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Optimum Health Series II. Effects of Glucose spikes on human health.

Updated: Apr 27

As a registered dietitian, I am frequently asked about the effects of eating convinient foods like bakery products, maida and sugary drinks. Eating these foods trigger glucose spikes in the human body. Glucose spikes occur when blood sugar levels rise rapidly after eating a meal which is high in carbohydrate especially simple sugars. While occasional spikes are normal, frequent spikes can have negative effects on your health.

Let's take a closer look at the effects of glucose spikes on the human body:

  1. Insulin response: When glucose levels spike, the body releases insulin to help transport the glucose into cells for energy. In some cases, the pancreas may release too much insulin in response to a glucose spike, which can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) later on.

  2. Inflammation: Some research suggests that frequent glucose spikes can contribute to inflammation in the body, which can increase the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

  3. Mood and cognitive function: A glucose spike can temporarily improve mood and cognitive function, but this effect may be short-lived and followed by a crash in energy levels and mood.

  4. Increased insulin resistance: When glucose levels spike, the pancreas releases insulin to help transport glucose into cells for energy. However, frequent spikes can lead to increased insulin resistance, which means your cells become less responsive to insulin's effects.

  5. Increased risk of type 2 diabetes: Insulin resistance can eventually progress to type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition that affects how your body metabolizes glucose. Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and nerves, leading to complications such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage.

  6. Increased hunger and cravings: Consuming foods that cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels can lead to increased hunger and cravings. This is because high-carbohydrate foods can cause a surge of insulin, which then leads to a rapid drop in blood sugar levels. This drop in blood sugar can trigger hunger and cravings, which can make it difficult to stick to a healthy eating plan.

  7. Fatigue and decreased energy levels: Glucose spikes can also lead to fatigue and decreased energy levels. When blood sugar levels rise rapidly, your body releases a surge of insulin, which can cause a drop in blood sugar levels. This drop in blood sugar can lead to feelings of fatigue and lethargy.

  8. Weight gain: Consuming high-carbohydrate foods that cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels can also lead to weight gain. When blood sugar levels rise rapidly, insulin is released to transport glucose into cells for energy. However, if your cells are already full of glucose, the excess glucose will be stored as fat.

So, what can you do to prevent glucose spikes?

One of the best ways to prevent glucose spikes is to eat a balanced diet that includes a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Choosing carbohydrates that are high in fiber, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, can help slow down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar levels.

Additionally, regular exercise can also help regulate blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity.

In conclusion, frequent glucose spikes can have negative effects on your health, including increased insulin resistance, a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, increased hunger and cravings, fatigue and decreased energy levels, and weight gain. By making healthy lifestyle choices such as choosing a balanced diet and regular exercise, you can prevent glucose spikes and maintain optimal health.

If you have concerns about your blood sugar levels or overall health, it's important to consult with a Registered Dietitian.

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