If you find yourself cranky, tired or irritable if you miss a meal, you are not alone. Most of us have been told to eat more frequent, smaller meals to avoid that uncomfortable “crashing” feeling accompanied by low blood sugar.
I am here to tell you what you thought about eating frequently is all wrong and this habit has long-term consequences for your hormone health.
The Body Is Designed for Sustained Energy and Blood Sugar Control
Your body is designed to be able to go long periods of time without external sources of food. Elaborate mechanisms are in place to keep your blood sugar steady, involving your brain, your hormones, your stomach and your liver.
Getting cranky and irritable between meals is a sign that your body’s natural blood sugar regulating mechanism is out of balance.
Blood Sugar Spikes and Energy Slumps
If you feel the need to eat every 2-3 hours, this is a sign that your blood sugar went too high and your pancreas had to secrete a lot of the hormone insulin to move that sugar into cells for storage.
This large insulin release and lowering of blood sugar is your body’s way of protecting you! We are not meant to have high levels of glucose in our blood- it’s meant to be used for energy in the cells or stored away for later use (in muscles of fat).
However, the sudden drop in blood sugar feels extremely unpleasant. It can feel like a crash of energy (how about that mid-afternoon slump), a craving for more sugar, and irritability.
Imagine running this cycle every few hours a day, every day!
Eating Frequent, Small Meals May be Damaging to Your Health
The idea that eating every couple of hours keeps your blood sugar levels steady without the dips (and severe hunger that accompanies those dips) has become popular. In theory, you’ll eat less if you never let yourself get hungry enough to overeat.
Recent hormone research tells us that this is actually the worst way to eat for blood sugar balance and weight loss and can actually be damaging to your health.
Ideal Meal Spacing for Blood Sugar Balancing
So how do you eat in a way that keeps your blood sugar levels steady without needing to nibble every few hours?
Try to space your meal times at least 4 hours apart. If that feels too challenging, you can try 3 hours and get comfortable with the feeling of not eating for three whole hours. Once you master that, you can start stretching your meal spaces a little bit longer and reach 4-6 hour spaces between meals.
Recipes to Awaken Your Inner Healer
Of course going longer without eating is not easy if you aren’t eating blood sugar balancing nutrition.
I have created a guide to hormone balancing breakfasts that won’t set you up for blood sugar spike and crashes. You can sign up to receive the free guide here:
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Medical Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, drritamarie.com, and the experts who have contributed. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
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