Be Well

Hacking Sugar

Sugar. It’s hard right? We all love it. It’s in almost everything we eat now and also occurs naturally of course.

Let’s take a step back for a minute. Glucose, the main type of blood sugar, is our body’s favourite source of energy. The main way we provide glucose to our bodies is by eating starches such as bread, pasta, and rice, and sugars from apples through to chocolate cake. Some glucose is great for our body but many of us are giving our bodies too much, which is causing cravings, chronic fatigue, brain fog, inflammation and more.

Day to day, glucose is responsible for our energy spikes and crashes. It’s a vicious cycle that can dominate our entire day including our mood, concentration and energy levels. Oh, and it’s ageing us! Science can literally see it on our skin and in our bodies, the more spikes we have, the faster we age.

Going cold turkey on anything is notoriously unsuccessful, so how do we get off the glucose rollercoaster without having to change absolutely everything that we love to eat and instead intentionally manage our glucose levels.

I love the Glucose Goddess, Jessie Inchauspe – her books and podcasts are great.

Here’s some of her sugar hacks which I can definitely live with!

Hack 1: Swap your ‘sweet’ breakfast for a ‘savoury’ one.

This one swap sets up your pattern for the rest of the day and means you will not be on the glucose rollercoaster looking for a muffin with your coffee by 10.30am. Replace the muesli, yoghurt, pastries, cereal, smoothies for breakfast with eggs, fish, tofu etc and a slice of sourdough toast instead to keep you glucose nice and steady.

Exrta tip: If you really love your sweet breakfast-type food like I do, have it after lunch or dinner when you have had other food. It’s just as delicious!

Hack 2: Start your meal with vegetables

Researchers have discovered when you start your meal with vegetables these create a protective shield on the walls of your intestines and then slows down how fast the rest of your meal goes into your bloodstream. The French have raw vegetables at the beginning of their meal, the Mediterranean’s a salad, the Italians a vegetable soup. However at home and in our restaurants we often have bread at the beginning of the meal (a big glucose spike!) followed by our mains. 90 mins later when our glucose levels are about to crash the waiter pops up and asks if we’d like dessert. Bingo!

So try a new order in the way you eat your meals: vegetables first, then protein, fats, and carbs #sugar last 👍🏻

Dietary tip: a shot of vinegar in big a glass of water before your main meal of the day slows down the glucose rush into your body and breaks down your carbs.

Hack 3: Exercise to exorcise blood sugar

When we are tired we look for more energy and reach for the glucose, even worse tiredness creates a bigger glucose spike in our bodies when we do eat! So if you missed a good nights sleep, eating that savoury breakfast and exercising is the fastest way to quickly re-regulate your glucose levels and reset your day.

Exercise tip: As our muscles contract they are burning glucose so don’t starve yourself before exercise and eat your glucose before exercising.

Hack 4: Carbs with, always

Snacking secrets! Never eat carbs on their own or they will send you on that inevitable glucose spike, so put that avo or cheese on the toast, add nuts to that yoghurt.

Snack tip: If the first  2 or 3 ngredients of any snack product are sugars of any kind, then treat it as dessert.


Hack 5: steady glucose, steady life

Here’s an interesting experiment! Scientists recruited 200 couples and gave each a doll representing their partner. The scientists asked the couples to put a pin in the doll (!!) every time they were annoyed by their partner over a 2 week period.

During the 2 weeks all the couples were attached to glucose monitors and the scientists found afterwards that when their glucose spiked was when the most pins went into the partner dolls. Ouch!

Love tip: Less sugar, nicer partner? ;-))

So ditch the diets, calorie counting and low fat aka sugar filled stuff and try some of the hacks above. Become a food detective testing your body’s response to different food and the impact of glucose in all areas of your life.

A large reason for the gap in healthspan and lifespan is that we are getting sicker as we age and what we are eating is a large part of this story. So have fun on the journey to becoming more aware, better educated and taking control of your blood sugers, and so your health and wellbeing.

See you soon at Be Well!

Be Well is the first-of-its- kind urban health, wellness and lifestyle club in Melbourne, Australia.  Informed by the science of longevity, Be Well nurtures the relationship you have with yourself and others, to optimise your lifestyle, and live your longest, best life.