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Blog posts tagged with 'Blood Sugar'

When You Eat Is Just as Important as What You Eat

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When You Eat Is Just as Important as What You EatMany discussions around healthier eating place emphasis on the type and quality of food you should be consuming to get the most protein, vitamins, and minerals needed for good nutrition. What many people tend to overlook is that how often you eat can play an equally important role in helping you manage your weight and daily caloric intake. Currently, there are two schools of thought on how often a person should have meals. Some people abide by the traditional rule of three meals a day while others believe that eating six smaller meals can help you to better manage your food cravings and resist the urge to snack.

Whichever method you choose to abide by, here are some healthful tips to keep in mind to help you keep track of your calories and cravings for better nutrition.

  • Eat a healthy breakfast – Many people have a very light breakfast or in some cases, skip it completely. Breakfast provides vital calories that give you energy to start your day. Even if you take smaller meals, breakfast prevents you from feeling hungry throughout the morning so that you won't be tempted to overeat at your next meal.
  • Adjust your portions according to how often you eat – If you're a three-meal-a-day person, each meal—including breakfast—should make up one-third of your entire caloric intake (the average adult requires 1,500 to 2,200 calories per day). Smaller, more frequent meals can be less strenuous on your digestive system and help you to better regulate your blood sugar, cravings, and hunger. Whatever your eating schedule is, stick to what your body is used to.
  • Try to avoid letting yourself become hungry so that you don't overeat – Overeating burdens your digestive system and it can hurt your diet by creating an imbalance in your daily eating habits. Going for long stretches of not eating can encourage you to binge eat at your next meal, which is not a healthy pattern. If you must snack, choose healthier, low-calorie options such as fresh fruit, a handful of nuts, or a fat-free cup of yogurt.
  • Avoid eating dinner in front of the television – Many people wind down at the end of the day by eating dinner while watching their favorite TV shows. This can encourage you to eat “mindlessly” without really paying attention to your portion sizes.
  • Don't eat late at night – Late-night meals have been associated with weight challenges and sleeplessness because your stomach is still working to process your food instead of resting. Avoid eating after a certain time, but if you can't resist it, once again choose healthier snack options such as carrots or celery sticks with fat-free dressing as a dip, or fresh fruit.

Consistency is the key to achieving any goal, whether it's weight management, fitness, or healthier eating. By sticking to regular—and more nutritious—meals, you can balance your caloric intake and cravings more efficiently and make unhealthy snacking a thing of the past.

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Brisk Walking Is Just as Good for Heart Health as Running

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Brisk Walking Is Just as Good for Heart Health as RunningRunning is one of the best exercises you can do for heart health. Studies show that regular running workouts can help support blood pressure, cholesterol, and even blood sugar management. Running isn't for everyone, however, especially if you have weak bones and joints because the impact can cause even more discomfort. The good news is that researchers have found that brisk walking can be equally effective.

Go for Distance

Based on data collected from about 33,000 runners and 16,000 walkers between the ages of 18 and 80, researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Hartford Hospital discovered that walkers and runners both had lower risks of developing blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and heart health challenges. In fact, walkers fared slightly better in reducing these risk factors than runners.

  • High blood pressure risk decreased 4.2% percent in runners, 7.2% in walkers
  • High cholesterol risk decreased 4.3% in runners, 7% in walkers
  • High blood sugar risk decreased 12.1% in runners, 12.3% in walkers
  • Heart disease risk decreased 4.5% in runners, 9.3% in walkers

More detailed results can be found in the full study, published in the April edition of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. According to Paul Williams, a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, the distance covered while walking or running mattered more than the length of the workout. In this instance, running is more advantageous because more distance can be covered, but Williams and his research partner, Dr. Paul Thompson, agree that brisk walking—as opposed to leisurely strolling—can be just as effective as long as you cover the distance you normally would if running.

Regular Exercise Reduces Health Risks

The other great thing about walking is that practically anyone can do it. You don't need a gym membership or expensive equipment; all you need is a comfortable pair of shoes and clothing, and a route you can safely navigate that covers a respectable workout distance. Whether you prefer walking or running, the American Heart Association recommends engaging in regular physical activity to help reduce heart health risks and promote a healthier general lifestyle. In addition to exercise, healthy eating also plays a part in your overall wellness. After all, it makes little sense to exercise frequently if you continue to consume a high-fat diet every day, too.

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Manage Your Sugar Levels by Being Picky About Your Fiber

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Manage Your Sugar Levels by Being Picky About Your FiberIt’s always great to get more fiber in your diet. However, it also pays to be picky about where you’re getting your fiber from because not all high-fiber foods are great at blocking sudden increases in your blood sugar levels. When you obtain your fiber from grains, for example, the starch in the grain converts into additional sugar, so it overpowers any sugar-blocking effects the fiber might have.

Fruits and vegetables contain more soluble fiber than sugar per serving, so they won’t raise your blood sugar levels as much when you get your fiber from these sources. True, these foods contain some amounts of sugar that make them naturally sweet. But unlike processed grains they lack starch that can change into additional sugar.

Choose Foods with Low Glycemic Loads

A simple way to determine which high-fiber foods are best for managing blood sugar is by checking their glycemic load. The glycemic load is an indicator of how much a certain food will raise blood sugar levels after consumption. Foods with glycemic loads greater than 100 increase your risk of health challenges due to high blood sugar levels. The best sugar blockers are fruits and veggies with glycemic load values less than 50. It’s also important to consider the order which you consume your fiber with meals in order for them to have any useful effect. There’s a good reason why salad is served before the main course: the soluble fiber in leafy greens helps counteract any sugar-raising starches that may be present in any carbohydrates in your meal. In general, vegetables are better sugar blockers than fruit because they contain more soluble fiber and have lower glycemic loads. You should try eating vegetables raw or cook them as little as possible to preserve their fiber content. However, both are much healthier alternatives to starch-rich grains.

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