This might be the only time of the year that you pay any attention to blood sugar. The annual bombardment of sugary sweets is underway, and it may lead you to wonder why all this stuff might not be so good for you.
Sugar plays an important role in your health and functionality. It is your body’s preferred source of energy. Your cells store “glycogen” so you can breathe, walk, and pick up your next chocolate bar.
That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that more is better. Healthy blood sugar is all about balance. When adequate levels are maintained and don’t go too high or too low, you set yourself up to not only feel better, but reduce your risk for chronic illness.
Sugar enters your bloodstream when you eat. To move into your cells for energy, it needs a hormone called insulin. Your pancreas releases insulin and essentially carries the sugar to your cells to be utilized or stored as glycogen.
The amount and type of sugar you eat will have different effects on blood sugar and insulin production. Sugar cookies and chocolate bars boost blood sugar in a heartbeat. Those found in whole fruits or whole grains lead to a steadier and even supply.
When blood sugar is consistently heightened for extended periods, bad things can start to happen. Your cells may reject insulin and become insulin resistant, leaving sugar in the bloodstream to cause a number of problems, one of which is type-2 diabetes.
That, in turn, can lead to issues like:
- Vision loss
- Kidney disease
- Nerve damage
- Increased risk for heart attacks and stroke
- Cognitive decline
Blood sugar can also be too low. In order to push it back to a safe level, eating or drinking a sugary beverage may help.
To maintain a level of homeostasis, here are a few rules to pay attention to:
- Eat every 3-4 hours
- Avoid high-sugar snacks and beverages
- Select whole grains instead of refined grains
- Choose fruits, vegetables, and nuts as snack food
- Get adequate exercise
Blood sugar levels are very important and can affect health in a number of ways. Watch intake to limit the risk of chronic diseases like type-2 diabetes.