How to stabilize blood sugar levels, with Dr. Judith
Sent Wednesday, October 2, 2013
You are receiving this e-mail because you have requested information from Dr. Judith Boice.
I hope you are well! Continuing the series on blood sugar levels, here is information on how to stabilize blood sugar:
How to Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
· Eat protein every 2 - 3 hours. You do
not necessarily need to eat a 12-ounce steak every three hours. Beans, nuts,
and certain whole grains such as quinoa are protein-rich. Cheese is not a great protein source. Think of
cheese primarily as dairy fat with a bit of protein swirled in. Think of
regular meals like adding a log to a campfire every 2 - 3 hours. Adding small
amounts of fuel regularly to a fire maintains a steady burn. If you dump six
logs on the fire (analogous to eating one or two large meals a day) and walk away
for several hours, though, the fire likely will burn out by the time you
· Eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a mid-morning
and mid-afternoon snack. Make your main meals a little bit smaller (e.g.
perhaps three instead of four ounces of protein at lunch). Snacks might be a
half a bean burrito, a half of a tuna fish sandwich, a small bowl of bean soup,
or an apple with six almonds.
· Avoid simple carbohydrates, e.g. white
flour, white rice, and sugar. These foods race into the blood stream and spike
· Avoid even the "healthy" concentrated
sweeteners, such as honey and maple syrup. Although these sweeteners have more
nutritional value than cane juice sugar, they still will spike blood sugar
· "Evaporated cane juice" is the new
euphemism for sugar - doesn't that sound so much healthier? It's still sugar!
· Eat foods that are low on the glycemic index
(GI). This scale measures how quickly the carbohydrate in a food enters the
blood stream as blood sugar. The higher the rating on the scale, the faster the
carbohydrate enters the blood stream, and the more it spikes blood sugar.
Eating low on the glycemic index helps to stabilize blood sugar. Low glycemic
index foods slowly enter the blood stream, thereby steadying blood sugar
levels. Beans help stabilize blood sugar levels for 4 - 6 hours. Eating pinto
beans, black beans, or lentils for breakfast helps steady blood sugar for
· Eating food intolerances and/or food
allergies can spike blood sugar levels.
· Exercise stabilizes blood sugar for a
couple of hours. A short, brisk walk after each meal (5 - 10 minutes) helps
tremendously in moderating the blood sugar spike that normally occurs after
eating. These short bursts of exercise are ideal for stabilizing blood sugar.
For cardio-vascular conditioning, the exercise episodes should be longer.
· Many patients complain that they don't
have time to exercise, or the weather disrupts their exercise schedule. During
the winter, I keep a small pedal machine in the clinic, so that I can exercise
for a few minutes after eating. These pedal machines are inexpensive (usually
$40 - $50), compact, and easy to use. Simply sit on a chair or sofa, place the
machine in front of you, and pedal away. You can also place the machine on a
table or desk and exercise the arms.
· Reduce stress levels. Remember that the
more stress you endure, the more you strain the adrenal glands. The adrenals
make glucocorticoids, hormones that help increase blood sugar levels after a
"crash." The more fatigued the adrenal glands are, the less capable they are of
helping to stabilize blood sugar.
· Certain nutrients and botanicals help
stabilize blood sugar:
o Adaptogen herbs
o Momordica charantia (bitter melon)
o Address adrenal and/or thyroid issues.
These glands must be functioning well to support normal blood sugar regulation.