Let’s be honest. For the most of us, we like to eat something sweet from time to time. A long, tiring day makes us crave for that sweet treat – be it cookies and candies or even an extra serving (or two) of fruit. If you’ve been told to keep your eyes off of sugar because it’s bad for you, you’re not alone. But perhaps it’s time to change the subject. Inherently, sugar is not detrimental and you shouldn’t have to avoid it. Rather, the secret is to ask how we should be regulating our sugar intake.
What is Blood Glucose?
Before we dive into regulating sugar, let’s consider sugar in our blood. Blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, refers to the levels of sugar in your blood. Our bodies require fuel to operate and blood sugar is one of the top sources. The levels of sugar are constantly changing and represent a natural process.
While it’s not difficult for us to get sufficient sugar in our blood, what we have to be careful about is exceeding the intake recommendations. Because once we cross that line, it increases our chances of developing blood glucose related diseases such as diabetes.
Effects of Blood Glucose Changes on Your Body
Changes in blood glucose are completely natural. As you wake up, blood sugar levels are at the lowest point of the day. As you eat, sugar levels rise drastically and begin to gradually decrease sometime after the meal.
The problems occur when blood sugar falls or rises extremely due to health conditions such as diabetes.
Low blood glucose, also known as hypoglycemia, is typically triggered by medications for diabetes. Its symptoms include dizziness, sweating, weakness, and hunger. On severe occasions, unconsciousness or seizures may occur.
High blood glucose, also known as hyperglycemia, is often a sign of Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. The main symptoms of this condition include excessive thirst and need for urination, blurred vision, and headaches.
Maintaining Stable Blood Glucose Levels
Blood test vials [Source: IndianaPublicMedia]
Blood, like everything else in your body, requires proper care. If you’re dealing with diabetes, you can better manage your condition if you help your body maintain its glucose levels. If you do not have diabetes, then do it for the sake of prevention of any blood sugar related diseases. Are you ready to take things in your own hands?
General advice for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels
- Avoid excessive sugar intake.
- Maintain recommended body weight.
- Exercise regularly.
- Create a healthy diet, rich in essential nutrients and low in processed foods.
Tips for dealing with low blood glucose levels:
If you are experiencing low blood sugar, consume 15 – 30 grams of carbohydrates as soon as you can. Here are some suggestions on what you can eat to gain sufficient nutrients:
- 1 banana, apple, or orange;
- 2 tablespoons of raisins;
- Half a cup of orange, apple, pineapple, or similar juice.
Keep these foods or drinks near you, especially when you are indulging in physical activities that require higher energy output. Consume them at first sign of low blood sugar. You should also take note of your blood sugar while driving as it can become dangerous to drive when your blood sugar level drops. Note that foods rich in fats or proteins, such as chocolate, don’t act quickly enough despite high sugar content.
Tips for dealing with high blood glucose levels:
- Avoid alcohol as much as possible, as it is rich in sugar.
- Replace foods rich in carbs, such as potatoes, with foods rich in fibers and proteins.
- Choose fish or lean white meat over fatty or red meat.
- Consume whole-grain pasta, bread, and rice.
- Drink plenty of pure water.
Monitoring Glucose Levels
A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) for regulating blood [Source: Diabetes.co.uk]
It is suggested to test your blood for sugar from time to time to identify any changes. When a person is suffering from a blood sugar disorder, such as diabetes, glucose has to be monitored on a regular basis.
Can I do it on my own? Why, yes you can! In fact, the following are 2 ways you can do so:
- Consider purchasing a blood glucose meter if you don’t like visiting your doctor. This will allow you to take samples of your own blood and test it for sugar levels.
- Consider installing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) sensor under your skin if you are dealing with a disease related to blood sugar. Should your blood sugar levels fall out of the recommended range, you will be alerted automatically. Interestingly, there are healthy individuals who choose to use it too.
Besides that, the most common way of monitoring glucose levels are through blood sugar charts. But what are blood sugar charts and how they help? Well, firstly, it is important to understand that the ideal blood sugar values differs across individuals throughout the day. The difference in values are a result of side factors that should be considered. These factors include age, health conditions and diseases, stress, lifestyle habits, and the time since the last meal.
As such, while these charts act as guidelines for suggested blood sugar levels, it is important for you to understand what your ideal blood sugar value is. This would allow you to better interpret your own blood sugar charts accurately.
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