Blood Sugar Level
With summer comes an abundance of fresh fruity cocktails and lots of ice cream. Unfortunately, these are the foods that can spell danger for your blood sugar level. The few minutes of pleasure that you derive from those cold, sugary treats can pave the way for decades of chronic illness.
Blood Sugar Level Basics
When you eat sugary treats, your blood sugar levels rise. Your blood sugar level is a measure of how much sugar or glucose is circulating in your bloodstream. Too much glucose in your blood is dangerous, so your body works hard to lower the levels. It does this by releasing insulin, a hormone which enables your cells to absorb the excess glucose.
The danger comes when you continue eating too much sugar, because your body responds by producing more and more insulin. Too much insulin trains your cells to become resistant to insulin, and this is called insulin resistance.
The net effect is that it then takes more and more insulin to make your cells remove the glucose from your blood. When this happens, your blood sugar levels stay elevated, your insulin levels stay elevated, and you develop pre-diabetes.
Don’t panic. This doesn’t mean that you can never indulge in a sugary treat again. What it means is that you need to be smart about the amount you eat and how you eat it. Following a structured but flexible diet can be done easily, without you feeling deprived of your favorite foods.
Are you familiar with the glycemic index? It is simply a way of categorizing foods according to their effects on the level of glucose in your blood. A food with a high glycemic index will cause more glucose to build up than will a food with a low glycemic index.
In order to control your blood sugar levels, it is helpful to eat lots of foods with a low glycemic index. And if you choose to eat foods with a high glycemic index, be sure to pair them with low glycemic foods in order to slow the effect on your blood sugar.
High glycemic foods include white flour, white sugar, white rice, and even white potatoes. Low glycemic foods are foods that have lots of fiber and protein such as beans, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Being aware of the glycemic index will help you eat in a way that reduces the stress on your body. If you are going to have an ice cream treat, make sure you eat it at the end of a meal that contains low glycemic foods. And, if possible, have it on a resistance training day – that will help a little too.
You can still have an occasional treat, but be sure it is occasional. Your body will thank you!