Tag Archives: Glycemic Index. Keep your Blood Sugar Steady

Foods that Keep Your Blood Sugar Steady Throughout the Day

If you struggle with blood sugar spikes and dips, you should take a look at your diet and eat foods that will keep your blood sugar steady.

Food that are high in carbohydrates and have a Glycemic Index of 70+ will affect your blood sugar adversely, which is not good for anyone. However, if you eat foods throughout the day that have a low Glycemic Index, your blood sugar will remain steady.

In case you do not know, the Glycemic Index (GI) ranks foods by how much they raise blood sugar. Anyone who lives with Type 2 Diabetes, hypoglycemia, or have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes are probably aware of the Index, but everyone should be familiar with it.

A roller coaster ride of blood sugar levels rising and falling throughout the day can make you feel pretty bad. It is important to recognize the symptoms and do something about the problem.  Awareness is not enough. Prevention is critical in order to reduce the increased risks for some health problems that can result if the spikes and dips are not controlled.

Melissa Li-Ng, MD, endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio states, “Keeping blood sugar stable can help prevent the long-term consequences of fluctuations.” She goes on to explain that high blood sugar can cause a number of symptoms, including: frequent urination, thirst, fatigue, and blurred vision.

On the other hand, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can cause headaches, irritability, weakness or fatigue, dizziness, sweating, and lack of coordination.

Christy Parkin, MSN, RN, CDE, Health Management Resources, Inc. Diabetes Education and Consulting Services,  Indianapolis, Indiana states, “Blood glucose levels that fluctuate wildly up and down are more dangerous than high blood glucose alone…it leads to damage of the cells known as oxidative stress. This damage is a predictor of cardiovascular disease in diabetes.

Foods to Control Your Blood Sugar Levels

Fruits and Vegetables

There are some very tasty fruits with low GI numbers: apples, cherries, grapefruit, pears, plums, and strawberries. The same is true for some wonderful vegetables:  artichokes, asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, green beans, lettuce, mushrooms, and onions. All of these are low GI; plus they are low in calories, and packed with fiber, which keeps you feeling full longer. The result is that eating these foods will help stop the craving for snacks between meals.

Good Fats

Poached Salmon
Image by HLPhoto

The fats in your diet should be monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. They taste good and are good for you. You need them in your diet. In general, nuts, olive oils, avocado, and fish are sources of unsaturated fats. On the other hand, it is important to avoid saturated fats and trans fats.

Olive oil and peanut oil are unsaturated, contain no carbohydrates, and have a GI of zero.  This means they have no effect on blood sugar and can be used in food preparation without concern about impacting your blood sugar.

“Fatty” fish such as: trout, herring, tuna, mackerel, halibut and salmon are also good unsaturated fats – and good for you. These fish provide Omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering triglyceride levels in the blood stream.

Protein

Protein fills you up and keeps you feeling full longer.  Good sources of Low GI protein are: legumes, nuts, lean meat and fish. When you have plenty of protein in your diet, you are less likely to want snacks.

Try mixing nut butters with fruits or vegetables like apples and celery for a high protein, but low GI snack. Vacuum-packed tuna or low-fat cheese on 100% whole-wheat crackers are also good. And, one of my favourite snacks is crisp celery or carrot sticks dipped in hummus.

Whole Grain

Quinoa and Broccoli
Quinoa and Broccoli

Avoid all refined flour (white, enriched in particular). Stick with minimally-processed whole grain products. They have a low GI value and add rich flavors to breads and pasta.  Replace your white rice with quinoa (reasonably priced, filled with protein, and tasty) or wild rice (delicious, but expensive). Other whole grains you may also want to try are: spelt, rye and barley.

In Conclusion

If you are a diabetic, or have trouble controlling your blood sugar, eating the aforementioned foods will help you keep it steady. A steady blood sugar level means less cravings, which not only reduce the number of calories you would normally consume, helps you stay away from high GI foods.

Photo Credit: (Quinoa and Broccoli Wednesday’s Dinner via photopin (license)