Get Off The Blood Sugar Rollercoaster

Maintaining a healthy blood glucose is vital for overall well-being because it directly impacts energy levels, mood, body weight, inflammatory levels, and so much more related to long-term health. Unhealthy blood glucose levels, either too high or too low, are strongly correlated with poor health.

Optimal Blood Glucose Levels 

Your body prefers to maintain a normal blood glucose (or blood sugar) level, which is a fairly narrow range. Here are new research optimal blood glucose goals. 

Fasting glucose

72-85 mg/dL

Pre-meal glucose

72-90 mg/dL

Post-meal glucose peak

<110 mg/dL, with <30 mg/dL increase from pre-meal levels

Average 24 hour glucose

79-100 mg/dL


Digesting Carbohydrates

Through the process of digestion, all carbohydrates break down into sugars, enter the bloodstream, and become blood glucose. This serves as fuel for your muscles and brain. The trouble is when too many, highly processed carbohydrates are eaten, which causes a spike in blood glucose, triggering the release of insulin. 

The Impact of Unhealthy Blood Glucose Levels and High Insulin Levels

When you eat sugar or carbs, blood glucose levels rise, and insulin is triggered to remove the glucose and shuttle it to the cells. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. The insulin acts like a key, opening up cells so they can take in the sugar and use it as an energy source.

Basically, insulin tells your body what to do with the calories—burn it or store it.

Prolonged elevation of insulin due to excessive carbohydrate intake can lead to various health issues:

  • Increased body fat storage. 
  • Inflammation and high blood pressure.
  • Risk of cell proliferation
  • Interference with brain function, contributing to brain conditions that impact memory. Insulin stimulates brain neurons to produce amyloid proteins and interferes with an enzyme that degrades and clears it.
This news is certainly bleak, and isn’t a state you want your body to chronically be in.

The Blood Glucose Rollercoaster Effect 

What you eat first thing in the morning is very important! It sets the tone for the rest of the day. 

When you start your day eating a standard American breakfast of cold cereal or oats, skim milk, orange juice and/or coffee, you rapidly absorb about 19 teaspoons of sugar, which starts the rollercoaster effect.

What exactly is occurring after eating this type of meal? 

First, the rollercoaster increases as blood glucose surges above normal levels. This increases the amount of insulin released into your blood stream, which promotes fat storage in your body.

The blood glucose increase also often leaves people in a energy slump and brain fog and can create mood swings. Your body is stressed from high blood glucose levels. It does not like being out of balance and is working hard to drop the blood glucose back to normal, which is when a lot of inflammatory damage occurs. 

Next, the rollercoaster drops down because many people release too much insulin, causing blood glucose levels to plunge below normal levels. This shift causes cortisol levels to increase. Cortisol is a stress hormone and over time, cortisol weakens the immune system, weakens memory, and induces inflammation in your body.

A drop in blood glucose also causes cravings for high-sugar, high-fat foods, which perpetuates the rollercoaster cycle. As you can tell, your body is also stressed with below normal blood glucose levels.

Optimizing Blood Glucose Levels in the Morning

Research has shown a breakfast rich in protein significantly improves appetite control and reduces unhealthy snacking on high-fat or high-sugar foods in the evening.

Here’s an example of a breakfast that keeps your blood sugar within the normal range: eggs with spinach or any other non-starchy vegetables, cheese, and herbal or green tea. Once digested you will slowly absorb about 4½ teaspoons of sugar. This amount of sugar causes a much more normal rise in your blood glucose.

Avoiding the rollercoaster in your blood glucose means there is less fat storage taking place because less insulin needs to be released. Less cortisol is running through your body, and therefore you will have less cravings. You’ll feel less moody, have steady energy, and be able to think clearly—bye, bye brain fog.  

Tips for Supporting Healthy Blood Glucose Levels and Reducing Insulin Spikes

1. Reduce or eliminate simple carbohydrates. These foods quickly elevate blood glucose levels. Examples include: grains (white flour, white rice, pasta, bread, bagels, all oatmeal, potatoes, chips, etc.), sugars, sodas, fruit juice, and low-fat dairy.

2. Choose complex carbohydrates. These types of carbs are digested and absorbed more slowly due to their fiber and/or fat content. Examples include: non-starchy vegetables like squash, most fruits, full-fat dairy, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes. In addition, eating fiber, protein, and fats with carbohydrates slows down the conversion to blood glucose. 

3. Prioritize non-starchy vegetables. All leafy greens, celery, cucumber, cabbage, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, and all other unmentioned vegetables are excellent choices.

4. Increase healthy fats. I love making fat bombs, and regularly include ghee, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, MCT oil, fish or cod liver oil, grass-fed butter and avocado oil. Also include avocados, guacamole, and olives. 

5. Include adequate protein. Consume protein-rich foods like fish, chicken, meat, dairy, and plant-based options to support muscle health and stabilize blood glucose levels.

6. Limit or eliminate sugar and added sugar. Reduce or eliminate sugary foods and beverages, including artificial sweeteners. Some of the most concentrated sources of sugar are soda, cookies, chocolate bars, donuts, pastries, ice cream, ketchup, teriyaki sauce, salad dressing, and barbeque sauce.

7. Choose whole fruits over juices. Even freshly squeezed fruit juice will immediately spike blood sugar. If you want to taste fruit, eat whole fruit at a reasonable portion size.

Bottom Line: By making conscious choices about your diet and lifestyle, you can support healthy blood glucose levels and optimize your overall health and well-being. You will feel much, much better. You may even lose some weight while you’re at it!

Featured Products for Optimizing Blood Sugar:

Berberine ALA

GTF Chromium



In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

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