We hear a lot about blood sugar, but what exactly is it? And how is it affected by the foods and drinks we consume on a daily basis? Your blood sugar is basically the level of sugar (glucose) in your bloodstream, and it’s important to have a certain amount of it in your blood at all times because your blood carries this energy source to other parts of your body. body.
It’s when the amount of sugar in your blood goes up or down too much that it becomes a problem. If it’s too low, which happens to people with type 1 diabetes, you may experience extreme fatigue, stress, anxiety, and an irregular heartbeat.
If it’s too high, which happens to people with type 2 diabetes, you may experience extreme thirst and urination. If your blood sugar is too high for long periods of time, it can lead to serious illness.
That being said, how can we work to better manage our blood sugar? Although food and drink aren’t the only answer, choosing the right ones can help. To find out more, we asked a few expert dietitians to look at the worst drinking habits to avoid to better manage your blood sugar. Then, for more tips on drinking, here’s The Best Juice to Drink Every Day, According to Science.
Drinking alcohol in moderation is often harmless, but those with blood sugar issues should watch their intake, especially those with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). The American Diabetes Association also warns that many diabetes medications interfere with alcohol and can cause blood sugar levels to drop too low.
“It’s all too easy to let one drink turn into multiple drinks, so watch your portions during happy hour,” says Laura Burak, MS, RD, author of Slimdown with Smoothies, founder of Laura Burak Nutrition, and member of our team. medical. expert advice. “Drinking alcohol in excess can further lower your blood sugar and set you up for overeating, trouble sleeping, dehydration, and all the other negative effects that drinking alcohol can cause. Eat enough before you start drinking and name your drinks, as in “I’m only having 2 drinks tonight,” so you have a plan and can still make cocktails a healthy part of your life.”
It may come as a surprise to some, but the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists dehydration as one of the causes of blood sugar spikes. This is just one of the many reasons why it is important to drink enough water daily.
“It’s a great way to stay hydrated, and hydration plays a major role in regulating your blood sugar,” says Courtney D’Angelo, MS, RD, author at Go Wellness. “Also, water can help thin your blood, which can lower your blood sugar levels. If you have trouble drinking lots of water, try adding an 8-ounce glass of water. ounces after drinking a drink high in sugar or caffeine.”
Sugary drinks are unhealthy in many ways, especially when it comes to managing blood sugar. For example, according to an analysis published in Diabetic treatmentspeople who consumed at least one or two servings of soda a day were 26% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
“Sodas, teas, juices, sports drinks, or specialty coffees are loaded with sugar and can wreak havoc on your body in so many ways,” D’Angelo says. “When you drink a sugary drink, it gets absorbed into your bloodstream very quickly, which can cause your blood sugar levels to rise. Try cutting down on those drinks and replacing them with water.”
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If you know you’re going to drink alcohol one night, it’s important to eat before so you can better absorb what you’re drinking.
“The biggest culprit when it comes to alcohol wreaking havoc on your blood sugar is drinking on an empty stomach, like having a few drinks on an empty stomach,” says Burak. “Without some food in your belly to absorb the alcohol, your blood sugar will drop even faster. and you’ll likely experience a late-night binge because drinking on empty makes you especially drunk (and hungrier), and you can expect a worse hangover the next day.”
Burak recommends having a “high-protein meal or snack before cocktail hour begins to stabilize your blood sugar. Think cheese or hard-boiled eggs with crackers and fruit, or a turkey or peanut butter sandwich.”
Drinking a cup of black coffee or coffee with a small amount of cream may actually have health benefits, but it’s the fancy coffee drinks and other forms of caffeine that can affect your blood sugar.
“Energy drinks or caffeinated beverages can give you an energy boost, but they often come in the form of sugar, caffeine, and other additives,” D’Angelo says. “Consuming these ingredients can cause abnormal heart rhythms, disrupt sleep, increase heart rate and increase blood pressure. Drinks like these can also contain an unhealthy amount of sugar, which can cause an increase in blood sugar and leave your body wanting more after drinking one.”