When we eat, and our food is digested, our blood sugar levels spike giving us the energy we need to sustain our day. However, when we eat foods that are high GI (glycemic index), particularly high refined carbohydrates such as white bread and sugary foods, our blood sugar levels spike at a much faster rate. The brain then signals the pancreas to release insulin to bring down blood sugar to a normal level again. Once sugar is too low, the brain signals the pancreas to release the hormone glucagon. This sets off a sequence of events that converts glycogen, stored in the liver, into glucose to raise blood sugar levels to acceptable levels and so the process continues.
Consuming complex carbohydrates rather than refined carbohydrates will help to slow the release of sugar into the blood stream, providing a much more stable rise and fall of blood glucose. This will improve energy levels considerably, ease the load on the pancreas, help to regulate hormone fluctuations along with encouraging a healthy, happy mood.
As Easter is fast approaching, we need to think about maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, being mindful of its spikes and dips. The overindulgence of chocolate, pastries and other sweets can wreak havoc on blood sugar spikes, forcing the pancreas to operate in overdrive to maintain the fluctuations.
There are a few small changes you can implement to encourage a more sensible consumption of chocolate and sweets over the Easter period.
- Don’t consume chocolate or sweets first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, this will disrupt your blood sugar levels for the rest of the day
- Portion out a sensible quota of chocolate for you and your family for Easter Sunday, so you know what is being consumed on the day
- Consume smaller pieces at a time, rather than bingeing on a large load all at once by eating mindfully
- Replace milk chocolate and sweets with healthier options like dark chocolate with 70% raw cacao or the chocolate substitute, carob
- Make your own chocolate gifts with 70% raw cacao instead of buying milk chocolate
- Give other gifts rather than chocolate
- Make fun snacks in replace of chocolate, such as sandwiches cut out in the shape of Easter eggs or bunnies
- Consume cinnamon, this will encourage sugar to move from your blood stream into your cells, helping to stabilise blood sugar levels
- Use stevia as a sugar substitute, to help minimise the amount of sugar being consumed
- Move move move, make sure you do some daily exercise to help burn off the extra kilojoules you have consumed. This also helps to move sugar into the cells more readily, thus improving blood sugar rise and fall
Wonder Foods stevia is a water based extract from organic stevia and is a natural alternative to sugar, is chemical free with no added nasties. Stevia (Steviol Glycosides) is derived from the leaves of the stevia Rebaudiana plant, making this all natural supplement a great healthy choice. It is naturally very sweet and considered 100 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, contains no calories and does not produce a glycaemic response like sugar does, making it an excellent choice for those limiting their sugar intake.