To lose weight, feel good, and stay healthy, it's important to keep your blood sugar stable.
Benefits of balanced blood sugar include:
Maintaining consistent energy throughout your day
Aiding in weight loss
Reducing or delaying the onset of diabetes
Preventing heart disease
Enhancing sleep quality
Understanding Blood Sugar Balance and Its Disruption
Properly functioning systems break down food into glucose. Insulin, produced by the pancreas, transfers glucose from blood to cells for energy.
What if things go awry? As time passes, your cells may not respond well to insulin, leading to high blood sugar. The pancreas has to work harder and make more insulin. This can lead to storing more fat and possibly causing type 2 diabetes. This condition is a common long-term health problem. If not controlled, it can cause many complications.
You can have blood sugar spikes after meals, even if you don't have diabetes. It depends on your diet. Consuming soda, sweets, and certain cereals can quickly increase glucose and insulin levels. These fluctuations affect your energy and mood. If your blood sugar and insulin levels stay high, you might get insulin resistance. This can lead to prediabetes and maybe even type 2 diabetes. Managing your weight is one way to control glucose and insulin levels.
To improve your weight loss and control blood sugar levels, follow these tips:
Tip #1 - Weight Loss and Blood Sugar Control
Excess weight increases your risk for type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions. Insulin has a tougher time controlling fat cells than muscle cells. This makes balancing blood sugar more difficult.
However, losing even a small amount of weight can be beneficial. Losing 5-7% of your weight can improve your blood sugar levels by helping your body respond to insulin.
The Diabetes Prevention Program studied overweight adults at risk of type 2 diabetes. People who lost 5-7% of their body weight and exercised more lowered their diabetes risk by 58%. The risk reduction was even higher (71%) for adults over 60 during the 3-year study.
Losing 10-15% of your weight can really help with health issues such as heart disease and fatty liver.
Tip #2 - Diet's Role in Blood Sugar Management
To keep your blood sugar levels steady, include vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains in your meals. This balance slows digestion and absorption while keeping you full.
Use the plate method for balanced meals:
Half the plate with non-starchy vegetables
¼ with lean protein
¼ with whole grains
The plate method works by focusing on vegetables with fiber, making you feel full with fewer calories. This helps with weight management.
Dietary Fiber and Blood Sugar
Achieving optimal blood sugar balance also involves meeting your daily fiber goals. Foods rich in fiber, like soluble fiber, can help improve blood sugar and insulin in type 2 diabetes. It slows down digestion, reducing post-meal glucose spikes.
Soluble fiber comes from foods like beans, oatmeal, brown rice, and flaxseeds. It can also be found in quinoa, popcorn, whole oats, whole barley, and wild rice.
Tip #3 - Hydration's Impact on Blood Sugar
Dehydration can cause blood sugar levels to rise. Drinking sufficient water helps maintain a proper glucose concentration in your blood. Drink at least half a gallon of water a day for an optimized hydration level.
Tip #4 - Exercise's Benefits for Blood Sugar
Physical activity reduces blood sugar by using glucose for muscle energy. Be sure to do both cardio and strength training each week. Try to aim for 30 minutes of exercise on 5 days each week. Incorporate activity after meals to balance blood sugar further.
Steady blood sugar levels are vital for feeling good and preventing chronic diseases. If you're worried about your blood sugar or risk for diabetes, speak with your doctor. Ask them about getting an HbA1C test.
If you are at risk of type 2 diabetes and other chronic issues, talking to a dietitian can help. A custom diet and lifestyle plan can be made for you, based on your preferences and health goals.
Balancing your blood sugar is a powerful step towards achieving weight loss and maintaining good health. Remember, it's not just about cutting back on certain foods; it's about creating a holistic lifestyle change that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, proper hydration, and mindfulness about your body's needs.
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