When we eat carbohydrates, our body breaks them down into blood sugar to give us the energy we need (whether we’re lying down and not using much or running and using a lot).
Different foods release this sugar at different rates. Some foods can cause big rises in blood sugar levels because they are absorbed very fast (sugary drinks for example). Other foods only cause small rises. These responses are very personal. When eating the same food, some people have much higher spikes in their blood sugar than others.
Many diets suggest reducing carbs or cutting them out all together. But they play a crucial role in keeping you healthy. It should be more about the types of carbs you eat.
High-quality carb sources, which release sugar slowly, can help to reduce inflammation, sustain your energy and fend off hunger.
And carb-rich foods, such as many fruits and vegetables, can also be a great source of fiber, which is vital for gut health, as well as other essential nutrients.
It’s important to control your blood sugar...
When we look at blood sugar levels after a meal, we see that some foods cause large spikes and that it takes longer for the body to return to normal levels. Controlling these blood sugar spikes helps to reduce inflammation, sustain energy, control hunger, and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
...and avoid blood sugar crashes
A ‘crash’ is when your blood sugar level dips below your normal range. This can cause you to feel symptoms including sweating, increased hunger, irritability and fatigue.
Everyone’s blood sugar curves are different
When we look at blood sugar curves, we look at the height of the peak and also the amount of time it takes for it to return to your normal level. Each person will respond differently, even to the exact same food, so the more you know about your own responses, the more you can understand what foods are good for you.
For example, we discovered that Haya and George, ZOE nutritionist and co-founder, have very different blood sugar responses to bananas. George’s blood sugar levels spike higher and take longer to get back to normal after eating the fruit.
Your blood sugar is one piece of the puzzle
While food can impact your blood sugar, remember that it can affect other parts of your biology too, like your blood fat and gut health.
ZOE combines all these factors to recommend the best foods for your overall biology, helping you to reduce dietary inflammation and support your gut.