Blood Sugar Disorders

Blood Sugar Disorders

Blood sugar disorders are increasingly common in the modern world and have a significant impact on our health. High, and low, blood sugar have many of the same causes and are treated very similarly. Try Implementing the strategies listed in this handout for better blood sugar control and improved health. 

Adjust Carbohydrate Intake

Those with blood sugar disorders may need to limit their carbohydrate intake. The best way to determine how many carbohydrates you can tolerate is by tracking your pre-and-post-meal blood sugar with a glucometer device. You should only eat the amount of carbohydrate at each meal that allows you to stay within the following parameters after meals: 

Time 

Blood glucose

One hour after a meal

Less than 140 mg/dl (7.8 nmol/L)
Two hours after a meal

Less than 120 mg/dl (6.6 nmol/L)

Eat More Protein

Diets high in protein have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar. Aim between 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.

Eat Fermented Foods and Fermentable Fibers

Poor gut health contributes to poor metabolic health. Be sure to eat plenty of fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, kefir, or kombucha regularly to maintain a healthy gut. You’ll also want to eat a diet rich in fermentable fibers—these are fibers that help feed your gut bacteria and are present in starchy and non-starchy vegetables. Resistant starch is also beneficial for improving insulin sensitivity. You can supplement with unmodified potato starch, a source of resistant starch, by consuming three to four tablespoons daily mixed with water or added to other foods. Other resistant starch sources include white potatoes (cooked and then cooled for 24 hours), unripe bananas, tapioca flour, or dehydrated green (unripe) plantains.

Alter Your Food Intake Timing

If you have high blood sugar, you may notice improved blood sugar control when you fast intermittently. Intermittent fasting involves skipping a meal—typically breakfast—and can sometimes include extended periods of fasting. You’ll also want to avoid snacking, as snacking can worsen blood sugar control in those with high blood sugar.

If you have low blood sugar or follow a very low-calorie diet, you’ll want to eat every two to three hours. As a general rule, don’t go more than three hours without something to eat. You can choose to incorporate this into your life as three meals with snacks in between or, if you prefer, six smaller meals throughout the day. You’ll also want to make sure you eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up and include at least 30 grams of protein during breakfast. Lastly, those with low blood sugar often do well with a snack before bed, as this can help stabilize blood sugar overnight and help prevent sleep disruptions.

Physical Activity by GoalsRx

Physical Activity

It is important to move throughout the day in addition to getting regular structured exercise. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) includes the calories burned outside of exercise, eating, and sleeping. NEAT can lower your blood sugar by making your body more sensitive to insulin. Increase daily NEAT by standing (try using a standing desk), walking, using the stairs, and being more active in your everyday life. You should aim for about 10,000 steps per day through your activity.

Sleep

Sleep deprivation can lead to insulin resistance and poor blood sugar control. Make sleep a priority by giving yourself enough time to sleep and practicing good sleep hygiene by avoiding blue light at night, using blackout shades or an eye mask, and getting sun exposure in the morning when you wake up. 

Stress Management

Chronic stress reduces blood sugar control, promotes inflammation, and leads to low cortisol levels, which can disrupt blood sugar control. While stress management benefits can take longer to manifest than the other recommendations listed here, they are worth the wait! Practice meditation and deep breathing daily to help control your blood sugar.

 

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