Starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and cereal, convert to sugar during digestion. Starches, also know as carbohydrates, are more quickly digested than fat or protein and can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels.
Healthy fats, lean meats and fiber can slow carbohydrate absorption and help minimize blood sugar spikes. Eating a handful of nuts or a small piece of cheese 30 minutes before a meal slows carbohydrate digestion, which in turn slows the entry of the resulting sugar into the bloodstream.
Starting a meal with a salad also slows the digestion of carbohydrates. Vegetable salads are filled with soluble fiber, fiber which dissolves. Soluble fiber soaks up starch and sugar in the intestines and releases them very slowly into the bloodstream, minimizing blood sugar spikes.
Other good sugar-slowing fiber choices include beans, brown rice, whole-grain cereals and breads, nuts, seeds and fresh fruit.
Including protein and cooked vegetables in a meal also slows carbohydrate digestion. Lean meat, fish and eggs are excellent sources of healthy protein. Cooked vegetables should retain some crispness, as overcooking inhibits starch and sugar absorption.
A serving of wine, beer or spirits taken with a meal can reduce carbohydrate absorption by as much as 25 percent.