And Why Should You Care?

It is normal for our blood sugar levels to have some ups and downs throughout the day.

These fluctuations can also be different from day to day. Food, exercise, mood, stress, and sleep can cause blood sugar levels to rise and fall.

Variability

We call this up and down of blood glucose levels during the day variability.

They are a normal part of our body’s responses to our lives. High variability is when your blood sugar rises and falls sharply, very high and very low. – The classic sugar crash.

Perhaps you ate a large portion of pasta for lunch. Your blood sugar rises sharply, and for about half an hour, you feel great, full of energy and in a good mood. But soon, that energy is used up. You can not concentrate anymore, and you NEED something to eat. And you do it now.

If you experience something like this several times a day, your blood sugar fluctuates a lot, which means high variability. You are on a blood sugar roller coaster. This constant roller coaster ride of highs and lows can leave you exhausted, cranky and hungry.

Adaptability

In addition to the variability (how much the levels go up and down), it’s also about the adaptability (how long the levels stay elevated before returning to the starting levels)

If your body quickly counteracts a rise in blood glucose and manages to keep levels stable, you have great adaptability. A blood glucose level that doesn’t drop again within 2.5 hours after eating is a sign of a bad adaptability.

The Good News: 

You can stabilize your blood sugar levels with a few simple lifestyle changes, making it easier to stay in the optimal range of 80 – 110mg/dl (140mg/dl after eating).

Ways to Improve Your Variability and Adaptability: 

  • Pair your carbs with fat, protein and fiber.
  • Eat more fiber.
  • Eat your fiber first. 
  • Avoid processed foods, and added sugar.
  • Move regularly.
  • Reduce stress. 

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

more posts from author

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

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You may have noticed that your blood glucose levels never increase the same way. What’s the story behind it? 

As a general statement, one should avoid sharp increases.
Unless you have to run from a tiger or catch a train because there won’t be a train until tomorrow morning.
Then it would be best if you had your energy fast. In these cases, sharp cases are a good thing.

In all other moments, when you’re not running from a tiger, you should stay as low as possible and have a smooth, steady curve with no sharp edges or spikes.

Your Food Matters

Depending on what you eat, your blood sugar will go up higher and faster. For example, sugary drinks will make your blood glucose rise sharply, whereas foods that contain fiber, fat, and protein (like an avo toast) will more likely result in a more stable blood glucose curve. 

To clarify, at Hello Inside, we refer to a sharp rise (spike) when your blood sugar rises above 140mg/dl AND 60mg/dl within 60 minutes.

So if you eat something, and let’s say you start at 95mg/dl and after 60 minutes your blood peaks at 127mg/dl, that’s nothing to worry about. It’s an increase, but not a sharp increase.

Ideally, your blood sugar shouldn’t rise higher than 30 mg/dl after a perfect meal.
But we know that’s just how life is, and some meals can cause blood sugar to rise more than 30 mg/dl.

Learn More

You’re here to learn more about your body and improve your meals. Looking at your data can help you get closer to ideal scenarios, so you can stay within this 30mg/dl range. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and the Hello Inside app help you see how foods affect your blood sugar and metabolism in real-time.

Over time, you can spot trends and use them to make impactful changes to your diet and lifestyle. We help you figure out what healthy eating means to you, so you can eat mindfully and stop following a one-size-fits-all regimen.

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

more posts from author

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

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Over the past years, intermittent fasting (IF) has slowly become a mainstream diet. One that many are surprised to find feels more liveable and much less restrictive than traditional diets such as keto, calorie-counting, and many others.
Because of IF’s wellness benefits, which improve overall health, reduce disease risks, and increase metabolic health, IF is also appealing to those who are not necessarily looking to lose weight.
For us at Hello Inside Intermittent fasting is particularly interesting because there’s substantial research available suggesting that IF can improve  glucose management and insulin sensitivity.

Whatever the approach, IF involves restricting the window of time when you eat. The most popular approaches are 16:8, 20:4 and 5:2. The numbers refer to “fasting to eating” hours in a day (16 to 8 and 20 to 4) or to “eating to fasting” days in a week (5 to 2).

