Sugar Lurks And Can Be Hard To Understand: How To Keep Your Blood Sugar Under Control
Reviewed byDr. Victor Marchione, MD.Written byDevon AndrePublished onFebruary 10, 2020
Sugar is pretty serious stuff. What used to be an ingredient reserved for the occasional sweet treat is now addedin major amountsto a number of packaged foods.
The impact has been devastating.
Excess intake of added sugar has been identified as one of the main causes of a number of modern illnesses. Weight gain, obesity, Type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease are all closely associated with sugar intake.
Many people have taken various approaches to cut it out. The problem is that good and bad sugar can be confusing. Even worse is that food manufacturers know this and try to disguise it.
Youve surely seen ingredients like agave,real maple syrup,fruit juice,real honey, and barley syrup masquerading like they are somehow good for you. But in reality, that stuff is just pure sugar.
Cutting back on sugar can be confusing. After all, added sugars arent the only ones out there. Plenty of nutritious fruits, vegetables, and dairy contain natural sugars.
Most of the time, natural sugars can be consumed without too much thought. The fiber, water, vitamins, and minerals make them healthy choices. The fiber and water, in particular, slow sugar absorption to keep blood sugar levels and insulin secretion under control.
Knowing Your Blood Sugar Level
To maintain control over your blood sugar, you will need to test it regularly. Depending on what your doctor tells you, this may mean testing up to five times per day:
- Testing your fasting glucose first thing in the morning before you eat
- Testing one to two hours after breakfast
- Testing one to two hours after lunch
- Testing one to two hours after dinner
- Testing right before you go to bed
Based on your results, you can tell if your fasting glucose is on target and if your levels are on target one hour after eating and two hours after eating .
Moreover, if you keep track of your blood sugar in a journal, including information about your diet and exercise, you can begin to get a grasp on how certain foods or activities affect your blood sugar and make adjustments to keep yourself on target.
Eat More Protein And Fat
Lean sources of protein like eggs, egg whites, chicken breast, turkey breast, extra-lean ground beef, bison, etc. are all filling food options that have no sugar. These lean options will not cause a spike in blood sugar, and they provide high satiety so you wont snack on sugary options later in the day.
If you elect to have these high-protein options in a sandwich form, pick a whole-grain bun, because it wont elicit the same metabolic response that white bread will, keeping blood sugar levels from spiking too high. Including some dietary fat with your meal or as a snack can also improve insulin response. Instead of reaching for a sugary snack or plate of fries as a side, opt for nuts and fruit or a salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
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How Can I Check My Blood Sugar
Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.
Stick To An Eating Schedule
Dr. Kara warns against skipping meals frequently to avoid the rollercoaster of high to low blood sugar surges and dips. Spreading your meals out throughout the day, rather than eating a large breakfast or large dinner can help to regulate blood sugar. Eating regularly from morning through evening is the best strategy.
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Take A Shot Of Apple Cider Vinegar
Swigging apple cider vinegar might not sound appealing, but it could help keep your blood sugar in balance if taken before you eat. Some research has found that consuming ACV reduced post-meal blood sugar levels by about half in healthy patients. The theory is that acetic acid, a component of the vinegar, slows down the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar in the bloodstream. Pro tip: Mix a tablespoon or two into a glass of watertaking it straight will burn!
Using Insulin To Control Your Blood Sugar
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Blood Sugar Testing Options
Specific recommendations for testing blood sugar depend on your type of treatment. “If its oral treatment, stagger the tests because this gives us a better idea of blood sugars through the day. It allows us to tailor medication better. But people on insulin have to be tested at regular times every day, Kassem explains.
From self-tests to lab tests, from daily testing to testing every few months, these different blood sugar tests can give you a more complete picture of your diabetes and how to go about managing it best:
Testing Strips and Glucose Monitors These are fingertip blood sample tests you can do at home. Depending on the status of the diabetes and your doctors recommendations, you may need to test multiple times a day to keep tabs on your blood sugar levels. Get to know your condition better by keeping a diary of your meals and activities and the blood sugar levels that result.
