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Want to lose weight? You'll need to look after your blood sugars

Want to lose weight? Then you’ll need to balance your blood sugars!

Blood sugar is a measurement of the level of glucose in our blood stream. Our body uses glucose as it’s main source of fuel, but depending on our diet (and a few other important factors, especially sleep!) the levels in our blood change. The basic equation is: if we eat a meal loaded with refined carbohydrates, our blood sugars rise quickly, and then also drop faster - leading us to feel hungry sooner. If we eat a well-balanced meal with well-sourced carbohydrates (think: vegetables!) combined with a good amount of fat and protein, then our blood sugars rise slowly and we feel satiated for longer.

What are refined carbohydrates?

Refined carbohydrates have next to no nutrient value, and even the savoury types will illicit the same blood glucose response.

- Flour, bread, pasta, white rice

- All types of sugar – cakes, biscuits, lollies, chocolate, fizzy drinks

- Look out for hidden sugars in foods, too – any type of packaged sauce (tomato, stir-fry etc), flavoured yoghurts. Always read the label of any processed food you’re buying.

- Alcohol

What are complex carbohydrates?

Complex carbohydrates are carbohydrates that haven’t undergone any sort of processing. They are higher in fibre, and digest more slowly.

- Vegetables

- Whole grains and legumes

- Nuts

- Fruit

It’s important to note that whole grains, legumes & fruit will all also spike your blood sugars to varying degrees, so if you’re wanting to lose weight and/or have insulin resistance, keep your intake of them to a moderate level, and aim to get most of your carb requirements through vegetables.

There are lots of good reasons aside from weight loss to keep a check on your blood sugars. One is your energy levels – you’ll feel less tired if you keep your blood sugars steady throughout the day. 3pm slump? Perhaps what you’re eating through the morning needs tweaking. Higher blood sugar also causes inflammation, lowered immunity and long-term can lead to insulin resistance and metabolic disease.

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