The Key Tenet of Intermittent Fasting

So how, exactly does IF work to promote health and longevity?

There isn’t one standard protocol for IF. But many plans limit the total calorie intake. This makes the food quality a top priority.

We recommend squeezing in the most nutritious meals and snacks. That means mixing processed foods and focusing on fresh, healthy, colorful foods. Yes, you can eat cake, but eating it as a snack after a meal rich in fiber, protein and fat, instead of on an empty stomach when breaking a fast makes it so much better. You will see this in your blood sugar balance and feel better overall.

Besides the limited calorie intake, the idea is that when you’re not eating, your insulin levels  will go down and your fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be used as energy to maintain steady glucose levels. You could say that your body flips a metabolic switch.
If you’re constantly eating your body won’t need to access this storage, because it has energy in the form of glucose floating around – its preferred fuel. You can read more about this in our blog post on weight control and blood glucose.

Reduce Inflammation

Eating less frequently can also help to reduce inflammation, which is great because it also decreases insulin resistance. Here’s why:
If you’re constantly eating, especially a diet high in carbs, your body releases insulin constantly triggered by the glucose intake. Over time, as insulin builds up in the body cells can’t use it effectively as before- a phenomenon also known as insulin resistance. The cells get “numb” in using insulin which is important to store the glucose away. This in turn leads to higher blood glucose levels  and inflammation.
So squeezing calories intake into a smaller window AND eating healthier foods can decrease the risk of developing diseases. 

Your First Meal of the Day Counts

The way you break your fast matters. 

A “breakfast” rich in carbs can put you on the glucose roller coaster for the remainder of the day. It really sets the tone. If your first meal contains fat and protein (before your carbs) your blood sugar will be more stable, 

A Note About Women’s Health

As mentioned above, intermittent fasting has become extremely popular. Particularly skipping breakfast and eating two more-substantial meals. However intermittent fasting may not be the best diet for every woman.

Firstly, in women with hormonal imbalances, especially PCOS, a good breakfast is really important for bringing down insulin and testosterone and improving ovulation. This is important not only for fertility but also for long-term health.
Secondly, intermittent fasting can trigger disordered eating as women may tend to overeat during the eating window. Which deserves special attention, since studies found that up to 23 percent of women with PCOS tend to suffer from disordered eating.

Along with having a savoury and substantial breakfast a gap of at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast the following morning, can improve the insulin sensitivity.
How can this look like in real life? A 12- hour gap shouldn’t be too hard to achieve. For example, a woman could choose to fast between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. She would need to finish her dinner before 7 p.m. and wait until 7 a.m. to eat breakfast but would be asleep for much of the time in between.  


And since we’re already talking about women. IF is probably not a good idea for pregnant and breastfeeding women as well. The natural calorie restriction that happens because of IF can have a negative impact on fetal development. Also, since the mother’s diet is largely dependent on what the mother eats, a restricted diet during breastfeeding may result in less nutritious milk and thus influence a newborns development.

Boosts Our Circadian Rhythm

One other benefit of IF worth mentioning is that it boosts our natural circadian rhythm. Deep in everyone’s brain there is a master clock that, taking into account external data such as sunlight, stimulates our bodies to perform certain activities.

This so-called circadian rhythm is comparable to a smartphone that has a whole day of alarms preset – get up, eat lunch, etc. – only much less annoying. Our circadian rhythm also includes a glucose/insulin timer. Sensitivity to insulin decreases throughout the day.

It takes our bodies longer to process a piece of bread at 9pm than it does at lunchtime. So having your dinner earlier in the day (for example, by sticking to a 16:8 schedule and eating only between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.) increases the circadian effectiveness of insulin.

