The Crucial Importance of Balanced Blood Sugar

"The truth is that blood sugar is much simpler than all the internet websites and library books make it out to be. Also you don't need to be a wiz in it to be able to keep it healthy and stable, you just have to know a few simply and easy to remember things."


Maintaining steady blood sugar levels is one of the fundamentals of health.... and you can't forget mood. There are many complicated tables and studies out there all about the glycemic index which can make you head feel like it's on the edge of explosion so much so that you just feel like giving up on the whole thing and eating an entire chocolate cake while holding up a white flag in surrender. I admit when I began to look into blood sugar, my health and my mood swings I felt defeated as everything was so exhausting, the long, top-hard-to pronounce medical words, two million-different-coloured tables and charts, and the complex calculations that they encouraged to you to include in your everyday lives... no thank you!

The truth is that blood sugar is much simpler than all the internet websites and library books make it out to be. Also you don't need to be a wiz in it to be able to keep it healthy and stable, you just have to know a few simply and easy to remember things. The three keys to stop the insulin spike soaring or plummeting are... you won't believe it (it's so simple)... 1) protein, 2) fibre, 3) fat. Bonkers? Bet you never thought it was going to be that simple! After all my head spinning looking at table after table and calculation after calculation, I realised that all you actually need to keep your blood sugar balanced are those three things in moderation, and in regular amounts (long gaps without food isn't good for blood sugar stability).

Those three things of protein, fibre and fat are the not-so-secret secrets to well balanced blood sugar. This is why cutting carbs, or fat from your diet is not a good thing despite all the quick-fix diets often encouraging either or of those foods to be unlimited from your diet! Insulin you see tells the body to store fat, and if you are constantly producing too much of it (insulin), then it does not matter how much low-carb this or low-fat that nonsense you eat, you will put on fat. Carbs are not the dark force that 'quick' diets make them out to be, this goes the same for fat. In fact both carbs and fat are crucial for good health, good mood and good blood sugar levels and even for good weight loss! Unbelievable right! This is because the best weight loss is weight loss that is both healthy and balanced but also sustainable. Ultimately carbs and fat entirely from your diet is not sustainable!

However their is a difference in types of carbs and types of fat, and different types will have different effects on your blood sugar levels, so always try to stick to wholemeal or whole grain carbs which contain more fibre than their refined friends and try to always choose healthy fats over saturated fats. Fad high-protein diets end up often like they portray them to be, 'fast' and not because they are fast at helping you lose weight but they are fast simply because they are not sustainable. Protein is great but only when consumed in balance with fat and fibre, I mean think about your poor digestive system for a start! Always try to balance your protein-rich meals with fibre and fat, the same as always aiming to trying and balance your starchy meals with protein and fat. Even when you have your bowls of porridge should try to include ingredients like milk and nuts to balance the fibrous oats.

Here are some great foods to help balance blood sugar:

-Pulses (often refuted to the food of hippies) are an absolute miracle with regards to maintaining steady levels of blood sugar! This is because they are a perfect combination of protein, slow-realise carbohydrate and fibre, all in one unassuming little bean. What a good bean! Add a splash of extra-virgin olive and you've got yourself a blood sugar superhero.

-Split peas (another super legume). This gorgeous fella are often forgotten and are fat too often found pushed to the back of dusty selves or found in the unvisited corners of health food shops when really they too like pulses should be taken out of the shadows and given a parade of their very own. High in fibre, with a great balance of protein and carbohydrate all this minute pea needs are some friendly mouths to feed.

-Chickpeas (another family in the bean/pulse/legume team) are yet another fantastic nutritional powerhouse that are perfect for keeping blood sugar levels regular. Add these cheeky peas to stews, soups, mash them or make them into hummus (hummus being a great blood sugar balancing creation). 

 Photography by: Ansa Gohar

Photography by: Ansa Gohar

Margherita Barbieri