How Blood Sugar Levels and Stress Have an Impact-I Need Balance

imageThis past Monday, I worked out at 6:30am again, and I met with a dietician after work.  I completed a health questionnaire prior to my appointment.  It was confirmed that I lost 5 lbs. in the past month.  I have 33 percent body fat, which puts me at a moderate health risk. Anything over 35 percent is high risk.

As we talked, he determined that I eat pretty healthy lunches and dinners. Typically, we have a starch, a green vegetable, and a meat or fish.  I usually take leftovers for lunch the next day for work. Occasionally, I am invited to lunch with co-workers, or we have free lunch offered to us.  In those cases, I make healthy choices, like a salad.

imageAccording to my dietician, the  problem was my snack choices and breakfast. I was getting carbs, but not enough protein.  The rule is to look at the ratio of carbs to protein with fiber. When I was ingesting a higher ratio of carbs to protein, it was causing  an imbalance in which my blood sugar levels can rise and then drop. Either way, it promotes fat storage. Stress can increase cortisol levels, which coupled with low blood sugar levels, can also cause fat storage.  I learned this past week that your thoughts can cause stress; therefore, I make sure that my thoughts are not negative.

Normal blood sugar encourages fat use. For example, eating a bowl of oatmeal alone was leaving me short on protein. I needed to eat something else with it, like chicken or some nitrate- free breakfast meat.  Plain greek yogurt is high in protein. Since it doesn’t taste delicious by itself, I add fruit to it, which adds a nice balance.

As for snacking, I eat nuts, fruit and cheese, or hummus and raw veggies.  Sometimes, I just have a cup of green tea, and I’m satisfied. I’m sure as time goes on, I will get more creative. These were just suggestions, and they work for me.  I used to eat hummus often, but I just needed a change.

On my Friday session with the trainer, I struggled with a few of the exercises.  She set me up with a different personal trainer twice weekly for 30 minutes for the next month.  I will see how much progress I make and move forward from there.  It’ll be hard work, but well worth it.

I often hear people talk about being fat and overweight; however, they don’t make any changes with their diet or their lifestyle.  Looking back, I was a very skinny kid that wanted to be more curvy.  Now, I can still be curvy, but it’s about my health.

Alternatives to Refined Sugar

In order to get refined sugar, there is a process that removes the molasses from raw sugarcane. Raw sugar is brown, not white. Now, most of us probably have been consuming white sugar for years in the form of granulated sugar, sugar cubes, or powdered sugar. You may want to consider trying some healthier alternatives. Some reasons are:

  1. It increases blood sugar levels. Refer to my blog post entitled How to Avoid Diabetes. Blood sugar levels spike; dopamine increases and secreted insulin drops blood sugar levels. The cycle begins again when blood sugar levels drop, and the hunger and cravings start.
  2. It is addictive. Just as some people struggle with drug addiction, it’s the same with sugar. I have friends and acquaintances that put multiple packets of sugar in their cups of coffee and tea. We all know folks that drink soda after soda on a daily basis. They need the sugar “high”. Refer to my blog post on Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda-Regular and Diet.
  3. It depresses your immune system. Consuming too much sugar inhibits the immune system cells to attack bacteria. For example, diabetics, whose bodies produce little or no insulin, are prone to frequent yeast infections because the yeast is attracted to sugar.

Here are some healthier, natural alternatives.

  • Stevia-you can find this at any health food store, Trader Joe’s, or you can order it on Amazon
  • Honey-make sure it’s all natural and not the blend
  • Maple syrup-you can purchase from any grocery or gourmet food store
  • Molasses-this results from refining sugarcane or sugar beets
  • Agave nectar-this is extracted from the blue agave plant 

For some healthy additions:

  1. Try adding honey and fruit to plain oatmeal. Instant, flavored oatmeal has lots of sugar.
  2. Now that the weather is getting cooler, you can add stevia, honey, or agave nectar to a cup of hot tea. They all work well.
  3. For coffee, depending on how you like it, just add flavored creamer and not sugar. There are many non-dairy, gluten-free creamers on the market. This is how I like my coffee.

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