Blood Sugar Spikes: Causes, Symptoms, And Prevention
Diabetes is a disease that causes a person's blood sugar to become too high. This can lead to various complications. A person with diabetes must be careful to keep their blood sugar levels under control. Glucose comes from the food we eat. It is the main source of energy for the body. The pancreas secretes substances, including the hormone insulin, and enzymes. Enzymes break down food. Insulin makes it possible for body cells to absorb the glucose we consume. With diabetes, either the pancreas is unable to produce insulin to help the glucose get into the body cells, or the body becomes resistant to the insulin. The glucose stays in the blood instead. This is what raises blood sugar levels. High blood sugar is known as hyperglycemia. Contents of this article: Causes of blood sugar spikes People with diabetes have to be especially careful about keeping their blood sugar levels under control. There are several reasons why blood glucose levels may spike. These are: Sleep: A lack of sleep can be especially bad for people with diabetes, because it can also raise blood sugar levels. One study performed on Japanese men found that getting under 6.5 hours of sleep each night increases a person's risk for high blood glucose levels. Prioritizing healthy sleep and promoting sleep hygiene are good habits for everyone, but especially for people with diabetes. Stress: When under a lot of stress, the body produces hormones that make it difficult for insulin to do its job, so more glucose stays in the bloodstream. Finding a way to keep stress levels down, such as yoga or meditation, is essential for people with diabetes. Exercise: Having a sedentary lifestyle can cause blood sugar levels to go up. In addition, exercise that is too difficult can cause stress and blood glucose levels to ri Continue reading >>
Here's Why Eating Too Much Can Give You A 'food Coma'
This article was written by Angus Stewart from Edith Cowan University and was originally published by The Conversation. We’ve all done it, enjoyed a delicious meal only to nod off in a comfy chair for a while. For some of us, this is just a habit. But for others, it’s unavoidable. So what is it about food that can make us so sleepy? When we’re eating, the stomach is producing gastrin, a hormone that promotes the secretion of digestive juices. As the food enters the small intestine, the cells in the gut secrete even more hormones (enterogastrone) that signal other bodily functions, including blood flow regulation. But what does this have to do with sleepiness? Well, as we’re digesting our meal, more of our blood is shunted to the stomach and gut, to transport away the absorbed newly digested metabolites. This leaves less blood for the rest of the body and can cause some people to feel a bit 'light-headed' or tired. Still, the body is a lot more sophisticated than that; it doesn’t respond to food volume alone. What you eat is just as important as the size of your meal. For many years now, researchers have been investigating the link between food and sleepiness, but from another perspective. If we understand more about people’s sleep patterns, we might gain insight into what causes some people to put on weight and develop diseases such diabetes and atherosclerosis (a disease of the arteries that develops with fat deposits in artery walls). We’ve known for many years that meals with an imbalance of nutrients - that are rich in either fats or carbohydrates - are associated with feeling sleepy. But this is not the case when nutrients are balanced or the meal is rich in protein. And that leads to the burning question: what is causing this effect? Scientists in Ge Continue reading >>
High And Low Blood Sugar Issues
Blood sugar concentrations or blood glucose levels are the amount of sugar or glucose present in your blood stream. Your body naturally regulates blood sugar (glucose) levels as a part your body”s metabolic processes. Glucose or sugar is the primary energy mechanism for cells and blood lipids. Glucose or blood sugar is transported from your intestines or liver to the cells in your body via the bloodstream. The absorption of glucose is promoted by insulin or the hormone produced in the pancreas. If your sugar levels are not balanced you may have high or low blood sugar issues. Low sugar issues are hypoglycemia and high blood sugar indicates that you have hyperglycemia or hyperglycemia symptoms. High or low blood sugar levels cause different problems. Low blood sugar levels can cause dementia, comas or death. High blood sugar is a major cause of damage to your body”s internal organs. Low Blood Sugar Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia indicates the level of glucose in your blood has dramatically dropped below what your body need to function. When your blood sugar drops below 70 milligrams per deciliter symptom will develop. You may feel tired and anxious or weak and shaky. Your heart rate may be rapid and you feel as if you are having a heart attack. Eating something sugary will bring your sugar levels back to normal almost immediately and symptoms will subside. Sugar levels that are below 40 mg/dL cause you to have behavior changes. You may feel very irritable and become weak and confused. You may not realize you need to eat to raise your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels below 20 mg/dL will most certainly cause a loss of consciousness or perhaps you will experience seizures. You will need medical care immediately. Hypoglycemia symptoms happen very quickly. If you a Continue reading >>
Sleepy After Lunch? We Found Out Exactly Why It Happens
