Updated: Feb 1
If you have Diabetes, you are probably on some blood sugar-lowering medication. Your doctor would also have advised exercise and dietary restrictions to manage your Diabetes over time.
Your blood sugar also varies throughout the day and it is vital to control these fluctuations. In the short term, a spike in your blood sugar, ( for e.g. following a large carbohydrate-rich meal) can cause a sugar rush, followed by a sugar crash (reactive hypoglycemia), which can be associated with cravings and lethargy.
Severe hypoglycemia can become an emergency.
In the long term, repeated spikes in your blood sugar can affect all the systems of your body like the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
Fasting and post-meal blood sugar along with HbA1C are routinely investigated to determine how well your Diabetes is controlled, but they give no information about the daily fluctuations in blood sugar. Continuous glucose monitoring(CGM) devices can do that but are neither available, affordable, or feasible for all. So, while you may think all is well, looking at your HbA1C, you will miss those fluctuations, and that's okay. It is neither practical nor advisable for everyone to be on a CGM device. What's important is to be able to prevent and control those fluctuations.
You'll be surprised at how well you can manage your blood sugar spikes by making some very small changes in your daily life! Physicians often forget to recommend these because they aren't part of "conventional medicine", but using these strategies will give you and your physician that extra edge to better manage your Diabetes.
1: Watch what you eat
Replace simple sugars with complex carbohydrates for e.g., try replacing white bread with bread made from whole grains. Complex carbohydrates are slowly digested compared to simple carbohydrates, so your blood sugars won't spike as much).
Add more fiber to your diet (Try a salad)Try a salad)Try a salad)
Eat more whole foods (vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts), which will slow digestion.
No processed foods. Stay away from food from a packet.
Look for foods with a low glycemic load as well as a low glycemic index.
Glycemic load(GL)=Glycemic index(GI) X carbohydrate content per serving
Glycemic load gives a good idea about how much a particular food can raise your blood sugar. Click on the button below for a comparison of GL and GI of some common foods.
2: Watch how you eat
Have your salad and veggies first.
Next, eat protein.
Then, the fat, and lastly, the carbohydrates.
This will reduce the rate of absorption of carbohydrates, limiting that sugar spike!
3: Practice mindfulness/meditation/any stress-relieving activity
Stress increases cortisol which in turn raises blood sugar, so controlling stress will help you mind your sugar levels.
Whatever the situation, stress can always be brought down to an extent by simple techniques like deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, music, or simply involving yourself in an activity you enjoy. So next time you are stressed, try to bring it down. Do think about those shooting sugars!
4. Take a 10-minute stroll after meals.
Burning some calories after food will keep some of those sugar spikes low.
Remember, these tips are great for managing those fluctuations, but for sustained reductions in blood sugar, you must follow a proper diet and exercise plan.
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