Use these self-check blood sugar testing tools to find out how your body responds to changes in your diet, exercise, and overall health. There are many brands of monitors, each with their own lancets and testing strips, so talk to your doctor about which design is best for you and about how often you should be checking your blood sugar levels at home.
Lab Work Your doctor will often order lab-drawn blood sugar tests as part of your regular office visits to monitor how well youre managing diabetes and other chronic health conditions.
Sweet Potatoes And Yams
Regular potatoes have a high GI score, but sweet potatoes and yams have low scores and are very nutritious.
Reporting the findings of an animal study, the researchers also note that sweet potato consumption may lower some markers of diabetes.
Although there is still no conclusive evidence to suggest that sweet potatoes can help stabilize or lower blood sugar levels in humans, they are undoubtedly a nutritious food with a low GI score.
People can substitute sweet potatoes or yams for potatoes in a variety of dishes, from fries to casseroles.
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The 10 Best Foods To Control Diabetes And Lower Blood Sugar
If you have diabetes, you know how difficult it can be to manage your diet and control your blood sugar levels. Certain foods cause massive spikes while others actually lower blood sugar, but many people go through years of trial and error before they find out what works for them. Luckily, thanks to years of scientific findings, weve been able to determine what foods are better than others. In this article, well discuss the 10 best foods to control diabetes and lower blood sugar.
To get the most out of your food, consider diabetic meal planning. Planning and preparing meals ahead of time will reduce the likelihood of snacking or unhealthy eating and will help you save time and energy throughout the week.
Non-starchy vegetables are one of the best foods you can eat as a diabetic. Not only will they fill you up, but theyre full of essential vitamins and minerals that help regulate your blood sugar. Since theyre a whole food with trace amounts of sugar and high levels of fiber, you can eat as many non-starchy vegetables as you want without having to worry about high blood sugar spikes. To get the most out of your non-starchy vegetables, choose fresh, canned, or frozen vegetables that have no added salt or sauce.1 Some examples of non-starchy vegetables include the following:2
Wash And Dry The Feet Daily
You should try to keep your elderly seniors feet regularly, but dont soak the feet with water for a long time because it can cause excessive dryness.
Additionally, try to use mild soaps and warm water. After cleaning the feet, you need to pat a towel to dry the feet. Put some lotion or petroleum jelly on them but dont put it in between the toes because it can lead to infection.
You need to be extra careful in the winter season because cold weather and central heating can cause the skin to become dry. Try to moisturize and keep the feet warm constantly.
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Why Is Diabetes Acritical Ailment
Diabetes is a common condition that occurs when your body cannot produce enough insulin or utilize it properly. Diabetes can have harmful effects on your body if left untreated. It can result in stroke, heart issues, nerve damage and kidney issues. This is why you must treat it as a critical disease. The good news is that there are some natural ways to control diabetes effectively.
Monitoring Your Blood Sugar
Your health care provider may ask you to test your blood sugar regularly using a blood glucose meter or glucometer. This involves pricking your fingertip with a lancet, placing a drop of blood on a testing strip and inserting the strip into the glucose meter. The device will calculate your current blood sugar level. Testing shows how your blood sugar is responding to your treatment plan. Your health care provider will tell how often to test. They’ll also give you target blood sugar numbers. In general, the target numbers for people with diabetes are as follows:
- Before a meal: 80-130 mg/dL
- About two hours after starting a meal: less than 180 mg/dL
Make sure you track of all of your blood sugar readings using a diabetes app or a notebook. Bring the log with you to all checkups. Your health care provider may want to review your numbers to help make decisions about your care.
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Treating Low Blood Sugar
You are at risk of having a low blood sugar reaction if you:
- Skip or delay a meal or snack
- Take too much insulin or eat too few carbohydrates
- Drink alcohol, especially without eating carbohydrates
Check your blood sugar if you have any of these symptoms:
- Weakness and/or fatigue
If your blood sugar is less than 70 milligrams per deciliter :
- Eat 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate
- Wait 15 minutes and then recheck your blood sugar
- If your blood sugar is still less than 100 mg/dl, take another 15 grams of carbohydrate and retest your blood sugar in another 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
Important: If you have frequent low blood sugars speak to your doctor. You may need changes in your medication and/or meal plan.
