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Blood sugar | 2 min. read

5 healthy tricks to prevent blood sugar spikes

For anyone living with type 2 diabetes, it is important to know a few things about what your blood sugar is up to. Is it going up? Is it coming down? And if so, what was your role in that? It turns out that your choices, habits and timing all have something to do with the changes in your blood sugar.

Let’s talk about high blood sugar or spikes. The fancy name for spikes is hyperglycemia (where hyper- means over) as opposed to hypoglycemia (where hypo- means under). 1

Blood sugar spikes generally happen when your body resists the effects of insulin or does not produce enough of it. An immediate result can be frequent urination and increased thirst to name just a few things.2 How can you prevent these?

As this video explains, diet and exercise are a big part of it. Let’s talk about diet for a moment.

What you eat matters. Most importantly, learn how to  carbs, and learn how to tell the difference between simple (fast-release) and complex (slow-release) carbs. 3

To make rapid blood-sugar spikes less likely, eat nutrient-rich, complex carbs whenever you can. That means limiting your simple-carb consumption, including processed white foods like white bread, pasta, flour and rice. 4

A few diet tips: Brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa and bulgur – all of these are excellent. And when choosing bread, pasta or crackers, decide to go with wholegrain on principle, every time. 4

And remember: Vegetables and meats are important sources of nutrients too – and safe to eat. One meal may consist of 25% carbs, 25% protein and 50% vegetables – a useful pie chart to bear in mind when you put food on your plate. 5

References
  1. American Diabetes Association 2020, Blood Glucose Testing and Control , American Diabetes Association/Diabetes.org, viewed 16 Dec 2020, https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/medication-treatments/blood-glucose-testing-and-control (Quote from the source; “Hyperglycemia is the technical term for high blood sugar (highs). It happens when the body has too little insulin or when the body can't use insulin properly. (…) Hypoglycemia is the technical term for low blood sugar (lows). It’s when your blood sugar levels have fallen low enough that you need to take action to bring them back to your target range.”)
  2. American Diabetes Association 2020, Hyperglycemia (High Blood Glucose), American Diabetes Association/Diabetes.org, viewed 17 Dec 2020, https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/medication-treatments/blood-glucose-testing-and-control/hyperglycemia. (Quote from the source: "What are the symptoms of hyperglycemia? The signs and symptoms include the following: · High blood sugar · High levels of sugar in the urine · Frequent urination · Increased thirst")
  3. American Diabetes Association 2020, Get to know carbs, American Diabetes Association/Diabetes.org, viewed 16 Dec 2020, https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/recipes-nutrition/understanding-carbs/get-to-know-carbs. (Quote from the source: "When choosing carbs, the key is choosing complex carbs—the ones that give you the most bang for your buck in terms of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Complex carbohydrates are digested slower, therefore they are less likely to cause a rapid spike in your blood sugar like refined carbohydrates. Examples are whole grains and legumes.")
  4. American Diabetes Association 2020, Get to know carbs, American Diabetes Association/Diabetes.org, viewed 16 Dec 2020, https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/recipes-nutrition/understanding-carbs/get-to-know-carbs. (Quote from the source: "Complex carbohydrates are [...] less likely to cause a rapid spike in your blood sugar like refined carbohydrates. [...] Processed foods tend to be high in carbs, especially refined carbohydrates, while also being very low in vitamins, minerals and fiber [...]. But choosing fewer processed carb foods and paying attention to how much you are eating can make a big difference in your blood sugar and overall health.")
  5. American Diabetes Association 2020, What is the Diabetes Plate Method , American Diabetes Association/Diabetesfoodhub.org, viewed 16 Dec 2020, https://www.diabetesfoodhub.org/articles/what-is-the-diabetes-plate-method (Quote from the source: “Fill half your plate with nonstarchy vegetables. (…) Fill one quarter of your plate with lean protein foods. (…) Fill one quarter of your plate with carbohydrate foods.”)

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