Sugar…Why It’s Bad

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo

Ten things you may not realize that can affect your blood sugar and tips to help you handle diabetes.

When you first found out you had diabetes, you most likely tested your blood sugar often to understand how food, activity, stress, and illness can affect your blood sugar levels. By now, for the most part, you have got it figured out. Then, something makes your blood sugar zoom higher. You try to adjust it with food, activity, or insulin, and it dips low. You are on a rollercoaster that no one with diabetes wants to ride.

Do you know all of the blood sugar triggers?

Knowledge is power! Here are some surprising triggers that can send your blood sugar soaring:

1. Sunburn—the pain causes stress, and stress increases blood sugar levels.

2. Artificial sweeteners—more research is needed, but some studies show they can raise blood sugar.

3. Coffee—even without sweetener, some people’s blood sugar is extra-sensitive to caffeine.

4. Losing sleep—even just one night of too little sleep can make your body use insulin less efficiently.

5. Skipping breakfast—going without that morning meal can increase blood sugar after both lunch and dinner.

6. Time of day—blood sugar can be harder to control the later in the day it gets.

7. Dawn phenomenon—people have a surge in hormones early in the morning whether they have diabetes or not. For people with diabetes, blood sugar can spike.

8. Dehydration—less water in your body means a higher blood sugar concentration.

9. Nose spray—some have chemicals that trigger your liver to make more blood sugar.

10. Gum disease—it is both a complication of diabetes and a blood sugar spiker.

What Makes Blood Sugar Fall?

Watch out for other triggers that can make your blood sugar fall.

1. Extreme heat—extreme heat can cause blood vessels to dilate, which makes insulin absorb more quickly and could lead to low blood sugar.

 2. Household chores—cleaning the house or mowing the lawn can lower blood sugar. Many of the chores you do every week count as moderate physical activity. Small amounts of exercise add up.

3. Food with probiotics—foods that have healthy bacteria (probiotics), such as yogurt, can improve digestion and may help you control your blood sugar. Some yogurts have added sugar and fruit, so be careful. Reach for the ones with no added sugar, and count the carbs. Your best choice is plain yogurt without extra sugar.

4. Cinnamon—a sprinkle of this spice can add flavor without adding salt, carbs, or calories. Some studies suggest it also can help the body use insulin better and may lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Doctors need more research to know for sure. However, too much cinnamon can have negative effects.

5. Sleep—blood sugar can dip dangerously low during sleep for some people with diabetes, especially if they take insulin. It is a good idea to check your levels at bedtime and when you wake up in the morning. A snack before bed may help. For some people, blood sugar can rise in the morning—even before breakfast—due to changes in hormones or a drop in insulin.

   6. Female hormones—when women’s hormones change, so does their blood sugar. Keep a monthly record of your levels to get a better idea of how your menstrual cycle affects you. Hormone changes during menopause may make blood sugar even harder to control.

   If an activity, food, or situation is new, be sure to check your blood sugar levels before and after to see how you respond.

Tips To Find a Balance

While other factors are at work, the food you eat plays a huge role in balancing your blood sugar levels and minimizing the highs and lows. By understanding how certain foods affect your blood sugar, you can take charge of the outcome. Most importantly, you can more easily keep your blood sugar within the right range so that you can feel your best.

1. Carbs—carbs can have a big impact on blood sugar. Essentially, it is the balance of the amount of insulin in your body and the carbs you eat that determine your blood sugar. So, whether you choose whole carbs or empty carbs, you will start to see (and feel) the impact on your body.

2. Read food labels—trying to figure out the healthiest option when comparing two foods is not always easy. Learn how to decode nutrition information and packaging claims on the labels so that you can make the best decisions for your health.

3. Plan ahead—Most people with diabetes would agree: The hardest part about managing blood sugar is timing and balancing meals and snacks while still trying to live a “normal” life. Therefore, plan for the day and always have healthy snacks in case your day does not go as planned. Know where you can quickly get a healthy snack if you do not have one on hand.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health.

The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

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