Post Contributor: Corrie Pikul
Blood sugar balance is a phrase a lot of people are using right now. The simplest definition? It’s when you’re giving your body the fuel it needs when it needs it—and the result is you feel like your best self.
A more detailed explanation is that your body uses sugar (or glucose) to give you energy, and the hormone insulin, created by the pancreas, controls the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. This is usually a self-regulating system, and you help it along by fueling up with healthy foods [Source: EndocrineWeb].
In people with prediabetes or diabetes, the system is blocked. They either don’t make insulin or can’t use it properly, so their bodies can’t properly regulate blood sugar. If their blood sugar levels drop too low (technically below 70 mg/dL), they become hypoglycemic, and may feel weak, ravenous, shaky, sweaty, cranky, uneasy – mentally and physically rattled [Source: MedlinePlus].
If levels spike too high (180 to 200 mg/dL), they become hyperglycemic. While they may not feel anything right away, they could become super thirsty, tired, crampy, or nauseous in this state.
Even those of us who aren’t at risk for diabetes can still feel off-balance if we aren’t eating properly. Certain foods (highly-processed, starchy, tons of added sugars) cause blood sugar to spike. This kind of energy is used up too quickly—like a newspaper in a campfire. You may not feel the high, but you know the low: Foggy-headed, tired, or fazed by things – or people – that annoy the heck out of you.
Other foods (whole-grain carbs like oats or quinoa, legumes, nutrient-dense fruit and vegetables) are like slow-burning logs: They’re a little harder to break down and provide a steadier supply of glucose, and therefore, energy. The good news is that by being intentional about what, when, and how you eat can provide a just-right level of energy. That’s blood sugar balance!