You've just enjoyed a tasty burger for lunch and are back at your desk slugging away. Five minutes in and you're overwhelmed with sleepiness, so much so that the space under your desk is looking pretty damn comfy right about now. But why do we get sleepy after lunch? Is it just because we're full, or is it a sign we're not doing lunch right? "Feeling a little tired after eating a meal is perfectly normal," Robbie Clark, dietitian and sports nutritionist, told The Huffington Post Australia. "There are a few reasons why we experience the post-lunch slump, but the main reason is due to the digestive process." Although it might not feel like it, the body uses a fair amount of energy to digest the pasta you've just eaten. "Our body requires energy to function and survive. We get this energy from our food, which is broken down through the digestive process and converted into fuel, or glucose, and then macronutrients provide calories (or energy) to our bodies. Our digestive system triggers all kinds of responses within our body," Clark explained. Getty Another reason we may feel sleepy after lunch, or after eating in general, is due to the amount of insulin produced after certain meals, which can trigger our 'happy' and 'sleep' hormones. "After eating -- particularly sugary foods -- insulin is produced by the pancreas which then converts these sugars (glucose), circulating in the bloodstream into glycogen within our cells," Clark said. "Excessive secretion of insulin causes the essential amino acid tryptophan to move into the brain. Once in the brain, it leads to increased production of serotonin and melatonin, which are two neurotransmitters that have a calming effect and help regulate sleep. Interestingly, around 90 percent of the body's serotonin is found in the gut, where Continue reading >>
Sleepy After Eating Sweets
If you frequently get sleepy after eating food it could be a sign that you have hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia is not a disease but typically a symptom of another existing health problem. If you get hypoglycemia, especially after eating sweets or starchy foods, it’s important to meet with your health care provider to discover the root cause. Video of the Day Most people understand that too much sugar is bad for them. However, many types of foods contain added sugar, especially processed foods and beverages. Even if you try to limit your daily intake of sugar, you might end up getting more than the recommended amount, depending on what you eat, according to MayoClinic.com. When you consume an abundance of sugar, you might feel an instant surge of energy, but the surge is fleeting and is usually followed by a crash. HealthGuidance.org explains that this is because blood sugar levels increase rapidly, but then the body automatically reacts to high levels of sugar by releasing insulin from the pancreas. This results in a sudden decrease in blood sugar, which can leave you feeling very lethargic and sleepy. You may also crave sweets as your body tries to regain blood sugar level balance again. If you’re diabetic, you may especially experience sleepiness after eating sweets if you’re on medication such as insulin. Work with your health care provider to determine whether or not you should eat sweets and how you can reduce the risk for hypoglycemia caused by medications. A structured diet and exercise program can help you regulate blood sugar levels if you’re a diabetic. Other lifestyle changes, such as reducing alcohol intake, can also help regulate blood glucose. You can experience hypoglycemia without having diabetes, and you may especially notice sym Continue reading >>
Is There A Way To Overcome Sleepiness That Comes From Carbohydrate Consumption? Will Working Out Right After Eating Help?
You are getting sleepy because your body is producing insulin in response to your blood sugar spiking (as carbohydrates are broken down to sugar in our stomachs, then absorbed into the bloodstream). Insulin is a regulatory hormone that moves sugar from your blood to your muscles and fat cells for storage. The bigger and faster the spike, the more insulin is released as a result, and the more lethargic you'll feel. Insulin release is a two phase process. Phase one: Your stored insulin is released immediately after your blood sugar starts to rise. Usually blood sugar peaks about 30 minutes after you start your meal. (3) Phase two: Ten to twenty minutes later, If your blood sugar is still above a certain threshold, your cells will release a little more insulin to bring your blood sugar back to its starting level (usually about 60-90 minutes after the start of your meal). (3) When you are insulin resistant, insulin is less effective at lowering your blood sugar. Your body will release more insulin to compensate for your still-elevated blood sugar levels. Abnormal blood sugar levels can cause sleepiness, fat storage, and a host of other unpleasant side effects. See: There are already some excellent answers, and I'm undoubtedly reiterating on many of them. Short answer: Blunt blood sugar spikes and you will lower your insulin response. Here are some ways to increase your insulin sensitivity (basically the opposite of insulin resistance). Choose foods that have a low glycemic load; ie, they have as drastic of an effect on your blood sugar levels after eating them. Less refined carbohydrates are better choices than more refined ones, as they take longer for your body to metabolize. (Low carb diets, because they eliminate grains and sugar, are excellent for managing blood sugar Continue reading >>
Why Do I Feel Tired After Eating?
