Glucose is one of the most vital molecules in the body and a significant source of energy for cells. The liver acts as the reservoir of glucose as it is stored in the form of glycogen in the liver. Also, the liver plays a dual role concerning glucose. Besides storing glucose, it also produces glucose.
Glucose, the primary sugar in human blood, is produced when you consume food. At this point, it is known as blood glucose or blood sugar and provides the body with the energy it needs for both physical and mental tasks. In addition, the high levels of insulin and suppressed level of glucagon during a meal promote the storage of glucose as glycogen. On the other hand, when one is not eating or in between meals, the liver supplies glucose by turning glycogen into glucose. Since glucose impacts the essential bodily systems, changes in glucose levels or ways the body processes glucose can cause several health issues.
Metabolic health is related to glucose regulation. Therefore, monitoring glucose levels has advantages for understanding the need for lifestyle, dietary, or exercise modifications and insights into our health.
Who Should Check Their Blood Sugar?
The common misconception is that people with diabetes or prediabetes should only check glucose levels. However, the interesting answer is that everyone should. Spike in blood glucose levels due to eating the wrong or too much food, or simply having the right food at the wrong time, can be the start point of gaining excess weight. Unfortunately, the excess weight indicates poor metabolic health and can lead to severe conditions like diabetes, hypertension, PCOS etc.
Speaking to the experts at HealthifyMe, one gets a clear view of the importance of continuously monitoring blood glucose levels. A wearable device, BIOS, attaches a sensor that constantly monitors the real-time blood glucose levels in one’s body during a meal or restive state. The spikes showcase the foods that lead to blood glucose spikes and are likely to get converted to fat.
The exciting part is the food may be well within a moderate calorie range. But the composition of the food is such that it may not work for a particular person. Therefore, continuous glucose monitoring helps one to understand the unique relationship their bodies have with specific food items. The CGM technology helps them identify foods and activity levels that keep their blood glucose within the permissible range. Thus, it becomes the first point of prevention of metabolic disorders. Of course, the icing on the cake is that continuously monitoring your glucose levels helps maintain your ideal body weight.
Hypo and Hyperglycemia
When blood glucose levels go too low, a condition known as hypoglycemia, sometimes known as low blood sugar, develops. In addition, when there is fast-acting insulin “on board,” people who take insulin may experience low blood sugar if they take too much of it, time it improperly concerning food, or exercise more than usual.
Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar Prediabetes exists in this situation. When the body can’t correctly use its insulin supply or doesn’t produce enough of it, hyperglycemia occurs. High blood sugar levels can result from various factors, including Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, stress, disease, or the dawn phenomenon. Additionally, the elderly, pregnant, or people with medical conditions that affect essential body organs should closely monitor their blood glucose levels.
The HealthifyMe Note
One of the most excellent methods to understand any form of diabetes and how certain meals, medications, and activities affect your diabetes is to test your blood sugar levels. Your blood sugar level might be too low or too high if you have diabetes.
Blood Sugar Level Range
The WHO estimates that the typical fasting blood glucose level range is between 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) and 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L). Changes in lifestyle and glycemic monitoring become vital when fasting blood glucose levels are between 100 and 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L). Healthcare experts identify diabetes if the fasting blood glucose level is 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or above.
Hypoglycemia is when the fasting blood glucose concentration is below 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L). Conversely, hyperglycemia is when the fasting glucose concentration is between 100 and 125 mg/dL (not eating for at least eight hours). However, children, teenagers, and expectant mothers may have different parameters.
Optimising blood glucose levels through regular monitoring can have various benefits in terms of controlling metabolism, managing weight, understanding your ideal diet, and enhancing athletic performance. Different foods, workouts, or other factors can affect blood glucose levels. So, the awareness of glucose levels and the pattern of dives and rises can improve metabolic health.
Factors Affecting Your Glucose Levels and How Glucose Monitoring Helps
Our diet primarily influences our blood glucose levels. Therefore, regarding individualised dietary choices and metabolic health optimisation, looking at diet through the lens of blood glucose levels can be a game-changing tool.
Your body breaks down everything you eat and absorbs the food’s constituent elements. These pieces consist of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbs.
