body breaks down food after eating. Glucose is a type of sugar that you can get from food and drink and is very easily broken down. The more “simple” a carbohydrate, the easier it is broken down by your stomach and digestive tract. Simple, in this sense, means either a carbohydrate is pure (1) sugar or (2) refined (think white pasta/bread/starch/, basically something where you have stripped the fiber out of the used product). Blood sugar refers to how much sugar is in your blood stream at any given time. When you eat a lot of sugary or refined foods your blood sugar levels are going to spike really quickly because the food is broken down so easily and then can travel through your digestive walls into your bloodstream.
Big and Sudden Spikes in Our Blood Sugar are Havoc For Our Bodies…
What happens if we have a lot of blood sugar circling around our bloodstream? Our pancreas produces a hormone called “insulin” in order to get the glucose into our cells and can use it for energy in order to restore our blood sugar levels back to a “normal”. However, unfortunately, big and sudden spikes in blood sugar, also lead to significant falls. Then, on the other hand, a little hormone called glucagon is released, which will tell the liver to release stored sugars in order to work again on making your blood sugars stable. Continuous rise and falls in blood sugar levels have significant impact on our bodies, because it means both the pancreas and liver need to do so much work. It can also mean that your hormones become resistant and cannot “push” glucose into your cells any longer (or at a lot slower rate than previously).
In the context of “Blood Sugar Balance,” I am talking about avoiding these huge spikes in order to support our bodies better. Please do not think that this is “only” for people with diabetes or pre-diabetic conditions. About 90% of people who are not diabetic experience these intense blood sugar spikes EVERY SINGLE DAY. Blood sugar balance has so many significant benefits. We will dive deeper into this topic next.
Normal Ranges of Blood Sugar Levels
A quick side note on the numbers if would ever want to explore this topic more deeply with a physician in the future. I will quickly lay this out below for you. Your blood sugar levels should be less than 100mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). after not eating for at least 8 hours. They should be less than 140 mg/dL roughly two hours after eating. Before having a meal, your blood sugar levels tend to be at their lowest with around 70 – 80 mg/dL. Please note that these figures present a range and can vary from person to person.
Why Blood Sugar Balance Is Important
So, why is blood sugar balance important for us as human beings? We have established that it can cause a lot of stress on our bodies. But there is so much more damage that these huge spikes (and, of course, too much sugar in general) can cause. Your body may likely experience any or a lot of the following:
- A lot of inflammation (from the stress and havoc on the body)
- Fatigue (because you are crashing so quickly)
- Hormonal issues
- Difficulty losing weight
- Chronic illness
- Joint stiffness or pain
- Premature aging
- And from a mental health perspective – both depression and anxiety
There is also one more aspect I want to talk about.
Cravings can make you want things – en mass – and a lot more than you would usually want foods if you were not experiencing them. Unfortunately, are a direct result of this blood sugar rollercoaster. A study conducted at the University of Yale (if you would like to read the original paper – click here) measured people’s blood sugar levels in association with cravings. The participants were given pictures of various foods – from broccoli to a burger – and they were meant to rate them on a scale of appeal. Where participants had steady blood sugar levels, most of the foods were rated equally. Where participants experienced even a slight drop in blood sugar levels, they rated the high-calorie foods as much more attractive.
Even though this study was only conducted with a small number of participants, I think the results are pretty tangible. For one, cravings are not a lack of willpower and you not having the right “set of mind”. Your body is reacting to a blood sugar roller coaster and this is – for lack of a better term – an imbalance of your hormones. Once you balance your blood sugar levels – you will experience great levels of food freedom. It is your choice when you eat what in terms of a meal and you are not being dictated by your body any longer. I will emphasize again, this is also one of the big reasons, why you should not go hungry to the supermarket 😉.
And that is it for this week. Next week, we will dive into the “How” behind the “Why”. How can you manage your blood sugar levels with simple, yet effective, tricks and tips. Beautiful cover photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash.