I’m sure we’ve all felt the impact our blood glucose levels can have on our energy, appetite, and mood. When our blood glucose levels are imbalanced, you may notice an increase in sweet cravings, hormonal imbalances, fatigue and that feeling of the “afternoon slump” where you crave a pick-me-up. Implementing the simple steps below can help to stabilise blood glucose levels, which can support steady and consistent energy levels, improve mood, reduce cravings (especially for those sweet and starchy foods!), rebalance hormones and reduces overall inflammation.
Increase Protein Consumption
Consuming sufficient amounts of protein helps to stabilise blood sugar levels as it helps to slow down the break down of glucose, resulting in more sustained energy levels, as opposed to dramatic energy fluctuations. You may be wondering how much protein you need to consume. Protein requirements vary immensely depending on your age, gender, weight, fitness level, life stages (i.e. children, adolescence, pregnancy, elderly) and health. As a general rule, the recommended daily protein intake for women between 19 to 70 years old is 46g per day, whereas men between 19 to 70 years old should aim for approximately 64g per day. It is preferable to spread your protein intake out evenly throughout the day, which will consistently support steady blood glucose levels.
Consuming your Food Groups in the Right Order
Research suggests that consuming your food groups in a particular order helps to reduce glucose spikes by restricting how much glucose gets absorbed from the starches and sugars. First, consume non-starchy vegetables (e.g. asparagus, beans, brussel sprouts, broccoli, carrots, eggplant, mushrooms, and tomatos). Secondly, consume proteins and healthy fats. Next, consume starchy carbohydrates (e.g. potatoes, sweet potato, parsnips, corn, etc.). Lastly, any sweets, including fruit.
Research reveals that engaging in some form of physical activity after eating has positive effects on blood sugar. As glucose levels reach their peak within 90 minutes of a meal, it’s recommended to move your body within 30 minutes of eating a meal as exercising reduces blood glucose concentrations. Once you’ve eaten your meal, rather than sitting on your phone or computer for the rest of your lunch break, move your body for 10 minutes - whether it's walking the stairs, tidying up your desk, doing the dishes, or a gentle stroll around the block.
Glucose (found in starches and sugars) is the body’s main source of energy, however consuming too much glucose (e.g. a sweet breakfast like a chocolate croissant) can lead to the glucose being stored as glycogen or fat, rather than being used for fuel. As a result, this spikes insulin and glucose levels and consequently leaves us feeling tired, hungry and increases our cravings. The best way to combat the rollercoaster of glucose spikes is to start your day with a savoury breakfast consisting of a good quality protein source, fibre, healthy fats and optional starch or fruit on the side.
Breakfast Ideas to Maintain Steady Glucose Levels
- Zucchini, spinach and feta omelette topped with fresh herbs (e.g. parsley, coriander, and/or chives) and avocado
- Chilli tofu scramble with avocado, wilted spinach, mushrooms and fresh herbs
- Unsweetened natural greek yogurt with berries (e.g. strawberries, raspberries and/or blueberries), almond butter, handful of walnuts, coconut chips and cacao nibs
- Coconut milk chia pudding topped with strawberries, blueberries, dollop of coconut yoghurt and nut butter
- Dark rye sourdough toast with scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, kimchi, tomatoes, and pumpkin seeds
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Russell, W. R., et al. (2016). Impact of Diet Composition on Blood Glucose Regulation. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 56(4), 541–590. https://doi.org/10.1080/
Glucose Revolution: The life-changing power of balancing your blood sugar. By Jessie Inchauspe