Why Getting Your Blood Sugar Under Control Is the Single Most Important Thing You Can Do For Health … and for Weight Loss
You know too much sugar is bad for you. But, you might not be aware of the sneaky ways that it gets into your food—even the kind you think is healthy! If you have poor blood sugar control, there will be serious consequences, so it’s critical to address what’s at the end of your fork. In this episode, JJ reveals tips and tools to discover what foods may be sending your blood sugar off the rails. When you normalize your blood sugar levels, you’ll look and feel better, reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease, boost your energy, stabilize your mood, and more!
Mentioned in this episode:
The continuous glucose monitor JJ recommends from Nutrisense
Blog Article: How To Use A Continuous Glucose Monitor
Video: JJ’s Top 6 Healthy Food Swaps
JJ’s Free Loaded Smoothie Cookbook with 60+ recipes
Discover more about high-sugar-impact foods to avoid in JJ’s book, Sugar Impact Diet
Recipe: Oatmeal Cookie Overnight Oats
Shop JJ’s Collagen Peptides Powder
ATHE_Transcript_Ep 512_The Top 5 Worst Foods for Your Blood Sugar
JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] Hey, this is JJ Virgin. Thanks so much for joining me. This is Ask the Health Expert. In each episode, I put the Power of Health in your hands and share ways to get healthy, lose weight, heal your gut detox, and lots more. So you can look and feel better fast if you'd rather watch the video. Hey, I did put on my makeup and do my hair, so check it out on my YouTube channel.
You already know too much sugar is bad for you, so you avoid table sugar and foods with added sugar and you don't overdo the sweets. And that's. , but did you know that tons of added sugar may be sneaking into your diet and foods that we thought were healthy? Well, it's true. So wouldn't it be nice to know which are the worst ones so you can avoid them?
[00:01:00] Of course. So, so stick around and I'm gonna share that with you. This will be great for everyone who wants to get healthy, but if you also wanna lose weight, the key to both is this one thing ready. Balance your blood sugar. Now, if you have poor blood sugar control, it's got serious consequences. Getting your blood sugar under control is the single most important thing you can do to get healthy.
When you do that, pretty much everything else takes care of itself. . Balancing your blood sugar makes you look and feel better. It reduces your risk of diabetes and heart disease. It boosts your energy, it stabilizes your moods. It helps you age better. And then there's the bonus is that you're probably gonna lose some weight too.
And it all starts with what's at the end of your fork. The fastest and easiest way to get your sugar under control is to eat by the. Where you swap out high sugar impact foods, like the ones I'm gonna talk about and focus on the [00:02:00] trifecta of protein, fiber, and healthy fats at every meal. Now, I did another video all about how to eat by the swap to drop plate and the huge benefits it's gonna give your health and weight.
So check that video out for details on how to do. Now you can also get a continuous glucose monitor, a cgm, which is gonna help you see in real time how specific foods impact your blood sugar. It's this little device that usually goes on the back of your arm, connects to an app, so you get readings on your blood sugar levels in real
Normal fasting blood sugar levels are considered to be less than a hundred mgs per dl, but ideally, you're more in that 70 to 85 range when you wake up. And as CGM can help you get there by learning which foods are working for you and which foods don't. Now, I did a video specifically about CGMs, so watch that to learn more about how to use one and how it can give you amazing health.
Okay, so I mentioned that [00:03:00] getting your blood sugar under control means swapping out high sugar impact foods, and I've created a list of those for you in my book, the Sugar Impact Diet. But without that assist, it may not be as easy as you think to identify which foods are sending your blood sugar off the rails.
I mean, chocolate cake and soda, okay. Yeah. But you might not know that some of the foods you sink are healthy. Could be taking you down. And that's not your fault. They're marketed to us that way. So I'm gonna give you five of the worst faux health foods for your blood sugar. Now, don't be bummed if they hit close to home, because I'm gonna give you some amazing swaps to replace them, so you're not even gonna miss 'em, I promise.
And I'll put all the links to those swaps below. All right, here we go. Number one, take a deep breath Oatmeal. Okay. Now, probably one of the first things you think of for a healthy breakfast is oatmeal, right? Remember those little packets of apple cinnamon instant oats [00:04:00] when you were a kid? Well, I've got some bad news, but oats aren't really the problem there.
If you have gluten-free steel cutter rolled oats, they have some great nutritional value. They've got fiber, they've got beta-glucan, which is this polysaccharide that helps your immune system and reduces your risk of heart disease and. But instant oatmeal. Instant oatmeal is just a junk food bowl, and it's usually loaded with added sugar.