Your body converts the carbohydrates you eat to blood sugar. The more carbohydrates you consume, the more sugar gets released during digestion and absorption. Liquid carbohydrates are absorbed more quickly than solid foods. For example, a Coke raises your blood sugar levels more rapidly than a slice of pizza. Although fibre is an essential carbohydrate required for healthy bowels, the body cannot digest it since the human body lacks the enzyme necessary to digest fibre. Therefore the body can not convert it to energy.
Protein, fat, water, vitamins, or minerals do not create such random spikes. The most significant influence on blood glucose levels comes from carbohydrates. High-processed-carbohydrate foods cause the highest blood sugar spikes. Still, different people might react very differently to the same foods regarding their glucose levels. As a result, tracking your body’s glucose levels can help you design a diet best for your body type. You don’t have to avoid these meals while watching your carb intake. Instead, you’ll need to manage your portion sizes and, when possible, switch to whole grains. The more food you consume, the more sugar your body will absorb.
Eating diverse meals is advantageous. Also, the digestion of carbohydrates gets slowed down by protein, fat, and fibre. As a result, this will reduce blood sugar rises post meals. It’s also crucial how frequently you eat during the day. Eat every three to five hours to maintain steady blood sugar levels. The blood sugar may usually be kept stable with three wholesome meals and a few healthy snacks daily.
Therefore, the fundamental objective of routine monitoring is to make sure that the range of fluctuations in glucose levels, known as glycemic variability, is not too high. It will eventually assist in figuring out what foods will help keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range and fasting glucose levels in a low-risk zone by preventing glucose surges after meals.
According to research, having too many highs and lows in blood sugar can negatively affect your metabolic health and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Obesity is the leading risk factor for developing these metabolic disorders. The prevalence of obesity and overweight has increased significantly over the past few decades and continues to rise.
Since different people can have various glycemic reactions to the same foods or caloric intake, the process of gaining or losing weight is related to multiple hormonal pathways. Therefore, it is not as simple as moving calories in and out of one’s body. In actuality, insulin level, which depends on or is strongly related to blood glucose, governs fat deposition.
Real-time glucose measurements can help us analyse how what we eat can affect our blood sugar levels and, by extension, our insulin levels. According to a study, the amount of fat in the diet and the composition of those fatty acids in the fat component can significantly regulate insulin resistance.
The primary anabolic hormone in the body, insulin, encourages fat storage rather than the breakdown of substances. That is because our cells use glucose from the blood; if there is an excess, the body stores it in the form of stored energy or fat due to insulin. Since burning fat to lose weight typically entails burning glucose stored in the body as fat, insulin regulation is necessary to signal the body to burn fat rather than store more of it.
We can control that by keeping an eye on our blood sugar levels, which helps us better understand the physiological mechanisms that cause weight gain or loss or promote glucose storage.
Since blood sugar is an energy source during exercise, it can significantly affect blood sugar levels. Your cells use blood sugar as energy when you use your muscles. Therefore, physical activity can help lower your blood sugar for many hours after you stop moving, depending on the type and amount of exercise you do.
Exercise improves metabolic fitness by increasing the number of glucose transporters that move to cells, allowing more glucose to enter and lowering blood glucose levels. Thereafter, by improving metabolic flexibility, or the capacity to switch between different ‘fuel’ sources like glucose and fat. In addition, the cells in your body can be more responsive to insulin if you exercise frequently. As a result, this will support maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels.
Performance in Sports
To improve athletic performance, athletes should continuously monitor their blood sugar levels. Also, this will help them better understand how their bodies use energy before, during, and after an athletic event. Furthermore, this will help them plan for the best time to eat and exercise to perform at their best.
Factors of Glucose Level Fluctuations
Before you had diabetes, your blood glucose (sugar) levels remained normal regardless of what you ate or how active you were. However, if you have diabetes, your blood glucose levels may increase, and some diabetes treatments may cause them to decrease more than usual. Blood glucose levels can be affected by various circumstances, and regulating these factors can require striking a balance. Even if you carefully monitor your diet and take your medications as prescribed, you will unavoidably have changes in your day-to-day levels. However, by being aware of these causes, you can take steps to manage them.
The following are some of the factors of blood glucose fall.
