What food you stick into your mouth will determine blood sugar and insulin levels which have an effect on metabolic range for fat burning, muscle building, maintaining a healthy weight and sports performance.
There are too many myths about how to manage blood sugar levels, where confusion reigns supreme but the result is you take a long time or never able to meet your health goals.
I have listed some basic tips of the right things to do, it will help lower and regulate blood sugar levels.
I’ve kept it general since following strict rules are too hard, boring and following a more general approach most of the time will allow for an effective long term improvement rather than fix me now mentality.
- We know carbohydrates (carbs) are insulin spikers so instinctively we avoid or limit their consumption. However, eating minimal carbs will start to affect your brain (that’s one big fat cell but maybe not as big for some !) and deteriorate your muscles.
- With limiting carbs your workouts will start to suffer and you’ll have a lack of concentration, since carbs are needed by the brain and central nervous system to function . Low carb diets can eventually decrease your memory (we are talking Alzheimer’s).
- If you limit your carbs and replace them with proteins or fat foods your body will then get most of its energy from ketones. Blood levels of ketones causing ketosis this is good for awhile as fat is being used for energy but if you are in this state too long it could move to ketoacidosis which is potentially life threatening. Ketones produce acid, this will affect your body and your brain functions as mentioned above.
- Skipping meals are common so when you skip meals frequently over a long period of time, your metabolism starts to slow to conserve your energy. But we need our metabolism jacked up so it will burn fat. I use strategic fasting from EAT STOP EAT to lower my body fat avoiding the starvation mode (it helps me stay about 8% body fat).
- Crash Dieting makes you lose weight too quickly for a few days, your body thinks it is threatened with starvation and goes into survival mode. It fights to conserve your fat stores, and any weight loss comes mostly from water and muscle. It’s short term strategy which doesn’t work.
- Don’t’ eat carbs just by themselves. Eat it with protein, fibre and fats will balance the impact on the body and gives long lasting satiety.
- Fasted cardio in the mornings before breakfast, is OK as long as its a low intensity but at high intensity it can mean muscle loss and its harder to produce an intense workout on an empty stomach. Not pleasant.
- If you think eating fat makes you fat, Wrong! It’s your body’s response to excess carbohydrates in your diet that makes you fat. Your body has a limited capacity to store excess carbohydrates, but it can easily convert those excess carbohydrates into excess body fat.
- Most people think carbohydrates are only sweets, pasta potatoes and breads. So what about vegetables or fruits? A probable reply “it’s a vegetable or fruit” , as if that were a food type all its own.
Well, you’ve guessed by now; all of the above sweets, bread, pasta, vegetables and fruits – are carbohydrates. But some are better than others if we start to talk about Glycemic Index (GI) of food.
The GI is a measure of how carbs effect your blood when they enter. A high GI number means rapid absorption into the blood stream (we want to avoid this) or low GI number means a slower absorption ( we do want this).
GI Food Examples
Low GI 55 or less : most fruits and vegetables (except potatoes and watermelon), grainy breads, pasta, legumes/pulses, milk, yogurt, products extremely low in carbohydrates (some cheeses, nuts), fructose
Medium GI 56–69 : whole wheat products, basmati rice, sweet potato, table sugar
High GI 70 and above : corn flakes, rice krispies, baked potatoes, watermelon, croissants, white bread, extruded breakfast cereals, most white rices (e.g. jasmine), straight glucose (100)
WARNING AVOID THESE AT ALL COSTS
- Simple Carbohydrates are absorbed quickly and are therefore most likely to cause an insulin surge. examples are various forms of sugar, such as sucrose (table sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), lactose (dairy sugar), and glucose (blood sugar).
- Hidden Sugar in Processed Foods and drinks like bread, ketchup, salad dressing, canned fruit, applesauce, peanut butter, and packet soups and soda pop.
- Fat-Free Products use sugar to replace the flavor that is lost when the fat is removed. Making matter worse, without any fat to slow it down the sugar is absorbed into your blood faster.
- Cereals: Many newer cereals contain less sugar, but the calories, carbohydrates, fat, fiber and other nutrients are almost identical to the full-sugar cereals. The manufacturers have simply replaced sugar with other refined, simple carbohydrates.
- Table sugar (sucrose) is often said to provide “empty calories” because it has no nutritional value other than providing fuel for energy. Honey and other more natural sugars, on the other hand, are often considered to be healthier because of the trace vitamins and minerals they provide. Still, for weight loss purposes, all of these sweeteners can simply be treated as sugar.
- Fast foods should always be avoided. The fat and sugar content in most fast foods is extremely high.
- Diets based on choice restriction and calorie limits usually fail. People on restrictive diets get tired of feeling hungry and deprived. They go off their diets, put the weight back on (primarily as increased body fat), and then feel bad about themselves for not having enough will power, discipline, or motivation.
If you change what you eat, you don’t have to be overly concerned about how much you eat.
I have a part 2 to this article called “Carb Diet Cycling - Burn Fat not Muscle” which discusses Carb timing, Tips and Body building Diets.
Thanks for reading this. I hope it helps.