Better Diabetes Control Means Better Health
There are two common ways that physicians assess how well diabetes is controlled:
- Frequent measurements of blood glucose,
- Measurement of glycohemoglobin .
Each method has its good and bad points, but combined they give a fairly accurate picture of the state of glucose control in a diabetic. Most physicians will use both methods.
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How Do You Feel When Your Blood Sugar Is Too High
Whether you are at risk for diabetes mellitus or already have it, its essential to listen to your body for signs of high blood sugar. The following symptoms can indicate that your blood sugar is higher than normal, a condition called hyperglycemia:
- Trouble thinking or concentrating
Its important to monitor your blood sugar because severely elevated blood sugar levels can lead to a life-threatening medical emergency and result in coma or other dangerous conditions. Elevated blood sugars over years can cause long-term effects such as poor wound healing, nerve, blood cell, and kidney damage, heart disease, stroke, and vision problems.
Keep in mind that, in many cases, low blood sugar follows an episode of high blood sugar, says M. Kara, MD, the founder of KaraMD. Repeat episodes are sometimes considered a precursor to diabetes.
Those with prediabetes may be prescribed medication to keep blood sugar levels in check. There are also ways to lower your blood sugar naturally. Keeping your blood glucose levels in the healthy range decreases your risk of diabetes complications. Those with Type 1 diabetes will need insulin regardless of their good habits.
How To Keep Blood Sugar Stable: Greatist Tips
1) Eat healthy carbsWhen it comes to healthy living, much of the advice for people with diabetes is applicable to those without diabetes. Sidse, our Nutrition and Health Consultant, has some tips on what counts as healthy eating with Food and Diabetes!
Carbs are largely converted into glucose. This makes carbohydrates central to blood sugar stability. So, while opting for generally healthy food is a good idea, you should also try thinking about precisely what kind of carbs you need.
How many carbohydrates you need depends on each person but many would advise around 45% of daily calories should be carbs. At the same time, some studies suggest that a low-carb diet can help with stable blood sugar.
As for what kinds of carbs: avoid refined carbs found in processed food because they have been stripped of nutrients and fibre. This leads onto the next point
2) Eat fibrous foodFibre is the one carb that isnt broken down into glucose, and aids with a slower digestion. This means you should have less of a spike directly after eating food with fibre.
3) Keep track of what youre eatingThis goes almost without saying. But sometimes its easy to take that second helping of food without thinking about what youre doing.
Try out Hedias logbook and food database on the app from or the App Store!
Meanwhile, intense exercise can release adrenaline, which can also raise blood sugar levels.
Or, even better, try it for yourself by downloading it from or the App Store!
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Youre Hungrier Than Usual But Losing Weight
Many people with uncontrolled high blood sugar find that theyre hungrier than usual, which signals a symptom called polyphagia, MedlinePlus notes. And although youre eating more, you may be losing weight for no apparent reason if your blood sugar levels are too high, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Since your body is not getting energy from the preferred source, glucose, it has to turn to muscle and fat, Zanini explains. When your body starts breaking down muscle and fat for energy, you experience unintentional and unhealthy weight loss. In addition to these changes in weight and appetite, you may notice weakness in your muscles and experience more frequent falls, Emanuele adds.
How To Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels
Any of the foods above could become the linchpin in a diet that allows you to control your blood sugar levels and achieve better preventative health. Monitoring how they affect your blood sugar levels is the key to finding which foods fit your metabolism best.
By using NutriSenseâs Continuous Glucose Monitoring system, you can get real-time blood glucose readings right on your phone. You can accurately measure the effects of food, sleep, exercise, and stress while working with your personal dietitian to discover more about your own metabolic health. Whether you have diabetes, pre-diabetes, glucose intolerance, or are simply looking for ways to optimize your health, NutriSenseâs program gives you the tools to take your preventative health into your own hands.
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Dont Rely On Supplements Or Vitamins
Theres no shortcut to maintaining good blood sugars. A supplement or vitamin alone will not give you healthy blood sugar levels and they can interact negatively with other medications. Speak to your healthcare provider and perhaps ask for a referral for a dietitian who specializes in blood sugar control before incorporating dietary supplements, shakes, or vitamins to achieve blood sugar control.
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