Sugar levels and your weight

Your blood sugar level plays a vital role in maintaining your weight. According to N2 Fitness experts, Heinrich Smith and Emile Solomons, our bodies can store a certain amount of calories in the form of muscle glycogen while additional calories can be stored in the liver. The more lean tissue you have, the more glycogen (carbohydrate) your body can store.

 

“It is important that our blood sugar levels are constantly maintained i.e. not fluctuating to the upper/lower extremes.  To keep the balance the pancreatic hormones (insulin and glucagon) work together to maintain your blood sugar levels,” says Solomons.

When your blood sugar level takes a dip

When your blood sugar levels are low, your pancreas secretes glucagon, which stimulates the breakdown of muscle tissue (muscle atrophy). This results in the release of glucose into the blood, which restores ‘normal’ blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar levels could result in:

 

  • Low energy levels
  • Muscle atrophy (breakdown)
  • Lower lean body weight
  • Lower metabolism
  • Slower muscle recovery
  • Less mental Focus
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Reduced physical performance

 

When your blood sugar level spikes

Smith says when your blood sugar levels are too high; your pancreas secretes insulin, which stimulates the muscles and fat cell membranes to absorb/allow blood glucose to enter the cells. “This absorption allows the blood glucose levels to return back to the ‘normal’ blood sugar levels (weight gain),” says Smith.

High blood sugar levels could result in:

  • Weight gain
  • High body fat percentage
  • Diabetes
  • Hypoglycaemia

 

Carbs and your blood sugar levels:

 Smith says your blood sugar is directly impacted by your choices in carbohydrate consumption. When choosing monosaccharide carbohydrates, also known as ‘simple carbs,’ they cause an increase in blood sugar levels, which results in the release of insulin to stimulate absorption from the muscle and fat cells.

“This includes food like potatoes, white bread, honey, white pasta, white ice and sweets. You should try and consume these carbohydrates prior to doing some form of physical activity, as this would allow your muscles to use the blood sugar while being active,” says Smith.

Polysaccharide carbohydrates, also known as ‘complex carbs, ’are digested over a longer period, therefore, the release of blood sugar is much slower. Solomons says this stabilizes the blood sugar levels for longer periods, which in turn, maintains energy levels. “You can find these carbs in oranges, apples, whole grains, strawberries, oatmeal, lemons, spinach, broccoli and kiwi’s. They can be eaten  anytime of the day,” says Solomons.