The Best Way To Manage Blood Sugar Levels (BSL)
Which foods influence blood sugar levels? Living with blood sugar issues is not easy. Low blood sugar (Reactive Hypoglycemia), high blood sugar (Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance) or any condition that affects blood sugar levels can very easily controlled by what you eat.
The best and most effective way to manage any blood sugar condition is to minimize the total amount of carbohydrates consumed.
All Carbohydrates Affect Blood Sugar Levels
What you eat is a driving force affecting blood sugar levels, appetite and moods. Carbohydrate foods that easily increase BSL leave you moody and hungry fall into 2 categories:
- Sugar: candy, sweets, desserts, beverages (fruit juice, soda, hot cocoa, sports drinks), fruit, yogurt
- Starch: cereal, granola, bread, rice, pasta, beans, potato/sweet potato/yam and other tubers, peas and carrots, corn, legumes
These foods contain high amounts of carbohydrates (12-15 or more grams/serving). One hundred percent of these carbohydrates, converts quickly and raises blood sugar levels.
The more sugar, starch and high carbohydrate foods you eat, the higher your blood sugar levels will be.
Carbohydrate Foods That Have Little Effect on Blood Sugar:
- nuts/nut butters/seeds: almonds, coconut (unsweetened almond) walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, sunflower & pumpkin seeds
- fruits: avocado, olives, coconut (coconut milk), lemon and lime
- non-starchy vegetables: spinach and other lettuces, kale, bok choy, callaloo, broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, cucumber, mushroom and celery
- dairy: soft cheese (cottage, pot, ricotta, goat) hard cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, muenster, blue, parmesan) Greek yogurt, kefir, heavy cream
These foods contain less carbohydrates, 0-5 grams/serving. Therefore, follow serving sizes to help maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Foods With Zero Carbohydrates
Fat and protein have do not raise blood sugar levels.
protein: eggs, fish, turkey and other fowl, venison, veal/lamb, beef, pork, and game meat
fats: oils (olive, coconut, high-heat safflower), butter, ghee, mayonnaise
Misc.: broth, bouillon or consommé
The Yale school of Medicine has a list of foods with different amounts of carbohydrates.
Blood Sugar Testing
Some higher carbohydrate foods may not impact blood sugar levels as much as you might think. Especially if they are consumed in a single serving and combined with fat or protein. For example:
One serving of Alvarado Street Bakery flaxseed bread, Ezekiel bread or WASA fiber rye crackers topped with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter or avocado spread
½ an apple with 1 oz. of brie cheese
adds flavor, texture and nutrients that can help control appetite, moods and blood sugar.
I suggest you test blood sugar before you eat and 90 minutes after to determine how these combination foods affect your personal blood sugar levels.
One study suggests everyone, not just diabetics, might benefit from testing blood sugar.
Eating to Maintain Normal Blood Sugar Levels Wrap-up
The goal for anyone with any type of blood sugar condition should be to eat foods that impact blood sugar the least. Select foods containing the least amounts of total carbohydrates.
Ideally eat between 30-50 grams of carbohydrate/day (a ketogenic diet) but not more than 75-100 grams. If you know the carbohydrate content of foods and test blood sugar levels, you will feel less hungry, be more energetic and happy while maintaining normal blood sugar levels.