Having balanced blood sugar stabilizes our energy levels, keeps our brain healthy and balances our mood. It also helps us maintain a healthy weight. Blood sugar affects us on a daily basis and if your levels are disrupted it can result in increased sugar cravings, irritability, fatigue and anxiety, among other troublesome symptoms. If your blood sugar is chronically high, it can negatively affect your weight loss efforts and impact your overall health. If you’re wondering how to balance blood sugar for weight loss, we’ve got you covered!
What is Blood Sugar?
Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, is the main sugar found in blood. It comes from the food you eat and is an important source of energy and nutrients for the body. Your body creates blood sugar by digesting some food into a sugar that circulates in your bloodstream. Since blood sugar is used for energy, the sugar that isn’t needed to fuel your body right away gets stored for later. Too much sugar in your blood can be harmful and lead to type 2 diabetes, which in turn can lead to problems with your heart, kidneys, eyes and blood vessels. Chronic high blood sugar can also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease or failure, nerve damage and permanent damage to your eyes.
How Does Blood Sugar Impact Weight Loss?
Insulin helps regulate blood sugar, fat storage and weight management. After you eat sugary foods, glucose rises in the bloodstream and the pancreas starts releasing insulin in proportion to the rise in blood glucose. The more glucose in your blood, the more insulin you need for its movement into your cells.
If blood sugar is frequently high, the pancreas has to work overtime to produce more insulin. This may result in your cells stopping responding to insulin. When this happens, your body pumps out even more insulin to try to get glucose out of the bloodstream. This leads to high baseline insulin levels, which can hinder your weight loss efforts.
High insulin levels can also lead to leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone required to maintain energy and body weight balance. Leptin resistance reduces the ability of leptin to suppress appetite and weight gain. This makes it harder for us to feel satiated and more likely to consume more calories than our bodies need.
11 Signs You Have a Blood Sugar Imbalance
3. Anxiety, depression and moodiness
5. Extra belly fat and struggle to lose weight
6. Cravings for carbs and sugar
7. Blurred vision
9. Frequent urination
10. Increased thirst
11. Digestive issues like constipation, cramping and acid reflux
How to Balance Blood Sugar for Weight Loss
1. Focus on Whole Food Carbs
To help regulate your insulin levels, limit the total carbohydrates you eat and choose more whole food forms of carbohydrates. It’s important to minimize your intake of processed and refined carbs as much as possible. Consume whole grains like steel-cut or rolled oats, brown rice, quinoa, and barley, and steer clear of flour products like pasta, breads and crackers. Also focus on beans, legumes and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet
What and how much you eat is crucial for healthy and balanced blood sugar levels. Make sure you’re consuming adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel, as well as flaxseeds, chia seeds, nuts and soybeans. You should be eating high quality protein at every meal, such as lean meats, eggs, fatty fish, legumes or beans. And don’t forget fibre. Aim for 35 grams or more of fibre each day. High fibre foods include whole grains, barley, vegetables, chickpeas, lentils, edamame, berries and bananas.
3. Exercise Four Days a Week
Doing moderate intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, riding a bike or playing tennis is ideal for managing blood sugar levels. Exercise helps your muscles use blood sugar for energy and muscle concentration. Aim to exercise four times per week to maintain a moderate weight and increase insulin sensitivity. Sitting all day can also be damaging to your blood sugar levels. Try getting up every 30 minutes to do some light walking or resistance exercises like squats or leg raises.
4. Eat Every Three to Five Hours and Portion Control
Try to keep your blood sugar levels consistent by eating every three to five hours. Aim for three nutritious meals per day plus a couple of healthy snacks. You should also portion control to regulate your calorie intake and maintain a healthy weight. To monitor your serving sizes, try using smaller plates, keeping a food journal, eating slowly and weighing your portions.
5. Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress elevates your cortisol levels, one of your body’s main stress hormones, which can increase blood sugar and insulin levels. Cortisol also increases leptin, a hormone that helps with portion control and hunger. Exercising, as well as relaxation methods like yoga and meditation can help manage your stress levels. Also try to avoid stress-triggering situations as much as possible.
6. Eat Probiotic-Rich Foods
Probiotics are good bacteria that offer a bunch of health benefits, including blood sugar regulation. Probiotics may lower fasting blood sugar, glycated hemoglobin and insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes. They promote a healthy gut microbiome and can help control weight. Probiotic-rich foods include fermented foods like kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut and kimchi, as well as yogurt that contains live active cultures. These foods help promote gastrointestinal health and are also rich in fibre, which promotes feelings of fullness and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
If you feel like your blood sugar is unbalanced, we hope you found these tips informative. If you feel like you’re having trouble balancing your blood sugar levels, make sure to talk to your doctor.
This post contains affiliate links.
Did you find this post on how to balance blood sugar for weight loss helpful? We’d love it if you shared it on Pinterest!
Looking for more health tips and hacks? Make sure to follow our Health Board on Pinterest!