I know I’ve been focused on education lately, but this pandemic has led to gym closures, less than desirable food choices, more time on the sofa, and stress eating has almost everyone in an unhealthy pattern.
I would like to share a plan with you that I learned over 13 years ago when I was pregnant with my 3rd child. I was gaining weight way faster with this baby than I had with either of the first two, and my eating pattern hadn’t really changed. My doctor was concerned for gestational diabetes. I began taking my blood sugar 45 to 90 minutes after eating. (I already had a glucose monitor that we use in my veterinary practice.)
I found that every time I ate carbohydrates, my blood sugar would run up into the 180’s.
A blood sugar level less than 140 mg/dL is normal.
A reading of more than 200 mg/dL after two hours indicates diabetes.
A reading between 140 and 199 mg/dL indicates prediabetes.
(Those numbers are from the Mayo Clinic website.)
Carbohydrates are all turned into sugar by your body. Elevated blood sugar levels can cause all sorts of diseases in your body. The very first thing is gaining weight. When your body sees high levels of sugar in the blood, it begins to deposit that excess into fat cells. If you keep eating a high level of carbs, your body will continue to deposit fat.
The way to burn that fat or stop the deposit of fat is to stop the increase in blood sugar. Your body sees ALL carbohydrates as sugars. So your body really doesn’t see much difference between a bagel and a donut. Or an orange and a piece of cake.
The biggest thing you must do is balance carbs with protein. Protein prevents rises in blood sugar. If you eat a minimum of 1 gram of protein for every 2 grams of carbohydrates, you will prevent that blood sugar spike. Fiber also helps keep blood sugar low.
So if you eat a slice of bread, it usually contains 15 grams of carbs. Now you must eat at least 8 grams of protein at the same time to prevent a blood sugar spike. 2 eggs will put you in a good place. Eggs are amazing sources of healthy protein. An average egg contains 6 grams of protein. All of the protein is in the white, so if you are looking to stay low calorie, skip the yolks.
There are so many good options these days! You can have “sweets” that are low carb and you feel like you are “cheating” when you aren’t. There are low carb tortillas, riced cauliflower, crustless pizzas, and much more. You only have to look.
The following information is from the CDC website:
Common foods with carbs:
- Grains, such as bread, noodles, pasta, crackers, cereals, and rice.
- Fruits, such as apples, bananas, berries, mangoes, melons, and oranges.
- Dairy products, such as milk and yogurt.
- Legumes, including dried beans, lentils, and peas.
- Snack foods and sweets, such as cakes, cookies, candy, and other desserts.
- Juices, soft drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks, and energy drinks that contain sugar.
- Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, corn, and peas.
Non-starchy vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, carrots, celery, green beans, lettuce, and other salad greens, mushrooms, radishes, spinach, tomatoes, and zucchini, have fewer carbs than starchy vegetables.
Try to limit foods that have added sugars, like sweets and fruit drinks, or are made with refined carbs, such as white bread, white rice, and most pasta. Instead, choose carbs such as fruit, vegetables, whole grain bread, brown rice, and beans.
Foods with about 15 grams of carbs:
- A small piece of fruit.
- 1 slice of bread.
- 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal.
- 1/3 cup cooked pasta or rice.
- 4 to 6 crackers.
- 1/2 cup black beans or other starchy vegetable.
- 1/4 large baked potato.
- 2/3 cup nonfat yogurt.
Foods with few or no carbs:
- Meat, fish, and poultry.
- Some types of cheese (check nutrition labels on packaged cheese).
- Oils and other fats.
Look for Atkins items. They have great frozen food options for meals.
Protein bars can be tricky. Always look for the protein to be half or more of the carbs. Robert Irvine has some delicious ones!
Adding exercise is a great way to increase your metabolism, but even if you can’t exercise much, increasing protein and decreasing carb intake will make a huge impact on your health!