Blood sugars are the primary focus of diabetes management, and as health care practitioners, we take great care in knowing what our clients are eating, and doing that create the client's blood sugars. It isn't because we are sadistic, though some clients may think this, it is because we know the smallest changes can have some of the biggest positive impacts on our clients' health.
Let me put this into a bit more of a perspective. A person with diabetes is less able to remove the sugar from the blood as easily or efficiently than a person without diabetes. This is a given. We also know from the research there are many factors that both increase blood sugar levels, and many that also take the sugar out of the blood to help maintain safe levels. Blood sugar that is more in the safe range more often than not makes a big difference to the body's well being. So, lets quickly look at what puts sugars up, and what brings them back down again. Remember this is a simplistic view of a complex set of actions.
At any time of change, it is important to know what the impact the change is having, in this case on your blood sugar levels. So, burrow or purchase a blood glucose monitor and starting testing both before and 2 hours after eating food. Your health carer to guide through more tailored steps of change.
Sugar going up
All carbohydrates which include:
Stress either emotional, or physical stresses secretes adrenaline or cortisol, both of which increases blood supply into the blood. For some people it increases sugar cravings
Some Medications - speak with your doctor to clarify.
Tummy weight - fat accumulating around the tummy acts as a hormone producing mass, which increases insulin resistance, and acts as a glucose holding stimulant. The result increased storage of fat and the perpetual cycle of this.
Hormone imbalances - this can be many and varied depending on the hormone affected. For instance, thyroid, sex hormones, adrenals.
Gut Imbalance, nutrient deficiency and immune reactivity -
While this is a newer concept, it is quickly being noted how food, medication, stress, and our choices are influencing our microbiome. The microbiome is the environment and the types of bugs that are living in our gut, and on our body. These little critters communicate with our body systems, and in many ways dictate to us what we do and eat. Some cravings - sugar and alcohols may be attributed to the type of bugs in our gut.
The down side of these guys, the one's that are pathogenic is they can disrupt our immune, and nervous changing the way we think, feel, and our body's defence/protection. Depending on the pathogen, can also damage our gut wall which in turn can allow things into the body that shouldn't change our digestion and absorption ability and create 'leaks' from which some nutrients can be lost in increased mucous production, blood loss, and improper nutrient activation and processing.
Making the Sugar go down
This is the good bit, knowing you can alter your blood sugar levels being doing any or all of the following points.
Choose foods that give you nutrient rich carbohydrates, and not empty. These include fruit, whole grains, unprocessed foods that are also low GI. Limit adding sugar to foods, and include lots of free vegetables, healthy fats and proteins. The actual amounts of the various types of foods depends on your age, activity levels and gender.
Rule of thumb - least processed the better. Real food is super important, it feeds the body the building blocks so the body can do what it needs to do. The fibre feeds the good bacteria, and the best bit, all these things combined, reduce inflammation, one of the driving factors of diabetes.
Movement, can be for most people the easiest thing to do. By movement, it can be walking, gym, stretching, gardening, playing with the kids/grandkids, sport, yoga, pilates anything that makes the muscles work, and increases blood movement around the body, even housework. Muscles use the sugar, and takes it out of the blood which means there is less sugar in the blood.
Aim for 10 000 steps or 30 minutes of heart raising activity, 3 times a week.
Movement has a few other benefits - reduces stress, increases oxygen to your brain, and all cells for that matter. Helps detox your body, because blood moves through the kidneys, liver and lungs faster increasing the rate of action.
Get a handle on your stress. As mentioned, stress increases blood sugar, by knowing your triggers, and learning how to manage them more effectively makes a big difference.
Ask for a medication review to ensure the medication list isn't cross reacting, and all the medications are still needed. Is there another way to address some of your symptoms - stress management, exercise and eating, that you are committed to doing. With time, some medication may be reduced, if you and your body is responding well to changes.
Medications can also increase appetite, change mental states along with increasing fat storage. It is again, worth checking your medication list, along with eating to see if there can be a natural improvement for your body's sake.
See your dietitian who has an interest in gut health and its impact on the body. Request a diet review, to maximise your eating pattern, nutrient richness for building blocks and most importantly protection against changes in body changes that have an adverse effect on many facets of your well-being.