Nutrition

How to balance blood sugar and control your hunger

By: Rena Greenberg

Author: Canadian Living

Nutrition

How to balance blood sugar and control your hunger

By: Rena Greenberg

Eating to keep blood sugar levels steady
To have a stable blood sugar level and be free from food cravings and obsessions, you will need to eat in a way that creates balance inside your body. When you are in a state of equilibrium, you will feel satisfied with the food you eat, and you will eat as a way to satisfy physical hunger and keep your blood sugar stabilized rather than simply due to appetite.

The body always seeks equilibrium
Be assured that you will still fully enjoy the foods you select, but will be much more connected to what type of food your body needs in the moment, based on what you have already eaten. In other words, if you had a complex carbohydrate such as a sweet potato at the last meal -- though it is a healthful choice -- you will begin to intrinsically have a sense that the next thing you eat needs to balance that so you don't end up with too much carbohydrate in your system. That's because even complex carbs, in excess, can affect your blood sugar level. You need to keep your blood sugar steady by including high-quality protein (for many of us, this has to be animal protein to cure cravings), omega-3 healthy fat such as olive oil, water-rich food such as vegetables, and complex carbohydrate, in your meals.

Because you just ate a carb -- albeit a complex one -- a good way to restore and maintain an inner stability would be to choose protein, healthy fat, and green vegetables, such as a salad with olive oil dressing and broiled salmon on top. When we are in a healthy and balanced state, after we eat carbohydrate or protein, we tend to crave water-rich food such as veggies. The body always seeks equilibrium. However, when we are out of balance, we just keep craving more carbs in a thwarted attempt to self-correct. The more simple carbs we eat, the more out-of-balance we become.

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Excerpted from The Craving Cure: Break the Hold Carbs and Sweets Have on Your Life by Rena Greenberg. Copyright 2007 by Rena Greenberg. Excerpted with permission from McGraw-Hill. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.

 

A new freedom to enjoy food
Eating vegetables at every meal also assures that your body is ingesting plenty of fibre, which is essential for optimal health and digestion, as well as providing a feeling of fullness. (Fruit -- both fresh and dried -- is high in fibre as well, but because of its high sugar content may not be the best choice for many people, as fruit can increase cravings for more sweet foods.) Fibre slows the rate at which sugar and fat enter the bloodstream, which lowers your potential food cravings for weight gain.

When the blood sugar is steady, you are in a state of flow -- open to life and feeling fully alive. In this state, cravings subside, and you have a new freedom to enjoy food, but no longer be obsessed with it. What keeps you in this steady state is eating in a balanced way, selecting items from the healthful categories of food, drinking lots of water to keep your body clean and well-hydrated, eating lots of fibre-rich foods to slow the rate at which the food is turned to sugar in the body, exercising to increase metabolism, and eliminating all those harmful, processed, high-sugar, high-trans-fat foods from your system.

Simple eating
As long as sugar is in your system, you are very likely to continue to crave it. It is very important to be aware of the many hidden sources of sugar. If you are going to eat processed food (and it's difficult to avoid it completely), ready the labels. Other words for sugar are honey, maple syrup, glucose, lactose, fructose, maltose (anything that ends in -ose), sorbitol, alcohol (such as white wine), and corn syrup. Even sugar substitutes can cause the same blood sugar reaction that refined sugar does. When it comes to determining which foods are best for you and which foods need to be avoided, there is no exact science. It is much more of an art to lean to know your body and be aware of its predictable reactions. Realize that the more processed the food you are eating, the more difficult it may be to keep your blood sugar steady and avoid cravings.

Recently I was on a cruise ship and noticed that after a couple of days I started to eat foods that I typically don't eat at home. Sure, I was avoiding all the desserts, since they are not an option for me, but I started to eat more bread and butter than I was used to, and certainly larger quantities of food. Interestingly, I noticed that by eating more and choosing foods that were not best for my system, I actually began to feel hungrier and much less satisfied with food than I am used to. Also, I noticed that because there was such a large assortment of different foods, I was eating more than I normally would. Studies show that the greater the variety of food that is available, the more people will eat. That finding confirms for me my decision to simplify my usual diet by eating simple, basic food most of the time. For me, this actually makes my life easier and makes is easy to stick with a sensible food plan.

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Excerpted from The Craving Cure: Break the Hold Carbs and Sweets Have on Your Life by Rena Greenberg. Copyright 2007 by Rena Greenberg. Excerpted with permission from McGraw-Hill. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.

 

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Nutrition

How to balance blood sugar and control your hunger

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