If you’re someone who finds your blood sugar levels shooting up and crashing low, especially after your meals, we needn’t elaborate on how annoying that can be. Within short time frames, these can cause lethargy and hunger, while over time, your body will no longer be able to bring your blood sugar to its optimum levels, leading to type 2 diabetes. Blood sugar spikes can even result in your blood vessels narrowing and hardening over time, and this can increase your risks of a heart attack or stroke.
It is therefore vital to keep your blood sugar levels at their normal level as much as possible in order to reduce future health complications. Here are some easy ways to stop those blood sugar spikes from upsetting your health.
1. Go Low On Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are largely responsible for causing a rise in blood sugar levels. When you eat carbohydrates, the body breaks them down into simple sugars which then enter the bloodstream. This rise in blood sugar signals the pancreas to release insulin, a hormone which induces sugar absorption by the surrounding cells so that the blood sugar levels can drop.
Eating a diet that’s low in carbohydrate content can greatly help prevent your blood sugar from spiking. 1
Low-carb diets also come with the added benefit of helping one reduce weight, which can also contribute immensely to reduce a sudden increase in blood sugar.
2. Avoid Refined Carbohydrates
Refined or processed carbohydrates are basically sugars or refined grains that are stripped of all their nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and fiber. Some common sources include table sugar, white rice, white bread, candy, soda, desserts, and breakfast cereals.
Refined carbs also have a very high glycemic index since they are so easily digested by the body which leads to quick blood sugar spikes.2
Instead, substitute refined carbs with whole-grain foods, most fruits, legumes, and low-starch vegetables that have a much lower glycemic index.
3. Cut Down On Your Sugar Intake
If you’re someone who eats a lot of processed foods like cookies, sodas, and candy, you might need to cut down on this habit drastically. Added sugar especially high-fructose corn syrup and sucrose is practically useless for the body. They are in fact, empty calories. They do nothing to contribute to the overall health of your body, instead, cause an almost immediate increase in your blood sugar levels since they can be broken down so easily. Over time, this will lead to insulin resistance, where your cells will fail to respond to insulin. This will inhibit them from absorbing excess sugar from your bloodstream, and will ultimately lead to failure of lowering your blood sugar.
If you’re not one to completely give up on sugar, try replacing it natural sugar substitutes like jaggery.
4. Watch Your Weight
If you are overweight or obese, it can be a lot more difficult for your body to use insulin to control your rising blood sugar levels.
It is still unclear as to how the two are linked, but there is strong evidence that suggests that obesity is linked to insulin resistance and a higher risk of contracting type 2 diabetes.3
Adopting healthy ways to lose weight, on the other hand, has been shown to greatly improve blood sugar control.4
5. Exercise More Often
Exercising regularly helps keep your blood sugar levels in check by increasing cell- sensitivity to insulin. This means the more you exercise, the better your cells will be able to absorb excess blood sugar.
Exercise also induces your muscle cells to absorb sugar from your bloodstream, thereby further contributing to lowering blood sugar levels.
Try a healthy combination of high-intensity and moderate-intensity exercises on a daily basis to keep pushing your body to work more so that you can lose weight more efficiently and quickly.
6. Eat Good Amounts Of Fiber
Fiber consists of parts of plant food and is usually categorized into two groups, soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber, in particular, is known to be very helpful in helping your body control blood sugar spikes.
Once consumed, it dissolves in water and produces a gel-like substance. This helps slow down the rate of absorption of carbohydrates by your gut, and as a result gives way to a steady rise and fall in your blood sugar, rather than a sudden unhealthy spike.5
Some good sources of soluble fiber include nuts, legumes, oats, vegetables, and some fruits like apples, oranges, and blueberries.
7. Drink More Water
When your body is dehydrated, it produces vasopressin, a hormone that encourages your kidneys to hold back fluid and stop your body from getting rid of the excess sugar through your urine. It also signals your liver to release more sugar into your bloodstream.
Drinking lots of water in a day is known to keep your body well hydrated and inhibits the release of vasopressin. It’s a good practice to drink as soon as you’re thirsty. Pay special attention to increase your water intake in the hot weather or when you’re working out. Also, ensure to stick to plain old water instead of turning to sodas and store bought juices, as these contain excess sugar and will do nothing to solve your blood sugar spikes.
8. Introduce Some Vinegar To Your Diet
Vinegar, particularly apple cider vinegar, has been linked to cholesterol reduction, weight loss, and blood sugar control.
Studies declare that consuming vinegar can help increase insulin response and bring down blood sugar spikes. The stronger the vinegar, the lower the blood sugar levels.