This circadian rhythm also explains why someone’s blood sugar goes up and down during the night. Even though they’re not eating. Besides the circadian rhythm, other factors may impact our blood sugar over night:

  1. Dreams and REM sleep: Non-REM sleep is associated with an increase in glucose levels while REM sleep associated with stable levels of glucose. So the glucose levels can depend on the sleep stage. 
  2. Meals that have been eaten during the day: If these meals are very carb heavy, it will result in higher fluctuation during the day. That’s why we at Hello Inside consider the food quality and meal order as crucial to avoid the blood sugar rollercoaster, that will continue into the night.

Long Term Impact

IF can be a feasible, consistent way to increase insulin sensitivity and decrease the average glucose level decreases. By shifting our eating window to earlier in the day, we align our food intake with the time when our bodies are naturally most sensitive to insulin, thus lowering peak insulin and blood glucose levels.

Your blood sugar levels can have a significant impact on how your body feels and functions. Therefore, a stable blood sugar level can be an important factor in your overall well-being and guide you through your own eating regime. So let’s have one final look at some ways how you can make IF work for you.

5 Ways to Practice Intermittent Fasting For Better Blood Sugar Balance

  • Opt for a savory meal to break your fast. E.g Eggs, Tofu, Avocado, Cheese, …
  • Ensure your meals are colorful and rich in fiber to get all the nurturing nutrients and feel full for longer. 
  • Eat sugars and refined grains last or as dessert. 
  • Let your body burn fat between meals. Don’t snack. Be active throughout your day. Build muscle tone.
  • Consider a simple form of intermittent fasting. Limit the hours of the day when you eat, and for best effect, make it earlier in the day (between 7 am to 3 pm, or even 10 am to 6 pm, but definitely not in the evening before bed).

 
With Hello Inside, you’ll be able to track your blood glucose levels over time using a CGM, so you can see if your lifestyle choices support healthy living.
Ready to take the first step? Sign up for the Hello Sugar Program today and look inside. 

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

more posts from author

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

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More than 50% of people make New Year’s resolutions every year. Many include cutting back on sugar, eating healthier, or losing weight. This may sound like a logical consequence after all the treats of Christmas. Unfortunately, by January 19th, over 80% of people have abandoned their resolutions already.

So let’s make sure that no matter your resolution, and even if you don’t have any, you understand the power of blood sugar when it comes to your healthy weight. 

Most think eating less and moving more are necessary to drop extra kilograms. But if you’re already doing everything “right” and can’t seem to lose weight or are even gaining it, controlling your blood sugar may be of special interest, and you won’t need to eat less or work out more. Sounds like a win-win, right?

How Glucose Monitoring Is Connected To Weight Management

Here’s why. 

Let’s start with some basic information about hormones. 

Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers that travel in your bloodstream. They work slowly, over time, and affect many different processes. Hormones are very powerful. Only a tiny amount of too much or too little causes big changes in cells or your whole body.

Hormones control your blood glucose regulation

To control your blood sugar, one hormone is of special importance: 

Insulin

Insulin is a hormone produced by beta cells in your pancreas. 

Every time you eat or drink anything but water, your pancreas produces insulin. This hormone helps your body access your food’s energy by “unlocking” your cells. Insulin’s main task is to move the sugar (aka glucose) inside the cells, where it’s used for fuel.
Its side effect is to: impact your fat metabolism (inhibit fat “burning”). Because as long as carbs are in excess, insulin levels are high, and your body won’t burn fat. This happens because your body will always prefer carbs over other energy sources. So it is important to give your body some time between meals (ideally more than 3 hours) to allow your insulin to bring your blood sugar down and your body to access fat cells for energy. Otherwise, your body will gain additional weight. 


The long-term consequence of high blood sugar levels or additional weight is insulin resistance. 

Think of your body as a car. Fill the trunk with your luggage for a month-long vacation. Your car will need more gas to power the engine. And now, imagine that insulin is the gas line between the fuel tank and the engine. Insulin resistance squeezes it, so it’s harder to get when you need more fuel. Controlling your weight or losing some kilograms can slow the development of insulin resistance. Similar to the fact that you would not want to travel around with your vacation luggage all the time. 

