Our brain’s primary fuel source is sugar (glucose). When our blood sugar gets low- the brain cries “FEED ME NOW!” and will stop at nothing to be satiated. This will make a sensible person eat half of a birthday cake at the office before coming up for air and realizing what she has done.
When kids eat a high carbohydrate meal (plain noodles, bread with jelly, pancakes with syrup) or too many sweets (soda, candy), they will get the sugar HIGH and then the sugar CRASH.
First their blood sugar will climb the roller coaster, sending them into hyperactivity. The body wants to keep the sugar level in control so it will pump out insulin to bring it back down. Large amounts of insulin will quickly drop blood sugar and even overcompensate, causing blood sugar to fall below the balanced level. The brain detects this and in an effort to survive starts the process over again with a dramatic call for “MORE FOOD NOW!”
When glucose levels drop too low, we crave more sugar instead of a healthy salad or sandwich. It also makes us feel irritable, unable to concentrate and fatigued. Many kids actually ride this roller coaster all day long! The extra glucose being removed from the blood gets put away in storage for future use, this leads to weight gain if it goes unused. Over time, with high glucose and insulin in the blood, the cells become resistant to insulin – the cause of type 2 diabetes (no longer called “adult onset” because we are seeing it in kids now!). Obesity and diabetes are on the rise in US children and can often be prevented with smarter food choices and exercise. Continue reading “The Blood Sugar Roller coaster (This is one ride you don’t want your kids to get on)”