We’ve all felt it — that drowsy feeling that sneaks in after a meal. You’re full and relaxed, and you’re struggling to keep your eyes open. Why are meals so often followed by a sudden urge to take a nap, and should you be concerned about it? In general, a little bit of sleepiness after eating is completely normal and nothing to worry about. There are several factors that contribute to this post-meal phenomenon, and there are a few things you might be able to do to minimize those drowsy effects. Your Digestion Cycle Your body needs energy to function — not just to run after your dog or put in time at the gym — but to breathe and simply exist. We get this energy from our food, which is broken down into fuel, or glucose, by our digestive system, and then macronutrients provide calories, or energy, to our bodies. More than just changing food into energy, our digestive cycle triggers all kinds of responses within our body. Hormones such as cholecystokinin (CCK), glucagon, and amylin are released to increase satiety, blood sugar rises, and insulin is produced to allow this sugar to go from the blood and into the cells, where it is used for energy. Interestingly, there are also hormones that can increase in the brain, such as serotonin, that can lead to drowsiness. Melatonin, the other hormone that induces sleep, is not released due to eating, but food does influence melatonin production. Your Diet Though all foods are digested in much the same manner, not all foods affect your body in the same way. Some foods, like turkey, can make you sleepier than others. Turkey and other high-protein foods, along with spinach, soy, eggs, cheese, tofu, and fish contain the amino acid tryptophan, which is used by the body to create serotonin, possibly responsible for that post-me Continue reading >>
Sleep Interrupted? The Blood Sugar And Sleep Connection
In my last newsletter, I wrote about how most people with sleep trouble think they have too much energy and simply can’t settle down. I also discussed that one of the main causes of insomnia is actually a deep level of exhaustion. Odd as it may seem, the body needs energy to calm or sedate itself for sleep. Without energy, we stay awake, “wired and tired.” The second most common cause of insomnia is a silent blood sugar issue that affects one third of Americans. The worst part is, a shocking 90% of people are unaware of this problem until it is too late! (1) Could you or someone you know be suffering from blood-sugar-related insomnia? Keep reading to learn the facts about this troubling, little-known sleep issue. First Comes Stress, Then Come Cravings Sleep disorders affect an estimated 50-70 million Americans and, as I discussed in my last newsletter, much of this is caused by stress and exhaustion. When under stress, the adrenals go shopping for energy. Their favorite stop is the pancreas, where stress generates insatiable cravings for sweets to create the energy the adrenals can no longer provide. Before you know it, Americans are waking up to a sugar-laced cup of coffee or two. In an attempt to pick the healthy choice, we might sip green tea to keep us going through the morning. Lunch might be a salad and a diet soda. Then, as the blood sugar starts plummeting, bringing on the all-too-well-known afternoon crash, dark chocolate is passed around the office as if you had called room service. By the end of the workday, either a workout, latte or a nap is the only thing getting us home without falling asleep. The Band-aid Cure To remedy this, some of us have adopted a diet that was originally formulated for folks with severe hypoglycemia”the “six small meals a Continue reading >>
Hyperglycemia: When Your Blood Glucose Level Goes Too High
Hyperglycemia means high (hyper) glucose (gly) in the blood (emia). Your body needs glucose to properly function. Your cells rely on glucose for energy. Hyperglycemia is a defining characteristic of diabetes—when the blood glucose level is too high because the body isn't properly using or doesn't make the hormone insulin. You get glucose from the foods you eat. Carbohydrates, such as fruit, milk, potatoes, bread, and rice, are the biggest source of glucose in a typical diet. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, and then transports the glucose to the cells via the bloodstream. Body Needs Insulin However, in order to use the glucose, your body needs insulin. This is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin helps transport glucose into the cells, particularly the muscle cells. People with type 1 diabetes no longer make insulin to help their bodies use glucose, so they have to take insulin, which is injected under the skin. People with type 2 diabetes may have enough insulin, but their body doesn't use it well; they're insulin resistant. Some people with type 2 diabetes may not produce enough insulin. People with diabetes may become hyperglycemic if they don't keep their blood glucose level under control (by using insulin, medications, and appropriate meal planning). For example, if someone with type 1 diabetes doesn't take enough insulin before eating, the glucose their body makes from that food can build up in their blood and lead to hyperglycemia. Your endocrinologist will tell you what your target blood glucose levels are. Your levels may be different from what is usually considered as normal because of age, pregnancy, and/or other factors. Fasting hyperglycemia is defined as when you don't eat for at least eight hours. Recommended range without diabet Continue reading >>
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What A High Blood Sugar Feels Like.