Since it’s tough for insulin-resistant cells to take glucose from your blood, sugar levels build up. Over time, this may lead to diabetes, damaging your blood vessels and yield more weight gain. That’s because extra blood glucose signals to your pancreas: “Make more insulin!” But the more you churn out, the easier weight piles on because insulin encourages your body to store the extra sugar as fat.

Besides insulin, another hormone influences your blood sugar:

Cortisol 

Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone.
Stress kicks off your fight-or-flight response, which prompts the body to produce less insulin and release more glucose. This extra glucose is your body’s way of ensuring you have enough fuel in case you need to fight off – or flee from – a threat. This was a great mechanism back then when we had to outrun a tiger in search of food. But our modern stressors, such as meetings or deadlines, aren’t the same physical threat as a hungry tiger. 

Additionally, many people tend to reach for unhealthy food when they’re stressed. So, in addition to the physiological function of stress, how many people cope with stress makes it harder to lose or maintain weight. 

Monitoring your blood sugar will support a healthy weight. 

You will notice that your glucose levels are higher when you’re stressed. This high blood sugar requires plenty of insulin to bring the glucose down. But high insulin levels inhibit fat burning and weight loss in the long run. In other words, stress blocks weight loss. 

So you may want to rethink your New Year’s resolutions, and even if you don’t have any, think about ways to reduce stress and learn to cope with it – without using food or alcohol.
This will make it easier to lose or control your weight. 

As an inspiration to get you going, we recommend getting plenty of sleep each night, walking as much as possible during the day, and adding stress-relieving activities such as breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation. And of course: Monitor your blood sugar levels. 

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

more posts from author

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

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Fat sometimes gets a bad reputation. Many people think that eating fat will make them gain weight. They don’t know that we need dietary fats to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Also, fats are necessary for our hormones. It’s not all bad but being mindful is important.

Another important piece of information is that healthy fats include unsaturated fats like monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are less likely to promote insulin resistance, inflammation, and fat storage. That’s good. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids are said to promote heart health. Some healthy fats include olive oil, avocado and avocado oil, nuts, and seeds.

On the other side, unhealthy fats lead to negative health outcomes such as type 2 diabetes. You can find these unhealthy fats in butter, palm oil, ice cream, and lard. So choose smart combinations of macronutrients and balance your meals for a healthy diet.

Tips for more healthy fats in your diet, and for balanced blood glucose.

Include Omega-3s everyday
Choose one of the following every day: fatty fish, chia seeds, flaxseeds, nuts, or seeds. This simple will help boost your omega-3 intake and keep you full.

Include nuts in your recipes 
Nuts are a great healthy fat. They add crunch and protein to your recipes. Remember 1 handful per day is the recommended serving size for nuts.

Exchange butter with olive oil
Increase your healthy fats (mono- and polyunsaturated fats) by using olive oil in recipes.

Go for homemade salad dressings
You can use olive oil or pumpkin seed oil as a base for salad dressing. Mix two parts oil to one-part vinegar with herbs and add it to your salad. Many packaged dressings are high in unhealthy fats (and sugar)

Add avocado to your meals
Avocados are filling and can help with weight loss. Have you ever tried one in your green smoothie?  This can help to keep your blood sugar more balanced.

Remember to use healthy fats in moderation. Just because they are healthy fats does not allow you to eat without limits. Ideally, you aim for 60-80 g of healthy fats per day, that’s about 6-8 tablespoons.

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

more posts from author

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

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If you monitor your blood sugar, you might have noticed your blood sugar spiking after enjoying a slice of bread. And standing in front of the bread options in the grocery store can feel overwhelming, and you may decide to put bread off the table. But we’re here to help you understand what makes certain bread better for your blood sugar. We want you to feel confident in your food choices. 

So let’s dive into the different types of bread to examine how they can impact your blood sugar.

White Bread

White bread is made with refined white flour, and refining removes most of the grain’s protein, fiber, and other nutrients. This is the reason why white bread will spike your blood sugar.

