Blood Sugar & Anxiety

There’s a lot of signs we associate with needing to eat. Hanger, dizziness, brain fog, irritability and fatigue often trigger us to reach for food - usually the sugary kind if it’s in reach. But did you know anxiety can be a common symptom of blood sugar imbalance?

When we eat something sweet like a chocolate bar, lollies, pastries or white bread, the sugar in that food is taken up into our blood at a rapid rate. That’s why these foods are considered High GI (glycaemic index). The simple sugars in these refined foods trigger the release of insulin. Insulin acts as the gate-keeper to shepherd glucose (simple sugar) into our cells so that it can be used to make energy. These foods provide a quick hit, but the crash is just as rapid. What comes up, must come down. So as glucose is taken up into cells, the relative glucose level in the blood, drops. This triggers an alarm within the body - because the body prefers glucose as a quick reliable source of energy. So you feel stimulated to reach for more sugar and address that demand. What the body does in the meantime to maintain equilibrium, is release a surge of cortisol (our major stress hormone).

So blood sugar drops and cortisol rises.. Cortisol is considered a driver of anxiety symptoms, alongside adrenaline. When you experience the jitters, racing heart, shortness of breath, sweaty palms and mental anxiety, your body is trying to tell you something.

To regulate blood sugar, start replacing refined/processed foods with whole foods. Including a source of protein and a source of fat with your meals and snacks will lower the GI of your meal and modulate the release of blood sugar into the blood. If you crave sugar, choose a source of protein or fat to snack on - it will not only keep you full but prevent the dizzying blood sugar swings that can contribute to anxiety.

Can you relate to this? Anxiety, dizziness, fatigue, hanger? For help that goes beyond switching up your diet a little, get in touch. There are herbs and nutrients that can address the causes of anxiety to bring you long lasting change. Life wasn’t meant to be suffered through!

Alexandra McPhee