You’ve heard it often and from all directions, I’m sure, that controlling your blood sugar is important, but are you aware of the everyday causes of blood sugar spikes?
A diet high in carbohydrates, of course, is one of the biggest culprits because carbs turn into sugar (glucose) as soon as they’re digested.
➡ Certain high-carb foods in particular, such as white bread, white-flour pasta, sugary drinks, and french fries can send your blood sugar levels sky-high.
And unfortunately (and partly due to a hurried lifestyle), many diabetics get into trouble with processed foods, some of which are made with multiple added sugars not easily identified by the average consumer.
Reconsider the following everyday causes of blood sugar spikes if you’re even “occasionally” having blood sugar spikes.
Most diabetics know to stay away from regular soda…but fail to realize/recognize that diet soda should also be off their list.
Recent research shows that consuming those “zero-calorie artificial sweeteners,” like the ones found in diet sodas or often added to coffee and tea, actually:
➡ Lead to glucose intolerance
➡ Increased blood sugar levels
➡ Have the potential to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Learn more about artificial sweeteners…you’ll be surprised:
Get in the habit of checking all food labels carefully.
Here’s a handy list of 21 hidden sugars in your diet.
Carbs seem to get all the attention when talking about Type 2 Diabetes…but they’re not the only foods to watch closely in your diet.
➡ This is Important: Although foods high in fat don’t directly raise blood sugar levels, they can contribute to insulin resistance.
➡ Type 2 Diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to your own insulin which is produced by your pancreas, or when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin.
➡ Additionally, because high-fat foods take longer to digest — they can affect the timing of blood sugar spikes.
➡ While high-fat meals may be okay in moderation, it’s important to know that large amounts of fat — 40 grams or more, for example — will make it harder for you to control blood sugar.
Sometimes food that you’d never expect can affect your blood sugar.
That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the way each food affects you.
Keep track of what you eat, and what it does to your blood sugar levels.
This is one of the toughest subjects I have to get across to every diabetic.
Skipping breakfast is of the most consistent everyday causes of blood sugar spikes.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day — especially for people with type 2 diabetes. And, of course, it’s backed by extensive research, or I wouldn’t keep harping about it. In case you missed it, here is the link to information about breakfast on this site.
But remember, just any breakfast won’t be enough. What you eat for breakfast is key.
➡ Think outside the cereal box. Sugary cereal with a big glass of juice is just about the worse breakfast for a diabetic (and it sets up your children for a future diabetes diagnosis as well).
➡ Instead, pack in nutrients that are low in carbs, such as scrambled eggs with spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes or any vegetables of your choice.
Our bodies tend to tolerate glucose better in the morning than at night, regardless of your schedules.
That’s because our body’s natural clock, or **circadian rhythm, influence our blood sugar levels.
** Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle. They respond primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment.
This is especially important for night-shift workers to understand. There’s no getting around the proven results of many studies.
➡ During one recent eight-day study, the researchers monitored 14 healthy subjects after they ate a meal at 8 in the morning, and after another meal at 8 at night.
➡ There were “normal days” (when participants had their first meal at 8 am, their last meal at 8 pm, then slept at night), and there were days when the participants’ schedule was reversed (they’d have their first meal at 8 pm, their last meal at 8 am, then slept during the day).
➡ It turned out that meals consumed in the evenings coincided with blood sugar levels that were 17 percent higher than those measured after morning meals — even if the meals were identical, and regardless of when the participants slept.
At the press release at the conclusion of the research, the lead authors stated:
“Our study underscores that it’s not just what you eat but also when you eat that greatly influences blood sugar regulation.”
The researchers also suggested that the circadian rhythm’s influence on blood sugar may help explain why shift workers with abnormal schedules have higher rates of type 2 diabetes.
Results from another study, published in 2014 in the journal Diabetologia, presented a similar picture of the effect of evening meals.
➡ Participants who ate a big breakfast in the morning (700 calories) and a small dinner in the evening (200 calories) had better control of their blood sugar than those who ate a small breakfast (200 calories) and consumed a big dinner (700 calories). Both groups consumed 600 calories at lunchtime.
Dehydration-the two-edged sword
Not drinking enough fluids can cause high blood sugar as the sugar in your circulation becomes more concentrated.
-The flip side of the coin is that high blood sugar can cause you to urinate more…resulting in dehydration.
The old rule of eight cups of liquid per day serves most people fairly well. However, people who are larger in size or highly active have greater fluid needs.
➡ If you find plain water hard to swallow, try garnishing your glass with a few citrus wedges, frozen berries, cucumber slices, or fresh mint leaves.
➡ Unsweetened iced herbal teas, such as raspberry, cherry, or peach varieties are also very refreshing and naturally caffeine-free.
The Dawn Phenomenon
It’s worth remembering that blood sugar levels tend to surge in the very early morning, somewhere between 4 am and 5 am, no matter what schedule you work.
➡ It’s not uncommon to wake up to a high blood sugar reading, even if your number was normal when you went to bed.
You may be experiencing the “dawn phenomenon,” which occurs when the body prepares for waking up by releasing growth and other hormones, around 3 or 4 a.m.
➡ This has nothing to do with your personal sleeping/eating patterns/habits.
This is your body’s circadian rhythm, it happens no matter your daily/nightly routines.
These hormones make the body less sensitive to insulin (insulin resistance), and in people with diabetes, can contribute to a blood sugar spike in the morning.
On the other hand, you may start the day with a low glucose level if, for example, you’re taking too much insulin or medication at night or not eating enough in the evening.
If you see a trend in your morning readings — or they’re highly erratic from day to day — work with your doctor or Diabetes Educator to identify the problem so you can take steps to correct it.
Remember, the circadian rhythms apply no matter what schedule you work. Your body does not, nor can it, change them. They work the same for everyone.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), people with type 2 diabetes may be better able to control this “dawn phenomenon” by eating dinner earlier in the evening.
These are the basics…Now, head over to Part 2 for some Unsuspected Causes Of Blood Sugar Spikes