Now most people think it's healthy, so they have that and then they pour skim milk on it to make it a better diet food. But skin milk has no fat to slow down the lactose, so now you've just added more sugar to that tsunami. So if you ever experience a mid-morning crash after that instant oatmeal for breakfast, now you've got the intel as to why plus oats are grain and all grains can raise your blood sugar and insulin even if they're gluten free.
So here's a simple swap, oatmeal cookie, overnight, oats. [00:05:00] What. Yes, they'll taste great. They have the trifecta of fat, fiber, and protein that's gonna keep your blood sugar stable and no added sugar or gluten. All right, number two. Whole wheat bread. Now, whole wheat bread sounds healthy, right? But most of the ones you find in the grocery store are made with refined flour.
So they're just like white bread, and they also have inflammatory oils like soybean oil, and they have added sugar. They actually add high fructose corn syrup to bread. Holy smokes. Now it's been said that two slices of whole wheat bread can raise your blood sugar more than two tablespoons of table sugar.
I mean, come on crazy. And then there's the gluten. There's gluten and wheat, which of course, you know, increases inflammation. And to make matters worse, the wheat isn't the wheat our ancestors ate. . It's newer strains, which is why we call it Franken Wheat. And since it's been added to the food, researchers have seen a [00:06:00] 400% increase in celiac disease and a huge increase in gluten intolerance.
So here's a simple swap, a wrap made of almond or coconut flour, or better yet, a lettuce wrap. They're gluten free, they take zero time to make, and they have no consequences to your blood sugar, and they are delicious. Number three. Yogurt. Now I'm talking specifically that yogurt with the fruit on the bottom here, but honestly, most of those commercial yogurts are passed off as healthy when they're really not at all.
So many of those flavored yogurts are really just parfaits right dessert. Now, if you're still thinking low fat is the way to go, you should know that there's so much added sugar in the low fat and fat-free yogurts because when they take the sugar, Right or the fat out, rather, they gotta add something back.
And what do they put in sugar? Cuz Fat's where the flavor is coming from. Now, believe it or not, some of those little cups of yogurt, they can have more [00:07:00] sugar than a candy bar. And if you've got a sweet tooth, you know you're not just having one of those little cups, right, because they're so tiny. And then the blood sugar.
It's not so tiny. Now, dairy can mess with your blood sugar too. The natural growth hormones and milk stimulate insulin production. So that's another thing that contributes to obesity and pre-diabetes. But here's a simple swap, and this is great if you're a yogurt lover who can't do dairy. I love plant-based yogurts.
Now you still have to do your homework and read the labels. We are not getting those fruit on the bottom ones, right? Because you can still get plant-based yogurts that. Added sugars or even some nasty oils. Here's my favorites. I love so delicious, unsweetened, plain coconut milk yogurt. It's got less than one gram of sugar per serving, and no sketchy ingredients.
I also love Kite Hill, almond milk, yogurt. I do the plain one and then my little hack to get the protein up as I stir in some of my collagen. Totally awesome. All right, number four, [00:08:00] fruit. I know, but I went on a great trip a little while ago and I gave myself a bit of a pass and I tried some different foods everywhere I went, and I didn't really check myself on the fruit.
So here's what happened. I was at this buffet, it was in a beautiful tropical place in the Maldives, and they had this kiwi and this papaya, and I was wearing a CGM. And holy cow, my blood sugar went crazy. 170 never goes up there. I was shocked at how much that fruit had impacted my blood sugar levels. So, you know, fruits always seems to get this pass because it's got the nutrients and the fiber, but some of them are a lot higher in sugar, especially the tropical ones.
And you gotta look at your dose, right? Lower sugar fruits like berries are great. Maybe an apple, but it's a. , it's a cup, right? Because berries especially can possibly impact your, they can positively impact your blood sugar. They [00:09:00] might lower your risk of type two diabetes, but not if you're having like, You know a big, huge bowl of it, right?
You're having a cup of it cuz it's not a free food. It's really easy to overdo on fruit. Can we agree? And higher sugar fruits like super ripe bananas and grapes can really raise your blood sugar fast. I mean, you think about grapes, they have 10 to 20 grams of sugar per cup and they are very easy to overeat on.
Right? . So here's a tip. Have your fruit with a little nut butter to buffer the sugar load, right? That's an easy one. Think of apple slices and some almond butter, but there's also some research about resistant starch. That's good news here too, and applies to bananas. So I'll tell you what I do with bananas First.
