Limit your glucose
Key Strategies in glucose management
To avoid insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, the first and most important step is to stop over-eating glucose from sugar and starch. Without having to measure the amount of glucose in your food, this can be achieved if you simply observe the following guidelines:
- Take only natural, nutrient-rich foods and drinks: Avoid processed foods and soda drinks as they usually contain large amounts of "hidden" sugar.
- Do not add sucrose to your food: An occasional teaspoonful of sucrose in your coffee or tea may not be all that harmful. But if you add several teaspoons each time and you drink several cups of beverages a day, the amount adds up.
- More importantly, avoid cakes, pastries, ice-cream and other sweet foods that are made with plenty of sucrose. Again, if you eat such desserts only a few times a year, such as on your birthday and other special occasions, it is not a big issue. Such foods should be rare treats, not daily fare during coffee breaks.
- Many "energy bars" and snacks sold at health foods stores also contain large amounts of sucrose. They may be made with healthier sweeteners such as raw sugar, honey or brown rice syrup. But they still contain plenty of glucose.
- Follow your natural appetite: Active athletes and those engaged in physically demanding manual work will naturally have a bigger appetite and eat more. They are able to burn away the extra calories. Those who lead more sedentary lifestyles will naturally have a smaller appetite and should eat less.
- Do not eat when you are not hungry: When you are feeling bored or depressed. You need to find other solutions to deal with your situation. Do not indulge in "comfort foods".
Slow and steady Maintaining a balanced glucose level
Apart from not taking too much sugar and starch, it is also important not to take much at any one time. Your body cannot cope with sudden, large surges in the blood glucose level. What you need is a slow and steady increase in your blood glucose level. Observe these simple guidelines:
- No fast-releasing sugary foods (white sugar, glucose, honey, maple syrup, etc.) that digest and release glucose into the blood quickly;
- No fast-releasing starchy foods (white rice, refined flour products like white bread, refined noodles, cakes, pastries and processed cereals);
- No large high-glycemic index meals that produce blood glucose surges; Eat small and frequent meals (this is especially important for people with diabetes);
- Eat slow-releasing complex carbohydrates with high fibre content, such as beans, peas and lentils, oatmeal and other whole grains;
- Choose high-fibre vegetables, along with low glycemic index fruits, seeds and nuts;
- Exercise regularly to reduce insulin resistance and keep your brain active.
This content is adapted, with permission, from Book 1 of 2 : The Wonders of Nutrition by Dr Ang Poon Liat. MBBS, M.MED (PAED), MRCP (UK PAED), FAMS, MD.