As Halloween approaches, are those sugar cravings sneaking up to haunt you?
How can we get through these sweet-filled days without completely ruining our blood sugar management? When you eat something sweet, your blood sugar increases (hyperglycemia). This is made worse if the sugar isn’t packaged with lots of fiber (aka it is a fruit). The more sugar you eat, the higher your blood sugar can go (cue the candy bar). The body pumps out insulin to tell the organs to uptake that sugar. Then comes the sugar crash (rebound hypoglycemia), where the body over-corrects and your blood sugar swings low. Here come the tantrums and fits, and I don’t means just from children! Ever heard of being hangry? This is what low blood sugar can do. People often have major symptoms, including anxiety, anger, depressive episodes, irritability, and dizziness from high or low blood sugar. If your blood sugar is out of balance on a regular basis, this leads to type II diabetes. So . . .
The goal is to KEEP YOUR BLOOD SUGAR STABLE! And how do you do that?
- Eat something fatty! Often sugar cravings pop up because our blood sugar is oscillating from high to low and back again all day long. This happens in direct response to eating quick sugar foods. Try instead eating a scoop of almond butter, some salami, turkey slices, olives, an avocado, or some veggies with guacamole. These fats can help stabilize blood sugar.
- Eat berries! They can help stabilize your blood sugar. Plus, if you freeze your berries and eat them as an after dinner snack, it can feel more like a treat. I also offer up frozen grapes as an option for my patients, as they are a little sweeter, so if the sugar craving is strong, sometimes they provide more satisfaction.
- Fiber – picking fruits (or better yet, veggies!) over candies and other sugary treats helps to stabilize blood sugar because of their fiber content. Fruits are also packed with antioxidants and nutrients to fuel your body. JUICE DOES NOT COUNT! Juice is the sugar of the fruits without all the fiber to slow down digestion and stabilize blood sugar.
- Eat regularly throughout the day. Eat healthy balanced meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar stable. That way you are not reaching for a treat as a pick me up during your day.
- Stay hydrated. It is easy to think you are hungry when, in fact, you are thirsty. Before reaching for a treat, drink a glass of water!
If the above ideas don’t help curb your sugar monster, there are other ways to help. You could try limiting yourself to one treat or space out how often you eat sweets. Other factors effecting blood sugar include amount of sleep and stress management. So of course, if you need extra support with blood sugar management, call your naturopathic doctor, herbalist, or acupuncturist.
Everyone needs a treat once in a while, but if we eat them all the time, our blood sugar becomes so out of balance that our hanger comes out! Don’t let the Halloween sugar monster get you!