The media often leads us to believe that consuming sugar is the worst thing you can do to your body, but what they fail to mention is that sugar alone isn’t the enemy; the enemy is the added sugar in processed foods and refined carbohydrates that can wreck havoc on our bodies. Fruits, for instance, contain natural vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemcials that slow down the release of its sugar into the blood. This steadier stream of energy reduces huge insulin spikes that may lead to diabetes or other health impairments. But we still need to be mindful of our sugar intake and how our body reacts to these various types of sugars (yes, even sugar from fruits), especially those with diabetes or other blood sugar dependent conditions.
Fructose is the most abundant form of sugar in fruits. Fructose found in whole foods should not be compared to the processed forms of fructose, such as high fructose corn syrup, that are found in processed foods and beverages. Fructose is metabolized differently in the body and since the pancreas does not posses the cellular receptors that respond to fructose, fructose does not stimulate the release of insulin. However, fruit contains fructose, glucose, and sucrose so it will still affect blood sugar levels.
While the glycemic index (GI) – a rating on how a particular food affects your blood sugar – is a good way to get a general idea of how a food fares in the sugar department, other factors also play a role. What types of food you eat in combination, where those foods are grown, how they are prepared or processed, and how you specifically metabolize foods all affect the impact these sugars have on your body. The GI is a scale from zero to 100 with a higher number meaning it will raise your blood sugar higher and faster.
Low GI <= 55
Medium GI 56-69
High GI >= 70
*Avocados would have to be consumed in too large of a quantity to determine a glycemic index, therefore, it is found to be negligible, making avocados a low GI fruit.
** Glycemic index for raspberries has not been determined, however, the glycemic load of 3 out of 100 indicates that these berries do not greatly impact blood sugar and are similar to other berries as estimated above.
Some people resort to artificially-sweetened foods and beverages thinking that those foods are harmless. However, research is starting to show us that this is not necessarily the case. Studies have shown that, while artificial sweeteners may not spike blood sugar and insulin levels as much as table sugar (sucrose), they still cause changes that could potentially lead to problems for some folks. If looking for a calorie-free sweetener, I recommend choosing the natural form of stevia, which was shown to have a significantly lower spike in both post-meal glucose and insulin levels.
4 Boosts that Help Tame Blood Sugar Spikes
These ingredients have been shown to reduce blood sugar and insulin spikes.
1. Cinnamon – This warming spice stimulates insulin receptors, which make them more sensitive to this hormone and allows the cells to take up sugar from the blood more efficiently. Therefore, your body will not need to produce as much insulin in order to create the same effect.
2. Raw cacao – Be careful on this one – not all chocolate helps control blood sugar and most of the chocolate you find in the stores (processed candy bars with added sugars) actually increase blood sugar and insulin. Raw chocolate – in its purist form as cacao – contains chromium and phytochemcials that naturally regulate blood sugar.
3. Aloe vera – Some, but not all, studies suggest consuming aloe vera may lower blood sugar levels. If taking blood sugar-lowering medication or if you are diabetic, please monitor closely.
4. Chia seeds – Both the gelling quality and abundant fiber found in chia seeds helps slow down the rate at which your body converts starches into sugar. By consuming chia seeds in your NutriBlast, your body receives a slow, steady supply of energy rather than a roller coaster effect from spikes of sugar and insulin.
Sweet ‘n Stable Blast
- 50% Leafy green of your choice (spinach, collard greens, kale, Swiss chard, etc.)
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1 Tbsp raw cacao nibs
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 apple (cored and sliced with seeds removed)
- ¼ avocado (pit and peel removed)
- Water to the max line and extract