Maintaining stable energy levels throughout the day is a common struggle for many people. From feeling sluggish after lunch to experiencing a mid-afternoon crash, it can be challenging to keep up with daily demands when our energy levels are constantly fluctuating. While many factors can influence how energetic we feel, one of the key players is blood sugar. Our body relies on a delicate balance of fuel supplies to power our cells and provide us with the energy we need to function. In this blog, we will explore the link between blood sugar and energy levels and leave you with actionable tips for maintaining balance to help you feel your best throughout the day.
The Science Behind Blood Sugar and Energy
How exactly does blood sugar affect our energy levels? It all comes down to how our body processes glucose, a source of energy for our cells. When we consume carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose, which enters our bloodstream. This rise in blood sugar triggers the release of insulin, a hormone that allows our cells to take in glucose and use it for energy. When our glucose levels are controlled, this is a great way for our body to provide the fuel we need to power our activity (both physical and mental). However, if our blood sugar levels spike too high, our bodies want to bring our glucose levels down into a manageable range as quickly as possible. Thus, we release extra insulin. This results in an overcompensation that causes a rapid drop in blood sugar levels below our normal values. This sudden decrease in blood sugar can leave us feeling fatigued, irritable, and low on energy.
On the other hand, if our blood sugar levels remain consistently low, our body may struggle to maintain adequate energy to function properly. This can have us feeling sluggish. It becomes an uphill battle to stay focused and get through the day.
Understanding the connection between blood sugar and energy levels is crucial for finding strategies to maintain balance and sustain our energy throughout the day. In the next section, we will delve deeper into how irregular blood sugar levels can affect our energy and overall well-being.
How Irregular Blood Sugar Levels Affect Your Energy
Our energy levels are heavily influenced by the balance of our blood sugar levels. When our blood sugar levels rollercoaster between extreme highs and lows throughout the day it becomes exhausting for the body to manage. Let's explore how these fluctuations affect our energy and well-being.
First and foremost, when our blood sugar levels spike too high, it triggers the release of excess insulin to bring it back down. This rapid decrease in blood sugar can leave us feeling fatigued and drained. It's like a roller coaster ride for our energy levels, with the sudden drop resulting in a crash. We may experience feelings of lethargy, irritability, and difficulty focusing. This crash can disrupt our productivity and make it challenging to perform at our best. We usually experience this feeling a couple of hours after eating lunch, which is one of the reasons why we can feel like a mid-afternoon pick-me-up is needed. Another common experience is during the holidays, when we tend to eat heavier meals than usual (cue the post-Thanksgiving energy crash).
Conversely, consistently low blood sugar levels can also affect our energy levels. Without adequate fuel, our body struggles to maintain optimal energy levels. The brain is particularly sensitive to changes in blood sugar levels. This is because the brain’s primary fuel source is glucose. Thus, when glucose levels drop, cognitive function and concentration can decline, leading to feelings of fatigue and difficulty concentrating. If you’ve ever experienced feeling “hangry” then you can understand the strong connection between blood sugar and the brain.
In addition to the direct impact on our energy, irregular blood sugar levels can lead to a condition called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs when we spike and dive our blood sugar so much that the body's cells become less responsive to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels. As a result, the body has difficulty processing glucose properly, which is why insulin resistance is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. One in three Americans has some level of insulin resistance. This condition hinders our body's ability to access stored fat for energy. This further contributes to the feelings of fatigue, as our body is unable to efficiently use alternative fuel sources.
Maintaining balanced blood sugar levels is key to sustaining our energy throughout the day. In the next section, we will explore strategies to help you balance your blood sugar levels and experience consistent, sustained energy. Stay tuned for helpful tips to keep you feeling your best.
Strategies to Balance Your Blood Sugar for Sustained Energy
Maintaining balanced blood sugar levels is essential for sustaining energy throughout the day. Here are some effective strategies to help you achieve optimal blood sugar control and experience consistent, sustained energy.