Whole Grain Bread 

Whole grain bread means the grain is still intact, unlike white bread. It still contains fiber, protein, and vitamins. People who consume more whole grains are at a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Sometimes a bread will list “made with whole grains” but still contain refined flour or added sugar as an ingredient, so you want to look closely at the ingredient list.

Sprouted Bread

Sprouted bread is made by soaking and sprouting whole grains, legumes, or seeds, grinding, and using these instead of flour. As a result, it usually contains lots of fiber and protein, making it a top blood sugar-friendly bread.

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough can impact blood sugar less because of the fermentation process, even though it’s made with white flour. The chemical structure of the flour changes during fermentation, potentially causing a healthier blood sugar response. 

Organic Bread

Organic bread means that all the ingredients used to make the bread are organic, but it doesn’t describe how good or bad it is for your blood sugar. 

Gluten-Free Bread

Like organic bread, gluten-free bread is not a description of how bread will impact your blood sugar. Gluten-free bread can be made with grains that are milled and refined in a way that matches the texture of white flour. Check your gluten-free bread label to ensure it isn’t made with white rice, another blood-sugar-raising grain.

We’ve created a four- step process to make a better bread choice:

  1. Start with the ingredient list. Take a look at the ingredients. If you see sugar, look for a different bread. If there’s no sugar included, look for any fiber-containing extras like chia or flax, or grains, nuts, or seeds. 
  2. Next, check the nutrition table and look for carbohydrates. Total carbs will tell you all the carbs in the product, including any added sugars and fiber. The best options contain less than 15 grams of carbs per slice of bread.
  3. Check the fiber content. You’ll find fiber under carbs in the nutrition table. Anything less than 2 grams of fiber is more likely to spike your blood sugar.
  4. See if your bread contains protein. Since protein helps smoothen the glucose response, any protein from beans, nuts, and seeds makes it a better choice. Some of the seeded products can contain 5 grams of protein per slice.

Not all breads cause the same reaction in your blood glucose levels. Ensure you experiment with different options and find what works best for you.

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

more posts from author

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

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Yoga outdoors with a friend

Feeling sleepy after eating is a common problem. Many people notice this, especially in the afternoon, only a short time after lunch. That’s why it’s also called the “afternoon slump.” You may have noticed that you or your colleagues wander around searching for sugar and coffee. Both are tempting because they can offset afternoon fatigue.

Yet there’s a better approach to boost your energy than sweets and coffee. For example, structure your meals in a way that helps sustain your energy. Below we’ll look at just how to do this, plus foods to limit that can zap your energy.

Why do you feel tired after eating? 

You’re most likely to feel this way after eating a big meal, especially one high in low-quality fats, starches, and/or sugar.

One of the leading causes of feeling tired after eating is a drop in blood sugar (glucose).

Healthy and unhealthy foods & food alternatives

After you eat starches or sugars your blood sugar rises quickly, and it won’t take too long for the levels to fall as your “blood sugar crashes”. This can cause feelings of brain fog, cravings, and fatigue/tiredness. Although the severity of these symptoms varies from person to person.

In addition to those feelings, sugar starches also cause more serotonin to be released. Serotonin is a “happy chemical,” but it can also make you feel relaxed and tired.

Other reasons you feel sleepy after eating include how your parasympathetic nervous system works and your circadian rhythm.

Your parasympathetic nervous system is the part of your nervous system that is in charge of “rest and digest” processes. It responds to you eating a meal by making you feel more relaxed.

Eating also calls for additional blood activity in your digestive system to speed up digestion. You may have never thought about it, but breaking down the food you eat is a lot of work for your body, which requires a lot of energy.  

Besides the physiological process, tiredness can also result from your “internal clock” (circadian rhythm). It’s considered natural and “normal” to feel a little tired in the afternoon, usually around 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., which is a couple hours after most people’s lunchtime.

To find out what you can do to support your body with its processes and feel less tired, we’ll share a few tips with you next. 

