Reducing the effects of carbs is beneficial if you’re trying to manage your hunger, balance your blood sugar, improve your skin health, improve adrenal health and cortisol levels, and even to manage conditions like PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and diabetes.
When you eat carbohydrates, there is a surge of sugar that rushes into the bloodstream. Insulin is then released by the pancreas, and its job is to REDUCE blood sugar by shuttling the carbohydrate (glucose-sugar) into cells such as our muscles and fat tissues.
The diagram above demonstrates what happens when the effects of sugar/carbs are rapid and immense. When a carb-rich meal is eaten, such as from pizza, ice cream, a fruit smoothie or a large serving of pasta, tons of insulin is secreted. Too much insulin secreted due to excess carbohydrate consumption results in a subsequent DROP in blood sugar after the initial rise. This is when you feel the effects of a "carb coma" and feel exhausted after a carb-heavy meal. When blood sugar levels drop too low, such as in this instance, CORTISOL is released by the adrenals to increase blood sugar levels again, further contributing to the blood sugar roller coaster.
If you are constantly hungry, constantly tired, irritable if you miss a meal and crave carbohydrates often, there is a good chance your blood sugar levels are mismanaged.
Chronically elevated insulin levels are the main culprit in PCOS as glucose and insulin increase testosterone production. Elevated testosterone levels are known to increase oil production in the skin, worsening acne and contributing to hormonal imbalances which also influence acne production.
Elevated insulin is also, of course, the main problem in type 2 diabetes, where individuals become insulin resistant.
Thankfully, there are many dietary and lifestyle strategies we can take on a daily basis to better manage our blood sugar.
Here are some strategies you can utilize to improve blood sugar levels:
Apple cider vinegar
1) FIBER, PROTEIN AND FAT:
When these are paired with carbohydrates, it actually slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream, resulting in a much slower release of insulin. This means you will not experience a large rise in blood sugar followed by a large drop. As a result, hunger levels are at bay and energy levels are maintained as you get a constant, slow supply of glucose to your body.
Great examples of pairing fiber, protein and fat to your meals containing carbs:
Chia seeds, avocado and protein powder in your fruit smoothie (instead of just pure fruit (sugar/carbs)
Avocado and hemp seeds on your toast
Making pizza crust with flax seed, coconut flour or almond flour (all high in fiber and healthy fats)
Adding chia seeds and coconut milk to your oats
2) APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Studies have shown that consuming apple cider vinegar before a meal helps to reduce both post-meal glucose levels as well as fasting glucose levels. The vinegar appears to work by inhibiting the digestion of starch. To get the best results, consume 1-2 tbsp of raw, unpasteurized ACV with 1/2 cup of water, 15-20 minutes before a meal containing carbohydrates.
I am sure you have heard that exercise is good for you, but it is because of what is called GLUT-4 receptors that make exercise particularly important for managing blood sugar.
Exercise is a powerful stimulus to increase skeletal muscle GLUT-4 expression, which increases disposal of glucose without increasing insulin production. Being able to lower blood sugar levels without increasing insulin production is very important for type-1 diabetics who do not produce insulin, as well as for managing the stress we place on the pancreas for insulin production. The best way to control blood sugar levels with exercise is to incorporate walks after meals and increasing physical activity to at least 4-5 times per week for 30-60 minutes.
If you struggle with mismanaged blood sugar, hormonal imbalances, acne and/or insulin resistance. I highly recommend my Healthy Skin From Within Ebook Guide!
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