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On Blast:  The Skinny on Blood Glucose

Did you know that stabilizing blood sugar is the key to maintaining muscle mass, weight loss, and reducing fatigue?

On maintaining muscle mass:  Glucose (often referred to as your blood sugar) is the main fuel source for your body during physical performance.  As your body requires more fuel, its sources in your body begin to deplete.  As you continue your performance, your body eventually can have blood sugar low enough to trigger a “starvation” phase.  During this phase, an amino acid named alanine is sent from your muscle tissue to the liver in order to be converted into more glucose.  Therefore, in an effort to preserve muscle tissue, it’s a beneficial to maintain your blood glucose (see previous entries on sports beverages and whole grain food choices).

How often we eat can also be important, as shown in previous research.  Numerous studies have shown a benefit of consuming smaller meals throughout the day with a set number of calories.  Through this practice, insulin response levels were reduced, and blood glucose levels were maintained (when glucose goes up, insulin goes up…so if blood glucose is kept at a healthy level, you see few insulin spikes).  Blood sugar tends to rise and fall every 3 hours.  By maintaining a 3 meal/day pattern with small snacks in between, a better blood glucose is maintained, and improvement is seen in mental acuity and enhanced athletic performance.

Verdict:  Stay sweet!  Remind yourself to sip on a glucose source (Gatorade?) every 20 minutes…even if you are not thirsty.