On average, Americans eat over 20 teaspoons of sugar per day; each teaspoon of sugar contains 16 calories, meaning we average over 300 calories per day from sugar alone. Sugar is sneaky – it is found not only in candy and sugary drinks, but in all carbohydrate-rich foods, such as bread and fruit, as well as starches like corn and potatoes. Carbohydrates are made up of units of sugar (saccharide). Those containing one unit of sugar are called monosaccharides, while those made up of two units of sugar are called disaccharides, and are considered “simple sugars.”
Blood Sugar, Insulin and Diabetes
Sugar, or carbohydrates, are broken down quickly and provide quick, immediate energy. When we eat, the sugars in our meal cause our blood sugar to spike and the body reacts to this by producing high levels of insulin. When this happens too often it can result in type-2 diabetes – a very dangerous disease. Over 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, with over 80 million in a state of pre-diabetes.
Here are 7 ways to prevent high spikes in blood sugar:
- Plan Meals – By planning lean and healthy meals filled with protein, we are less likely to eat high-glycemic (high-sugar) foods that cause blood spikes.
- Exercise – 30 minutes of exercise at least five days per week has been shown to aid in regulating blood sugar levels.
- Protein – Include lean protein in each meal and snack as it releases energy more slowly, reducing extreme highs and lows in blood sugar and giving us sustained energy.
- Avoid Sugar – Avoid foods high in sugar and artificial sweeteners as this drives blood sugar spikes!
- Eat Breakfast – Eating a breakfast that includes protein aids in regulating hormones throughout the body, including insulin’s functions. This helps regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day.
- Cinnamon – Taking 500 mg two times daily is believed to increase insulin action and has been shown to improve hemoglobin A1C levels in the blood.
- Glucocare® – This supplement contains several herbs that have traditionally been used to regulate blood sugar, including guggul for lipid regulating and immunomodulating properties, gymnema the “sugar destroyer,” bitter melon, and licorice which aid in regulating blood sugar levels.
An important part of eating a healthy diet is managing our sugar intake, thereby avoiding the damaging effects of blood sugar spikes. Exercise, protein-rich foods and several herbs and supplements all aid in managing our blood sugar, making it a little easier to manage our health while juggling our busy lives.