Are Your Blood Sugar Levels Causing Weight Gain?
If you’ve ever wondered why some people can seem to eat whatever they want and stay the same size, while others only have to look at a cookie to gain weight, it might be time to take a closer look at how unbalanced blood sugar can lead to weight gain.
Scientists have finally recognized that our weight is not just about calories-in and calories-out, but instead can be influenced by several factors such as toxins (obesogens), gut health, and fluctuating blood sugar levels throughout the day (1).
In fact, research shows that unbalanced blood sugar levels are directly linked to stubborn weight gain (2). Rapid ups and downs in blood sugar are shown to increase hunger levels and cravings for sweet foods, making it difficult to eat healthily (3). Dysregulated blood sugar also triggers energy dips, which can make it hard to exercise.
Read on to see how unbalanced blood sugar can lead to stubborn weight gain, along with tips and strategies to balance your blood sugar levels naturally, so you can reach a healthy weight.
What is Blood Sugar?
Blood sugar, or blood glucose, is the main source of sugar found in your blood and is your body’s primary source of energy. When you eat a meal, your body breaks down your meal and sugars enter your bloodstream.
When the amount of sugar in your blood increases, it signals to the pancreas to release insulin, a hormone that helps the sugar in your bloodstream enter cells to be used for energy.
When the human body regulates blood sugar, it wants moderate levels, meaning enough to fuel the body with energy, but not enough to overload and damage the body. When the body is overloaded with blood sugar, excess sugar is set aside and stored in fat cells.
This storing of excess glucose can happen every time we eat or drink. Even if only some of that is stored in fat cells each day, when you multiply it by 365 days in a year, it can easily add up to gaining an extra 10 lbs. or more every year.
Experiencing Unbalanced Blood Sugar
When someone is suffering from dysregulated blood sugar levels, it means that they are experiencing periods of spiking, or quickly rising blood sugar, and crashing, quickly declining blood sugar levels. This “spike and crash” is known as the blood sugar roller coaster.
Unbalanced blood sugar happens more often than you think. In fact, only 12% of Americans are considered to be metabolically healthy, which means the other 88% are experiencing the effects of dysregulated glucose levels (4). But most people don’t know the signs, including:
- Feeling hungry soon after a meal
- Cravings for sweet foods
- Wanting to snack often
- Brain fog or a lack of focus
- Moodiness or feeling down
- Dips in energy levels
- Acne or skin breakouts
- Constantly feeling exhausted
- Hard-to-lose weight
Because these signs are so common, most people don’t think of them as being connected to their blood sugar, instead chalking them up to feeling stressed or overloaded by work and busy schedules. But many of these effects can sabotage even the best efforts at losing weight.
The Impacts of Blood Sugar on Weight Gain
It’s no secret that a large part of the American diet is loaded with high-calorie, high-sugar refined carbohydrates. Despite our body’s need to stay energized, the more we eat these carbs, the more likely we are to overload our body’s bloodstream with sugar. When this occurs, our body only applies the sugar it needs to give us fuel, then quickly stores the rest in our fat cells.
If we continually overload our body with sugars, it becomes hard for the body’s natural systems to keep up. We may become hyperglycemic, meaning we are constantly in a state of higher-than-normal blood sugar levels. This causes our appetite to increase, making us feel hungrier and eat more, making it easy for the body to gain weight.
When our body is in a constant state of “spiking and crashing,” instances of high and low blood sugar cause intense cravings, making it harder to stick to healthy choices. Furthermore, sugar’s impact on mood could cause us to feel down, eating out of emotion instead of necessity (5).
Long-term, having dysregulated blood sugar plays a central role in the development of a variety of health issues that fall under metabolic syndrome, including high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar levels, high cholesterol, and excess fat in the abdominal region. These issues significantly contribute to weight gain and the risk of obesity (6).
However, there are ways to balance our blood sugar levels naturally, supporting a healthy metabolism, without having to resort to zero-sugar or keto-type diets that exclude many favorite foods, making it difficult to stick with long-term.
Natural Ways to Balance Blood Sugar
The good news is there are many ways to help improve blood sugar levels naturally with simple lifestyle changes or eating hacks. By incorporating some or all of these tips to stabilize your blood sugar, you may experience a positive impact on your quality of life, helping you to feel lighter, more energized, even improving mental clarity and focus.
10 Tips for Balancing Your Blood Sugar:
- Eat fiber-rich foods first (fiber slows the release of glucose)
- Add healthy proteins to every meal (and eat these before carbs)
- Choose complex carbs like whole grains and fruits (and eat them last)
- Avoid eating late at night (we metabolize glucose better earlier in the day)
- Take short walks (10 minutes!) after each meal (to burn excess glucose)
- Drink more water and green tea, ideally before a meal (water is filling)
- Try apple cider vinegar (1 tbsp in water) before a meal (lowers glucose impact)
- Eat fermented foods or take a probiotic (helps lower fasting blood sugar levels)
- Avoid highly-processed, sugar-laden snacks (that includes most cereals too)
- Add Gluco-Control to your wellness routine (converts sugar to gut-healthy fiber)
If you are struggling with weight gain or hard-to-lose weight, dysregulated blood sugar could be behind it. Take an inventory of your daily habits and see if you suffer from the common symptoms associated with unbalanced glucose. These signs include lethargy, brain fog, increased appetite, dips in mood, and food cravings.
In the United States, unbalanced blood sugar is the norm. You can take back control of your health with simple lifestyle changes such as adding more fiber or protein to your meals, going for a short walk after eating, and adding supplements such as Gluco-Control to your routine. With these natural ways to get your metabolism back on track you may find it easier to achieve a healthy weight and feel much better overall.