3 steps to better blood sugar balance

3 steps to better blood sugar balance

Imagine, you wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and find it easy to get out of bed. You notice that you feel hungry. You have stable energy throughout the day and fall asleep easily at night. Your skin is clear, your cycle is regular, and it’s easy for you to lose weight. Your mood is steady and positive, and you think clearly. All of these are signs of a stable blood sugar. You may be reading this feeling like these are far from common experiences for you. Maybe you often feel shaky and lightheaded between meals. You crave sweet things, experience acne and other skin conditions. Perhaps you have difficulty sleeping and wake up often throughout the night. Feeling “hangry” is normal for you, and you experience brain fog. All of these symptoms are your body’s way of communicating that your blood sugar is dysregulated.

Our blood sugar is a huge pillar in our overall health. When we learn to identify its signals of dysfunction, we discover that it shows itself quickly. Stabilizing our blood sugar is not only important for reducing our risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease, but it is also important for our energy, hormones, sleep, skin, mood, and so much more. Stabilize your blood sugar and watch so many of your ailments disappear.

What does glucose do?

Glucose is used by all of the cells in your body for their various functions. It is our body’s preferred source of fuel. Glucose is found in a variety of carbohydrate-containing foods. When we eat carbs, our body breaks it down to glucose, and it is released into our bloodstream to be utilized. However, glucose isn’t able to enter cells without some help from its good friend insulin. Insulin is a hormone released by our pancreas. Its release is cued by glucose in the blood. When there is glucose in the bloodstream, insulin is sent to help facilitate its entrance into cells. When insulin brings glucose in, our cells can utilize it for their processes, and our bodies are happy.

However, blood sugar dysregulation is incredibly common in today’s society. We live in a stressful world, sit inside for most of the day, drink coffee on an empty stomach, and consume more processed foods than ever. These are all recipes for blood sugar dysregulation. When we experience blood sugar spikes or dips over and over, more cortisol or insulin is released to balance blood sugar swings.

Over time, too many spikes cause our cells become less sensitive to the insulin and glucose is not able to enter the cells, thus leaving it in the bloodstream causing high blood sugar. When we give our cells, and specifically our mitochondria which acts as the energy powerhouses of the cell, too much glucose, we create inflammation and free radicals. Glycation also occurs with the presence of glucose molecules. As glucose molecules travel in the bloodstream they bump into other molecules and cause glycation. This can also be seen as “cooking” or “aging.” When these glucose molecules hit others and glycate them, those molecules become damaged permanently. It’s this glycation process that ages us, both internally and externally; and while a certain level of this is normal, the more glucose spikes in the bloodstream, the faster we age, or the faster certain disease progressions occur.

Do you have imbalanced blood sugar?

The empowering truth here is that we can control our blood sugar spikes and reverse our risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, and overall systemic inflammation. So, how do you know if your blood sugar is dysregulated?


If your recent bloodwork revealed a Hemoglobin A1c over 5.4, it’s time to take a closer look. Hemoglobin A1c is a measurement of your blood glucose levels over the last three months. A red blood cell’s typical life span is 90-120 days. Glucose will combine with the hemoglobin over this time. The more glucose in the blood, the more glucose that will combine with hemoglobin, and therefore, the higher your A1c will be. This measurement is more accurate than your fasting glucose alone as it reflects a three-month period. There are a variety of ways we can holistically, naturally, and relatively quickly reduce our A1c. By implementing changes in our nutrition, movement, and stress management, we can take back control of our blood sugar. 

Fasting glucose 

If your fasting glucose (part of your comprehensive metabolic panel) is over 95, you may be getting glucose spikes in your sleep.  This can happen as a result of poor glucose balance the day before, elevated stress, snoring, interrupted sleep or sleep apnea. The important takeaway is that your glucose can consistently spike leading to elevated blood sugar, even when youre not eating.


