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- Control Carbohydrates – Controlling carbohydrates means cutting out more than just added sugar, but taking the step to cut out added sugar will go a long way in controlling your carbohydrate ingestion. One of the keys to controlling carbs is to recognize all the foods that contain carbs. Of course sugar is one, and we all know that bread, cereal, and cracker products are chock full of carbs. But whole grains, root veggies (especially when cooked), and fruit can be high sources of carbohydrate as well. These carb sources are the healthiest choices, but if controlling blood sugar is your end game, even healthy carbohydrate sources should be consumed in moderation. Do you really need that entire baked potato, or will half do? Or rather than consuming 1/2 a cup of cooked brown rice with stir fry, try garnishing your meal with 1/4 cup, and add more veggies for bulk. And when it comes to fruit, opt for lower sugar, nutrient dense sources like berries as often as you can.
- Supplement with cinnamon – Cinnamon has been shown to aid in controlling blood sugar levels by increasing glucose uptake in cells. It’s easy to incorporate cinnamon into your diet daily. Mix it into coffee, sprinkle it over yogurt or fruit, blend it into smoothies, or you can even incorporate it into savory dishes.
- Eat carbohydrates later in your meals – It’s a cultural norm to start a meal with some crusty bread and butter. But a study conducted by a group of researchers at Weill-Cornell Medical College showed that just by eating protein and veggies first, and then consuming bread after, blood sugar was 30% lower than when bread was consumed first in the meal.
- Excercise – In order to create energy, your cells use a combination of glucose and fatty acids to create ATP, the energy transporter in the body that is responsible for metabolism. When muscles are under a higher energy demand due to exercise, more glucose is pulled out of the bloodstream for energy use, thus naturally lowering blood sugar. This process also increases insulin sensitivity on cell receptors, allowing more glucose to pass into cells for metabolic use.
- Supplement with whey prior to meals – A study was conducted by researchers in Israel that had controlled groups consume whey protein or placebo prior to eating a meal. Halfway through the experiment they switched the whey and placebo groups (those who were consuming whey were now consuming placebo) to see if the results measured the same across the board. Sure enough, when test subjects consumed the whey protein prior to their meal, post-prandial blood sugar levels averaged 28% lower than those consuming placebo. It’s not yet known why whey had this effect, but it’s important to note that it was just straight whey used, not a sweetened and artificially flavored whey protein mix. My favorite clean whey protein is Natural Protein from Natural Stacks, but there are lots of clean, grass-fed whey proteins out there.
- Diabetesjournal.org – Global Prevalence of Diabetes
- CDC.gov – National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014
- Diabetes Self Management – Whey Protein to Prevent After-Meal Blood Sugar Spikes?
- Food World News – Eat Bread At The End Of Meals And See the Benefits
- American Diabetes Association – Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes
featured photo credit: Mike Mozart via Flickr