You know the saying “You are what you eat?” Well, the same goes for your metabolism. If you want to keep your blood sugar balanced and optimize your metabolism, being mindful of foods that lower and raise blood sugar is key.
LeVeque recommends first focusing on incorporating foods from what she refers to as “The ab Four” into your diet: protein, fat, fiber, and greens/vegetables deep in color. “These foods provide essential amino acids from protein, essential fatty acids from fat and fiber, and non-starchy produce that has little to no effect on blood sugar.”
Next, it’s important to educate yourself on which foods could cause a spike in blood sugar. These include simple carbohydrates, sugary treats, and starches. (And the more processed they are, the faster and higher the blood glucose spike).
“When you look at sugar and starches that have been removed from their fiber cell and are considered acellular carbohydrates (aka processed carbohydrates), they have an exaggerated effect on blood sugar,” LeVeque notes. “Think things like orange juice, sugary condiments, and baked goods.”.
However, this isn’t to say you can’t enjoy these types of foods in moderation—or modify a recipe to make it blood-sugar-friendly. To be on the safe side, LeVeque advises enjoying fruit in whole form, using condiments without any added sugar, and enjoying homemade baked goods so you can use higher-fiber flour and lower amounts of unrefined sugar.
There are also different ways of eating that lower and/or maintain an individual’s blood sugar levels. These include low-carb, high-protein ketogenic patterns, as well as vegetarian, vegan, and Mediterranean diets that are rich in plant-based proteins and natural fiber sources. (See an example of what a metabolic scientist eats in a day here, for reference.)