Blood sugar spikes can lead to short-term symptoms such as fatigue and increased appetite, and over time, they can contribute to ineffective blood sugar regulation, potentially leading to type 2 diabetes. The prevalence of diabetes is on the rise, with 29 million Americans currently affected, and a concerning 25% of them are unaware of their condition. Furthermore, blood sugar spikes can have adverse effects on cardiovascular health, including the hardening and narrowing of blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Let’s read more to find out how to manage your sugar spikes daily.
Opt for a Low-Carb Diet
The consumption of carbohydrates (carbs) is directly associated with elevated blood sugar levels. Carbs are broken down into simple sugars, which enter the bloodstream, prompting insulin release from the pancreas. Insulin assists in sugar absorption by cells, thereby reducing blood sugar levels. Numerous studies indicate that adopting a low-carb diet is a practical approach to preventing blood sugar spikes. Additionally, low-carb diets can aid in weight loss, which further helps to regulate blood sugar levels. There are various methods to reduce carb intake, including carb counting.
Limit Intake of Refined Carbs
Refined carbs, also known as processed carbs, include sugars and refined grains. Common sources of refined carbs are table sugar, white bread, white rice, soda, candy, breakfast cereals, and desserts. These refined carbs lack essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Due to their rapid digestion and absorption in the body, they possess a high glycemic index, leading to blood sugar spikes. A large-scale study involving over 91,000 women found that a diet high in high-glycemic-index carbs was associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Consuming high-glycemic-index foods can also induce hunger, overeating, and weight gain. The glycemic index of carbs can vary based on factors such as ripeness, accompanying foods, and cooking methods. Generally, whole-grain foods, fruits, non-starchy vegetables, and legumes have a lower glycemic index.
Reduce Sugar Consumption
According to healthline.com, Americans consume 22 teaspoons (88 grams) of added sugar daily, contributing around 350 calories. The majority of this sugar comes from processed and prepared foods such as candy, cookies, and sodas. Added sugars like sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup provide no nutritional value, essentially acting as empty calories. These simple sugars are quickly broken down in the body, resulting in an immediate blood sugar spike. Research indicates that excessive sugar intake is linked to insulin resistance, where cells fail to respond adequately to insulin release, leading to poor blood sugar control. In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that food labels display the amount of added sugars in grams and as a percentage of the recommended daily intake. Alternatively, replacing sugar with sugar substitutes can be considered.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Presently, two out of three adults in the US are overweight or obese. Excess weight can hinder the body’s ability to utilize insulin effectively and regulate blood sugar levels, increasing the likelihood of blood sugar spikes and the development of type 2 diabetes. Although the precise mechanisms are not fully understood, substantial evidence links obesity to insulin resistance and the onset of type 2 diabetes. Conversely, weight loss has been shown to improve blood sugar control. In a study involving 35 obese individuals following a 1,600-calorie daily diet for 12 weeks, an average weight loss of 14.5 pounds (6.6 kg) led to a 14% decrease in blood sugar levels. Another study found that weight loss reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% in individuals without diabetes.
Increase Physical Activity
Engaging in regular exercise plays a crucial role in controlling blood sugar spikes by enhancing cell sensitivity to insulin. Exercise also facilitates the absorption of sugar from the blood by muscle cells, resulting in lowered blood sugar levels. Both moderate-intensity and high-intensity exercises have been proven effective in reducing blood sugar spikes. A study involving 27 adults demonstrated similar improvements in blood sugar control for individuals engaging in medium- or high-intensity exercise. The timing of exercise and meals may also influence blood sugar control, as one study found that exercising before breakfast was more effective in regulating blood sugar levels than exercising after breakfast. Increasing physical activity also offers the added benefit of aiding weight loss, making it a dual-purpose approach to combat blood sugar spikes. Additionally, incorporating more fiber into your diet and ensuring adequate hydration can help regulate blood sugar levels.