You may have a healthy HbA1c and fasting glucose and still be suffering from imbalanced glucose levels.  Spikes and dips can lead to the following symptoms:


  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • “Hangry” feelings
  • Irritability
  • Sugar and other food cravings
  • Overeating
  • Acne
  • Weight gain

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, you may benefit from 30-90 days of continuous glucose monitoring to identify food and activities that cause imbalance.


How to stabilize blood sugar naturally

Mediterranean Diet 

While the American Diabetes Association does not recommend only one dietary pattern, the Mediterranean Diet is in alignment with their overall recommendations regarding nutrition. The Mediterranean Diet is full of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fish, and healthy fats like olive oil. This dietary pattern prioritizes whole, nutrient-dense, unrefined foods. Animal products are included, but the focus is on plant foods, and the animal product that is prioritized is fish. It removes inflammatory oils and fats and sets to bring the body back to intentional eating. With every bite of food, we are either fueling or fighting disease, and the Mediterranean Diet is a great place to begin with diabetes because it is less about restriction. There are so many options here. We just have to focus on those that fuel our body and its systems. In a systematic and meta-analyses review on whether the Mediterranean Diet had any efficacy on the management of T2D and prediabetes, it was found that those that followed the Mediterranean Diet had a greater reduction in their HbA1c measurements compared to those in the control diet, or those following a low-fat diet. Each study included in this analysis lasted at least six months and had 30 or more participants. All participants were either already diagnosed as having T2D or prediabetic. This review also showed the Mediterranean Diet having beneficial effects on participants’ body weight, total cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or our “good” cholesterol. Finally, this study found that those that had higher adherence to this dietary pattern, had a reduced risk of future diabetes development of 19-23%.1



In a systematic review and meta-analyses, studies were analyzed to see how increasing fiber alone, without any other lifestyle change or modification, would affect adults with prediabetes, gestational diabetes, type 1 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes. The studies included were at least six weeks in length. When comparing an increased daily fiber intake of 35 g to the average 19 g, the increased fiber consumption reduced measurements in A1c, fasting glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, body weight, BMI, and c-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the body.2


You probably have this staple ingredient sitting in your pantry, but did you know that it can be a powerful tool for reducing HbA1c? Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apples resulting in a tangy brew full of flavonoids with anti-inflammatory and anxti-oxidant rich properties. Nine studies with over 600 adult participants were included in this systematic review on the effects of apple cider vinegar, ACV, on lipid profiles and glycemic measurements. The dose of AVC varied from 15 to 770 mL/day. Those that consumed ACV compared to those that took placebo, or water, had significant reductions in fasting plasma glucose and hemoglobin A1c. Those taking AVC also had greater reductions in total cholesterol and triglyceride measurements.3 You can start by taking 1 tablespoon of ACV in water before your meals to help combat any following blood sugar spike. This is such an easy place to start. If you don’t like the taste, try adding in other flavors like lemon, berry, or try the vinegar with sparkling water.

Eat in order

While it may feel overwhelming to change your diet and make swaps around foods you consume everyday, an easy change you can make overnight to reduce your blood sugar spikes, is to change the order in which you eat your food. In a clinical trial, 15 participants with prediabetes ate the same meal for three days, each time in a different order. The first order was carbohydrate, then proteins and vegetables (CF). The second order was protein and vegetables first, followed by carbohydrate later (PVF). The final order was vegetables first followed by protein and carbohydrate (VF). Blood glucose and insulin measurements were taken at 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180 minutes after eating each meal. Incremental glucose spikes were >40% less in the groups that consumed protein or vegetables first compared to the glucose spikes of those that consumed carbohydrates first. Post meal insulin measurements were also significantly lower in the groups that ate protein and veggies first. Additionally, those that ate carbs first had an increased variability in their glucose spikes and drops while those in the PVF and VF groups had stable glucose measurements.4 Because carbs are made up of glucose, when consumed first, glucose is the first monomer broken down and released into the blood. When we eat protein, whose monomers are amino acids, or veggies, with their fiber content, we are blocking or delaying the glucose spikes.

