A person is eating cereal with yogurt and fruit.

Blood Sugar Ups and Downs

Balance your energy by understanding how your food works.

What we Eat Affects How we Feel

When we eat, food breaks down into 3 categories: Carbohydrates (carbs), Fats and Proteins. Simplistically, carbs give us energy, fats give us food satisfaction and protein keeps us full. It’s the carbs that can make or break our energy. We feel best if there is sustained energy through the day instead of peaks and valleys or high and low bursts.

Understanding How Your Food Works

This is how food works in the body and impacts your energy levels.

Example #1 – You eat a plain bagel for breakfast at 8am

When you eat a plain bagel, you are eating simple carbs alone. You chew the bagel and it breaks down to glucose (sugars), just a little fiber, and a couple of vitamins. It’s a pretty quick breakdown. During this time, you are not hungry because you have food in your stomach.

The sugar from the bagel diffuses through the digestive tract at a fast pace. You’ll be full for about 30 to 45 minutes. That’s it. You get a boost of energy and a consequent drop in energy. You are hungry and tired by 10am.

Example #2 – You eat a plain bagel with egg

Now, you have simple carbs (little fiber) from the bagel as well as protein and fats from the egg. The three food groups in your stomach will take longer to breakdown and you will be fuller longer (approximately 1½ hours). Building blocks, including sugars, diffuse through the digestive tract giving you a big molehill of energy, vs. the peak and valley. This is better.

Example #3 – You eat a 100% whole-wheat bagel with egg and ham

You have complex carbs (way more fiber) with egg and ham, which provide a good amount of protein and fats. You will be full even longer than example #2 (around 2 to 2½ hours). You will have a longer time where body has sustained energy. This is even better.

The Goal

Creating complex meals each time you eat will help to balance your energy. This is called blood sugar balance. Our food choices as well as time between meals can make or break how you feel throughout the day. If you have a complex meal (with fiber, fats and proteins), you can expect to eat every 3 to 4 hours. That’s how long it takes for the stomach to do its job. So, for better energy, plan on eating through the day, about every 3-4 hours and choose a complex meal.

For more info on blood sugar balance, good energy or feeling your best through smarter food choices, please contact our holistic nutritionists. It’s a personal puzzle, but we can assist in figuring out what’s best for your body.

Read more on sugar issues and book a free 20-minute consultation with Healthy Nest Nutrition owner Robin Hutchinson.

We are here to help.