Are you riding the blood sugar roller coaster?
12th August, 2021
Do you often give in to cravings for a mid-morning sugar hit, or find yourself snacking on sweets throughout the day? There might be more behind why you struggle with food cravings than just lack of willpower.
Sugary, carbohydrate-rich foods are high in energy, so that intense craving you feel mid-morning for a piece of chocolate cake or a cookie, is your body looking for a quick energy fix.
Every cell in your body, especially your brain, needs a constant supply of energy. The source of this energy is your blood sugar, which circulates around your body in the form of glucose.
Sugary, starchy foods can be converted into glucose quickly, so they cause your blood sugar to quickly rise. Your pancreas responds by releasing insulin which sends the glucose into the cells of your body for energy, or to your liver for later release. However, there’s a tendency, even in healthy people, for slightly too much insulin to be released by the pancreas. This can cause blood sugar levels to drop down quickly, leaving you feeling jittery, irritable, and low in energy again.
Cue another sugar craving... and you’re riding the blood sugar roller coaster. Riding a roller coaster all day, every day, is exhausting...and to make it worse, sugary snacks like cake or chocolate are often high in fat too, so after a while the calories really start to add up.
The benefits of a stable blood sugar level
A concentration of 60 to 100 mg/dL of glucose in blood plasma is generally recognised as a normal range for blood sugar level in healthy people. A stable blood sugar level means not having spikes or huge drops above and below that range. The amount of carbohydrate in your diet has the greatest effect on blood sugar levels. By eating regular meals and spreading your intake of carbohydrates out evenly throughout the day, you can maintain your energy levels and avoid large spikes or drops in blood sugar.
Exercise also helps regulate your glucose levels. Exercise needs energy so it uses up glucose which helps your body better manage the level of glucose in your bloodstream. Keeping your blood sugar stable and within the normal range as much as possible lowers your risk factor for health complications such as type 2 diabetes. It may also help you maintain a healthy weight by minimising the drops in blood sugar that can lead to cravings for unhealthy, high calorie foods.