Weight loss can be a tricky thing, but it can be even more frustrating when you feel like you are doing everything right, but the weight is not coming off. There are so many factors that can affect weight loss, but did you know that blood sugars can play a huge part in your weight loss journey, as well? Follow along with me as I give you a run through on how blood sugar impacts weight.
What Is Blood Sugar?
Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is our body’s main source of energy. When we eat carbohydrate-containing foods, it is digested and broken down into what we call glucose. When glucose enters our bloodstream, our body signals our pancreas to release the hormone insulin. Insulin is responsible for transporting glucose from our blood into our cells to be used for energy. This mechanism enables our blood sugars to stay within normal ranges, which is typically around 100 mg/dL or lower for a fasting blood glucose.
The Relationship between Blood Sugars and Weight Loss?
Glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles when our bodies do not need it for immediate energy. When the storage in our liver and muscles are full, the excess blood sugar is then stored as fat. Both excessive blood sugar, increased insulin, and a buildup of fat can lead to weight gain, and eventually, insulin resistance, which is the cell’s inability to properly respond to insulin. When cells are unable to respond to insulin, the result is type 2 diabetes.
The combination of both type 2 diabetes and ongoing fat accumulation can make it difficult to lose weight.
6 Ways to Improve Blood Sugars
When blood sugars are well managed, a desirable outcome is weight loss. As the weight drops, cells are able to respond more to insulin and take up glucose for energy.
Here are some healthy tips that you can implement to your everyday life to better manage your blood sugars:
Eating every 2-3 hours enables steady blood sugars and prevents you from getting too hungry throughout the day.
Try to incorporate foods with protein, fats, and/or fiber. These foods take longer to digest, which can help promote a more satiating feeling. It also helps level out blood sugars.
Practice portion control, especially while dining out. Split a meal in half, if necessary, and listen to your hunger cues—eat only until you feel satisfied vs. feeling overly full.
Limit added sugars that may be hidden in food and drinks. Be sure to read the food labels. To locate added sugars, look under the carbohydrate section of the food label.
Limit alcohol to 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. Try opting for lower calorie/carbohydrate alcoholic beverages. If you have diabetes, please consult with your doctor first before incorporating alcohol into your diet.
Exercise increases insulin sensitivity, which can aid in stabilizing blood sugars and weight loss. If you are undergoing insulin therapy, it is important to take your blood glucose measurements before, during, and after exercise, so you do not risk having low blood sugars, which can be very dangerous.
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