Clearly we want to be putting less glucose into our systems for insulin to have to clean up and that means eating less carbohydrates. But when we eat less carbs, we need to be getting our energy from somewhere and that means eating more fat. We no longer need to fear the fat, but should be viewing it as our blood sugar balancing friend.
Many people make the mistake of eating too much protein when they go low carb. The downside is that excess protein can be broken down into glucose. But, fat never gets converted into glucose. And our bodies actually prefer to use fat as fuel. Unfortunately, we never get much of a chance to burn fat for fuel, because we typically have so much glucose hanging around.
My other dietary strategy, the one I call a secret weapon for getting your blood sugars moving quickly, is Intermittent Fasting.
Intermittent Fasting is when you go for short periods of time without eating.
This idea may sound extreme, but is not new. Think about our ancestors who had to hunt and gather their food. We evolved from times when food was scarce and we were designed to handle periods of feast or famine.
And many cultural and religious practices also have periods throughout the year when they fast or give up certain foods.
For us in today’s modern society, fasting does seem like a drastic measure especially since we’re always eating — three meals a day, a couple coffee breaks, dessert or snacks in the evening, and late night munchies. We’re bombarded with food all day long, rarely feeling hungry and often eat way past the point of feeling full.
So the idea of going for even five to six hours without eating is a hard one to get our heads around.
Now, we have the research to prove that, even though our ancestors weren’t intentional about fasting, they were definitely on to something.
Some of the health benefits from Intermittent Fasting include:
- Weight loss
- Eliminates sugar cravings
- Promotes burning fat for energy instead of glucose
- Improves blood pressure
- Promotes better cholesterol levels
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Increases longevity
- Builds higher resistance to stress
- Increases mental clarity
- Improves biomarkers of disease
- Promotes brain health
For those of you with blood sugar challenges, Intermittent Fasting is your secret weapon to get your blood sugars moving quickly in the right direction.
When you are not eating there is no glucose for insulin to clean up, and therefore you are producing less insulin. If you are fasting and not eating, you will be forcing the body to burn off the excess sugar and so you’ll actually be getting rid of it, rather than storing it as fat.
How to do Intermittent Fasting:
- The most popular option is to fast for about 16 hours (including sleep).
- You eat your evening meal around 6 p.m. then don’t eat anything else before bed.
- When you get up, you have coffee with some butter and coconut oil which essentially replaces your breakfast but the fat doesn’t “break the fast.”
- Then you have a late breakfast or lunch at around 11 a.m. or noon as your first meal of the day.
- By doing this you have fasted for about 16 hours including your sleep.
- You can do this method everyday, twice a week, weekdays only, weekends only, whatever feels best for you.
- The more often you do it, the more effective it is.
If Intermittent Fasting and other proven dietary strategies for balancing your blood sugars and breaking the nasty sugar cycle are of interest, I invite you to check out my new online group coaching program The Blood Sugar Shift. Registration is now open.
This post first appeared here in the Halifax Citizen on Nov 3, 2015