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Eating to Support Blood Glucose

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

Tired, low energy, grumpy, low mood, poor sleep and cravings for sugary, junk and caffeinated foods and drinks are common symptoms many people have daily. The reason for this could be down to poor blood glucose regulation. Eating sugar laden and refined processed foods can impact blood glucose levels and therefore impact the way we feel. Starting the day on a high sugar breakfast cereal or croissant leads to an instant steep rise in blood glucose levels only resulting in a steep crash a couple of hours later encouraging the need for another sugar fix to combat the feelings listed above. Balancing blood glucose from the start to the end of the day can have a remarkable effect on how you feel and your long-term health, preventing the risk of developing chronic diseases like type II diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer.

Science bit

Glycaemic Index (GI) and Glycaemic Load (GL) – Carbohydrates contain sugar and the body’s main source of fuel. Some carbohydrates for example white bread, sugar, processed food and breakfast cereals typically release sugar quickly into the blood stream and have a high GI rating. GI is the measure of how quickly a food releases glucose into the bloodstream. GL is the GI of the food multiplied by the quantity eaten and this is a good guide on how to eat foods to support blood sugar. Click on this link for more info:

Wholegrain carbohydrates have a lower GL because they are rich in fibre and nutrients meaning they take longer to digest, releasing the sugar slower into the blood stream. Foods have been measured to give a GL scoring and typically wholegrain complex carbohydrates release sugar into the blood stream slower than fast releasing white processed carbohydrates giving the complex carbohydrates a lower GL. Protein and fat have an even lower GL so eating protein or fat with a complex carbohydrate will slow the release even more. Aim to eat low GL foods to support blood sugar and increase the feeling of fullness throughout the day.

Blue line = 1 tsp blood sugar= homeostasis Green line is when eating a balanced low GI diet – protein, fat, complex carbs, regular meal-times Red line = high, refined, sugary foods, skipping meals, high caffeine.

Useful tips to help with blood glucose balancing

▪ Eat protein and or fat at each meal and snack. Protein and fat slows the release of glucose and can make the body feel fuller for longer

▪ Start the day with a nutritious low Glycaemic Load (GL) breakfast: porridge with berries, nuts and seeds or eggs on 1 slice of rye/wholegrain toast with asparagus/spinach/veg of choice

▪ Protein powders are a useful addition. Add to breakfast and smoothies. Examples are: whey, hemp, rice or pea

▪ Eat slow-release carbohydrates with protein rich foods – for example chicken or chickpea curry and brown basmati rice and always add lots of vegetables

▪ Eat food high in essential fats with low GL carbohydrates (fats also help release glucose slower into blood stream)– salmon with new potatoes and mixed salad

▪ Limit or avoid alcohol – alcohol typically has a high GL. If drinking have some protein with it ie nuts, oatcake with nut butter

▪ Limit or avoid caffeine and fizzy drinks

▪ Avoid refined foods: white: bread, sugar, breakfast cereals, cakes and pastries and processed foods


▪ Eat plenty raw food: green juices, carrots/celery with humus, large salads with variety of lettuces, beetroot, red, green and orange peppers, tomatoes

▪ Drink the equivalent of 8 glasses of water a day – can make you feel fuller and helps insulin carry glucose to the cells where they can be used for energy

▪ Add cinnamon to food – studies have shown it may help with balancing blood glucose levels

▪ Add lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to food as it slows down the rate at which carbohydrates are digested

▪ Eat slowly, chew food and take time to eat

▪ Eat three meals a day and two small snacks, one mid morning and one mid afternoon and do not skip meals

Good choice carbohydrates – low GL

Oats, new potatoes (skin on), sweet potato, beetroot, celeriac, butternut squash, basmati brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, wholemeal pasta cooked al dente, oatcakes, multigrain, granary, rye, seeded bread, raw and lightly cooked vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, carrots, mushrooms, onions, garlic, avocado, plums, berries and cherries

Good choice protein

Natural plain yoghurt, nuts and seeds, nut butters, beans, pulses, lentils, chickpeas, almond milk, hazelnut milk, organic soya milk (organic (Earthy), fermented)

Good choice fats and oils

Cold pressed olive, coconut – raw or cooked

Grass fed dairy – plain natural yoghurt, kefir, butter

Meat – grass fed beef, wild game meat

Oily fish – salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines

Plants - nuts, seeds, avocado

Cold pressed sesame, and flaxseed – only use cold, add to salads or drizzle on top soups and sauces

Coconut milk – carton or tin

Good books:

The 10 secrets of 100% Health Cookbook – Patrick Holford and Fiona McDonald Joyce

Low GL Diet Bible – Patrick Holford

Food GLorius Food Patrick Holford, Fiona McDonald-Joyce

Sources: Patrick Holford Low GL Bible,, The Encyclopaedia of Natural Medicine, Murray and Pizzorno


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