High Blood Sugar and Hunger by Beyond Type 1

Hunger and cravings are a frustrating side-effect of high blood sugar levels. It can also be confusing: if there’s so much excess sugar in your bloodstream, why are your body and your brain craving more food?

Here, we’ll look at why high blood sugars often come with cravings and what you can do about it.

High Blood Sugar and Hunger
Why do you crave food when your blood sugar is high?
Without enough insulin, your blood sugar rises above “normal” levels. Blood sugars above 140 mg/dL are considered high—also known as hyperglycemia.
The higher your blood sugar rises, the louder those cravings and hunger pangs might become. While you’d think your body and your brain ought to be satisfied by the excess sugar in your bloodstream, it’s not that simple.
Without enough insulin, your brain cannot make use of that sugar. Since the brain relies on a second-by-second delivery of sugar for fuel—and your brain doesn’t know you have diabetes—it’s going to cue cravings and hunger to encourage you to eat.
This can be a frustrating and vicious cycle for a person with diabetes because the more you eat, the higher your blood sugar will rise if you don’t have enough insulin or other medications to help you stay in your goal range.
This is also a perfect example of why it’s so important to check your blood sugar frequently throughout the day: you might not know your hunger cravings are caused by high blood sugars if you don’t know your blood sugar is high.
Instead of instantly giving in to those hunger cravings, this is where you, the person with diabetes, must pause for a moment and think about whether you really need more food or whether you need to focus on getting your blood sugar down to your target range. 
First, find solutions to reduce and prevent high blood sugar levels.
If you’re experiencing frequent high blood sugars (and the cravings that come with them), it’s a clear sign that your body needs more support.
Talk to your doctor about these potential adjustments to your diabetes management routine to help you achieve your blood sugar goals:
Making lifestyle changes around food/beverages and physical activity levels 
Adjusting the dose(s) of your current insulin regimen
Adjusting the dose(s) of your current non-insulin diabetes medications
Starting (or changing to) a new non-insulin diabetes medication
Starting insulin therapy
While starting a new medication or insulin can be daunting, the first and most important goal is to bring your blood sugar levels down to a safer level. Long-term high blood sugars can lead to the development of complications throughout your body. The most important step you can take to prevent those complications is through managing safe and healthy blood sugar levels. 
What should you eat when your blood sugar is high?
If you are going to eat a snack or meal when your blood sugar is high, you’ll want to focus on whole food low-carb choices—and plenty of water. 
Yes, water! Water will help keep you hydrated while you work to lower your blood sugar. Dehydration can cause the sugar in your blood to become concentrated, so drinking plenty of water—especially when you’re already high—is important!
Choosing low-carb foods can be helpful because they won’t add more “fuel to the fire” and cause your blood sugar to rise significantly higher. 
While insulin is necessary to help the body use any food we eat for fuel, foods with high carbohydrates (including starches, sugars, grains, fruits, etc.) raise blood sugar levels significantly more than low-carb choices.
Lower-carb choices include:
Non-starchy vegetables: salad greens, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green pepper, green beans, etc.
Protein and fat sources: cheese, lean protein (sliced ham, chicken, turkey), cottage cheese, nuts, nut butter, etc.
Low-glycemic fruits: raspberries, strawberries, blueberries
Examples of low-carb snacks:
Celery and hummus
Carrots and peanuts
Cottage cheese and cashews
Ham slices in a lettuce wrap with mustard
Cauliflower sauteed in hot wing sauce
Broccoli dipped in ranch salad dressing
Do keep in mind that your body may still need support from an increase in your current medication dose(s) or the addition of a new medication in order to bring your blood sugars down to your goal range. Talk to your doctor about making these adjustments while also working to make healthy choices around foods.

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