Blood sugar regulation
by Ian Craig
in Blogs

I was interviewed last year by Carte Blanche on the topic of 'sugar' and sugar addiction. We talked about the negative consequences of sugar consumption - the obvious ones are becoming over-weight or obese and progressing through stages of insulin resistance and diabetes. However, one less obvious link to excess sugar consumption is systemic inflammatory imbalances - sugar is very pro-inflammatory and inflammation has been linked to pretty much all the degenerative diseases of our time: CV disease, arthritis, neurodegeneration, autoimmune conditions, and potentially even cancer.

So, it is in our very best interests to keep our sugar consumption under control. The Carte Blanche team asked me about the hidden sources of sugar in our food. That was the scary part - sugar is added to many cereals, drinks, bars, dairy products, breads, cakes, pastries, alcoholic drinks and even some meat products. It is extremely hard to avoid sugar unless you read the nutrition labels - so take a look at how many grams of sugar are in products and also what products are in the ingredients list. Be aware, though, that refined carbohydrates also have a sugar-like effect, so the Glycaemic Index (GI) of foods is an important consideration, which you can read about in the accompanying blog GI Myths.

For ultimate control of your blood sugar, you need to look beyond just how much sugar is in your diet. Consider also the overall carbohydrate ratio to fats and proteins - the low-carb approach can be useful to some individuals, but be careful not to over-do the carb-restriction. If your energy levels are dropping and other symptoms are appearing such as constipation, back off. Rather focus on a high vegetable intake - that is something that all nutrition experts agree on - the British government recommends '5-a-day', but I would even suggest as many as 10 portions per day, especially for some people. 

Click here to read more about blood sugar regulation in the Triathlon SA magazine.