Over the past decade we have come to realize that the management of blood sugar levels may be a secret tool for avoiding metabolic disease states such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes.
When ingested, carbohydrates are broken down into their simplest form, known as glucose. When this process is complete, this glucose enters the blood in order to be sent to different tissues for various purposes, ranging from immediate energy supply to storage for future need.
However, what many people do not appreciate is that different variables affect how glucose is digested and whether or not ingesting it becomes an issue. Both the amount of carbohydrate consumed and the rate at which this carbohydrate can enter the bloodstream play a role in whether or not blood glucose levels become an issue.
In this article, I’ll be breaking down some of the top, research proven techniques to help naturally lower your blood sugar so that you can prevent various ailments related to blood glucose or even begin to reverse symptoms, if you’ve already got issues.
How Blood Glucose Causes Issues
Before getting into ways to manage blood glucose, you first need to understand how the process works and how blood glucose can become an issue.
When you consume carbohydrate, (this can also happen with protein too, though to a lesser extent), digestion begins where the carbohydrate you’ve consumed is broken down into a simpler form of carbohydrate, termed glucose.
After your carbohydrate is broken down to glucose, it can then enter the blood where it has the fate of being used immediately, shuttled to tissue for use in the near future, being stored in muscle and liver for future energy needs or lastly, stored in fat cells and converted to triglyceride.
Keep in mind that the last part, known as De Novo Lipogenesis, is actually one of the last fates of carbohydrate, not the first as many wrongly assume.
When blood glucose rises, this stimulates a release of Insulin, a peptide hormone that drives glucose out of the blood into tissue. However, with chronic elevations in glucose, and thus insulin, this hormone becomes less effective over time, leading to a condition known as insulin resistance (1).
When insulin resistance occurs, it leads to metabolic disease states and obesity (insulin resistance is the backbone of Diabetes). Thus, finding ways to manage blood glucose is essential for avoiding negative metabolic states as mentioned prior (2, 3).
Control Carbohydrate Intake
Controlling your carbohydrate intake is the easiest step you can take to help lower blood glucose, simply because you’re limiting the amount of glucose that you have in the blood at any given time.
One of the most prevalent issues with blood glucose is that people simply ingest too much carbohydrate, too often, leading to chronic elevations of blood glucose, which means chronic elevations of insulin.
I suggest one of two routes here. First, you can consider restricting carbohydrates by using a low carb approach such as I offer in the Metabolic Advantage Diet. Doing so is a great approach to take back the reigns on your levels of insulin and blood glucose management.
Second, consider using a carb-cycling approach. This method allows you to consume carbohydrate regularly, but to do so in accordance with when and how you exercise.
On days in which you have large exercise sessions, you’ll consume your largest amount of carbohydrate. On lighter days or even rest days, you’ll consume fewer carbohydrates.
Using this method allows you to moderate carb intake, based on your body’s energy requirements, making blood glucose control quite easy.
Choose Lower GI Carbohydrates
The type of carbohydrate you consume significantly affects both your blood glucose levels as well as your body’s insulin response (4).
Interestingly, if you ingest simple carbohydrates, which are high on the glycemic index (GI) scale, it can lead to a very drastic spike in blood glucose, which in turn means a large, drastic increase of insulin.
This is because your body’s insulin response is correlated with the speed and amount of glucose entering the blood so that it can properly shuttle that glucose from the blood into various tissues (5).
When you consume low GI carbohydrates such as those in nuts, fruits, whole grains and leafy greens, the speed at which glucose from these sources enters the blood is significantly slower than would be the case in, for example, pure table sugar.
Since these carbohydrates have more complex structures, they take longer to digest completely, allowing for a slower entrance of glucose into the blood.
If you’re not keen on restricting carbs, opt for those which fall lower on the glycemic index scale.
Exercise To Reduce Blood Glucose
Surely you knew that exercise would be on this list, yet you may not know why.