Vinegar in food can help bring down the overall glycemic index, which is very helpful in reducing blood sugar spikes.6
9. Get Enough Sleep
Getting too little or too much sleep is associated with poor blood sugar control.7
Even one or two nights of disturbed or no sleep can cause a highly negative impact on your blood sugar levels.
Always remember to sleep for at least 8 hours every day. Also, note that quality of your sleep is just as important as quantity. Getting yourself deep sleep is a vital weapon in combating blood sugar spikes.8
10. Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol and alcoholic drinks, particularly cocktails and mixed drinks, contain plenty of added sugar. Just like added sugar in foods, this too will cause blood sugar spikes. Most alcoholic drinks have little to zero nutritional value, and all that unnecessary sugar just renders them as empty calories.
Furthermore, heavy drinking over a long period of time can cause insulin resistance and lead to type 2 diabetes.9
On the other hand, moderate, controlled drinking can actually have a protective impact on efficient blood sugar control and can also bring down the risk of type 2 diabetes.10
All you have to do is ensure to not overdo it with your alcohol. Just like any other food, it is always best to eat everything in moderation.
Note: If you’re suffering from a medical condition, or are on a certain type of medication, consult with your doctor before making any drastic changes to your overall lifestyle and diet.
Working to keep your blood sugar levels in control is all about making healthy lifestyle choices, and if necessary, changes. Eat a healthy balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain fiber and try to not go for a second refill when drinking. This, paired with a regular, smartly designed exercise routine, will greatly help you reduce frequent blood sugar spikes.
|↑1||Ajala, Olubukola, Patrick English, and Jonathan Pinkney. “Systematic review and meta-analysis of different dietary approaches to the management of type 2 diabetes.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 97, no. 3 (2013): 505-516.|
|↑2||Schulze, Matthias B., Simin Liu, Eric B. Rimm, JoAnn E. Manson, Walter C. Willett, and Frank B. Hu. “Glycemic index, glycemic load, and dietary fiber intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes in younger and middle-aged women.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 80, no. 2 (2004): 348-356.|
|↑3||Colditz, Graham A., Walter C. Willett, Andrea Rotnitzky, and JoAnn E. Manson. “Weight gain as a risk factor for clinical diabetes mellitus in women.” Annals of internal medicine 122, no. 7 (1995): 481-486.|
|↑4||Grams, J., and W. Timothy Garvey. “Weight loss and the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes using lifestyle therapy, pharmacotherapy, and bariatric surgery: mechanisms of action.” Current obesity reports 4, no. 2 (2015): 287-302.|
|↑5||Jenkins, D. J., T. M. Wolever, Anthony R. Leeds, Miguel A. Gassull, Peter Haisman, Jang Dilawari, David V. Goff, Geoffrey L. Metz, and K. G. Alberti. “Dietary fibres, fibre analogues, and glucose tolerance: importance of viscosity.” Br Med J 1, no. 6124 (1978): 1392-1394.|
|↑6||Östman, Elin, Yvonne Granfeldt, Lisbeth Persson, and Inger Björck. “Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 59, no. 9 (2005): 983-988.|
|↑7||Ohkuma, Toshiaki, Hiroki Fujii, Masanori Iwase, Yohei Kikuchi, Shinako Ogata, Yasuhiro Idewaki, Hitoshi Ide et al. “Impact of Sleep Duration on Obesity and the Glycemic Level in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes.” Diabetes Care 36, no. 3 (2013): 611-617.|
|↑8||Tasali, Esra, Rachel Leproult, David A. Ehrmann, and Eve Van Cauter. “Slow-wave sleep and the risk of type 2 diabetes in humans.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105, no. 3 (2008): 1044-1049.|
|↑9||Athyros, Vasilios G., Evangelos N. Liberopoulos, Dimitri P. Mikhailidis, Athanasios A. Papageorgiou, Emmanuel S. Ganotakis, Konstantinos Tziomalos, Anna I. Kakafika, Asterios Karagiannis, Stylianos Lambropoulos, and Moses Elisaf. “Association of drinking pattern and alcohol beverage type with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease in a Mediterranean cohort.” Angiology 58, no. 6 (2008): 689-697.|
|↑10||Brand-Miller, Jennie C., Kaniz Fatima, Christopher Middlemiss, Marian Bare, Vicki Liu, Fiona Atkinson, and Peter Petocz. “Effect of alcoholic beverages on postprandial glycemia and insulinemia in lean, young, healthy adults.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 85, no. 6 (2007): 1545-1551.|