Our Tips:

  • Balanced meal: Aim to strike a balanced meal by including high-fiber foods, healthy fats, protein, and vegetables. Be careful not to load on refined carbs like pasta dishes, cereal, grain bowls without protein, noodle dishes, sweets, etc.
  • Add veggies: When in doubt, add some vegetables to a protein dish, such as sautéed chicken or fish, and incorporate some fat, such as olive oil or avocado slices, to round things out. Remember, though, that too much protein causes some people to feel lethargic. So we recommend a mix of proteins, not just one single source. 
  • Vitamin B and D: Foods that supply you with B vitamins, vitamin D, and iron can also help support your energy levels. B vitamins and iron are essential for supporting digestion and metabolic processes that convert the nutrients in your diet into usable energy. Such as salmon, eggs, or dairy products. 
  • Smaller meals. Remember that we mentioned that digestion requires a lot of energy. So when you eat a larger meal, your body may need to “shut down” while it handles the monumental task of breaking down all that food. 
  • Drink enough. Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water (and not too much caffeine, alcohol, or sugary drinks) since hydration is vital for feeling your best. Alcohol to a meal can make you especially tired because it impacts liver function and how your body handles carbohydrates. 
  • Go for a walk. Light exercise during the day, especially after eating, can help people feel less tired.

Many people experience a dip in energy after eating. Large meals and meals rich in protein and carbohydrates are most likely to make people feel sleepy. Track your blood glucose to determine if your favorite lunch is a blood sugar dropper. And learn about the small changes you can make to keep enjoying it. 

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

more posts from author

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

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Dinner with friends

Late dinners, long family gatherings with great treats, or those snacks before bed, whatever it is, you feel tired and ready to go to sleep afterwards. But do you really sleep well after a dinner just before bedtime?

Some experts will tell you that it’s normal to feel sleepy after eating.

We are going to warn you that a big meal, especially with lots of carbs before bed will disrupt your sleep. And the reason for that is the unique relationship between food, sleep and your metabolism. 

For starters, dozing off right after a large meal will lead to digestive issues. That’s because an upright position — whether sitting or standing — is better for digestion in general. 

The way we metabolize food varies at different times during a roughly 24-hour cycle, and mostly it slows down the closer you get to your bedtime. 

Sleeping after eating also lowers your arousal threshold (making it more likely that something wakes you), increasing sleep fragmentation (causing you to wake up during the night). This will affect your sleep quality and depth. 

trouble sleeping after late dinner

Although large late-night meals tend to be problematic for the reasons above, it is important to note that also the foods have an impact on your sleep.

Foods that are high in glucose and carbs, will put you straight into the glucose rollercoaster, making you feel wide awake because the energy kicks in, but you don’t need it any more. 

Plus, that little glass of wine you enjoy with dinner may also affect to your sleep quality.

A consequence of poor sleep is also that you have increased glucose levels the next day and can observe stronger fluctuations. This in turn can cause you to experience cravings and you end up on the glucose roller coaster again. So not only are you tired and unfocused, but you’re hungrier too. (Have you ever observed that if you eat dinner late, you’er hungrier then usual the next morning?)

So what should you do for better sleep? 

A balanced diet of vegetables and fruits (the latter during the earlier hours of the day), whole grains, nuts, and lean proteins is said to help with getting a higher quality sleep. A recent literature review in June 2022 shows that a healthy diet is associated with better perceived sleep quality.

Also we recommend that you wait at least 2-3 hours before you go to bed after a meal.

Learn more about what works for you in our new Hello Sugar Program. 14 days to explore your personal reaction to food, exercise and stress. Find your sweet spot!

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

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Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

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How to eat a banana

You may have heard that glucose is the body’s primary energy source. When you eat, your body gets glucose by metabolizing the carbs in your foods. One food that has plenty of carbs is a banana. On average, a large banana contains about 31g of carbs. This means that eating a banana will most likely raise your blood sugar levels. How much it will increase depends on a few factors. 

One factor is your individual metabolism. (We won’t go into detail here)

The other factor, and that’s probably more surprising, is the ripeness. 

