Stable blood sugar levels equal better judgment

November 16, 2013

Ever wonder why you ate that cake or piece of chocolate when you promised you were going to change your eating habits? How about that bowl of ice cream you had right before you went to bed? Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong, so don’t be hard on yourself. In fact, it’s not what you did but rather what you didn’t do that made you lose control.

You see, what you choose to eat has a lot to do with the chemicals in your body, and if you do the wrong things, your body’s chemicals will demand satisfaction immediately with sugary carbohydrates, causing cravings and weight gain. But if you chose to do the right things, you can create stable chemical levels that will empower you to choose meals wisely.

So take the time to establish a routine with the following suggestions, and you will be surprised at how much control you’ll gain over the types of foods you choose to put in your mouth.

Eat frequent meals

A client once asked me why he should eat more meals when he wasn’t hungry. The answer was simple. Eating smaller, frequent meals will speed up your metabolism and keep blood sugar levels stable, making you feel more satisfied and less likely to binge eat. In fact, every time you skip a meal or go long periods of time without eating, blood sugar levels plummet, causing uncontrollable hunger later in the day. To avoid this problem, train your body to eat five to six small meals and space them approximately three hours apart for best results.

Eat low-glycemic carbohydrates

Carbohydrates can be put into two different categories - high glycemic and low glycemic. High-glycemic carbohydrates are foods that quickly enter the bloodstream, leading to weight gain and increased cravings. They include white bread, pasta, sugary cereals, white rice and other processed foods. They are one of the biggest reasons for obesity in America today.

Low-glycemic carbohydrates are natural foods that move through the bloodstream slowly, providing long-lasting energy, weight loss and stable blood sugar levels that help control your appetite. Some good examples are oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice and most vegetables. To improve blood sugar levels, eliminate high-glycemic carbohydrates and replace them with vegetables and grains.

Replace bad fats with good fats

For years, we’ve been brainwashed to believe that all fat is bad and should be avoided, but most people don’t realize fat is an essential part of a healthy diet. Fats promote healthy skin, hair, and digestion and can help you maintain healthy hormone levels, curbing your hunger and leaving you feeling satisfied. You just have to learn to distinguish the difference between good fats and bad fats. Bad fats are fats that become solid at room temperature, such as butter, fatty cuts of meat and palm kernel oil.

Good fats are generally fats found in natural foods, such as avocados, green leafy vegetables, fish, olive oil and nuts.

The trick is to simply eliminate bad fats and replace them with good ones.

Get proper amounts of sleep

In 2004, a study concluded that failure to get enough sleep causes the body to release a hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin is an appetite-stimulating hormone that tells the body you need food, and it will make you feel hungry even when you’re not.

However, when you get enough sleep, the body releases another hormone called leptin that makes you feel full and tells the body to stop eating.

When you feel full, the body is not in crisis mode and you have the ability to be more selective with your food choices, making it easier to eat healthy.

So remember what you do during the average day will generally determine whether or not you’ll have the willpower to consistently eat healthy. The next time you’re having trouble controlling your hunger, it may simply be your hormones working against you. Learn to promote healthy chemical levels with a proper diet, and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to control your appetite.

  • Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. He has been lifting for more than 20 years and has trained a wide variety of clients ranging from All-American athletes to the average person trying to get into shape. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out

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