Star Health Desk
Many common foods (including some sugar-free ones) or even a bad cold can raise your blood sugar levels. Here are some culprits to watch for.
Your blood sugar can rise after you have coffee — even black coffee with no calories. The same goes for black tea, green tea, and energy drinks. Ironically, other compounds in coffee may help prevent type 2 diabetes in healthy people.
Upswing: Sugar-free foods
Many of these will raise your blood sugar levels. Why? They can still have plenty of carbs from starches. Check the total carbohydrates on the Nutrition Facts label before you dig in.
Upswing: Chinese foods
When you dig into a plate of sesame beef or sweet and sour chicken, it is not just the white rice that can cause a problem. High-fat foods can make your blood sugar stay up for longer. The same is true for pizza, french fries, and other goodies that have a lot of carbs and fat.
Upswing: A bad cold
Your blood sugar rises as your body works to fight off an illness. Drink water and other fluids to stay hydrated. Call your doctor if you have had diarrhoea or vomiting for more than 2 hours or if you have been sick for 2 days and are not getting better
Upswing: Job stress
Overwhelmed or unhappy at work? It takes a toll. When you are under stress, your body releases hormones that can make your blood sugar rise. It is more common for people with type 2 diabetes. Learn to relax with deep breathing and exercise.
Upswing: Sports drinks
They are made to help you replenish fluids quickly, but some of them have as much sugar as soda. Plain water is probably all you need for a moderate workout of less than an hour.
Foods that have healthy bacteria, such as many types of yogurt, are called probiotic. They can improve digestion and also may help you control your blood sugar. Some yogurts have added sugar and fruit, so be careful to count the carbs. Your best choice is plain or light yogurt without extra sugar.
Lower: Vegan diet
One study found that people with type 2 diabetes who switched to a vegan diet had better blood sugar control and needed less insulin. A boost in fiber from whole grains and beans might play a role, by slowing down the digestion of carbs.
A sprinkle of this spice can add flavour without adding salt, carbs, or calories. Some studies suggest it also can help the body use insulin better and may lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
Blood sugar can dip dangerously low during shut-eye for some people with diabetes, especially if they take insulin. It is best to check your levels at bedtime and when you wake up. A snack before bed may help. For some people, blood sugar can rise in the morning — even before breakfast — due to changes in hormones or a drop in insulin. Regular testing is important.
Roller coaster: Heat
You will be safer inside with the AC when it is hot outdoors. Heat makes your blood sugar harder to control. You should test it often and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. High temps can affect your medications, glucose meter, and test strips, too. Don’t leave them in a hot car.
Roller coaster: Female hormones
When a woman’s hormones change, so does her blood sugar. Keep a monthly record of your levels to get a better idea of how your menstrual cycle affects you. Hormone changes during menopause may make blood sugar even harder to control.
Is sugar bad for you?
If you love sweets, don’t despair. You don’t have to give them up forever. Sugar will raise your blood sugar levels more quickly than other carbs, but diabetes experts now say the total amount of carbs is most important. So keep your serving sizes small and take into account the total carbs and calories.
What about the glycemic index?
Your daily carb total, spread steadily across the day, is one key to good blood sugar control. Some people also use the glycemic index (GI), a rating of how individual foods raise blood sugar levels. Beans and whole-grain breads and cereals have a lower GI than white bread or regular pasta. Juice has a higher GI than whole fruit. Craving a high-GI food? Eat it along with a lower-GI choice to help control your levels.