The zone


Eating very sweet foods like:

  • sugary cereal
  • fruit flavored yogurt
  • candy
  • cakes
  • cookies
  • soda and sugary drinks

can cause our blood sugar levels to become a real roller coaster ride!! Blood sugar levels refers to the percentage of sugar in the blood. These sweet foods cause our blood sugars to go very high and then they come crashing down. The crashing down is no fun.

Maybe you have experienced this after eating something sweet. Here’s the pattern: an hour or two after eating something very sugary, you may become very tired, hungry, a bit shaky, anxious, emotional and/or have trouble thinking. This is a result of low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia. In severe cases of hypoglycemia, people can lose consciousness and control of their bodies.

Guess what? Low blood sugar is resolved by eating something! But, if we eat something super sweet again, the blood sugars will go from low to way above normal. Being hyper-glycemic makes you feel over-charged and, well, hyper. This is the roller coaster ride: You go from being hypo-glycemic to being hyper-glycemic. You fly right through the “ZONE” where your blood sugars should be to keep you alert and full of energy.

The body does not like these extreme highs and lows and it sets us up for possibly becoming a diabetic. Riding this roller coaster ride for an extended period of time messes with your insulin levels. What’s that? Insulin is a hormone that breaks down sugar in the body and gets it into our cells to use for energy. Over time, if kept on a roller-coaster ride, insulin will become ‘resistant’ to picking up our blood sugar and putting it into our cells. This is called “insulin resistance” and is the step just before Type II diabetes.

You want to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day. That is, you want to stay “in the zone.” If you avoid refined sugars and eat meals that are balanced with protein, fiber and healthy fats, you reduce the risk of getting on the sugar roller coaster ride and all the complications that come along with it.

TIP! Meal tips to stay in the zone:

Instead of sugary cereals or pastries for breakfast, try a high fiber cereal with some fruit (to add sweetness) or eggs with whole grain toast.

At lunch, avoid sodas or juices with added sugar (anything labeled a “juice drink” has added sugars), drink water instead and try a piece of fruit if you want something sweet. 

At dinner, keep drinking water and take a good look at your plate. Now that you know what your plate should look like (yes, MyPlate keeps you in the zone!), see how what you’re eating for dinner matches the MyPlate guidelines in Nutrition 1! 

Get off the ride.  Get into the ZONE. Then get into the next post on cholesterol…

Post Question:

Do you ride the roller-coaster or stay in the zone?

Answer the post question here

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