I recently made a presentation at FIAT Chrysler in Shanghai on how to balance blood sugar for more energy. The presentation was part of a United Family Healthcare corporate wellness health initiative. Feedback from the attendees was great and it was a privilege to be part of FIAT Chrysler’s corporate health program. Being mindful of blood sugar levels is a good practice for all of us who are seeking to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
There always seems to be a new fad diet, supplement or super food on the market that is “guaranteed” to increase energy levels. We are constantly bombarded with the latest discovery – this week it’s “red berry juice from a newly discovered ancient rainforest, guaranteed to melt fat even while you jam hot dogs into your mouth!” 😉 All we can do is ignore these insidious adverts and instead strive to keep to a healthy, plant based diet, low in glucose spiking sugars and stimulants. It really is a guaranteed long term solution for better health and energy levels throughout the day.
There is a direct link between the food we eat and the energy production processes in our bodies. For example, dietary carbohydrates provide glucose that can be used by our cells for energy, stored by the liver and muscles as glycogen, or converted into fat if the intake exceeds the need. All the cells in our bodies depend on glucose; those of the central nervous system are particularly dependent.
High glycemic foods will cause our body to release energy more quickly, feel hungry sooner, and eat more. Low glycemic foods will release energy more slowly, make us feel fuller for longer and help us to eat less. Lowering the glycemic index of our diet can help prevent insulin resistance, improve blood lipids and reduce the risk of heart disease. Examples of high glycemic foods are white bread, corn flakes, cola and baked potato. Examples of low glycemic foods are beans, berries (strawberries, blueberries and raspberries), sweet potatoes, olives and nuts.
We may reduce our glycemic index by balancing high carb meals with fiber and fats. They help to slow down the digestion and adsorption of carbs so that glucose enters the blood more gradually. The glycemic index isn’t a perfect system, but is a useful tool. Some knowledge of nutrition is needed when following it. For example, ice cream has a lower GI than watermelon, but ice cream is not the better dietary choice!
Refined carbohydrates are rapidly absorbed into the blood stream and should be avoided when possible. Sugar should be limited to no more than 6 to 9 teaspoons of added sugar a day (roughly equivalent to one can of coke). However, the average adult consumes around 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day! [American Heart Association] This is equivalent to around 350 calories; which is almost 20 % of our daily calorie requirements. These empty calories; as well as piling on the pounds, may cause us to miss out on important vitamins and minerals.
Being somewhat of a sugar addict myself, I am taking part in the week-long ‘Sugarfree’ challenge by Better Bentos (see links below). I am adding to the challenge by adding alcohol to the mix of ‘forbidden’ items! I am also testing out a new vegan menu and will let you know how it goes in my next blog.
Until the next time – Eat Well Shanghai! 🙂