Carbohydrate – Help Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

Blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels are closely regulated to make sure your body cells have enough glucose for energy. If your blood sugar level is low, you can feel shaky or weak; if it’s high, you can feel sluggish, confused, or short of breath. Blood sugar levels are tightly regulated by two hormones: insulin and glucagon.

After eating a meal, blood sugar levels rise. In response, the pancreas releases insulin into the blood. Insulin unlocks body cells, allowing the glucose to enter and provide them with energy. Insulin also stimulates cells in the liver and the muscles to store glucose in the form of glycogen for later use. During this process, blood sugar levels return to normal.

When you skip a meal or if you haven’t eaten in a while, the pancreas releases another hormone, glucagon; glucagon stimulates the breakdown of glycogen from the liver into glucose, which is then released into the bloodstream. Glucagon also stimulates protein for glucose production.

In diabetes, the pancreas cannot release any or enough insulin into the bloodstream to bring blood sugar or blood glucose levels down to normal, and thus they are elevated.

In the Diet

Many foods and beverages that are widely available in the food supply and commonly consumed are rich in carbohydrates.

Dietary Sources

Carbohydrates are naturally found in a wide variety of plant foods and some animal-derived foods and beverage. These include:

Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes (beans, including soybeans and foods and beverages made from soy, and peas), milk and some milk products. Legumes (beans and peas), whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are great sources of fiber, which promotes gastrointestinal health and helps keep blood sugar and cholesterol levels in check.

These foods also supply the diet with an array of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that can benefit health and protect against disease.

Legumes (beans and peas), nuts, and seeds are also good sources of plant proteins. In particular, soybeans and foods made with them contain high-quality protein.

Fruits, vegetables, and cooked grains are nutrient-dense, high in nutrients but low in calories. They add a lot of bulk for few calories because they have a high water content. Consequently, they can help you feel full with fewer calories.

Sugars and sugary foods are also significant sources of carbohydrates in the American diet. They can occur naturally (as in honey and even in milk and fruit) or be added to foods in refined forms (e.g., table sugar, molasses, and brown sugar). Foods rich in natural sugars, such as low fat or skim milk, and fruit (notably fresh, or frozen or canned with no added sugar), often pack in a lot of key nutrients. Oftentimes refined sugars are found in many of the nutrient-poor, high-calorie foods and beverages Americans tend to consume a lot of, including soda, cookies, and candy.

Different carbohydrate-rich foods have different effects on blood sugar levels. Foods that are rich in simple carbohydrates or starch and are low in fiber and fat are more rapidly digested and absorbed; this leads to a large, rapid rise in blood sugar levels. The body responds by pumping out extra insulin that can lower blood sugar levels too far before finally stabilizing.

Carbohydrate-rich foods that are high in fiber, resistant starch, and fat cause a less dramatic rise and fall in blood sugar.

The USANA 5-Day RESET program is not about starvation. It is a nutritionally balanced, low-calorie system to help you lose the first few pounds and find the motivation to keep working toward your total weight-loss goal.

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