Whether you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or you’re simply interested in ensuring your blood sugar levels remain within the healthy range, it’s important to be fully aware of the various factors that can cause your readings to spike unexpectedly. Avoiding sweets, chocolates and other foods that are high on the glycemic index are the most obvious steps to take, but you may be behaving in ways that have the capacity to affect your blood sugar without your realizing it.
Switching from regular to diet or lite versions of popular drinks can dramatically reduce the amount of sugar you consume, but some studies have suggested that the artificial sweeteners used to replace sugar in such beverages can still lead to blood sugar spikes. One Israeli research project found that mice given artificial sweeteners actually ended up with higher blood sugar levels than a control group of mice who drank only plain water and was believed to be related to the way such sweeteners interact with bacteria in the gut.
Follow-up studies on human subjects found that long-term use of artificial sweeteners was also linked to higher blood sugar levels. If you want to ensure any potential issues are kept to a minimum, check your sugar levels an hour or two after the next time you have a drink with artificial sweeteners so that you can see how your body responds. Regardless of the outcome, don’t treat sugarless drinks as a free pass; consume them only in moderation.
A number of studies suggest that, contrary to what you might expect, skipping breakfast can actually lead to higher blood sugar levels later in the day. Research suggests that eating an early meal, especially one that has high levels of protein and healthy fats, will stabilize blood sugar levels.
One small study by researchers at Tel Aviv University found that patients with type 2 diabetes who skipped breakfast had higher-than-usual spikes in blood sugar after they ate lunch and dinner. Previous research has found that missing breakfast each day raises your risk of gaining weight and developing diabetes.
When a group of healthy adults were asked to sleep for just four hours each night for six nights in a row, their tolerance for glucose – a key factor in the development of diabetes – was reduced by an average of 40 percent. Additionally, when these same subjects were fed a breakfast that was high in carbohydrate, their bodies were unable to process the glucose as efficiently as it had done when they were well rested.
Lack of sleep is linked to an increase in levels of stress within the body, and it is believed to be this which causes blood sugar levels to rise. If you have diabetes or you are at risk of developing the condition, making sure you get the right amount of sleep each night, and that your sleep is of the highest possible quality, may help you to keep your blood sugars more stable.