Blood Sugar Metabolism: Why Calories aren’t King

Blood Sugar is Queen

Blood sugar management and regulation do not always get the attention these processes require or deserve. Partly, because there is a misconception that only those with diabetes need to be concerned with what their blood sugar is doing. Not true. Blood sugar and its management are important biological and behavioral processes for allindividuals — diabetic or not.

The Why

When blood sugar is on a constant daily rollercoaster, insulin is recruited more often (the “fat-storing” hormone). When insulin is at the forefront and working overtime, glucagon (or the “fat-burning” hormone) is on the bench. Instead, if you were to graph blood sugar response, it should resemble a gentle wave profile with subtle (and not drastic) rises and drops throughout the day.

The How

First, always have a dietitian consult with clients who are pre-diabetic or diabetic. Both are conditions that require intervention. Second, keep in mind your certified scope of practice related to nutrition. Providing insight and information such as evidence-based recommendations, legitimate sources for recipes, leading grocery store tours, and meal prepping skills and tools are all within your scope (among other things).

  1. Pair carbohydrates with healthy fats and/or proteins (fruit with nuts or nut butters, whole-grain English muffin with eggs, etc.).
  2. Select the highest-fiber sources of the starchy carbs (quinoa, whole grains, lentil pastas, oats, etc.).

Benefits Beyond Blood Sugar

There are countless benefits associated with the three guidelines above — aside from controlling blood sugar. Meals and snacks based on these three principles offer greater satiety, higher mineral content, digestive system benefits, mental benefits, and energy. When clients are more satisfied with their meals, they are not preoccupied with thinking about food, tracking food, or obsessively measuring grams and ounces.

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Erin Dollison Nitschke

Erin Dollison Nitschke

Passionate college educator, writer, and health and fitness professional. I am an NFPT-CPT, NSCA-CPT, ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist, ACE Health Coach, & Pn1.