Does this sound like you?
It’s about 2:30 on a Wednesday afternoon. The end of the day is in sight, you just have to make it through one more meeting, but uh oh… you’re crashing and burning. Then you yawn and you know it’s going to be a long, long meeting.
You’ve probably been through this before or something similar.
It can be caused by a spike in blood sugar from your lunch, or a severe drop in blood sugar known as reactive hypoglycemia.
If you continue to have these spikes and crashes, over time you increase inflammation and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and renal issues.
Here’s how you can take charge of your blood sugar and keep your levels more consistent throughout the day.09
Not consuming enough calories is a big problem for those that are following a Paleo diet.
Do you know how many calories are in a handful of leafy greens? Not many!
In order to keep blood sugar levels steady and giving your body a consistent source of energy throughout the day, you’ll need to make sure that you’re consuming an adequate number of calories.
For most people about 15 calories per pound of body weight is adequate, and if you drop much below this (say 8-10 calories per pound), your body is going to have a very hard time maintaining a steady blood sugar as it down regulates insulin to ensure the body has glucose to fuel bodily functions.
This also applies to proteins and carbohydrates.
Unless you have preexisting kidney disease, you should be aiming to get 15-20% of your calories from protein. That’s about 70-90 grams of protein for an average woman on an 1,800 calorie diet or 90-120 grams of protein for an average man on a 2,500 calorie diet.
For most individuals, a moderate carbohydrate diet is going to be their best option. This means about 30% of your calories are going to be coming from carbohydrates. That’s about 135 grams of carbohydrates for our average woman in the previous example and about 185 grams of carbohydrates for the average man.
This is NOT the case for those that are severely overweight or have been diagnosed with diabetes, who may benefit from a much lower carbohydrate approach.
But remember, the quality of those carbohydrates count immensely…
Eat the Right Kind of Carbohydrates
In getting all those carbohydrates, it’s important to make sure that you’re getting the right kind of carbohydrates.
I’m going to make this part super simple: if it comes in a bag or box, don’t eat it! J
It’s honestly that simple.
If you’re deriving your carbohydrates from plant-based sources like potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruit, and root vegetables, they will have a very minimal impact on your blood sugar when compared to process and refined carbohydates.
This one gets a lot of people.
You’re busy. You have kids. You have a job. You have a life. Sometimes you forget to eat.
But here’s the thing, when you fast for long periods of time, your blood sugar drops and you’re hanging out at that 80 mg/dl mark. Then you decide to eat and you’re hungry so it’s a big whopping meal with 100 grams of carbohydrates all at one time. Your blood sugar is going to go way up, then if insulin is doing its job, it’ll come back down over the next couple of hours.
What if you could avoid that roller coaster all together?
Eating every 2-3 hours can reduce this blood sugar roller coaster.
Now, it doesn’t have to be huge meals every time. Some people prefer 3 normal meals plus snacks in between and others yet prefer 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day. This is a highly personalized decision and either is fine.
The key is to ensure that each time you eat you have some source of protein and some source of fat. You may or may not need to include carbohydrates depending on your needs and activity level.
Lastly, we’ll take a look at supplementation.
There has been a lot of research into blood sugar control and supplementation but only a select few compounds have proven to be effective. It’s beyond the scope of this post to discuss them in detail but here’s a quick rundown.
- Chromium Picolinate
- Alpha-lipoic acid
- Magnesium (glycinate and malate forms)
- Gymnema Sylvestre
- Banaba Leaf Extract
There are a couple of combination products from Designs for Health, called Metabolic Synergy and GlucoSupreme. These have proven effective in patients dealing with blood sugar regulation issues.
These are some general recommendations and of course each person is unique, so it’s important to try these things out, but if you’re still having trouble, it’s a good idea to consult with someone that knows how to handle blood sugar regulation.
Leave me a comment below and tell me what’s your biggest struggle with your health?