Blood Sugar Regulation: Could it be the missing link to your weight-loss?
Number one question I get? How do I lose weight? Despite my best efforts to help people understand that health is not all about weight loss, it’s still the topic we are most focused on. I get it. Weight is important to so many of us. So, let’s address the topic!
Want to lose weight? Then you HAVE to have your blood sugar under control! It is absolutely, 100% necessary if you want to lose weight.
Blood sugar dysregulation is wreaking havoc on the health of our country, heck the health of the world. Do we have an obesity epidemic on our hands? YES. Because we have a blood sugar regulation problem like never before!
Why? Because we have an abundance problem. An abundance of food. An abundance of processed carbohydrates. An abundance of refined sugars. An abundance of sedentary lifestyles. We don’t have enough fresh fruits and vegetables, movement, and periods of not eating!
Normal Blood Sugar Levels:
Fasting: <100 mg/dL
2 hours after meal: <140 mg/dL
For most people, non-diabetic, blood sugar should hover between 60-90 mg/dL.
Why does blood sugar matter?
Blood sugar matters because we want to remain insulin sensitive. Being insulin sensitive means that after eating a meal, glucose (sugar) goes from the blood stream and into our cells with the assistance of insulin (the hormone that is released to help balance blood sugar.) A big issue that we are seeing today is more and more people being insulin resistant. This is when cells are no longer sensitive to allowing glucose in, and become resistant. Therefore, glucose then remains in the blood stream instead of going into the cells to be used as energy. The body will try to release more insulin to help move the glucose into the cells; however, the glucose that is left in the blood stream will then be converted to fat. The thing people do not want more of when trying to lose weight.
Excess glucose (sugar) gets converted and stored as fat when the body is not able to utilize it. When we eat, glucose either gets used right away, brought into the cells to be used as energy, or converted to fat for use later. All of these mechanisms are necessary. When humans used to not eat for days at a time, having a reserve of fat was critical to survival because the fat could be broken down into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis.
Today, however, people rarely go days without eating unless they are intentionally fasting (a topic to be covered soon!) Therefore, when excess glucose continues to be eaten and not utilized, more and more fat builds up and weight-loss seems near impossible. This is why blood sugar regulation is so important.
There are two major factors to consider with blood sugar in relation to weight-loss or just weight management.
- Eating the right amount of the right foods, in the right mixture to keep blood sugar levels stable.
- Allow enough time between meals that the body is able to access some of the glucose stored as fat.
Eating the right amount of the right foods, in the right mixture to keep blood sugar levels stable.
Food combinations are important for balancing blood sugar. Looking for an insulin spike? Simply have simple carbohydrates without anything else and that blood sugar will skyrocket! The good ole breakfast of oatmeal with brown sugar and berries is really glucose on top of glucose on top of glucose. So unfortunately, what many think to be a pretty good breakfast is actually a huge blood sugar spike first thing in the morning.
A better option? Oatmeal with almonds, berries, and for an extra protein boost, a scoop of protein powder or a few scrambled egg whites (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!) Why is this a better option? The protein and fat will help to contain the blood sugar spike.
Food Combinations for blood sugar regulation:
Carbohydrates + Protein
Carbohydrates + Fat
Carbohydrates + Protein + Fat
Protein + Fat
*Protein alone or fat alone will also not spike blood sugar*
Once food combinations are understood, the next level to help regulate blood sugar is finding out how much of each macronutrient your body needs. We all need carbohydrates, protein, and fat. However, some people need more protein while other need more carbohydrates and others may need more fat. Deciphering your personal needs is crucial to unlocking and maintain blood sugar control and releasing any unnecessary weight.
Allow enough time between meals that the body is able to access some of the glucose stored as fat.
Our ancestors didn’t have access to food all the time like we do today. They would go periods without eating (I will get more into “fasting” soon.) Today we have access to food ALL the time. However, by eating all the time, the body rarely gets a chance to go into its energy stores (aka FAT) because it simply uses the energy (food) that keeps coming in first. Therefore, there need to periods of not eating in order for the body to 1. DIGEST and 2. Access these energy stores.
I recommend that most people allow 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. Then allow 4-6 hours between meals with 5 hours being the sweet spot. This allows the body to get the food it needs, digest that food, and then move on to burning fat stores before more food comes in. Not going over 6 hours also helps to ensure that blood sugar does not get too low, because remember we want to keep blood sugar steady – not going too low or too high.
This is just scratching the surface of a very complex but integral aspect of overall health and longevity. There are so many factors that impact blood sugar regulation. However, I want to give a basic understanding and overview before expanding on this topic even more.
If you know that your blood sugar is out of control (you have that tired but wired feeling, you crash in the afternoon, your mood is heavily effected by whether or not you have eaten, you are having a hard time losing weight) please schedule a call with me now! Let’s get that blood sugar balanced. So many other things start to fall into alignment when blood sugar is balanced!