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The #1 Worst Thing You Can Do For Your Blood Sugar

Five habits that aren't good for blood sugar. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Blood sugar is your body's main source of energy and when it's too high it's a major concern because serious health issues like heart disease, kidney disease and stroke can happen. High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia is commonly linked to diabetes, but everyone should be mindful of their blood sugar levels since it's vital for our overall well-being. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies who shares what the worst things for your blood sugar are. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Why Managing Your Blood Sugar is Important

female using lancelet on finger to checking blood sugar level by Glucose meter

Dr. Mitchell tells us, "Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is essential for overall health and well-being. When blood sugar levels are too high, it can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes. On the other hand, when blood sugar levels are too low, it can cause fatigue, dizziness, and even fainting. Therefore, it is essential to regulate your blood sugars to maintain optimal health.

There are a few different ways to regulate your blood sugars. First, you can eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You should also limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks. Exercise is another excellent way to regulate blood sugar levels. And finally, if you are taking any medications affecting blood sugar levels, follow your doctor's instructions carefully. These steps can help keep your blood sugar levels in check and enjoy good health."


Sugar is the "Enemy"

Coffee and Sugar Main Picture

Dr. Mitchell says, "Anyone who has ever struggled with weight knows that sugar is the enemy. It is packed with empty calories and causes blood sugar levels to spike, leading to cravings and energy crashes. This is also why I don't recommend getting groceries when you are hungry, or you might buy things you normally wouldn't.  And while we all know that we should cut back on our sugar intake, it's not always easy to do. Here are five habits that can lead to weight gain and make it harder to resist those sugary temptations."


Sleeping Less Than 7 Hours a Night

Tired woman holding her head with her hands.

Dr. Mitchell explains, "There are a few reasons why sleeping less than 7 hours a night can be bad for your blood sugar levels. First, your body's stress hormones go up when you don't get enough sleep. These hormones make it harder for your body to use insulin, leading to higher blood sugar levels. Second, not getting enough sleep can disrupt your body's natural circadian rhythms and impact blood sugar control. And finally, when you don't get enough sleep, you're more likely to eat foods high in sugar and carbohydrates, which can also lead to higher blood sugar levels. So if you want to keep your blood sugars in check, you must get enough sleep every night."


Eating Sugary Cereals for Breakfast


"There are many reasons why eating sugary cereals can be bad for your blood sugars,"Dr. Mitchell states. "First, the sugar in the cereal can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous for people with diabetes or other blood sugar disorders. Second, sugar can lead to weight gain, exacerbating diabetes and other health problems. Third, sugar can cause tooth decay, which can lead to further health problems down the road. Finally, sugary cereals often contain empty calories, providing little nutritional value. All these factors make it clear that eating sugary cereals is not good for people trying to maintain healthy blood sugar levels."


Drinking Fruit Juice

woman drinking orange juice

According to Dr. Mitchell, "Fruit juices may be natural and full of vitamins, but they can also be a problem for people with diabetes. That's because fruit juices contain a lot of sugar, which can cause blood sugar levels to spike. And when blood sugar levels spike too often, it can lead to long-term health problems such as heart disease and kidney damage. So if you're trying to control your blood sugar levels, it's best to avoid fruit juices and stick to whole fruits instead. Whole fruits contain fiber, which helps slow down sugar absorption into the bloodstream. And they also tend to have a lower glycemic index than fruit juices, meaning they won't cause your blood sugar levels to spike as much. So if you're looking for a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth, reach for a piece of fruit instead of a glass of juice."


Skipping Meals


Dr. Mitchell explains, "When you skip meals, your blood sugar levels can drop dramatically. This can lead to feelings of dizziness, lightheadedness, and even fainting. In addition, skipped meals can make it difficult for your body to regulate blood sugar levels, leading to increased cravings for sugary foods. And when you do finally eat, you're more likely to overeat because your body is so desperate for energy. So not only is skipping meals bad for your health, but it's also bad for your waistline. So if you're trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight, eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day. Your body will thank you for it!"


Stress Eating

Woman eating sugary junk food

"There's no denying that stress eating can be tempting," Dr. Mitchell says. "When stressed, our bodies release hormones that can make us crave sugary and fatty foods. And now, indulging in these comfort foods can feel like a much-needed respite. However, stress eating can have negative consequences on our blood sugar levels. When we eat foods high in sugar or fat, our blood sugar levels spike and then crash, leaving us tired and sluggish. Over time, this diet can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes. So next time you feel stressed, reach for a healthy snack instead of heading to the nearest candy bar. Your body (and blood sugar levels) will thank you in the long run."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather