If you are looking to get control over your blood glucose levels, it's important to factor in how your blood glucose levels may vary throughout the day and how this will influence the types of foods that you should be eating.
Choosing proper foods at certain times is going to help you maintain maximum control, ensuring you feel your best all throughout the day.
This said, let's go through some of the key points you need to know regarding the natural blood sugar fluctuations that will tend to occur throughout the day.
Your Morning Low
The very first thing that you'll want to know is that upon waking up in the morning, your blood glucose level will be at its lowest level. You'll have gone all night fasting and as such, you'll have little glucose in the blood stream.
However, you are also going to be most insulin sensitive at this point as well. One study published in the Lancet Journal noted that when subjects were tested across two similar time points in the day, they experienced a greater fall in blood glucose in the morning compared to later on in the day after an intravenous insulin-tolerance test was performed.
For this reason, you do want to include a small dose of carbohydrates in the morning meal, however this should be tightly regulated and restricted to only carbohydrates very low on the GI scale. This will help to bring your blood sugar levels back up to a healthier range, without risking suffering a correspondingly severe blood glucose drop later on in the morning.
Vegetables tend to work perfectly here or a small amount of oatmeal combined with proteins and fats. This is also a perfect opportunity to incorporate cinnamon into your morning meal as the cinnamon can help to further blunt the blood glucose response you get from the carbohydrates you eat.
A dash added to your bowl of oatmeal or sprinkled over a baked apple could be the perfect way to get in a small dose of carbohydrates while keeping your blood glucose controlled.
Throughout The Day
Later on throughout the day, you will start to lose that initial high insulin sensitivity level and be more moderate, thus won't be as at risk for high's and low's upon carbohydrate consumption. You'll want to place the bulk of your carbohydrate intake throughout the day in the earlier portion of the day, going from mid-morning until mid-afternoon.
Still be sure to choose wholesome carbohydrates high in fiber and combine those with a lean source of protein along with healthy fats to help further blunt the insulin response.
Eat your complex carbohydrate sources at this time including brown rice, quinoa, barley, and sweet potatoes. Eat around 25-40 grams per meal depending on your energy needs.
Around Physical Activity
Whenever you do more intense activity or exercise, you are going to be more insulin sensitivity as your muscles will be using up their stored muscle glycogen reserves. This means that you should then be considering adding more carbohydrates around this period as well, so they can replenish lost reserves.
Post workout carbohydrates are a good way to speed the recovery process up after the workout is performed, however these should always be coupled with a good source of quality protein.
This will help to prevent the spike and crash of blood sugar levels due to eating simpler forms of carbohydrates at a higher total gram level.
You need to learn your own body around exercise and how many carbohydrates it needs for proper recovery to occur. Some people will tolerate more carbohydrates around exercise while others will tolerate less. Likewise, the more intense and longer in duration the workout session is, the more carbohydrates you will need to consume.
Finally, as the day progresses on, your insulin sensitivity will continue to decrease. This means a lower risk of a rapid blood glucose low after eating carbohydrates, however at the same time, it also means a higher propensity to store carbohydrates consumed as body fat.
For this reason, later on in the day, you again want to choose high fiber, low GI, low calorie based carbohydrates. Aim to keep your carbohydrate intake in the meal before bed to 10 grams or less.
Transitioning your evening meals to be focused around a lean protein source, healthy fats, and vegetables is the best route for both ideal body weight control as well as proper blood glucose level management.
If you have just completed an evening workout session, don't let this scare you away from eating the carbohydrates you need however. You should still take them in, just do be sure that you are getting in slower digesting sources to avoid suffering from a blood glucose crash during the evening.
You may also want to consider eating a slightly higher level of carbohydrates leading up to the workout as well as this will reduce the number of carbohydrates you'll need to consume in the period after the workout in the later evening period.
However you want to look at it though, after exercise, you should still be consuming some carbohydrates in order to promote optimal recovery rates.
So there you have a quick look at how your blood glucose levels will fluctuate naturally throughout the day and how this can come to influence what types of foods you should be eating.
Remember that on especially active days you will notice more of a blood glucose drop throughout the course of the day due to your body using up more fuel overall, so you'll want to be sure you're taking in adequate carbohydrates to replenish this.