NOTE: If you are at risk of having diabetes, hypoglycemia or other health conditions, consult your doctor for advise on developing a personal nutrition plan.
The Bible makes several references to “a land flowing with milk and honey”. We typically understand this to be an expression of God’s provision of abundance. But, the pairing of milk and honey, protein and carbohydrate, are in fact based on a sound nutritional concept. Have you ever had that uncomfortable shaky feeling when you’ve had too much refined sugar? It’s possible you were experiencing low blood sugar.
The regulation of blood sugar is an important, yet tricky concept to understand. Here are a few tips --- a crash-course to help you understand how your body creates and uses blood sugar.
Your body produces blood sugar from the protein, fats, and carbohydrates you consume from foods. Poor levels of blood sugars can wreak havoc on the body causing you to become lethargic and mentally confused while increasing appetite and shakiness. On the other hand, maintaining proper blood sugar levels will help your brain and body function properly. All carbohydrates, simple or complex in nature, get broken down by the body and turned into sugar. For more on simple and complex carbohydrates read A Diet To Energize Your Workout. Even healthy vegetables like broccoli, kale, spinach, asparagus, peppers, etc. get broken down into sugars to be absorbed by the body as fuel.
The body is always trying to maintain homeostasis (a certain level of blood sugar) and is only happy with a small window of variation in blood sugar. Any form of carbohydrates eaten without the addition of fat or protein to slow the absorption into the bloodstream, will cause the blood-sugar level to more quickly rise above your body’s natural comfort zone. Your body will then release the fat storage hormone insulin, to regulate the sugar level back down to normal as quickly as possible. Unfortunately it stores the excess sugar that can’t be used for fuel as fat. It is pretty amazing to understand this dynamic process that occurs to regulate our bodies. It is even more amazing to realize that it is just one of many processes God designed to make our complex human bodies function with extreme precision.
Some stored fat is good. It is your body’s energy reserves. Depending on a variety of things like the environment where you live and how much physical activity you do, you may need more or less body fat. Too much body fat contributes to poor health and greater risk of disease. So what foods will regulate our blood sugar to avoid this scenario of blood sugar being converted to fat in day-to-day living?
GET TO KNOW THE FOOD YOU EAT
First, always choose carbohydrates that break down in sugar gradually. Your best choices are organic aboveground vegetables, which are less starchy and sweet then the belowground vegetables. When
choosing grains, go for whole unprocessed options like brown rice, millet, quinoa etc. Even certain bread options can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels like flourless options made of sprouted grain, for example, Ezekiel breads. Regardless of weather you want to gain or lose weight, you need to eat the right kinds of foods to maintain a balanced blood sugar level.
Second, there is a little-known trick you can practice in your diet. Consume quality protein and fat along with the non-starchy vegetables and whole grain to help slow the sugar-rush into your body. This minimizes a blood sugar spike. When combining your foods in this fashion it is important to keep portions smaller as you are ingesting more calories. The more that your meal is starchy or sweet the more protein and fat you need to minimize the sugar spike. Lean poultry such as skinless white-meat chicken or turkey breasts are good quality proteins to consume while salmon, albacore tuna, lake trout, flounder, halibut, and mackerel also introduce necessary omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. These protein-rich foods, In addition to helping regulate blood sugar, can reduce inflammation in your body. They also have the nutrients capable of improving your cardiovascular health and brain function. According to the “Nutrition Almanac” by John Kirschmann, certain dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese provide ample amounts of protein, calcium, and vitamin D and can help raise low blood sugar levels slowly and enhance overall blood sugar management.
PAY ATTENTION AND GET TO KNOW YOUR BODY
To clue you in that you could be experiencing abnormal blood sugar levels, hypoglycemia, watch for symptoms including: confusion, abnormal behavior, visual disturbances (double vision and blurred vision), seizures, loss of consciousness, heart palpitations, shakiness, anxiety, sweating, hunger, or a tingling sensation in the mouth. All of the above are not specific to hypoglycemia as there may be other causes. Hyperglycemia is often found with those that have diabetes. It is experienced when blood glucose levels are above 200 mg/dL. Symptoms develop over several days or weeks and include frequent urination, increased thirst, blurred vision, fatigue, and headache. If you feel or see any symptoms it is wise to contact your doctor and have her or him test your blood sugar. Knowing these warning signs may help you to alert someone else to the potential of hypoglycemia.
Your blood sugar levels are directly affected by what you eat. God has given us many natural foods that, when eaten in balance, typically are effective in maintaining a good blood sugar level. God intends for us to have good physical fitness through proper nutrition and regular exercise. When your body isn’t in good physical fitness it may be more difficult to maintain good blood sugar levels. Be smart about your choices, combinations, and portion sizes of the food you consume. With guidance from a nutritionist and advice from your doctor along with thoughtful personal life management you can maintain well-balanced blood sugar levels. That will enhance your overall mood and energy levels.
is a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified personal trainer. He is also a Registered Dietitian with a Precision Nutrition certification. He is the founder and CEO of TRyM Fitness
, his personal training business in Dallas, Texas. With over a decade in the industry he loves what he does more and more each year. Tim is also a fitness model and has participated in various national fitness competitions as well as being featured in several exercise publications.