Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, comes from the food we eat. The body accumulates the blood sugar by digesting some food we eat into a sugar that circulates in the bloodstream which is then used for energy. The sugar that isn’t needed to fuel the body will be stored in the cells right away for later use. Normal blood sugar levels are less than 100mg/dl having fasted for atleast 8 hours and they are less than 140mg/dl two hours after eating.
Food has a direct effect on your blood sugar level. Some food raise the blood sugar level more than others and one of the important way of managing diabetes is knowing what and how much to eat, develop a eating plan that aims to control your blood sugar level as well. When you eat the wrong foods, it can raise your blood sugar and insulin levels and promote inflammation, increasing your risk of disease.
Having too much sugar in your blood can be harmful. The more you know about how eating affects blood sugar, the better you can protect yourself against diabetes. If you are diagnosed of diabetes already, this will help you know how the food you eat affects your blood sugar.
What happens to the food you eat?
Your body breaks down the food you eat and absorbs the food into different parts that can be nourishing to the body. These parts are
- Vitamins & other nutrients
They are the starches, sugar and fiber in foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables, milk product and sweets. They raise the blood sugar faster and higher than other nutrients in foods such as protein and fats. Your knowledge of the foods that contains carbohydrate and the amount you have in a meal is helpful for blood sugar control. It is preferred you choose your carbohydrate nutrient from healthy sources such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains (high fiber) than sources with added sugars, fat and salt. The more carbohydrates you eat, the higher the levels of sugar you will have released as you digest and absorb your food
This class of food is important in eating a balanced diet; they can keep you from feeling hungry. Unlike carbohydrates, they do not raise your glucose. However, you should consume them with control to prevent weight gain.
They are necessary part of a balanced diet, especially the healthy fats from fish, nuts and seeds. They do not raise blood glucose but are high in calories and can cause weight gain. If you consume more calories than you burn in a day, those calories will be converted into fat and stored in your body. The more weight you gain, the less sensitive your body becomes to insulin. As a result, your blood glucose level can rise.
Fiber is one component of carbohydrates that isn’t converted into sugar. This is because it can’t be digested. Fibers are important for health and won’t affect your blood sugar levels
Healthy eating habits
- Have regular meals with proper portion sizes
- Eat variety of nutrient rich foods in each meal balanced with healthy fats, proteins, whole grains, vitamins in appropriate sizes
- Choose calorie-free liquids such as unsweetened tea, coffee or water
- Choose sugar substitutes
- Choose lower salt options
It is important to note that your choice of food and how much you eat is relative to your blood sugar level. If you eat more than you need, you blood sugar rises. To help prevent and manage diabetes, have a good sense of portion control of food.