No, the title is not a typo… I actually meant to say LOW blood sugar. But I can understand why this could be confusing, usually sugary foods are talked about in terms of how they cause HIGH blood sugar.
When I was 14 years old and competing in alpine ski racing, my ski coaches would say “ no chocolate bars before your race! They’ll spike your sugar and then you’ll crash”. Back then I understood this as “chocolate bars are bad, don’t do it”, but I didn’t actually understand what he meant in terms of the spike and crash.
What I didn’t know then was that 25 years later, one of the biggest parts of my coaching with clients would be around this same message. This roller coaster of blood sugar is THE major cause of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and hormone imbalances. And, addressing it is also the most important first step to resolving these issues.
This is why it’s SO important for you to understand this, and why I’m sharing it with you today.
Here’s how sugary food cause LOW blood sugar
Step 1: Create a tsunami of sugar rushing through your blood (i.e. HYPERglycemia, or high blood sugar)
When you eat a candy bar, or chocolate croissant or even a fancy well packaged snack bar that’s low in protein and high in sugar, it all goes straight into your bloodstream. A handful of jelly beans can go from your stomach to your bloodstream in just a few minutes. That’s pretty fast.
The jelly bean literally floods your blood with sugar, creating a tsunami of high blood sugar moving through your body. That part makes sense, right?
The confusing bit (at least to me before I studied this stuff), is how exactly that big spike in blood sugar turns into LOW blood sugar (and the shakes and moodiness and fatigue that come along with it).
Step 2: Insulin to the rescue…BUT a bit overzealous
A giant wave of high blood sugar coursing through your system sets off your body's alarm bells. High blood sugar can damage tissues and your body’s quick thinking instinct is to get it out of the bloodstream and tucked away into cells (where it’s used for energy) as fast as possible.
The hormone that does this important job is INSULIN. In an ideal world, your body would send out EXACTLY enough insulin to get that wave of sugar tucked away safely and nothing more. Unfortunately that’s rarely the case, and 9 times out of 10 the body pushes the panic button and releases a MASSIVE amount of insulin.
Step 3: The “crash” (i.e. HYPOglycemia or low blood sugar)
If there's too much insulin sent out for the job, it starts moving the sugar you actually NEED out of your bloodstream. When this happens, you experience the awful symptoms of LOW blood sugar.
Symptoms of low blood sugar include:
Sudden mood changes
Trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
Do any of these sound familiar?? If so, you'll want to address it because…
a) Having low blood sugar just feels awful (you may also experience these symptoms is you skip a meal). NOT fun!
b) Low blood sugar is a sign of imbalanced blood sugar – this ongoing imbalance is the root cause of SO many health issues, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and most if not ALL hormonal imbalances.
3 Ways You Can Avoid Low Blood Sugar
1) Avoid Jelly beans (and other sugary foods that create the spike and crash cycle). This includes other easily broken down carbohydrates like baked goods, bread products, pasta, breakfast cereal and other natural sugars like honey and maple syrup.
2) Include protein in EVERY meal and snack. A protein-rich food like chickpeas or chicken can take up to 2 hours to make it's way gradually into your bloodstream. This slows down the pace of sugar getting into your blood stream and avoids the spike and crash cycle.
3) Add fiber to each meal – either 1 tbsp of chia seeds, ground flax or 1 tsp psyllium. Like protein, fiber slows down how quickly sugar gets into your bloodstream. Another supplement you could try is called glucomannan, which also helps you feel fuller much earlier. It's particularly helpful for diabetes and weight loss.
Take Action Now
Pick ONE of these to try out and start it TODAY. Good protein sources for meals and snacks include beans, nuts, seeds, organic meat and wild fish. Enjoy!
All the best,