How does blood sugar level affect your daily energy?

Mostly we talk about blood sugar level monitoring only in case of diabetes, and most people think that this topic applies only for diabetics. However, blood sugar level affects us all and can affect our daily well-being and energy level. Balanced blood sugar is recommended for those who want to lose weight and also for those who are physically active and do sports. In order to prevent diabetes, it is important to eat in such a way that blood sugar level is stable and do not fluctuate too much during the day. But it is also important to mention that those who are not at risk of diabetes do not need to measure their blood sugar level regularly. So, I´ll describe now how it is possible to balance blood sugar level in an easy way.

What does blood sugar and its balance mean?

When we talk about blood sugar, we must first talk about carbohydrates, because it is carbohydrates that affect our blood sugar level the most. Thus, in order to achieve a blood sugar balance, it is necessary to balance carbohydrate intake. Excess carbohydrates can lead to insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes. Also, severe swings in blood sugar can have an effect on your daily energy level. Although all the foods we eat contain carbohydrates, there is a certain group of foods that are considered rich in carbohydrates and are usually simply called as carbs.

These foods/ food groups are:
1) grains (porridges, bread, rice, pasta, quinoa etc.)
2) fruits and berries
3) sugar and products containing sugar, sweets, honey, syrups
4) starchy foods (mainly potatoes, but also some grains)

Quite big amount of carbohydrates are also found in legumes and nuts, although legumes are usually classified as protein-rich foods and nuts as fat-rich foods. To achieve a blood sugar and carbohydrate balance, it is recommended to consume carbohydrate-rich foods during each meal, preferably every 3-4 hours. Carbohydrates should make up 50-60% of the total daily energy, for a weight loss it can be 45-50%.

Do carbs lead to weight gain and how to make better choices?

Lots of people are afraid to follow the above recommendation (consume carbohydrates every meal and every 3-4 hours) because they want to lose weight, so carbohydrates are left in the background in their menu. However, it is not recommended to avoid carbs, not even for weight loss, because carbohydrate (glucose) is the main source of energy for our body. Excluding carbohydrates from the menu can lead to energy deficit and may activate stress reaction in our body, which can lead to some health problems.

Also, too strict restriction of the carbohydrates can lead to sudden cravings for sweets. Fiber is also type of carbohydrates, which is essential for weight loss, because it helps to perform better control of blood sugar, increases the feeling of fullness, speeds up metabolism. A fiber-rich diet helps to lose weight. The best sources of fiber are fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Therefore, for those who want to lose weight, it is recommended to consume whole grains, vegetables, fruits and berries as a daily source of carbohydrate.

Foods with a low glycemic load (vegetables, berries, legumes, grains such as oat) should be preferred to keep blood sugar stable. Foods with a high glycemic load, such as refined grains and flour, also sugar- containing products, should be avoided.

Making a few small changes in your daily menu can quite quickly lead to a change in both your energy level and your weight. For example, you can start by consuming at least 500g of vegetables per day (excluding potatoes, sweet potatoes – because they have a high glycemic load) and replace all refined wheat flour and other refined products with whole grain products. Also consume 200-400g of fruits or berries daily (in summer period, prefer the domestic berries).

Why those who do sports need to monitor their carbohydrate and blood sugar balance?

As already mentioned, carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy. If carbs are missing from the menu, you are more likely to have poor performance in sports and you may get tired quickly. It is also important to remember that when the body lacks carbohydrates during exercise, both fats and proteins are used as an energy source. Fat burning is not probably a problem, but using protein as an energy source is not recommended. Proteins play vital functions in our body, for example, they are structural components of our muscles, tissues, cell membranes, enzymes are also proteins, and protein is used in the regulation of hormones, for example. Therefore, people who do sports must also make sure that every meal contains a source of carbohydrates.

Example of a daily menu with balanced carbohydrate intake:

It is recommended to have a total of 5-6 meals in a day, 3 main meals and 2-3 snacks. Fruits, berries with
nuts, smoothies, cereal bars or a sandwich are good options for a snack. In Be More e-shop you can find 6 different superfood mixes to add to the smoothie: Detox, Be Healthy, Be Active, Be Beautiful, Be Fit (higher protein content) and Be Smart. With their help you can boost your energy and immune system with vitamins and minerals, as well as with beneficial phytonutrients and antioxidants. There is also a different selection of superfood raw bars available in the e-shop, which are very convenient to consume as a quick snack.

Here is an example of a one-day menu with balanced carbohydrate intake:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries and almond chips + a little bit of unflavored yoghurt
Snack: Be Active Red Velvet blackcurrant-almond raw bar
Lunch: Whole grain rice with salmon and vegetable salad (at least half a plate of vegetables, ¼ a plate of whole grain rice and ¼ of a plate for salmon)
Snack: Smoothie (e.g.: banana, spinach, frozen berries, a couple of cauliflower florets, 1 tablespoon Be Healthy superfood mix + water/plant-based milk) + a handful of nuts
Dinner: Oven roasted vegetables (e.g., carrots, onions, cauliflower, zucchini) with chicken fillet and two slices of whole grain bread
Snack: 1 glass of kefir* * can also be consumed together with the first snack

In this menu, the source of carbohydrate is represented at each meal and the amounts can be adjusted to the energy needs of each person. The menu is suitable for both active people and people who want to lose weight and ensures an even energy level throughout the day.

Nutritionist Diana Zintšenko

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