SWEET TREAT - how to fix your mood & energy
Updated: Jun 10
Ever feel like life's out of control? Like you can't cope with extra demands? Or your mood swings are getting you down? You may simply be suffering from rapid changes in your blood sugar levels. Here are 3 common symptoms of low blood sugars;
Uncontrolled changes in blood sugar levels can really impact your life, and the lives of those around you. A brain that's experiencing blood sugar highs and lows will usually react strongly; when sugar is easily available, mood and concentration are better, but when the brain can't access sugar, chaos may follow. Fluctuating blood sugar levels are so common and are usually easily treatable, but are so often overlooked, (not only by clients, but by their healthcare professionals).
if you're experiencing the following signs and symptoms, balancing your blood sugars should give you much better control;
HIGHER BLOOD SUGAR
Better mental focus
Easy weight gain (especially around your abdomen)
LOWER BLOOD SUGAR
Sad mood, teariness
Irritability, aggression, negative Attitude
Poor concentration & focus, confusion
Sugar, fruit or carbohydrate cravings
Fit the bill? Here's what I recommend you do;
1) Eat regularly
Sounds so simple, yet it's often the underlying problem. I support 'grazing' patterns of eating rather than large meals occasionally. Because we 'fast' during the night, those times before our 'break-fast' are often when things spin out of control. When I treat kids, I especially focus on this time of day, so that mums & dads can stop the chaos by giving food to their kids soon after rising to prevent low blood sugars. Funnily enough, weekends are often worse, due to the lack of routine, sleep-ins and a later breakfast time. A fast metabolism in most kids can make the problem suddenly worse, so supporting their energy with food on rising is a great idea that can make family time more special instead of a war-zone.
The other time that may give more trouble is immediately after school, when kids come home hungry and need to have their blood sugars stabilised by an afternoon snack. Having something nutritious already prepared helps to avoid meltdowns in kids who are desperately needing to be fed NOW!
2) Have some protein with every meal
Protein can stabilise the flow of energy to the body, lessening the chances of low blood sugar levels. I recommend people have a protein food that's about the size of their fist with each meal. Good examples are eggs, meats, chicken, fish, nuts & seeds and dairy products like yoghurt & cheese.
3) Eat Low G/L Foods wherever possible
I don't use the common "low G/I" eating measurement, as it only measures how fast sugars from foods enter the bloodstream after they're eaten, and misses the important "how much" sugar is contained in foods. For instance, Watermelon has a high G/I rating, because its sugar releases to the blood very rapidly after it's eaten. While this is true, the actual amount of sugar in Watermelon is quite low, so the impact on actual blood sugar is minimal.
A list of low G/L foods is available to my clients, or you can check out some lists on the web if you wish. Some simple examples of low G/L foods are; strawberries, avocado, meats and wholemeal bread. High G/L foods to watch out for include; bananas, dates, white rice and french fries.
4) Allow for exercise
Having a small amount of low G/L food before and after exercise can help avoid the low blood sugars that may result from greater energy use. When treating athletes, I often find that increasing protein before their event gives greater benefits than the 'carbohydrate loading' strategy that's been commonly recommended.
5) Get checked out medically
Some underlying conditions may be causing your rapid changes in blood sugar levels, so It's important to make sure that these have been eliminated as causes in each case. Some examples include;
Adrenal or pituitary hormone imbalances
I recommend you chat to your Doctor or Health Professional if you suspect something more serious is happening, especially if my recommendations as given above don't help you.
6) See your Naturopath
As a Naturopath, I look at the whole picture, making sure that;
there's no obvious underlying disease
eating patterns and types of foods are checked and balanced
each person's lifestyle and dietary intake work well together
If needed, I refer for blood tests or medical investigation. if all checks out well, I then have access to excellent supplements to assist in maintaining better balance of blood sugar levels. These are chosen specifically to match each client's situation and to avoid any possible interaction with medications.
And that's it! Sort out the underlying blood sugar fluctuations and you should find that life's more stable, peaceful & enjoyable, and you just may save yourself from spending money on unnecessary supplements or expensive diet plans.