People who have diabetes don’t have it easy, having to remember to take your pills or shots on schedule and to monitor your glucose intake all the time can take some of your freedom and autonomy away. If you think about it, it’s a small price to pay when loosing your limbs and even your life. Having diabetes sure takes a toll at your lifestyle. Even if we are no diabetic our glucose levels are far more important than we realise.
Before I continue I will remind you about some facts about glucose if you don’t remember. Glucose is one of the bodies source of energy, the other two are fats and proteins. Glucose is easier for the body to metabolize and to convert into energy, therefore when the body needs a quick source of energy it goes for glucose. The second fact about glucose is that our brains function on glucose. It is normal to see people eating candy while they are studying or after an exam or any other demanding mental activity because of this.
So here are the main reasons why you should keep your glucose in check:
If you have weight problems this particularly relevant to you. Because glucose can be dangerous for the body in high concentrations, the body secretes insulin, this hormone regulates carbohydrates (like glucose) and fat metabolism. Insulin stops the use of fat as energy source and signals the cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose from the blood, storing it as glycogen inside these tissues. If after a while the body doesn’t enter into any demanding fiscal activity after storing glucose as glycogen, it will be converted to fatty acids which then will be stored for the long term ride.
Since glucose is the quick source of energy, the body tries to maintain certain levels of sugar in the bloodstream if quick intense fiscal activity is suddenly required. The problem comes when there is too much glucose and insulin kicks in. When this happens glucose is stored, and its’ blood stream levels fall bellow what the body requires. If glucose levels are low the person starts feeling tired and hungry. Some people call this a sugar crash after the sugar high.
As I’ve already mentioned glucose is the energy source that the brain uses for its’ activity. Whenever a person needs to make a hard decision or to concentrate intensely or to solve difficult problems or even resist temptation glucose is used up by the brain. Ego depletion is a state where brain glucose levels are low and the ability to work on this tasks is drastically affected. For more info on ego depletion check this Blog: http://youarenotsosmart.com/2012/04/17/ego-depletion/
connecting the dots
If you paid attention to the details of what you just read, you might have noticed that this problems have more connections than only glucose. If you overload your system with glucose you will feel a short burst of energy followed by a very low energy state. This is what is known as sugar crash. If you want to loose weight and keep your sugar levels low you will feel hungry and because you will experience ego depletion rapidly your ability to resist the temptations of a sugary treat will be drastically reduced.
What to do? What to eat?
One simple direct solution would be to ingest small amounts of glucose in regular short intervals. This could work but it would take a toll on your digestive system because it would have to work continually, and this wouldn’t be practical either. The smart solution is to avoid glucose altogether, and instead of eating sugar or carbohydrates that are quickly broken down into sugar, eat foods that are known to contain Low Glycemic Index. This foods are harder for the body to break down into glucose. This way glucose will enter slowly the blood stream without causing peaks in energy followed by sugar crashes and will maintain a steady flow of glucose into the blood stream.
Now you should control your food consumption depending on metabolism type, I don’t have weight problems, I was blessed with a fast metabolism. Because of this I don’t really mind eating sugar and simple carbohydrates every now and then but I really hate feeling tired and having low concentration after the sugar high wears off. That is why i try not to eat those kind of foods during work hours. Besides that I have a family history of diabetes which means that if don’t take care of my sugar intake I could be forced to control my blood sugar anyway, but in more extreme ways.
Do you control your blood sugar levels? In college many of my classmates used to bring candy to exams in order to fuel there brains. Do you have any of this practices? Like not eating carbs at lunchtime in order not to feel sleepy? Or eating pasta before a marathon? Leave a comment and tell us what has worked for you.