Blood Sugar Balancing – What It Is, Why It’s Important and How To Do It

Balancing your blood sugar levels is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to manage your appetite, energy and cravings throughout the day. However, before we get into how to balance your blood sugar levels let’s start with, what is blood sugar?

Essentially it’s what it says on the tin. Blood sugar is the amount of sugar which is in your blood at any given time and is measured in mmol/L. A healthy fasted range is between 4-5.4mmol/L and a non-fasted range of up to 7.8mmol/L (2 hours post feed). Blood sugar balancing is particularly important for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, managing your appetite, cravings and sustaining energy throughout the day. When blood sugar levels increase insulin is released to transport the sugar from the blood into the cells. Once the sugar has been removed from the blood, your blood sugar levels fall. When blood sugar levels fall significantly you’re more likely to overeat, experience tiredness, fatigue, shakiness, irritability and lethargy and as a result you’re likely to crave more sugar in order to boost your energy levels and spike your blood glucose.

The role of insulin is to remove sugar from the blood and direct it towards the cells, however, when it’s the change in the peak to the trough which can elicit the effects mentioned above. Therefore, our aim should be to focus on maintaining our blood sugar within a narrow range in order to prevent spikes and consequent crashes.  When we consume food high in sugar, the sugars are released into our blood stream quickly which causes blood sugar levels to rise quite rapidly, providing us with a fast release of energy. Although, as quickly as blood sugar goes up, it comes back down. If you’ve ever experienced a sugar high and sugar crash then you’ll recognise what we’re talking about here. This cycle of blood sugar spikes and crashes is often referred to as the blood sugar rollercoaster.

The art of managing the blood sugar rollercoaster is indeed balancing your blood sugar… 

Top Tips For Balancing Blood Sugar

  1. Opt for protein and fibre rich meals and snacks.
    Protein and fibre helps to slow down the release of sugars into the blood which in turn helps to manage or prevent the spikes and crashes. For example, try adding peanut butter to fruit, combine nuts with dried fruit and opt for hummus or cream cheese with crackers
  2. Snack regularly and avoid skipping meals.
    Going prolonged periods of time without eating can cause blood sugar levels to fall too low. When this happens, you may notice that you’re feeling ravenous by the time your next meals comes around and consequently you’re more likely to overeat.
  3. Stay hydrated.
    We mentioned many times before here on The Transformation Chef’s blog how important it is to stay hydrated! However, staying hydrated can help to prevent you feeling tired and opting for a higher sugar snack in order to boost energy levels.
  4. Add veggies and beans to your meals as a source of protein and fibre.
    As mentioned above protein and fibre are the key components to balancing your blood sugar levels. Where possible load up on vegetables to increase your fibre intakes which is also important for supporting a healthy gut.
  5. Where possible switch white grains to wholegrains and get creative with protein rich grains such as buckwheat, brown rice, buckwheat and amaranth.
    These grains are higher in fibre and therefore will have a reduced impact on your blood sugar levels.
Do remember that whilst managing your blood sugar on a day to day basis can help you manage your appetite, energy and mood this isn’t to suggest you should never enjoy a slice of cake or a bar of chocolate! The sweet things in life definitely have their place, just maybe not on a daily basis!