One of the biggest indicators of fat loss is learning to understand how to naturally regulate your blood sugar.
When we eat, our body converts carbohydrates into blood sugar (glucose), our main source of energy. Blood sugar levels can affect how hungry and energetic we feel. Glucose also determines whether we burn fat or store it.
Our pancreas creates a hormone, called insulin, which transports blood sugar into our body's cells where it is used for energy. When we eat refined grains, sugars, or other carbohydrate-rich foods lacking fiber, the pancreas goes into overtime to produce the insulin. This insulin surge tells our body that plenty of energy is readily available and that it should stop burning fat and start storing it.
An insulin surge causes too much blood sugar to be transported out of our blood and this results in our blood sugar and insulin levels dropping below normal. This leaves us feeling tired and lethargic and wanting to eat more. The unfortunate result of this scenario is we want to eat something else with high sugar content. When we do, the cycle begins all over again.
Now, insulin is the fat storage hormone, when your insulin levels rise, it stops your body from burning fat. It is impossible to burn body fat when insulin is present in the body. This means there’s more to the equation than just calories in and calories out.
What You Can Do
We’ll get into what to eat in a minute. First, it is important to understand what happens when you skip a meal or go on a crash diet. When you go for more than 4-5 hours without eating your blood sugar becomes unstable. Everyone knows the indicators; you’re tired, your brain isn’t functioning well, you’re cranky. The next time you eat your insulin will spike to obscene levels and all that you eat, even if it’s a delicious healthy salad, will most likely get converted into fat. Your body is not out to get you, it thinks it is threatened with starvation and goes into survival mode. It fights to conserve your fat stores. That’s just what you wanted right?
So what you have to do, is get the cells of your body to become more sensitive to the hormone insulin. You need to eat to nourish your body, deal with emotional and psychological barriers. Breathe and relax, don’t stress about what you’re eating as much as when you’re eating. It is so important to lower your stress because stress/cortisol causes insulin resistance.
- All simple carbohydrates- anything ending in “ose”- fructose, sucrose, laevulose, dextrose: Because of their small molecular size, simple carbohydrates can be metabolized quickly and are therefore most likely to cause an insulin surge.
- Table sugar
- Fruit sugar
- Dairy sugar
- Fat free salad dressings (Taking the fat out is bad enough, but when it is replaced with sugar your body is no longer consuming fat with your meal and the digestion process is sped up causing a greater insulin spike.)
- Canned fruit
- Peanut butter
- Canned soups
- Cereal claiming less sugar
- No sugar added (This usually means fruit juice, fructose, is present which will spike your blood sugar)
Regulating your blood sugar level is the most effective way to maintain your fat-burning capacity. Never skip a meal, especially breakfast, and eat healthy snacks between meals. Eating frequently prevents hunger pangs and the binges that follow, provides consistent energy, and is the most effective way to maintain metabolism efficiency.
Be prepared with healthy, high fiber snacks at all times. The fiber slows down glucose absorption and your rate of digestion, keeping your blood sugar level more consistent and warding off feelings of hunger. This makes eating apples and oranges a better choice than drinking apple and orange juice.
- Consume wild fish like salmon or herring at least twice a week.
- Add 2tsp ground flax seed or chia seeds to your daily diet.
- Eat nuts like walnuts or almonds, particularly when consuming a lot of sugar, be sure your dessert includes nuts.
- Consuming protein with each meal helps maintain stable blood sugar levels because it slows the digestion process.
- We’ve all heard of the Glycemic Index, look it up and try to incorporate foods into your diet with a rating below 55. Start with subbing sweet potatoes instead of russet potatoes, they’re much tastier anyways.
If you can incorporate these simple changes to your diet you should begin to experience better blood sugar stability. In addition to the benefits for your waist line, a low-glycemic diet can also help prevent diabetes, acne, headaches, heart disease, depression, yeast infection, and cancer.