The American Diabetes Association cites the following symptoms as indicative of high blood sugar: High blood glucose [Editor’s note: Duh] High levels of sugar in the urine Frequent urination Increased thirst And if high blood sugar goes untreated? “Hyperglycemia can be a serious problem if you don’t treat it, so it’s important to treat as soon as you detect it. If you fail to treat hyperglycemia, a condition called ketoacidosis (diabetic coma) could occur. Ketoacidosis develops when your body doesn’t have enough insulin. Without insulin, your body can’t use glucose for fuel, so your body breaks down fats to use for energy. When your body breaks down fats, waste products called ketones are produced. Your body cannot tolerate large amounts of ketones and will try to get rid of them through the urine. Unfortunately, the body cannot release all the ketones and they build up in your blood, which can lead to ketoacidosis.” – ADA website But what does a high blood sugar feel like? Because when you see someone who is working through an elevated blood sugar, they may not look terribly out of sorts. But what is happening inside of them is real, and plays out in a myriad of ways for every person with diabetes. I’ve tried to write about it several times, but each high is different, and affects me in different ways: “It’s a thick feeling in the base of your brain, like someone’s cracked open your head and replaced your gray matter with sticky jam. I find myself zoning out and staring at things, and my eyeballs feel dry and like they’re tethered to my head by frayed ropes instead of optic nerves. Everything is slow and heavy and whipped with heavy cream.” – Oh, High! “There’s something about a high blood sugar that makes my body feel weighted down, l Continue reading >>
Fatigue After Eating? Reasons Why You Feel Tired After You Eat
Many people experience fatigue after eating, especially when they’ve enjoyed a large lunch or dinner, but why do you feel tired after you eat? Keep reading to learn what causes fatigue after eating, and how you can prevent the excessive sleepiness from hitting you after a meal. Fatigue after eating causes You’ve just polished off a great lunch and are now feeling your energy wane and your eyes getting heavy. It happens to many of us, though few people actually know why they experience fatigue after eating. Find out a few possible causes for this sudden tiredness below. Reactive hypoglycemia: After a meal full of carbohydrates, you may experience reactive hypoglycemia, which leaves you feeling extremely fatigued after eating and may also lead to headaches, irritability, and light-headedness. This occurs because the excess of carbohydrates cause your insulin production to spike and raise your blood glucose. When you are finished digesting, your blood glucose levels drop dramatically, resulting in a sugar crash. Tryptophan: Tryptophan increases the production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for mood, sleep, and regulating bowel movements. Consuming foods high in tryptophan causes a rise in insulin leaving you feeling drowsy after your meal. Alkaline tide: Alkaline tide occurs during the first two hours of digestion and raises the blood’s pH level. The digestion process produces an alkaline that is released into the blood plasma of the stomach and makes the blood from the stomach more alkaline than the blood travelling to it during digestion. Allocation of resources: The theory that blood and oxygen are allocated to the digestive system in the same way they are to the muscles when working out has not been scientifically backed, but could explain the fat Continue reading >>
What You Need To Know About Blood Sugar Spikes
A spike in a person’s blood sugar after eating, known as post-meal hyperglycemia, is not uncommon and typically not dangerous. Unless directed by their doctor, people with diabetes don’t have to check their blood sugar after every meal. Taking note of these spikes, however, can help you better manage meals and keep your blood sugar steady. Several factors contribute to post-meal hyperglycemia, including what you eat, how much, and the timing of insulin injections. According to the American Diabetes Association, your blood sugar should be less than 180 milligrams per deciliter of blood within one to two hours after eating, but your doctor may set different blood sugar goals specific to you. Tami Ross, RD, LD, a certified diabetes educator based in Lexington, Ky. and current president of the American Association of Diabetes Educators answers some frequently asked questions about blood sugars spikes, what they mean, and when they may be cause for concern. Who should pay the most attention to blood sugar spikes after eating? Women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant should be very focused on keeping their blood sugar as close to normal as possible. This will help get the best possible outcome for your pregnancy. Women with uncontrolled blood sugar are at risk for birth defects, miscarriage, and your baby growing too large. If you are taking insulin, your needs for insulin will also increase, particularly in the last months of pregnancy. Those looking to improve their A1C blood glucose levels [average blood glucose over the last couple of months] should pay more attention to their post-meal blood sugar. What are the negative consequences of an after-meal spike? There are short-term and long-term effects of a post-meal blood sugar spike. In the short-term, you’ll Continue reading >>
The Sleep-diabetes Connection
