“Blood sugar” connotes a lot of different things.
When I polled a group of friends in our office space what they knew, this is what I got:
“It’s something Diabetics have to manage”
“I have no idea. Something to do with glucose?”
“I think old people have to keep it low?”
“Sugary food spikes it, right?”'
For those who have low blood sugar, they know how important it is:
Blood sugar, and what it means for your nutrition.
Generally speaking, food that spikes your blood sugar contributes to excess weight gain. One of the surest ways we can identify whether a food will negatively affect weight goals is to measure our blood sugar levels after eating.
I’ve teased out two ways to use that information to make smoothies for low blood sugar:
1. Manage how much fruit you’re blending
Most folks don’t have enough fruit & veggies. Almost any national survey will provide testament to that.
But, of course, when we’re making smoothies, of those two foods (fruits and vegetables) the former often get’s a more liberal contribution than the latter. A few months back I wrote about how a "calorie isn’t a calorie isn’t a calorie". Well, the same might be said for sugars, and the fruits that possess them.
Fructose, the primary sugar in fruits, is one of the most efficient carbohydrates at being converted into triglycerides. In the metabolic process, it looks like this:
Fruit—> Fructose —> glycerol phosphate —> triglycerides.
In Lehninger’s famous “Principles of Biochemistry”, we learn that Triglycerides are the "main constituents of body fat in humans and animals”.
Scary, I know. This knowledge was part of the uproar that saw school boards across the country begin to take notice to the “high-fructose corn syrup” that is added to many of the soft drinks teens have been drinking for decades. Fructose can be dangerous. Especially when it’s artificially added (like in soft drinks), or when it’s unaccompanied by fibre (like in juice).
So — when you’re having fruit, think about a few things:
- Eat it with all of Its pulp and skin and physical goodness. Smoothie drinkers, this is a +1 for you.
- Be thoughtful about your ratios. Just because your smoothie has a green-ish hue doesn’t mean it’s doing you favours. If I want a sweeter smoothie, I generally don’t go over a 40/60 split of fruit to veggies, measured in grams.
- Avoid drinking it in juice. You can slow the fructose --> triglyceride conversion by holding all of it’s natural occurring fibre.
2. Use Coconut Oil and MCT's
You may have heard of the sensational Bulletproof Coffee, or Bulletproof Tea. In 2014, Jimmy Fallon shared his first experience with it on-set with Maya Rudolph.
What’s all the fuss about?
Something called MCT’s, or, Medium-Chain-Triglycerides.
Bulletproof coffee takes the cream and sugar of coffee and replaces it with two ingredients: butter, and rich in MCT coconut oil.
MCT’s are a slower, and longer burning molecule that have a ton of physiological benefit. They naturally increase energy expenditure leading to increased caloric burn, while also helping to curb appetite without any loss in cognitive functioning. While coconut oil is the nutritional engine behind Bulletproof products, Its usage in smoothies is just as effective. When we were experimenting with The Good Stuff, it was my favourite addition to one of our weight loss smoothies, The Madagascar. It has a subtle, and wonderful taste profile while also contributing to a creamy texture.
*In a metabolic sense, MCT’s should not be confused with the nefarious triglycerides of fat storage listed above.*
If you have a sweet tooth that you like to quench with a fruity smoothie, it can be a very good idea to utilise Coconut Oil with it. I’ve written about other interesting ways to keep weight management top of mind when blending, you can read about that here.
If you have any interesting low blood sugar techniques that you like to use for smoothies, leave a comment below!