Most roller coasters are fun. Your stomach churning in anticipation of the unknown. The gigantic ups and downs. The pounding in your head. Most roller coaster rides last 2 or 3 minutes. Imagine riding a roller coaster all day long. While it’s fun for a few minutes at an amusement park, when it comes to every day living, riding the blood sugar roller coaster day in and day out is exhausting. It depletes us of our energy, good moods and is not the way to live. You may be familiar with it. Maybe you’re riding it today. Mood swings. Intense sugar cravings. Difficulty focusing. Low energy levels. Sound familiar? Let’s dive in.
The blood sugar roller coaster. I’m referring to the vicious cycle of spikes and drops in blood sugar levels that happens when following the Standard American Diet (SAD), an eating regimen consisting of high intake of carbohydrates with minimal healthy fats, and sporadic protein. Feeling great, having consistent energy levels, ability to focus, maintaining stable moods, feeling no cravings and even having a handle on weight maintenance and loss comes down to blood sugar regulation.
What fuels the roller coaster? Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients (fat and protein are the other two). All carbohydrates are metabolized as sugar once they reach the blood stream, which is why they cause that spike in our blood sugar levels that the other two macronutrients, protein and fat, don’t. The problem with eating any carbohydrate alone is that because all carbohydrates turn to sugar once they reach the blood stream, they spike your blood sugar levels which then drop shortly after. The more carbs we eat and in short intervals of time, gives our blood sugar rollercoaster the greatest highs and lows. When we eat carbs, we do not receive a message to stop eating until our stomachs are physically stretched and full. When we eat fats, they help slow the digestion of carbs in addition to sending our brain a hormonal message (cholecystokinin) telling you to stop eating. That’s why when you eat a banana by itself it doesn’t fill you up, and an hour or so later, you may even be hungrier than you were before you ate it.
5 steps to stable blood sugar levels (keeping you OFF the blood sugar roller coaster!)
1. Follow The Three-Three Rule. Eat a combination of the three macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates or PFC!) every three hours (four hours MAX!) to keep your blood sugar levels balanced.
2. Try to never eat carbs alone. If you’re in a pinch and cannot find all three PFC, opt for two out of three. Try to find a protein or fat source to go with your carbs to soften the effect carbs have on your blood sugar levels.
3. Consume less sugar and processed foods. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth saying because these are the carbs that spike blood sugars MOST. Choose carbs that give you the biggest bang for your buck, like berries, spinach, sweet potatoes and kale.
4. Have a bedtime snack! Having a bedtime snack consisting of healthy fat and carbohydrates is what you need to keep your blood sugar levels balanced all night long (since they begin to drop shortly after dinner). Note: this is the only time I do not recommend protein, since protein can interfere with sleep and sleep is important too!
5. You may benefit from MetaGlycemX. MetaGlycemX helps promote stable blood sugar levels and healthy glucose metabolism. If you are someone who is super sugar sensitive, has had issues with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) or has been diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes, I highly recommend supplementing your real food eating regimen with this key supplement.
For help coming up with PFC meals and snacks that will fit in with your food preferences, schedule and lifestyle, set up an appointment with an HSL coach who can come up with a customized plan just for you. We help people balance their blood sugar levels every day!