Whenever diabetes patients enter Lynn Maarouf’s office with out-of-control blood sugar levels, she immediately asks them how they are sleeping at night. All too often, the answer is the same: not well. “Any time your blood sugar is really high, your kidneys try to get rid of it by urinating,” says Maarouf, RD, the diabetes education director of the Stark Diabetes Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. “So you are probably getting up and going to bathroom all night long -- and not sleeping well.” Diabetes and sleep problems often go hand in hand. Diabetes can cause sleep loss, and there’s evidence that not sleeping well can increase your risk of developing diabetes. Maarouf says high blood sugar is a red flag for sleep problems among people with diabetes for another reason. “People who are tired will eat more because they want to get energy from somewhere,” she says. “That can mean consuming sugar or other foods that can spike blood sugar levels.” “I really push people to eat properly throughout the day and get their blood sugars under control so they sleep better at night,” Maarouf says. “If you get your blood sugar under control, you will get a good night sleep and wake up feeling fabulous with lots of energy.” “There is some evidence that sleep deprivation could lead to pre-diabetic state,” says Mark Mahowald, MD, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Hennepin County. According to Mahowald, the body's reaction to sleep loss can resemble insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Insulin’s job is to help the body use glucose for energy. In insulin resistance, cells fail to use the hormone efficiently, resulting in high blood sugar. Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough in Continue reading >>
Does Eating Carbs Make You Sleepy?
Sleepiness has grown continually more common in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While sufficient nightly sleep is key for daytime energy and alertness, your diet can play a role as well. Carbohydrates are your body's main energy source, but they can also work against your wellness and energy levels. If your sleepiness is severe or long-lasting, seek guidance from your doctor. Video of the Day After you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your digestive system breaks down the digestible carbs, which enter your bloodstream. As your blood sugar rises, your pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that allows your cells to absorb the sugar. In response, your body produces the hormone glucagon, which helps keep your blood sugar and energy levels in check. Simple carbohydrates, such as cane sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, cause your blood sugar to spike up more rapidly than slower-moving complex carbohydrates, prevalent in starchy vegetables and whole grains. The rapid spike from eating simple carbs, particularly in excess or without other foods, can cause your blood sugar to plummet back down, leading to that groggy crashing feeling. A blood sugar drop of more than 15 percent below fasting level is considered hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Serotonin and Tryptophan Serotonin and tryptophan may be the reason you feel sleepy after Thanksgiving turkey and mashed potatoes. Carbohydrates allow your brain to produce serotonin, a chemical that allows for calm and pleasant moods, while making tryptophan, the chemical responsible for sleepiness, more available to your brain. This is one reason carbohydrate-rich meals make you sleepy, says the National Sleep Foundation, and why ideal bedtime snacks contain carbohydrates and protein, a Continue reading >>
Sleepy After Eating A Big Meal? Here’s Why
Calories give us energy, so why do big meals make us sleepy? This counterintuitive experience is a common one, and that goes double on Thanksgiving, where the average American packs up to 3,500 calories in a single meal. And while many people blame the turkey’s tryptophan for their soporific state, the truth is that other foods — like cheese and eggs — have just as much of the sleep inducing amino acid. So what gives? It turns out that a few factors conspire to make the Thanksgiving meal the sleepiest yet. First of all, if you’ve traveled for the holidays, shifts in your schedule, stress or even slight jet lag can take their toll regardless of what you’re eating. But, add to that a few hormonal shifts that happen in the body after a chow down, and you’ve got a recipe for food coma. For one, high-carb, high-fat and high-sugar foods (like, say, buttery mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie) trigger a neural response as soon as they hit the small intestine, explains Scientific American. That response, in what’s called the parasympathetic nervous system, tells our body to slow down and focus on digesting rather than go out and seek more food. More specifically, researchers found, a group of brain cells called orexin neurons that are found in the hypothalmus are very sensitive to glucose levels, which spike after a big meal. Those neurons produce a protein, orexin, which moderates wakefulness in the brain. But orexin isn’t the only sleep-related neurohormone affected by food. As the quantity of food increases, so too does the amount of insulin released as a normal part of the body’s digestion. The insulin, in turn, increases the amount of seratonin and melatonin that flood the brain, two chemicals associated with drowsiness (and, for that matter, happiness). Whil Continue reading >>