What do you reach for at snack time on your mid-afternoon break? A pastry, maybe a candy bar and a soda? Do you feel like this gives you a boost of energy for a short window in time and then you just suddenly crash? Junk food has several short-term and long-term negative effects on the body. One of the most immediate impacts of junk foods is its effect on our energy levels.
I am sure all of us have heard the terms blood sugar or blood glucose. Glucose is the prime form of energy in the body – supplied by carbohydrates – and our bodies do NOT like it when our blood glucose is too low or too high.
Refined carbohydrates are filled with sugar and stripped of nutritional value. When simple carbohydrates, sugar and/or highly-processed foods are consumed, blood glucose levels rise above or fall below normal, which may lead to dizziness, weakness, or fatigue (Whitney & Rolfes, 2016).
This blood glucose concentration chart illustrates the dramatic rise and fall of blood glucose levels when we consume a candy bar versus an apple.
On the other hand, restricting healthy carbohydrate intake can have negative consequences on the body's digestive and absorption processes because the body will try to get energy from other sources, such as body proteins. That is not what proteins are for; proteins function as the building blocks for our bodies - structurally speaking - regulating the body’s tissues and organs, facilitating chemical reactions in the cells, messengers for hormones, among other purposes which will be compromised if those proteins are being used as the principle source of energy.
Moderate glucose levels support our bodies to continually maintain and repair our efficient systems, as opposed to allowing our blood glucose levels to drastically rise and crash throughout the day - sending the body into overdrive, which over time often results in Type II Diabetes.
So… how do we support steady blood glucose levels? We provide our bodies with balanced wholesome meals which include complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein - from reputable sources (Whitney & Rolfes, 2016). The recommended foods for maintaining healthy blood glucose levels are whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. Consistent eating at regular intervals also helps the body maintain overall balance.
As such meals are broken down in our bodies, a healthy gradual rise and fall of blood glucose develops.
Give it a try. Love the food that loves you back. Your body will thank you.
Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live.
Whitney, E. & Rolfes, S.R. 2016. Understanding Nutrition. Stamford: Cengage Learning.
Image Credit: Blood sugar stabilization: The key to healthy eating & healthy weight loss success. (2017). The Healthy Way. Retrieved from https://thehealthyway.us/about-us/?doing_wp_cron=1507737800.484258890151977539062