Take any of the following foods:
One chicken breast
Quarter-pound ground beef
6 oz salmon steak
½ cup raw almonds
3 eggs scrambled in olive oil
How much is blood sugar increased by any item in the above list?
If you said virtually zero, you’re correct. Eat any of these foods, regardless of portion size, and blood sugar won’t change substantially. If you started with a blood sugar of, say, 90 mg/dl, 1-2 hours later it would be 90 mg/dl. It might go up or even down a few milligrams, but for all practical purposes it remains substantially unchanged.
How much is blood sugar increased by the foods in this list:
2 slices multigrain bread
1 whole wheat bagel
4 oz high-fiber breakfast cereal
2 whole grain pancakes, 2 oz maple syrup
The foods in this list are a different story from the first. Depending on your body weight, exercise habits, and other factors, a typical blood sugar response in an otherwise healthy non-diabetic person would be 120 mg/dl to 160 mg/dl. In someone with diabetes, it could easily exceed 200 mg/dl.
That isn’t good. Large blood sugar excursions to 140 mg/dl have been clearly associated with greater risk for heart attack, progression to diabetes, inflammatory responses, and other adverse health effects. In fact, blood sugars as low as 100 mg/dl after eating have been associated with increased cardiovascular risk.
Then why are the USDA, American Heart Association, the American Dietetic Association, and the American Diabetes Association telling us to eat more of the foods that shoot blood sugar up to such high levels? “Eat more healthy whole grains”?
To see how much the issue of exaggerated blood sugars after eating applies to you, a simple blood sugar check 1-2 hours after eating can show you. Either your doctor can have the test drawn or you can purchase your own inexpensive glucose meter (e.g., Walmart, Wagreens).
My prediction: You will be very surprised at blood sugar responses after common foods, including “healthy whole grains.” And, by the way, keeping blood sugar excursions to a minimum will facilitate weight loss.
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