New research has revealed that just 2 minutes of exercise after eating can lower our blood sugar levels – even if we splurged on that pack of bikkies. Here’s how – plus a few other ways to manage those blood sugars.
Many of us are living on a high-sugar diet, primarily revolving around overly-processed foods. The result? Unbalanced blood glucose levels. But this new study shows that a quick walk – and even just intermittently standing up – may have a significant impact on our haywire blood sugars. This is because our levels tend to spike around 60 to 90 minutes after eating, so getting moving soon after that meal is the best time to counter the effects. But it’s not the cure-all for unhealthy eating – while this latest research shows that a simple 2 to 5-minute walk after a meal can lower glucose levels by 9.5%, it’s worth noting our dietary choices still put us at risk for a range of metabolic diseases – that’s right, these small choices we make around meal time can have massive consequences to our overall health.
The development of visceral fat is one of the big consequences of sugar consumption – no matter how much exercise you’re putting in, you can run but you can’t hide from fructose. Visceral fat is the dangerous kind of fat which wraps around our organs and leads to obesity, diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the latter of which is projected to become the become the leading cause of cirrhosis in the next 10 years. Obesity is another consequence of a high-sugar diet, with studies drawing a direct link between sugar consumption and this condition – and with another study showing we’re eating over 4 times the daily sugar limit, it’s no surprise obesity rates have tripled since 1975.
But before those debilitating conditions take hold, one of the early signs there’s something amiss in your diet are the blood sugar spikes that follow your meals and snacks. If you’re noticing the same collection of symptoms after eating, it could be a sign to shake things up a bit. Take a look at some of the signs you’ve spiked your blood sugars:
- Mood swings
- Tingling in hands and feet
- Blurry vision
- Increased thirst
- Increased hunger
- Increased thirst
How to reduce your blood sugar levels
While the research does indicate getting a couple minutes of exercise after a sugary meal – or an oversized meal – can help reduce your blood glucose levels, repeatedly consuming unhealthy foods still increases your risk for the development of metabolic syndrome. Plus, the excess sugars in a number of household staples can dose you with double or even triple the daily limit for sugar – and not even a marathon could keep your blood sugars stable when you’re eating this way on the regular. So, here are a few dietary changes to make to keep your blood sugar levels, and your whole-body health, in check.
Avoid sugar and highly-processed goods
This sweet substance is the major offender for getting our blood sugar levels out of whack, and reducing our consumption is the first step to enjoying some blood-glucose harmony. Avoid the following:
- Commercial-baked cakes and cookies
- Fast food
- Fruit juice
- Sugary sauces
Keep the following to a minimum:
- White rice
- White bread
Eat fibre and slow-release carbs
Unlike refined and highly-processed foods, these slow-release carbs are digested slower, ensuring the sugars hit our bloodstream at a more controlled rate. Fibre also plays an essential role in blocking sugar spikes – here’s how. It slows our absorption of the sugars in our food, meaning they won’t hit our bloodstream in the way a white bread sandwich with some chocolate spread would. Go for whole fruit and veggies, nuts and seeds, whole grains and fermented foods.
Get those healthy fats
These fats are like the anti-sugar – unlike that sweet white stuff, which can make us ravenous, healthy fats are satiating and help us stay fuller for longer. Yoghurt and coconut milk, for example, are packed with medium chain triglycerides, which have been found to decrease appetite and curb sugar cravings. This will keep us from binging on sugary foods and ensure we stay full between meals – meaning our blood sugar levels will stabilise. Monounsaturated fats are another exceptional nutrient which studies have found to help balance blood sugars and prevent insulin resistance.
Don’t forget the protein
This stuff isn’t just good for muscle development, it’s essential for regulating our appetite, having been found to balance our satiety hormones, reduce cravings, support weight loss and even balance blood-sugar levels. Eggs, tofu, legumes and nuts are great sources of this nutrient.
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