What are blood sugar variability and adaptability?
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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.
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.
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:
Focus on your diet and stay within your energy need
You can’t outrun a bad diet. Even with regular exercise, unhealthy foods stress your body at a cellular level. Focus on whole foods with plenty of fiber, and avoid processed foods and added sugar.
Ideally, you eat your fiber first, whenever possible.
There are many positive effects of exercise, such as improved glycemic control and improved insulin sensitivity. Improving your insulin sensitivity results in better variability and adaptability. It also helps your body to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Enjoy different types of workouts to assist your body in becoming more metabolically flexible.
Reduce stress and get enough sleep
Too much stress and too little sleep can lead to chronic health problems such as diabetes or increase the risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Poor sleep can affect your hormone levels and increase the inflammation in your body. Stress causes your body to release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. When facing a “fight or flight” stress response, our bodies release glucose to provide the extra energy required to deal with the situation.
Taking steps to reduce stress and improve sleep may support healthy glucose regulation, positively affecting variability and adaptability.