Alcohol, especially when consumed empty-stomachAdverse effects of other drugsExcessive insulin dosage or poor use of oral diabetic treatmentsNot enough food, such as an inadequate amount of carbs in a meal or snack or a missed meal or snackMore exercise or physical activity than usual can affect blood glucose levels. That is because exercise increases insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar levels.
The following are some of the factors of blood glucose rise:
Being inactiveInadequate insulin or oral diabetes treatmentsStress might result in the secretion of hormones that increase blood sugar levels.Side effects of other drugs, such as steroids or antipsychoticsAs your body fights the illness, hormones get released that elevate blood sugar levels.A lunch or snack with excessive amounts of carbohydrates is an example of too much food.Your body generates hormones that cause blood glucose levels to rise in response to short- or long-term pain, like the discomfort from sunburn.Periodic menstruation, which alters hormone levelsDehydration
Ways to Control Blood Glucose
One can keep blood glucose levels within a low variability range by several means, including the following:
Sleep Aids in Blood Glucose Level Maintenance
The metabolism of glucose and sleep are closely related. Lack of sleep can impact glucose management by raising levels of circulating cortisol. This stress hormone triggers gluconeogenesis, the process of producing glucose from sources other than carbohydrates.
Six days of sleep deprivation could be associated with increased evening cortisol levels and nighttime growth in hormone concentrations. As a result, it may lead to a sharp decline in muscle glucose uptake. Both of these conditions can also decrease insulin sensitivity. As a result, blood glucose rises can occasionally occur at night.
Leptin and ghrelin are two appetite-related hormones that get influenced by sleep duration. Sleep deprivation reduces the difference between these two hormones, which may result in metabolic irregularities that change how much food is consumed and contribute to diseases like diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
The body’s reaction to danger, both actual and imagined, is under the control of the sympathetic nervous system. Cortisol is released when the sympathetic nervous system gets stimulated by stress.
It serves as the body’s natural alarm system in addition to controlling blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Cortisol reduces insulin sensitivity in stressful circumstances due to elevated glucose levels serving as an immediate energy source. In addition, chronic stress and persistently high blood glucose levels make the pancreas less capable of responding to high glucose stimulation.
Exercise Keeps Your Blood Glucose Levels Stable
Depending on the activity, exercise can help us maintain our glucose levels, our metabolic flexibility, or our capacity to use fat and glucose as a source of energy.
Resistance training, low/moderate-intensity activities, and high-intensity anaerobic workouts like HIIT employ various fuel sources and might affect our glucose levels differently.
Diet And Nutrition Help In Maintaining Blood Glucose Levels
Consuming foods with a low Glycemic Index (GI), a measure of the incremental glucose response per gram of carbohydrate, is known to maintain or lower blood sugar levels. GI above 70 is known to be high GI foods. Below 50 are the foods called low GI foods. The rate at which blood glucose levels rise is influenced by how quickly food is absorbed or digested by the body. Compared to foods with a high GI, low GI foods are linked to fewer variations in blood glucose levels. But when it comes to the number of carbohydrates in a diet, the GI only provides a partial picture. Some claim that the rating system does not adequately account for the overall healthfulness of a dish. Therefore, one should consider a food’s nutritional content as a whole.
As per research, a low-carb, high-fat diet reduced insulin-resistant dyslipoproteinemia without negatively affecting low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol. Additionally, it’s vital to avoid foods and beverages containing a lot of sugar, trans fats, and simple carbs, as well as those with a high GI and glycemic load. Additionally, the Mediterranean diet might lessen insulin resistance.
In this diet, the key priorities are seasonal eating and using plant-based fats like olive oil for cooking and certain fruits for desserts.
The HealthifyMe Note
There are several techniques to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Finding out where your levels are at is an excellent first step. Next, you can learn valuable information from glucose monitoring, such as glucose fluctuation.
Our metabolic health can get significantly impacted by the amount of glucose in our blood. Regarding the risk of illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and several other chronic conditions, how glucose gets metabolized and the ensuing insulin levels play a significant role. Consistently checking our blood sugar levels can help us manage them and maintain them within the ideal range. It can also teach us what causes our blood sugar levels to rise and fall and suggest the best times to eat and exercise. Monitoring one’s sleep, stress, nutrition, and exercise can also help determine how to live a healthier lifestyle and prevent blood sugar rises.