- Include protein and healthy fats in your meals: Protein and fats slow down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, preventing sharp spikes in blood sugar levels. Incorporate lean protein sources like chicken, fish, tofu, or legumes, and choose healthy fats like avocado, nuts, and olive oil. The majority of the American population does not consume the recommended daily intake of protein so focusing on this macronutrient is a great place to start.
- Stay hydrated: Hydration is an often overlooked aspect of blood sugar control. Dehydration can impact blood volume and concentration, leading to fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain hydration and support optimal blood sugar control.
- Use Tools like GOOD IDEA: With so many different factors contributing to the body’s blood sugar regulation process, it’s nice to have some tools available to help as we work toward more stable blood sugar and better energy levels. GOOD IDEA is one such tool that can be a healthy way to support our blood sugar goals. Backed by over 11 peer-reviewed research studies, GOOD IDEA is a lightly carbonated sparkling water that has been shown to reduce post-meal blood sugar by an average of 25%. Each GOOD IDEA contains five essential amino acids and a small amount of the essential mineral chromium work together to reduce blood sugar. Drink 1/3 of a can a few minutes before your meal and finish the GOOD IDEA with your food to reap the benefits of more stable blood sugar. If you want to give GOOD IDEA a try use the code “HEALTHINSTITUTE” at checkout for 10% off your order.
- Limit refined sugars and processed foods: These foods can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a sudden drop. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the leading source of added sugars in the American diet. Swapping sugary drinks with sugar free drinks is a great place to start. An even healthier option would be to swap that sweetened drink with a functional beverage like GOOD IDEA, a sugar-free, calorie-free, caffeine-free sparkling water that has been clinically shown to reduce post-meal blood sugar by an average of 25%.
- Exercise regularly: Physical activity helps regulate blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week (totaling at least 150 minutes per week). Starting an exercise routine does not have to be daunting and there are plenty of ways to efficiently incorporate enjoyable activity into your day. Here are some great resources for how to get started with an exercise program. Be sure to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise regimen.
- Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can disrupt hormonal balance, leading to imbalances in blood sugar levels. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night to support overall health and energy levels.
- Manage stress: Chronic stress can impact blood sugar control. Practice stress management techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or engaging in hobbies and activities that bring you joy.
- Monitor portion sizes: Be mindful of the portion sizes of carbohydrates you consume. While carbohydrates aren’t inherently bad, too many or the wrong type of carbohydrates (e.g. processed and sugary foods) can send blood sugar on an unhealthy rollercoaster. Aim for moderate portion sizes to prevent excessive spikes in blood sugar levels.
- Choose Complex Carbohydrates: Not all carbohydrates are created equal. While sugary and refined carbohydrates (aka simple carbohydrates) quickly spike and plumet blood sugar, complex carbohydrates help to stabilize glucose. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest. The slowed digestion means that they take longer to break down into simple sugars. This results in a slow and steady release of sugar into the bloodstream, making complex carbohydrates less likely to spike blood sugar when compared to refined carbohydrates. Opt for vegetables (broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans), legumes (lentils, beans, and whole grains (buckwheat, quinoa). These complex carbohydrates release glucose into the bloodstream more gradually, providing a sustained source of energy. As an added bonus, complex carbs tend to have a high quantity of healthy vitamins, minerals, and fiber per gram.
By implementing these strategies into your daily routine, you can maintain balanced blood sugar levels and experience sustained energy throughout the day. Remember, small changes can make a big difference in your overall well-being. Be sure to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance. Keep these tips in mind and take charge of your energy levels for a more productive and fulfilling day!
Understanding the link between blood sugar and energy levels empowers individuals to make informed choices for their overall health and well-being. By incorporating these tips into your lifestyle, you can contribute to a more stable and balanced energy supply, promoting sustained vitality throughout the day. Always consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice, especially if you have underlying health conditions.
Remember, maintaining balance in your blood sugar levels is not only beneficial for your energy but also for your long-term health.