Riding a Blood Sugar Rollercoaster

Incessant brain fog and an inability to concentrate


Feeling cranky and irritable 


Feeling sleepy or lethargic 


Feeling down or depressed 


Feeling anxious 


Craving sugary snacks or lots of carbs 


Feeling dependent of coffee and other caffeinated pick-me-ups


Needing to eat regularly 


Struggling with unwanted weight (despite trying it all) 


Ohhh the joys of a blood sugar rollercoaster...If this sounds familiar, you might be dealing with blood sugar imbalances. 


Don’t feel bad, you are not alone and with the constant demands and pressures of our day-to-day life, it is completely understandable that you are feeling this way. you might be dealing with blood sugar imbalances. 


Don’t feel bad, you are not alone and with the constant demands and pressures of our day-to-day life, it is completely understandable that you are feeling this way. 


You might have our daily stresses and our innate stress response to thank for this fun ride. When your body is stressed it responds by releasing cortisol and cortisol in turn works by releasing the sugar (well, glycogen in its stored form) stored in your muscle and liver into your bloodstream. It does this in an effort to help prepare your body to respond to the perceived stress. It does this so you are prepared to fight or flight. 


This function is essential and without a doubt allowed our species to survive from an evolutionary standpoint. When our stressors were the occasional lion, tiger, or  bears, this response was crucial, but  in our current life,  when we are dealing with a barrage of stressors throughout our day, it is slightly less helpful. Whether it’s traffic, emails flooding your inbox, your kids asking for 153 things while you are trying to make dinner, an important work meeting, all of these stressors cause this innate stress response. All of these stressors cause a surge in blood sugar, leading to the constant blood sugar rollercoaster and inevitably a rollercoaster of symptoms. 


The good thing is there is a lot we can do to better manage our blood sugar and keep it within a reasonable range. We will do a deep dive into this in the following blog post. Before we get to that,  it is essential to understand a few concepts related to blood sugar balance, so we can better understand why we are making the changes we are making.  


The essential concepts are:

  • When we eat food it is broken down (or digested)  into the smallest components possible. Once our food is broken down into the smallest components possible, they can then be absorbed into our bloodstream.

  • The smallest component of protein is an amino acid, the smallest component of fat is a fatty acid and the smallest component of carbohydrate is a sugar. 

  • Unlike protein and fats, when we eat carbohydrates and absorb sugar, this causes a spike in our blood sugar. The size of the spike is determined on how much sugar we eat and how quickly our body can break it down. The more sugar and the easier it can be broken down, the bigger the spike. 

  • After we eat and our body senses high blood sugar, insulin is released which helps the sugar get transported from our blood streams to our muscle and liver to be stored in the form as glycogen (think of it as an energy bank for when you need it).

  • When our body senses low blood sugar, cortisol is released which then releases the stored glycogen into the bloodstream as sugar, so you can ready to use energy.  

  • The high peaks and low dips of our blood sugar levels is what causes the symptoms listed above. We can manage our blood sugar by modifying what we eat and when we eat, we can prevent spikes and dip.

Now that we have the basics of  how blood sugar is balanced in our body and how stress impacts that, we are ready to go into what we can do to better manage our blood sugar levels, stay tuned for the next blog.


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