When to eat a banana

Bananas, like all fruits, are a source of carbs that can cause your blood glucose to increase rapidly. 

The greener the banana, the more resistant starch. Resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be adequately digested and, therefore, won’t cause your blood glucose levels to increase. 

So if you can choose between two bananas, choose the greener one because it won’t cause as severe of a glucose spike as eating the riper one. 

Besides carbohydrates and thus energy, bananas also have other effects on your body. They’re a great source of micronutrients such as potassium, magnesium, Vitamin B12, and C. 

In case you missed the point at which you want to eat your banana as a snack (if the banana is too brown and sweet already) we have some tips for you to make sure the fruit doesn’t go to waste.

How to eat a banana?

You can use a very ripe or overripe banana as a sweetener for your baked goods. You can use them in pancakes, make banana bread or mix them into a cream filling. It’s delicious and you can go easy on (or even leave out) added refined sugars. Enjoy! 🍌



Source: Johns Hopkins University.

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

more posts from author

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

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Whole fruit or juice: what's better for your blood glucose?

Juice cleanse is a health and wellness trend that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Fans of juice diets, or juice fasts, primarily emphasize the benefits that come with drinking juice, such as weight loss or improved nutrient absorption. 

While juices are a concentrated source of beneficial nutrients, they are also a concentrated source of carbohydrates in the form of sugar. Let’s take a closer look at that. 

How does a glass of fruit juice affect blood sugar? 

Juices contain many carbohydrates in the form of sugar, which can contribute to a rapid rise in blood sugar levels. For example, a glass (200ml) of orange juice contains 20 grams of sugar. 

Processing the fruit removes much of the fiber from fruits and vegetables. If this fiber is missing, the sugar from these foods is absorbed into the blood more quickly. The result is a faster rise in your blood sugar level. The following rapid drop in blood sugar levels can then cause headaches, hunger or, if you have a juice later in the evening, sleep problems. 

Think about how long it takes you to eat 2-3 oranges or drink a glass (200ml) of orange juice. 2-3 oranges is about the amount contained in a glass of orange juice. Most people would agree that it is much easier and faster to drink this amount of orange juice than to peel, slice, chew and swallow 2-3 whole oranges.

If you keep this example in mind, it’s easier to understand that eating the whole fruit – and not just the juice – results in a slow and controlled rise in blood sugar levels. This is also because the process of consumption takes longer.

So are smoothies better?

Now, if you’re considering drinking a smoothie instead of just fruit juice, we recommend adding protein and fat to your smoothie. This combination results in a slower blood sugar rise compared to pure fruit juice. 

Green smoothies are usually high in vegetables and therefore lower blood sugar, assuming there is no apple or other fruit juice added.

Are juice diets unhealthy? 

So, is it safe to say that juice fasts or juice diets are recommended, even if blood sugar rises and falls sharply?

We, at Hello Inside, believe that there is nothing wrong with having a juice fast day now and then, as long as you feel good about it. However, it is important to remember that this is not a long-term form of nutrition, and can also bring unpleasant side effects, such as headaches, hunger or fatigue.

In general, we do not recommend giving up fruits and vegetables. To help you balance your blood sugar, we have collected the following 5 tips.

Our tips: 

  1. Eat your fruit as unprocessed as possible and choose whole fruits
  2. If possible, leave the skin on
  3. Combine your fruit juices or smoothies with protein and fat
  4. Choose vegetable juices (green smoothies) when possible 
  5. Pay attention to portion size

Are you ready to look inside?

Find what works best for you with hello inside

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

more posts from author

Marie-Luise Huber

Luise has spent the last 15 years learning about nutrition and coaching people toward healthy behaviors. Before becoming Head of Nutrition at Hello Inside, she helped parents plan proper lunches for their children. Luise also optimized food ingredients in Central and Eastern European countries. She supported 1000+ people of all ages on their weightloss journey. Her favorite tip to balance blood glucose is moving her body because Luise loves to run, ski or bike. And she loves to bake (not always blood glucose friendly).

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