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Can Sugar Cause Stress?

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Too Much SugarPHOTO: EVAN LORNE/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Stabilize your blood sugar, stabilize your emotions. Often times, it can be as simple as that.

One of the biggest causes of stress is the amount of glucose in your blood.  When you experience stress, your adrenal glands produce a hormone called cortisol, which can change the amount of glucose in your blood and induce feelings of frustration, anger, and panic.

Maintaining a healthy blood sugar level through a nutritious diet is one of the few defenses against chaotic sources of stress.

Not only that, but cutting down cortisol levels can also reduce the amount of insulin in your blood— high levels of which can cause serious weight gain.

How Your Blood Sugar Can Cause Stress

Blood sugar is cyclically regulated by a number of hormones in the body and is most impacted by the first thing you eat in the morning. Some common ways people screw up their blood sugar regulation are by starting the day with:

  • A high-sugar breakfast, which can push blood sugar levels into interstellar orbit before they come crashing back down to earth. Dr. Alan Christianson recommends staying under 7g of sugar in the morning.
  • Skipping breakfast, which can trick the body into thinking it’s in starvation mode and prompt it to start storing fat.
  • Drinking too much coffee (or any other caffeinated beverage), which can also raise blood sugar levels.

Photo of Fried Eggs With BaconPHOTO: ALEXPRO9500/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

How You Can Stabilize Your Blood Sugar

A few great ways to avoid stress (and a beer belly) are to start every morning with:

  • Physical activity such as biking, running, spelunking, or whatever gets your heart rate going.
  • Taking a moment to organize your day first thing in the morning. It’s easy to jump out of bed and let stress seep into your day as you lose control of it. Instead, take some time to prioritize the things you want to get done. This will create a proactive environment, as opposed to a reactive one.
  • A high-protein breakfast that will prevent blood sugar spikes and feelings of hunger throughout the day. Women should aim for 25-35 grams, while men should aim for 30-40 grams.

As Dr. Christianson points out, stress can be more fatal than smoking, and a bigger predictor of obesity than genetics. Don’t let the outside pressures of your professional and personal life slowly kill you. Take care of yourself by sticking to foods nourish you.

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