Get your steps and drop your stress

Regular movement and exercise is a huge strategy with improving glycemic outcomes. However, you don’t need to have a vigorous routine that requires you to be in the gym everyday. The simple act of walking, even in short amounts of time, has been shown to improve Hemoglobin A1c. In a systematic review, looking at over 18 studies and 800 participants, those with T2DM, who walked, even only three times a week for 30 minutes, saw an improvement in their HbA1c scores after eight weeks.6 When you walk, your muscles are utilizing energy and glucose, thus leaving less amounts in the blood. Walking after meals is especially helpful for this reason. Walking may also serve as a stress management technique and help reduce the effect that stress has on blood sugar spikes. 


Building skeletal muscle makes your body more metabolically active.  Muscle metabolizes more glucose than other tissues throughout the body. This means that increasing your muscle mass will lead better glucose metabolism 24 hours per day, not just when you’re exercising.  Studies show that lifting heavy weights and HIIT training that leads to more muscle mass can reduce HbA1c, body fat, and inflammation. 


While it can feel discouraging to see your elevated HbA1c numbers, there is so much hope in the truth that this is reversible. There are small changes you can begin to implement today that are going to make a big difference in your body’s ability to burn glucose. Focusing on balanced blood sugar is one of the most proactive steps you can take to not only feel great today, but to prevent chronic conditions and aging.  Reach out to learn more.



  1. Esposito, K., Maiorino, M. I., Bellastella, G., Chiodini, P., Panagiotakos, D., & Giugliano, D. (2015). A journey into a Mediterranean diet and type 2 diabetes: a systematic review with meta-analyses. BMJ open, 5(8), e008222. https://doi-org.uws.idm.oclc.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008222
  2. Reynolds, A. N., Akerman, A. P., & Mann, J. (2020). Dietary fibre and whole grains in diabetes management: Systematic review and meta-analyses. PLoS medicine, 17(3), e1003053. https://doi-org.uws.idm.oclc.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003053
  3. Hadi, A., Pourmasoumi, M., Najafgholizadeh, A., Clark, C. C. T., & Esmaillzadeh, A. (2021). The effect of apple cider vinegar on lipid profiles and glycemic parameters: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. BMC complementary medicine and therapies, 21(1), 179. https://doi-org.uws.idm.oclc.org/10.1186/s12906-021-03351-w
  4. Shukla, A. P., Dickison, M., Coughlin, N., Karan, A., Mauer, E., Truong, W., Casper, A., Emiliano, A. B., Kumar, R. B., Saunders, K. H., Igel, L. I., & Aronne, L. J. (2019). The impact of food order on postprandial glycaemic excursions in prediabetes. Diabetes, obesity & metabolism, 21(2), 377–381. https://doi.org/10.1111/dom.13503
  5. Moghetti, P., Balducci, S., Guidetti, L., Mazzuca, P., Rossi, E., Schena, F., Italian Society of Diabetology (SID),, Italian Association of Medical Diabetologists (AMD),, & Italian Society of Motor and Sports Sciences (SISMES) (2020). Walking for subjects with type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and joint AMD/SID/SISMES evidence-based practical guideline. Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases : NMCD, 30(11), 1882–1898. https://doi-org.uws.idm.oclc.org/10.1016/j.numecd.2020.08.021
  6. Moghetti, P., Balducci, S., Guidetti, L., Mazzuca, P., Rossi, E., Schena, F., Italian Society of Diabetology (SID),, Italian Association of Medical Diabetologists (AMD),, & Italian Society of Motor and Sports Sciences (SISMES) (2020). Walking for subjects with type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and joint AMD/SID/SISMES evidence-based practical guideline. Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases : NMCD, 30(11), 1882–1898. https://doi-org.uws.idm.oclc.org/10.1016/j.numecd.2020.08.021