Watching your blood sugar and carbohydrate intake is not just for those who are diabetic or have metabolic syndrome. If you are trying to lose weight or body fat, you are not going to have success until you monitor what is in your diet. After you eat a meal, your body has a hormone called insulin that is secreted by the pancreas to take digested sugar from the bloodstream into your body’s cells. It’s not a simple process and there are many other hormones involved with your metabolism, but controlling your carbohydrate intake is the best way to control your insulin. When you eat too many carbs, overeat, or don’t eat a balanced meal, you tend to make your pancreas work harder and have too much insulin produced. If you do this repeatedly over time, this leads to fat storage and gaining excess body fat as well increasing your chances to develop metabolic syndrome or diabetes.
Another hormone that controls blood sugar is cortisol. One function of cortisol is to pull stored sugar from your cells into the blood stream in response to stress. Cortisol will elevate due to skipping meals, going too long between meals, and any prolonged physical, emotional, or situational stress. Research has shown that cortisol levels will elevate after long bouts of steady state running over 45 minutes to an hour. From a weight loss standpoint, running as your only form of exercise will not produce the results you desire. Strength training produces a better response of other hormones than running does, specifically HGH and testosterone that are better at burning fat.
Ways to control your blood sugar:
- Eat every 3-4 hours. This helps you keep from having swings in your blood sugar and promotes fat metabolism. Ideally you should eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day, however don’t eat if you aren’t even hungry. Everyone is a little different when it comes to meal timing.
- Avoid simple sugars in foods such as white rice, pasta, white breads, pastries etc. Especially if you don’t eat any protein with it.
- Eat balanced meals that contain protein, and lots of high fiber vegetables like bell peppers or asparagus or fruits that are high in fiber such as apples or berries. This helps slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and lessens the response of insulin to your meals.
- Eat snacks that contain fats or protein. This will keep you from getting what I call “hangry”.
- Do not deprive yourself of all carbs, you need them for energy. Just make sure they are coming from the right sources such as sweet potatoes, brown rice and other whole grains or legumes.