When blood sugar levels are low, the brain produces chemicals, which can trigger appetite and make you feel stressed or tired – this is a survival mechanism to alert your body its time for food! Normally we would have a meal or snack, get on with our day and in a few hours time feel the same signal and know its time to eat again.
When we binge eat, its usually on foods high in refined sugar and carbs – ie comfort foods. A large intake sugar over a short period of time causes blood sugar to rise quickly alerting the pancreas to produce extra insulin. Insulin is the hormone that transports glucose into cells to produce energy or to be stored in fat cells. When too much insulin is produced and too much glucose is cleared from the blood stream, blood sugar will drop causing more chemicals to be released and intensifying sugar cravings. If more sugar is consumed, the cycle will repeat itself – an addictive cycle, which can be hard to break and one that impacts our natural appetite mechanisms and also impacts the brains reward centre by weakening our response to dopamine. Dopamine is known as the pleasure neurotransmitter – a weakened response to dopamine means we need more and more sugar to feel the same pleasure!
This signifies the importance of focusing on regulating blood sugar levels as part of recovery from binge eating, here are my top 3 tips to regulate blood sugar:
- Eat a source of protein at each meal and snack: examples include eggs, chicken, turkey, white fish, salmon, cheese, yoghurt, nuts/seeds, red meat, tofu and legumes.
- Aim for at least 30-40g fibre daily: examples include root vegetables, oat bran, wholegrains, good quality bread, oats, fruit (eg pears & apple), legumes and chia seeds
- Keep hydrated with enough water: add fresh lemon to water if you do not like the taste or normal water or try lightly sparkling with fresh lime!
Casey Dick | Passionate Dedicated Natural Nutritionist | Brisbane, Australia, Dietary Nutritionist, Healthy Body and Mind Advocate, Natural Hormone Balance & Healthy Weight Loss, Natural Skin Health, Anorexia, Eating Disorder Recovery, Orthorexia, Binge eating disorder, Thyroid, Non-dieting Approach, Gut Health, Nutritionist specialises in PCOS, Why can’t I lose weight, Weight Loss Resistance