Consider These Lifestyle Factors

Consider These Lifestyle Factors

If you really want to reduce your blood sugar spikes, you should also consider these lifestyle factors that can affect blood sugar.

Stress
Stress can negatively affect your health in a number of ways, causing headaches, increased blood pressure and anxiety.

It has also been shown to affect blood sugar. As stress levels go up, your body releases certain hormones. The effect is to release stored energy in the form of sugar into your bloodstream for the fight-or-flight response (60).

One study of 241 Italian workers found an increase in work-related stress was directly linked to an increase in blood sugar levels (61Trusted Source).

Actively addressing stress has also been found to benefit your blood sugar. In a study of nursing students, yoga exercises were found to reduce stress and blood sugar spikes following a meal (62Trusted Source).

Sleep
Both too little and too much sleep have been associated with poor blood sugar control.

A study in 4,870 adults with type 2 diabetes found those who slept for the longest or shortest durations had the poorest blood sugar control. The best control was found in those who slept between 6.5 and 7.4 hours a night (63Trusted Source).

Even having one or two bad nights can affect your blood sugar levels.

A study of nine healthy people showed that sleeping too little, or only for 4 hours, increased insulin resistance and blood sugar levels (64Trusted Source).

With sleep, quality is as important as quantity. A study found the deepest level of sleep (NREM) to be most important in terms of controlling blood sugar (65Trusted Source).

Alcohol
Alcoholic drinks often contain a lot of added sugar. This is particularly true for mixed drinks and cocktails, which can contain up to 30 grams of sugar per serving.

The sugar in alcoholic drinks will cause blood sugar spikes in the same way as added sugar in food. Most alcoholic drinks also have little or no nutritional value. As with added sugar, they are effectively empty calories.

Furthermore, over time, heavy drinking can decrease the effectiveness of insulin, which leads to high blood sugar and can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes (66Trusted Source).

However, studies show that moderate, controlled drinking can actually have a protective effect when it comes to blood sugar control and can also lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (67Trusted Source, 68Trusted Source, 69Trusted Source).

One study found that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol with meals may reduce blood sugar spikes by up to 37% (70Trusted Source).

SUMMARY:
Poor sleep, stress and high alcohol intake all negatively affect blood sugar. That’s why it is important to consider lifestyle interventions as well as diet.
The Bottom Line
Simple dietary changes, such as sticking to a low-carb, high-fiber diet and avoiding added sugars and refined grains, can help you avoid blood sugar spikes.

Exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and drinking plenty of water can also have added benefits to your health beyond helping to control your blood sugar.

That said, if you have any medical conditions or are on any medications, speak to your doctor before making any changes to your diet.

For most people, making these simple diet and lifestyle changes is a great way to lower your risk of developing insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.

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