Under most conditions, contracting a muscle results in the use of glycogen, a stored form of glucose. When energy demands rise, as happens during exercise sessions, this glycogen stored in the liver and muscle is converted back to glucose, to provide energy.
The process by which this occurs is due to a peptide hormone, called glucagon, which causes the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose, which is then released into the bloodstream.
Additionally however, a process known as “GLUT 4 translocation” also occurs as a result of muscle contraction (6, 7).
GLUT 4 is a glucose transporter that allows glucose to be shuttled into the muscle cell, to be stored as glycogen. Typically, these transporters reside within the cell and upon muscle contraction, they migrate to the outermost membrane in order to snag glucose molecules from blood, transporting them into the cell.
When this occurs, insulin isn’t actually required, meaning that the body gets a break from chronic elevations of insulin, even though you’re consuming carbohydrate. By contracting the muscle via exercise, you make digesting glucose easier, potentially reducing negative effects of chronic glucose elevation.
Try Natural Supplements That Contain Cinnamon
Finally, if all else fails, try using supplements containing ingredients which have been proven to reduce blood glucose naturally, such as my Blood Sugar Support supplement.
Ingredients such as Cinnamon have been proven to help naturally improve insulin’s ability to work. Further, other studies have even indicated that cinnamon may actually change the way that glucose is digested, slowing entrance into the blood (8, 9, 10).
Using supplements that contain ingredients such as cinnamon may be a smart move to help regulate blood glucose.
Research Proven Methods To Lower Blood Sugar Naturally
Chronic elevations of blood glucose can lead to negative health outcomes such as insulin resistance, obesity and even disease states such as Type 2 Diabetes.
The above methods are easy to implement and can help you moderate blood glucose naturally, safely and effectively, regardless of your starting point. Consider using these tips to become the healthiest version of yourself yet.
- Hedeskov, C. J. (1980). Mechanism of glucose-induced insulin secretion. Physiological Reviews, 60(2), 442-509.
- Greenfield, J. R., & Campbell, L. V. (2004). Insulin resistance and obesity. Clinics in dermatology, 22(4), 289-295.
- Weyer, C., Funahashi, T., Tanaka, S., Hotta, K., Matsuzawa, Y., Pratley, R. E., & Tataranni, P. A. (2001). Hypoadiponectinemia in obesity and type 2 diabetes: close association with insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 86(5), 1930-1935.
- Salmeron, J., Manson, J. E., Stampfer, M. J., Colditz, G. A., Wing, A. L., & Willett, W. C. (1997). Dietary fiber, glycemic load, and risk of non—insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in women. Jama, 277(6), 472-477.
- Wolever, T. M., & Bolognesi, C. (1996). Prediction of glucose and insulin responses of normal subjects after consuming mixed meals varying in energy, protein, fat, carbohydrate and glycemic index. The Journal of nutrition, 126(11), 2807-2812.
- Ju, J. S., Smith, J. L., Oppelt, P. J., & Fisher, J. S. (2005). Creatine feeding increases GLUT4 expression in rat skeletal muscle. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 288(2), E347-E352.
- Mitsumoto, Y., Burdett, E., Grant, A., & Klip, A. (1991). Differential expression of the GLUT1 and GLUT4 glucose transporters during differentiation of L6 muscle cells. Biochemical and biophysical research communications, 175(2), 652-659.
- Jarvill-Taylor, K. J., Anderson, R. A., & Graves, D. J. (2001). A hydroxychalcone derived from cinnamon functions as a mimetic for insulin in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 20(4), 327-336.
- Shihabudeen, H. M. S., Priscilla, D. H., & Thirumurugan, K. (2011). Cinnamon extract inhibits α-glucosidase activity and dampens postprandial glucose excursion in diabetic rats. Nutrition & metabolism, 8(1), 46.
- Adisakwattana, S., Lerdsuwankij, O., Poputtachai, U., Minipun, A., & Suparpprom, C. (2011). Inhibitory activity of cinnamon bark species and their combination effect with acarbose against intestinal α-glucosidase and pancreatic α-amylase. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 66(2), 143-148.