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The secret to stable blood sugar levels

BREAKING the cycle and keeping your blood-sugar levels balanced is actually very easy once you know how. Follow my five golden rules below to gain energy and lose weight.

No. 1: Limit fast-release carbohydrates

It's vital that you limit your consumption of fast-release carbohydrates and instead focus on eating moderate portions of slow-release carbohydrates such as oats, wholegrain bread, brown rice and sweet potatoes (right). These will provide you with a sustained energy release.

No. 2: Include a portion of protein with every meal and snack

Protein can help balance our blood sugar and thus reduces cravings for starchy and sweet foods significantly. Animal sources of protein include meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy. However, over-consuming animal protein is not good for health, so it's important to get a good balance of vegetable sources of protein, too, such as nuts, seeds, beans, lentils and tofu.

No. 3: Balance your plate

A balanced plate should consist of 1/4 protein, 1/4 carbohydrate and 1/2 a plate of vegetables.

No. 4: Do not allow long gaps between meals

Don't go longer than three hours without eating something -- three meals per day and two snacks is ideal. Always make sure to have healthy snacks close to hand so you have no excuse when temptation strikes!

No. 5 Limit stimulants

Limit your consumption of stimulants such as tea, coffee, cola and alcohol. Stimulants rev up stress hormones in the body, which interferes with blood-sugar balance and our nervous system.

Blood Sugar Balancing Foods -- Sample Menu

Breakfast: Two poached eggs and one slice of wholegrain toast

Snack: Four brazil nuts and apple

Lunch: Tuna with mixed salad and oat crackers

Snack: Natural yogurt and mixed berries

Dinner: Chicken and vegetable stir-fry with brown rice