5 diet hacks to flatten your blood glucose curve

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Today, we’re breaking down our best diet tips for maintaining healthy blood glucose curves. The best part? They’re easy and flexible enough to work into any diet or lifestyle.

A learning curve

You may know the importance of blood glucose, and why it’s so key to maintaining your overall health. If you’re new, though, never fear! Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know.

Your body’s blood glucose levels exist in a natural state of flux—they increase each time you eat as food is digested and absorbed into your bloodstream, and decrease as your cells take that glucose in to use as energy. This pattern of rising and falling makes up what we call a blood glucose curve.

Not all curves are created equal, though. Glucose levels can increase and decrease at faster or slower rates depending on a wide range of factors, including diet, exercise, genetics, microbiome and more, and these differences can have a surprisingly strong impact on your health as a whole. 

The ideal blood glucose curve is a slow and steady one that avoids rapid spikes—just like in the classic children’s story, it’s better to be the turtle than the hare.

In the short term, coming down from these sharp blood glucose increases can make you more tired, moody, and susceptible to cravings. In the long term, this imbalance can lead to weight gain, cardiovascular problems and in turn to more serious health conditions. At HELLO INSIDE, we’re passionate about educating and providing you with the tools you need to understand your blood glucose levels and make the best decisions for your individual health.

Since eating is the immediate catalyst for rising blood glucose, it’s not surprising that your diet is one of the best ways to work on improving those curves.

Let's get hacking

Without further ado, let’s get into those hacks you’ve been waiting for. 

There are lots of healthy eating tips that can benefit your blood sugar, but we’ve curated a list of the top 5 recommendations that anyone can implement. Some may even be things you’re already doing—in which case, good for you! Seems like you have done some homework already. 

Hack #1: Choose products that are unsweetened and rich in fiber

Fiber is a key component of plant-based foods, from fruits and vegetables to grains and beans. Unlike other parts of your food, though, your body actually doesn’t break it down and it passes through your system without getting digested. If this is the first time you’re hearing of fiber, you may be wondering what exactly you do need it for. In reality, fiber plays a starring role in making sure your digestive system runs smoothly. Since it doesn’t get absorbed, it helps to flush waste out of your gut and ease bowel movements, keeping you nice and regular.

These dietary fibers also give carbohydrates structure, which slows their digestion and absorption.[1]

This means that when eating fiber-rich foods, your glucose curves are also slower to rise and fall, contributing to those ideal, flatter curves. 

In contrast, simple added sugars are absorbed much more quickly into the bloodstream, causing faster spikes in blood glucose.

Example: Try using more natural, high-fiber, and low-carb ingredients in your meals. Top your yogurt with delicious seasonal berries and chia seeds, or substitute your usual white bread with a hearty, whole- grain alternative.

Hack #2: Mix your carbs with proteins and a small number of fats

Having only one food group for your meal isn’t just boring, it’s also unhealthy

Carbohydrates are a key factor in how sharply our blood glucose levels start to increase, and they’re digested much more quickly. Adding more variety in the form of protein and just a little fat can reduce those glycemic responses.[2] Since protein and fat take longer to digest than carbs, they cause a more gradual increase in blood glucose when consumed as part of your meal. 

These types of varied eating practices can also stimulate insulin secretion, another key step in your body’s natural blood sugar regulation.

Example: Mix up your plate! Rather than filling up on a big bowl of pasta, add a helping of veggies and a serving of fish to your dish.

Hack #3: Veggies and protein for the first course, carbs for the second

Food order matters. Eating your vegetables and/or protein 15 minutes before you eat carbohydrate-rich foods can lower your post-meal glucose response up to a whopping 73%![3] And as we covered in the last two hacks, your body will thank you for prioritizing those fiber-rich veggies and slow-digesting protein.

Example: Enjoy a light salad with chicken as an appetizer for your dinner, and give yourself time to savor each bite. When you’ve had a chance to digest, move on to a more carb-based dish, like rice or pasta. And if you have a salad or vegetables with your main meal, start with those. 

Hack #4: Add a splash of vinegar

Recent studies have shown that vinegar can have a positive impact on blood glucose when consumed alongside carbs. Even as little as two spoonfuls per day can make a difference. 

While the science is still new, it’s believed that vinegar can improve glucose uptake after a carbohydrate-rich meal, helping to stabilize blood sugar levels.

Example: Say goodbye to store-bought dressing! Instead of tossing a thick layer of sugary, dairy-based dressing on your healthy salad, add vinegar and some light seasoning instead. 

Hack #5: Fermented products can nourish your microbiome

Fermented foods are rich in probiotics and promote the growth of bacteria in the intestine—the good kind, we promise! One particular research project focusing on kefir, a fermented milk drink, found that the beverage can also contribute to healthy glucose levels. The yogurt-like drink has been shown to reduce base levels of insulin and blood sugar.

Example: Many people enjoy kefir as a refreshing drink on its own, but if the tangy taste isn’t for you it can also be a superstar ingredient. Use kefir as a creamy base for a veggie dip, or add some to your smoothie for a probiotic boost. 

Finding a balance

Paying attention to what, how, and when you eat can take some time to get the hang of, especially if you’re new to it. 

It’s okay to start your journey by focusing on a single step, and figuring out what feels good.

These tips are a great starting point for a more conscious diet, so feel free to adapt them into your own routine in a way that works for you. Each person’s eating habits are just one of the many lifestyle choices that impact their blood sugar levels, but at least when it comes to food, you’re in control.

And if you are interested in taking a closer look at the fascinating world of blood glucose, stick around! HELLO INSIDE is developing state-of-the-art new technology that can monitor your blood sugar in real-time, giving you precise insights into your individual health.

So, which diet hacks will YOU be trying out this week? 

 


[1] Lattimer JM, Haub MD. Effects of dietary fiber and its components on metabolic health. Nutrients. 2010;2(12):1266-1289. doi:10.3390/nu2121266

[2] Moghaddam E, Vogt JA, Wolever TM. The effects of fat and protein on glycemic responses in nondiabetic humans vary with waist circumference, fasting plasma insulin, and dietary fiber intake [published correction appears in J Nutr. 2006 Dec;136(12):3084]. J Nutr. 2006;136(10):2506-2511. doi:10.1093/jn/136.10.2506

[3] Shukla AP, Iliescu RG, Thomas CE, Aronne LJ. Food Order Has a Significant Impact on Postprandial Glucose and Insulin Levels. Diabetes Care. 2015;38(7):e98-e99. doi:10.2337/dc15-0429