You've experienced a sugar spike before, whether you know it or not. It’s the boost of energy after a meal, followed by a sharp crash, leaving you in a sluggish heap mid-day. Sugar spikes are normally caused by high-GI (glycemic-index), carby meals. Think of white bread, a bowl of cereal, a bowl of pasta- foods that will sharply increase blood sugar levels. This glucose spike will often feel like an energy rush, and is followed by a load dump of insulin (injected if you’re diabetic, naturally secreted if not). This insulin dumping will plummet your sugar levels back down, often to below their normal level (i.e-sharp crash). There are a few ways to prevent this spike happening, and thankfully it doesn’t involve avoiding carbs!!
1. High Fiber Alternatives
If I’m ever buying any sort of carbohydrate, I always check the fiber content. It’s something that’s instilled in me now, so you can imagine how long it takes to do a food shop. Fiber is not digested, so it doesn’t increase blood sugar levels and lowers the total carb count in a meal. The higher the fiber, the less likely you are to have a sugar spike after a meal. Plus, fiber has a milllion and one other benefits, which you can read more about here.
2. Resistant Starch
My most recent discovery and one I’m absolutely hopping off is resistant starch. Resistant starch forms when starchy, cooked food is left to go cold. Think of a pasta salad or overnight oats, for example. Similar to fiber, resistant starch is not digested so again, the overall carbohydrate count is decreased and therefore will lower those post-meal blood sugars. Resistant starch can also improve insulin sensitivity, feeds the good bacteria in your gut and increases feelings of satisfaction after a meal, so you won't be left craving more afterwards. Some more examples are cooked then cooled brown rice or potatoes, green bananas, legumes, and beans.
3. Add a Fat
As mentioned before, the higher the glycemic index of a carb, the faster it will raise blood sugar levels. Corn cakes would be sitting firmly in this high GI category, as there's not much to them bar refined carbohydrates. However, by adding a source of fat to a high GI food, not only will you make the meal more substantial and filling, you’ll naturally lower the glycemic index, resulting in a stable blood sugar. This is why I enjoy adding avocado or smoked salmon to my corn cake snacks, or even an egg into my porridge (questionable but an actual game-changer).
4. For Diabetics- Inject 15 minutes before
If you're a diabetic, you've probably heard of those on the pump speaking of one of its major benefits, known as 'pre-bolusing'. This is basically a feature which allows you to take your insulin beforehand so that its activation time matches your rising blood sugar, making it easier to have a constantly stable sugar level. However, you can just as easily 'pre-bolus' on injections. Whenever I eat a food relatively high in sugar (a piece of fruit or most likely a solero) I inject fifteen minutes before-hand. It takes fifteen minutes for novorapid fast acting insulin to kick in, so that means as soon as my blood sugar starts to rise my insulin will get to work straight away in order to stabilise it.