Little on resistant starch. Resistant starch is a type of. Called resistant starch cuz it resists digestion, it supports your gut health, it helps balance your blood sugar and unripe bananas are a great source of resistant starch. So what I do is I buy bananas and just as they're [00:10:00] starting to turn, like I get 'em green, just when they're starting to get.
Ripe, cut them and put them in the freezer and take a half a banana and throw it into your smoothie. It's amazing, right? So you don't wanna wait till it gets super ripe because now you've got a high sugar impact food. Now, by the way, that recipe and a bunch of other great ones are in my free loaded smoothie cookbook, so I will put the link to that below.
Now the last thing about fruit, can we talk about dried fruit? Dried fruit is, Candy. When food companies remove the water from the fruit, it condenses the sugar, and then most times, guess what? They add more sugar. So, I mean, this is just a hard no. You're gonna wanna swap that for fresh fruit or do a freeze.
dried nut fruit and seed mix. And by the way, freeze dried fruits can be amazing here and great for your blood sugar. Number five, juice. [00:11:00] So juice is also going to get a pass as healthy, but you wouldn't sit down because of this. Think about it. You sit down, grab some juice, you slug it down, and you just had four oranges.
Right, and that was just a small glass of orange juice. Here's what happens when you do that. You just took the juice, you took out the fiber, you kept the sugar, and you drank it down. And talk about something like apple juice. Apple juice is worse for you than a Coke. Apple juice actually has more fructose than high fructose corn syrup sweetened sodas.
Right. Crazy. So do not push that apple juice on your kids here. Now, next caveat here are those green juices, which look like they're so healthy, right? They say loaded with vegetables. When you flip the label over on some of these green juices, like I'm talking about you green machine right here, you can see that they have more grams of sugar than a soda.
In fact, one of them I just looked at had 52 grams of sugar in a 15.2 ounce bottle. That is insane. So if you're gonna do a green, . [00:12:00] It's gotta be green, only green vegetables, maybe a little lemon or lime juice cuz there's no fructose. And then add some chia, add some fiber to slow things down or make your own peach and green tea.
But don't go buy one that's got all the added sugar either. Really watch these things. Watch the labels. Your drinks should not have calories in them and shouldn't have artificial sweeteners in them either. Super duper, duper important. So here's the bottom. The best way to bounce your blood sugar is to make lower sugar impact swaps and eat by the plate.
Focusing on protein healthy fats, and fiber is the best strategy to bounce your blood sugar levels and prevent those spikes, which will lead to cravings. And here's a cool tip, especially if you have type two diabetes. One study showed that eating protein, clean protein, and non-starchy vegetables before.
Carbohydrates, that would be things like grains, right? Led to lower blood sugar and insulin levels after [00:13:00] the meal. So I want you to check out my video on eating by the plate because it is so super easy and it's such an amazing tool and it's gonna definitely help you boost your fiber. But here's the deal with fiber.
I want you to get at least 50 grams a day because it's so key critical for your blood sugar. But I don't want you to do that overnight if your fiber's low right now, right? If you're not eating much fiber halt, start eating a little bit more each day and increase your food when you do that. And one of the things that can help you get there is my extra fiber.
I add it to my smoothies every single day. And what's cool about it is it's 12 different types of fiber, including a prebiotic. So it's gonna really support your gut. . All right. Now you know the top five worst foods for your blood sugar and the swaps that you can do. Now, if you want to do a deeper dive on sugar to figure out the other places that it's sneaking into your diet, check out the book I mentioned my Sugar Impact Diet.
It is super eye-opening. I can promise you that, and it's gonna help you taper off [00:14:00] high sugar impact foods in just a couple of weeks, and this is important. You do not go cold. We all know how that ends, right? And the good news is, is that you don't have to eliminate sugar completely. You need to know which sugars to choose and which to lose, and how to find those hidden sugars that are holding your health and your weight hostage.
If you wanna get and stay healthy. Thank you so much for joining me. And for those of you who don't know me, I'm JJ Virgin. I'm a four times New York Times bestselling author. I'm a fitness hall of famer and I have loads more that I can share with you to help you get to be your healthiest self. So check out and like my other videos on blood sugar control and I will see you next time.
For more info on this and other health topics I cover or to rate and review, find me on Instagram, Facebook, and my website jjvirgin.com. And don't forget to subscribe to my show so you won't miss a single episode. Go to [00:15:00] subscribetojj.com. Thanks again for being with me this week.