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Balancing blood sugar
Keep balancing blood sugar is probably the most important factor in maintaining steady energy levels and weight. The level of glucose in your blood largely determines your appetite. When the level of glucose drops, you feel hungry.
The glucose in your bloodstream is available for your cells to produce energy. When the levels are too high, the body converts the excess to glycogen or fat, our long-term energy reserves.
If our blood sugar levels are too low, we experience a host of symptoms including fatigue, poor
concentration, irritability, depression, headaches and digestive problems. So how do we keep our blood sugars balanced?
Four tips to keep blood sugar levels balanced
1. Eat something small every three hours:
A great breakdown is to have your three main meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, with two or three snacks in between.
Keeping your energy and balancing blood sugar levels stable and can allow you to train harder without getting food cravings associated with blood sugar drops, which can come from missing meals and snacks.
This can give you a significantly better quality of life by increasing your overall energy levels, as a result helping you lose body fat and/or building lean muscle in the process.
2. Avoid processed food and eat more vegetables:
processed food actually has two major negative effects on your body. Firstly, ingredients and nutrients from the original source are removed to produce most processed foods and replaced with sugar for preservation.
Blood sugars dramatically rise with consumption of these types of food.
Secondly, the ‘energy surge/drop feedback loop’ (loads of energy followed by a crash) that refined sugar creates, can have a highly negative effect on your blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels are out of balance, your entire body will be less efficient at converting carbohydrate for energy.
Some can get a mild to severe form of insulin resistance leading to a lack of nutrient uptake for healthy nerve and muscle cells, which can have a detrimental impact on any fat loss and/or muscle building goals.
Vegetables, on top of being very low in calories, are also packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre. I would recommend adding some vegetables or salad to your main meals or eat them as snacks throughout the day.
3. Eat more fat:
As discussed at length in the fat section above, having a higher level of fat particularly healthy fat like omega 3 from oily fish can do a tremendous job at balancing blood sugar levels.
The truth is, if you only eat a diet with good, hormone-boosting fats, nutrient-dense vegetables and quality-protein sources, because fat is satiating and slow releasing, it is unlikely that you would ever have a blood sugar issue.
For the majority of people, including myself, this isn’t feasible and the key, therefore, is to choose the correct sources of carbohydrate, timing them right and making them work for you.
4. Eat slow-releasing carbohydrates at insulin-sensitive times:
There are two times in the day (morning and post workout) when you will be particularly insulin sensitive because your body will be more likely to use carbohydrates efficiently and not store them as fat.
This varies according to your metabolism but in general, your body will absorb and uptake carbohydrates more efficiently first thing in the morning, after a fasted sleep and post workout, after you have trained.
If you have ever thought to yourself, ‘Carbs will make me fat’ I will try to crush that myth now. It is true that excess carbohydrates, especially refined sugars and processed carbohydrates, can get transported by the liver and get converted to body fat.
However, if you follow a good training program, using short bursts of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for your cardio and are consuming calories in alignment with your goals, the consumption of goodquality carbohydrates is highly unlikely to increase your body fat.
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