You suddenly get a jittery shaking feeling. You can’t remember what you were thinking about. Your brain feels all foggy. You start feeling edgy. You’re past hungry. That is the sign of your blood sugar falling.
When your body doesn’t have enough fuel to function properly, it sends you warning signs. Unfortunately there’s another crappy consequence of letting your blood sugar fall too far down. You gain weight. Yea that’s right….weird, huh? You would think, that if you don’t eat enough that you would LOSE weight not GAIN it! Not the case and here is the reason why:
Your body wants to keep homeostasis or constant at all times, so it will do whatever it needs in order to maintain a non-change environment. When your blood sugar falls your body goes into panic mode or the fight/flight response. When you go into panic mode, your body releases adrenaline which serves to temporarily raise your blood sugar. Because adrenaline signals a stressful event, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. As soon as cortisol is released it triggers your body to store fat. Studies have shown that fat gained due to high cortisol levels sits in your belly. So not eating enough, or eating improperly, causes you to gain weight in your stomach.
Body fat located in your midsection is not only unsightly, it’s also really bad for your health. Visceral fat, the fat located in your stomach, is way worse for you than other fat because it surrounds your most important organs. People with a high amount of visceral fat not only have trouble getting into skinny jeans, but also have higher incidences of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
How do you keep your blood sugar stable and your tummy trim? By fueling your body the right way. Here are tips to help keep your blood sugar stable:
1. Eat small meals every 3-4 hours
2. Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption
3. Workout moderately for 30-60 minutes every day
4. Choose foods that have a low glycemic index, or don’t spike your blood sugar
The last bullet is pretty important as it affects your blood sugar the most. Foods (or food combinations) that have a low glycemic index contain a balanced mix of protein, fat and carbs that slow sugar absorption into your blood. Basically, protein, fat and fiber slow the absorption of sugar (carbs) into your bloodstream and keep your blood sugar stable. They also help you feel fuller, longer. You can choose a meal that has a combination of foods that slow absorption into bloodstream or you can eat a “power food” that contains all of that.
Peanut butter is a power food! In 2 TB serving, it has 13g of healthy unsaturated fats, 7g of protein, 2g of fiber and 3 grams of natural sugar. Not only does it keep you full and stable, but with lots of micronutrients like Vitamin B3, tryptophan and magnesium it also gives you immediate energy and helps you build bone and recover your muscles (for energy later).
There are so many peanut butter brands out there…which do you choose?
At first glance it’s best to always go with the one that says natural. Many contain added salt, sugar, hydrogenated oil and artificial ingredients to enhance the taste. With peanut butter, the less the amount of ingredients, the better. It’s important to watch sugar content. Commercial brands can have up to 250 mg per TB more sugar than natural ones. Also look out for excessive sodium. Natural brands typically have less than commercial ones so be sure to compare labels.