We’ve heard this a million times – eat less sugar. But, I think it’s really important to understand the WHY behind the importance of eating a low-glycemic diet and what that really means. The long-term consequences of unbalanced blood sugar include binge eating, weight gain, disrupted sleep, and hormone imbalances.
When you eat a simple carbohydrate, your blood sugar will rise, insulin increases, and sugar gets carried to the liver where it gets stored as glycogen. The excess sugar is converted to triglycerides, and the excess goes to your fat stores and you could gain weight in your midsection.
How does this affect our hormones? Insulin is a powerful hormone. With high insulin, cortisol increases, and the ovaries produce more testosterone and less estradiol – you end up with sporadic or no ovulation. This allows more free testosterone into the bloodstream and you end up with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and PMS.
Insulin also raises the action of aromatase, which is responsible for estrogen production. High estrogen can suppress follicle-stimulating hormone. Excess weight can also fuel more estrogen, both of these can lead to lower progesterone levels and the body won’t be able to support a normal cycle or a pregnancy. This can also cause irregular periods and women can develop PMS, PCOS, fibroids, and even endometriosis.
Additionally, higher glucose levels can cause wrinkles in the skin (because sugar breaks down the collagen matrix), constipation, yeast infections, anxiety, depression, acne, and a depressed immune system. How do you know if your levels are high? Make sure your health provider is testing your Hemoglobin A1c (normal levels are 4.8-5.6) and your fasting insulin which should be below 10.
So make sure you are eating lots of fiber-rich veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats, and less simple carbohydrates like bread, cereal, pasta, cookies, crackers, bagels, muffins, donuts, rice, and pizza. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy these foods, but our first focus should be on nutrient-dense whole foods that support a healthy body and healthy blood glucose levels. Starting your day with a protein-rich breakfast can help you get off on the right foot for the day. I like a two-egg omelet with leftover veggies or fresh spinach and a side of diced avocado. If you need support with your hormones or blood sugar balance, please come see me at www.UnlockBetterHealth.com.