Salt & Light


Is Your (Anxiety/Weight Gain/Hormone Imbalance) a Blood Sugar Issue?

Blood sugar balance is important for everyone – not just diabetics. I talk about blood sugar balance with pretty much every single one of my clients because it’s one of the number 1 ways to restore your health – from hormone health to mental health to disease prevention, this is one of the things at the center. Let’s cut to the chase:

How Blood Sugar Works (Simplified, Sorta)

When you consume a carbohydrate in the form of sugar or starch, you immediately begin the process of digestion to break it down into single molecules of glucose. That’s right – sugar from candy and starch from pasta ends up as the same thing at the end of the day. Once it’s broken down, the glucose gets released into the bloodstream where the hormone insulin will come and push it into cells to decide whether it wants to use it for immediate energy (ATP) or store it for later (glycogen or lipid aka fat). The thing is, your body wants to get the glucose out of the bloodstream as quickly as possible – if it hangs around too much, it can cause damage to the blood vessel walls and cause plaque to accumulate (the beginnings of atherosclerosis, a factor in heart disease). The quicker glucose is dumped into the bloodstream, the more insulin the body will secrete to deal with it. 

Here’s the analogy I use: if an entire kindergarten class (a high starch/sugar meal) came running through your house all at once and made a giant mess, and then immediately after you were told that *insert famous person* was coming to visit, you would be frantically running around stuffing things in closets and under beds. It would be out of the way, but not in the best place it could be (aka fat cells). On the other hand, if a small group of kids came in at a time (smart carb meals), with a period of time in between, you could keep up with the messes. Then the news of said celebrity’s visit wouldn’t stress you out. You’re ready to be a dazzling host.

Why Too Much Insulin And Imbalanced Blood Sugar is the Root of All Evil (Also, Sorta)

What to know about insulin: this hormone is a “goldilocks” hormone in the sense that you want not too much, not too little. Insulin is a fat storage hormone as I mentioned, meaning it has a tendency to store excess sugar in the blood as fat if it’s not needed for energy. This fat over time can contribute to insulin resistance, which works against your metabolism, creating a bit of an unwanted cycle. Excess insulin is at the root of metabolic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. So we want to prevent large amounts/surges of insulin from being released into the body as well as large spikes/drops in blood sugar (what we refer to as “blood sugar imbalance” that comes with it. Here’s why:

  • Chronic insulin surges over time can cause people to develop insulin resistance (you need more to have the same affect), weight gain, and increase their risk of chronic disease. 
  • Blood sugar imbalance, in addition to being linked to insulin resistance, can cause other issues such as: 
    • Mood swings
    • “Hanger” and cravings
    • Difficulty concentrating, memory issues
    • Increased cortisol
    • Anxiety
    • Irregular menstrual cycles/PMS/hormone imbalance
    • Thyroid hormone imbalance
    • Weight gain 
    • Inflammation
    • Gut dysbiosis
    • etc.

How to Optimize Blood Sugar Balance

Here’s where diet comes in: what you eat will influence how much AND how fast or slow glucose is emptied into your bloodstream, and therefore how much insulin is secreted. How often you eat will also dictate how much you are having to pump insulin into the body, which is why fasting can be helpful in lowering insulin.

Here are the principles to eating a blood sugar balanced diet:

  • Choose the right kind of carbohydrates: aim for low to medium glycemic impact foods
  • Keep carb portion sizes small at each meal and spread them throughout the day
  • Pair your carbs with fiber, fat, and/or protein – no “naked” carbs aka eating them by themselves

Here’s a few examples of measured blood sugar from certain foods:

How Does Food Impact Health and Inflammation?

Effects of Different Carbohydrates on Blood Glucose – iHealth Labs Inc

(image source: Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, iHealth Labs)

There are other factors that can drive blood sugar imbalance, like stress or lack of sleep. It’s helpful to work with a practitioner when trying to ensure a healthy blood sugar since they are trained to see imbalances that could be holding you back and recommend personalized diet and lifestyle changes.





Is Your (Anxiety/Weight Gain/Hormone Imbalance) a Blood Sugar Issue?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cozy + Conscious Fall Recipe Collection

Enter your name and email to download this FREE eBook of over 40 recipes highlighting seasonal produce to make healthy eating a no-brainer when cooler weather hits!



*by submitting, you agree to receive email communications from Salt & Light Functional Nutrition.