Cortisol levels respond quickly to what we eat throughout the day. The glycemic index of a meal can affect these levels, potentially keeping them elevated for the rest of the day. Glycemic Index of a food reflects how our blood sugar level is affected. So, anytime the G.I. is high, our blood sugar level is high.

High G.I. foods, such as those containing sugar and refined starches, cause cortisol levels to skyrocket. For those who start the day with a normal cortisol level, a breakfast of starchy or sugary foods can cause the cortisol to overshoot the normal range. What’s worse than having a high G.I. meal is having no meal at all. Anytime you don’t eat within five hours of the previous meal or snack, your cortisol level rises.

Low G.I. foods such as eggs, meats, poultry, fish and non-starchy vegetables lower the cortisol level. Eating lower G.I. foods every five hours is needed to keep cortisol on track. Note that sugar or starch, including that found in grains, requires that you consume nearly an equal weight of animal protein to maintain glycemic balance. Vegetables balance themselves but are not sufficient in balancing out grains.

If your cortisol level is high throughout the day, it’s almost guaranteed that the nighttime level will be high. High levels at night cause disrupted REM sleep. So, you’ll wake feeling unrested and non-refreshed, no matter how many hours of sleep you appeared to have. For more information on Glycemic Index and Cortisol please visit us at www.merylb.com

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