If you have been told your blood sugar is high, don’t panic. You can reduce your blood sugar and keep it under control, while still enjoying delicious foods. Check with your health care practitioner to see what your optimal blood sugar range is and how frequently you should monitor it.
Substitute Whole-Grain Carbs
Carb-containing foods have the most direct impact on your blood sugar. Take the simple, refined carb foods out of your diet and replace them with whole-grain carbs and sugar-free substitutes. For example, substitute “white carbs,” like white bread and rolls, rice and pasta with their healthier, whole-grain counterparts – whole-grain breads, brown rice and whole-wheat cereals and pasta. Choose sugar-free candy, gum, desserts and beverages instead of regular varieties. Refined carbs, including sugars, need relatively little digestion before conversion to glucose, the form of energy your body burns. When you eat them, your blood sugar rises quickly. Whole-grain foods take longer to digest, so they don’t cause blood sugar to rise as quickly or as high.
Importance of Fiber
High-fiber foods help lower blood sugar levels. Fiber slows down digestion, which slows sugar absorption, resulting in a steady, gradual blood sugar rise. The University of Illinois Extension advises eating 20 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories to reduce blood sugar and help prevent heart disease. Good sources of fiber include peas, lentils, whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, fruits and veggies, according to MayoClinic.com.
Total Calories Matter
Avoiding excess calories also lowers your blood sugar. Eating less food causes less glucose to be made, and also promotes weight loss. This improves blood sugar control, reports MayoClinic.com. Merely slicing 500 calories off your normal daily intake results in 1 pound of weight loss a week. Fat is a concentrated source of calories, so limit your intake to 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories, recommends the Institute of Medicine.
If you need to control your blood sugar due to Type 2 diabetes, try adding almonds to a meal. A study published in a 2011 issue of "Metabolism” concluded that one serving of almonds eaten with a meal can cause significant blood sugar reductions afterwards. Research published in a 2010 issue of “Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism” found that adding 2 teaspoons of vinegar to meals reduces blood sugar 20 percent after eating. Acetic acid contained in vinegar apparently keeps carb-specific enzymes from digesting certain carbs. As a result, some sugars pass through the digestive tract without being absorbed, causing lower blood sugar.
- University of Illiinois Extension: Can Fiber Lower Your Blood Glucose Level?
- MayoClinic.com: Diabetes Diet: Create Your Healthy-Eating Plan
- dLife: A Spoonful of Vinegar Helps the Blood Sugar Go Down
- Metabolism: Almond Ingestion at Mealtime Reduces Postprandial Glycemia and Chronic Ingestion Reduces Hemoglobin A(1c) in Individuals with Well-Controlled Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
- Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism: Examination of the Antiglycemic Properties of Vinegar in Healthy Adults
- Understanding Nutrition: Ellie Whitney and Sharon Rolfes
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
Sue Roberts began writing in 1989. Her work has appeared in such publications as “Today’s Dietitian” and "Journal of Food Science." Roberts holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Pennsylvania State University, a Master of Public Health in nutrition from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Science in food science from Michigan State University. She is a registered dietitian and certified nutritionist.