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Elsa Jones, Qualified Nutritional Therapist & author of bestselling book Goodbye Sugar
Learn how stabilising your blood sugar will help you gain energy and lose weight!
“I feel tired all the time”, “my weight won’t budge”, “I just
can’t resist my sweet cravings”, sound familiar? These are the most common words I hear from clients who are struggling with their energy levels and weight. And, I always tell them the same thing – the key to better health, energy and long term weight management is to become a master of your own blood sugar balance. Truly. When you get that piece in check, all else starts to fall into place.
Master your blood sugar, master your weight.
The body depends on a steady and even blood sugar level. Maintaining this level will help you to feel full of energy, stave off sugar cravings and help you to lose weight the intelligent way. Steady blood sugar levels also boost mood, memory and concentration whilst cutting the risk of blood sugar-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
How do Blood Sugar levels become unbalanced?
Unfortunately, most people’s blood sugar is not properly balanced and here’s why. When we eat sugary foods like chocolate, soft drinks, cakes, biscuits etc. our blood sugar levels rise rapidly giving us what’s called a ‘sugar high’. This is effectively a false energy which is very short lived. Unfortunately, for every up there is a down, hence the subsequent sugar crash which leaves us feeling tired and often craving sugar or caffeine to perk ourselves back up – the mid afternoon slump is a classic example of this.
But it’s not just sugary foods that cause problems. Other fast release carbohydrates including ‘white flour foods’, refined cereals, white bread, pasta or rice have a similar effect in that the body converts them into sugar very quickly. Regularly consuming these foods causes our blood sugar levels to go up and down like a seesaw which has three major effects: Firstly, it wreaks havoc on our energy levels, secondly it causes cravings for sweets and refined carbs and thirdly, it makes it virtually impossible to lose weight as our body goes into ‘fat storing mode’– It’s a vicious cycle!
The secret to stable blood Sugar
So that’s the problem, now let’s focus on the solution. Breaking the cycle and keeping your blood sugar levels balanced is actually very easy once you know how. Follow my five golden rules below to gain energy and lose weight:
No. 1: Limit fast release carbohydrates
It’s vital that you limit your consumption of fast release carbohydrates and instead focus on eating moderate portions of slow release carbohydrates such as oats, wholegrain bread, brown rice and sweet potatoes.
No. 2: Include a portion of protein with every meal and snack.
Protein can help balance our blood sugar and thus reduces cravings for starchy and sweet foods significantly. It also helps us stay fuller for longer and boosts mood and concentration. Aim for a good balance between animal sources (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy) as well as vegetable sources (nuts, seeds, beans, lentils tofu)
No. 3: Balance your plate
A balanced plate should consist of ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrate and ½ a plate of vegetables.
No. 4: Do not allow long gaps in-between meals.
Don’t go longer than 3 hours without eating something – 3 meals per day and 2 snacks is ideal. Always make sure to have healthy snacks close to hand so you have no excuse when temptation strikes!
No. 5: Limit stimulants
Limit your consumption of stimulants such as tea, coffee, cola and alcohol. Stimulants rev up stress hormones in the body which interferes with blood sugar balance and our nervous system.
To make it easy for you to apply these principles, I’ve devised a Perfect Balance Eating Plan which will keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. My flexible and effective eating plan is based on what I like to call ‘The Golden Ratio’ i.e. the perfect balance between protein, carbohydrates and essential fats. It’s also loaded with fibre, vitamins and minerals so you’ll get a daily blast of optimum nutrition.
Here is a sample menu. For the full version of my Perfect Balance Eating Plan, pick up a copy of ‘Goodbye Sugar’ book.
Breakfast: Bowl of porridge topped with flaxseed and mixed berries
Lunch: Chicken & vegetable soup, wholegrain crackers with hummus
Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese with whole wheat spaghetti and a green salad
Snack: A palmful of nuts with a piece of fruit
Elsa Jones is a qualified Nutritional Therapist and Author of the bestseller ‘Goodbye Sugar’. www.elsajonesnutrition.ie