You’ve probably been told that counting calories is an effective way to lose weight. And you’re probably frustrated because this doesn’t work.
But keeping your blood sugar balanced does help with weight loss in a few different ways that calorie counting doesn’t.
What is blood sugar and how is it created?
When you eat, your food is broken down in your digestive system into macro nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fats), and micronutrients (vitamins, and minerals).
Carbohydrates are then converted into glucose or blood sugar. Your blood carries blood glucose to the cells in your body to use as fuel.
Some carbohydrates like starch and sugar are converted into blood sugar much quicker than other carbohydrates which are more slowly digested. And fiber is a carbohydrate that the body can’t digest so it is eliminated as waste.
Find out more about blood sugar and hormone balance in my hormone guide.
How is blood sugar regulated?
When you eat, your pancreas creates the hormone insulin to help move the sugar into the cells where it is needed. When you eat more carbohydrates, more insulin is produced to keep the blood sugar regulated.
Where problems occur is when insulin is not produced (in type 1 diabetics) or when your cells become resistant to the insulin and glucose is not moved from the blood to the body cells. This is called insulin resistance and can develop into type 2 diabetes. It also results in high levels of insulin in the blood.
Eating too much starch or sugar can lead to insulin resistance because your cells stop responding to the high level of insulin in the blood.
Other things can contribute to blood sugar imbalances:
Reproductive hormone fluctuations
Lack of sleep
How do blood sugar imbalances cause weight gain?
Insulin resistance causes weight gain because the excess insulin causes your body to store the extra sugar in your blood as fat.
Even if you don’t develop insulin resistance, blood sugar imbalances can cause weight gain. Here are a few ways:
It can lead to cravings and hunger when your blood sugar drops
You can feel fatigued and not want to do anything when your blood sugar is low. Fatigue can lead to eating more to try to gain back the energy. And quick fix foods like sugar and chocolate are what you might be reaching for.
Higher blood sugar means your body produces more insulin. While your body does need insulin, too much insulin can lead to fat storage by shifting your body from using fat as fuel, to storing it.
Your blood sugar levels will naturally fluctuate throughout the day. But when fluctuations are large you can suffer the effects of low blood sugar or high blood sugar throughout the day.
Being overweight is the biggest risk factor for developing insulin resistance, which can lead to more weight gain.
Other Health Issues Related to Insulin Resistance?
Insulin resistance is also known as pre-diabetes because it often leads to type 2 diabetes. It can be part of metabolic syndrome, a combination of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, extra fat around the middle and high cholesterol or triglyceride levels. This can lead to stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Women who are insulin resistant are also more likely to have PCOS. This condition where women have a reproductive hormone imbalance (higher testosterone relative to female hormones). It leads to infertility, missed periods, excess body hair and weight gain.
Your hormones are meant to work together in balance. When one hormone is out of balance, other hormones can also be out of balance.
What can you do?
Eating or drinking sugary foods and drinks will cause rapid increases in blood sugar. Since carbohydrates are converted to sugar, they also cause blood sugar to rise, but how quickly depends on the carbohydrate.
The glycemic index ranks foods by how much they raise blood sugar levels. Try to stick to carbohydrates that are lower on the glycemic index. These are foods like legumes, and non starchy vegetables. but avoid processed carbohydrates and starchy vegetables which are high on the glycemic index.
Exercise is important for regulating blood sugar. Physical activity uses the glucose stores and it makes your body more sensitive to insulin.
Eat smaller, more frequent meals to help keep blood sugar more balanced. This helps you to avoid blood sugar lows.
Eat protein and healthy fats. Both of these help to slow digestion, keep blood sugar more balanced, and keep you feeling full longer.
Keeping yourself hydrated with non sugary drinks (especially water) can help to keep blood sugar balanced.
Get professional help
If you are struggling to keep your blood sugar under control I can help. I provide holistic, personalized programs that help to balance hormones, suit your unique body chemistry, and keep blood sugar under control. Weight loss is so much easier when you have personalized help and support. Book a free nutrition assessment to find out how I can help.
Vicki Witt | Clinical Nutritionist | Holistic Coach | Reiki Master | Certified LEAP allergy therapist Over 25 years of successfully helping you achieve optimal health and weight loss 🍏 | www.vickiwittweightloss.com
Vicki Witt is a Clinical Nutritionist, Holistic Health Coach, and Reiki Master. She has been practicing over 25 years and specializes in holistically customizing diet and lifestyle plans to each individual for weight loss and hormonal control. Her clientele often report they feel the best they have ever felt and wish they had started sooner. One of the USA and Australia's top Nutritionists, she has won multiple awards for her services in the industry.