What Is Blood Sugar
Blood sugar in our blood measures glucose levels, i.e. carbohydrates. Everything we eat, from pasta, bread, pizza and cereals, becomes monosaccharides in our body.Complex sugars are broken down in their simplest form . The other monosaccharides stop in the liver, and glucose is free to circulate in the blood.When we do blood tests on an empty stomach, were seeing how much sugar is present in the blood.
From this first notion, we can understand how carbohydrates are the real factor that influences blood sugar in the hours after the meal.Modulating their quantity and quality can directly affect our glycemic levels, so they can remain more or less stable.
How Do You Treat Hypoglycemia
Treatment for hypoglycemia involves both the immediate steps needed to raise your blood sugar level in addition with the later treatment or medication dose adjustment to prevent recurrence.
To immediately raise your blood sugar level, Dr. Shah advocates the rule of 15eating 15 grams of carbohydrates and then checking your blood sugar level 15 minutes later. Fast-acting carbohydrates include:
- 4 glucose tablets
- 4 ounces of fruit juices
Keep repeating these steps every 15 minutes until your blood sugar reaches above 70 mg/dL, he explains. Once your level has stabilized, its important to then eat a snack or even a full meal to maintain that balance, Dr. Shah adds.
If your symptoms are more severe and/or a person is unable to swallow, you may need an injection of glucagon, he says.
To prevent episodes of hypoglycemia in the future, Dr. Shah says that treatment may involve the changing of prescribed regimens and dosages or adjusting your meal plans.
Keep A Healthy Weight
At present, two out of three adults in the US are considered to be overweight or obese .
Being overweight or obese can make it more difficult for your body to use insulin and control blood sugar levels.
This can lead to blood sugar spikes and a corresponding higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The precise ways it works are still unclear, but theres lots of evidence linking obesity to insulin resistance and the development of type 2 diabetes .
Weight loss, on the other hand, has been shown to improve blood sugar control.
In one study, 35 obese people lost an average of 14.5 pounds over 12 weeks while they were on a diet of 1,600 calories a day. Their blood sugar dropped by an average of 14% .
In another study of people without diabetes, weight loss was found to decrease the incidence of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% .
Being overweight makes it difficult for your body to control blood sugar levels. Even losing a little weight can improve your blood sugar control.
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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!
Make Sure To Eat Fiber At Meals And Snacks
When you eat refined white flour, such as pizza crusts, pasta, or crackers, your body is taking in carbs and sugars only and will experience more significant spikes in blood sugar, as there’s no fiber to keep levels stable or to slow digestion.
“Focus on fiber-rich foods to not only manage a post-meal rise in blood sugar but also to assist with gut health as well,” Harris-Pincus says.
Indeed, eating fiber-rich and blood sugar-friendly foods will promote your body’s gut-healthy bacteria, which can further help to balance blood sugar, while keeping your digestive system regular. High-fiber foods include fruits with skin, vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains, as well as other fortified cereals.
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How To Keep Your Glycemic Variability Under Control
The more you can keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range, the better. Dr. Bridenstine recommends that you stick to a routine with your exercise, diet, and sleep. And monitor your blood sugar levels oftenthat way you get real-time feedback about the factors that affect your blood sugar. Keeping a written log of the blood sugar and the factors that influence it can also go a long way to help find patterns, he said.
With new advances in technology, you have more options and convenient ways to monitor your blood sugar levels. Wearable continuous glucose monitors, for example, can replace or reduce the number of fingerstick blood sugar checks you need to take.
How Long Will It Take To Lower My Blood Sugar
If you have high blood sugarin a non-emergency situationthere are several things you can do to lower your blood sugar right away. Follow these steps in order:
Sometimes people with diabetes can go into diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome, a medical emergency requiring immediate medical care. The symptoms are subtle but look out for:
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive urination
- Abdominal pain
If you experience these symptoms, call your healthcare provider immediately and follow their guidelines. If you cannot reach a physician emergently, call 911.
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Drink Plenty Of Water
Drinking water helps your kidneys flush out excess blood sugar through your urine. One study found that people who drank more water had a lower risk of developing hyperglycemia .
Can’t seem to drink enough? Or is water is just too plain for your taste buds? Try this R.D.’s go-to hydration strategies.
Signs Of High/low Blood Sugar
Even without measuring your blood sugar levels, there are certain clues that things might not be normal. How do you know if youre not successfully managing your blood sugar levels throughout the day? Common signs and symptoms not to ignore that can signify diabetes and fluctuating blood sugar levels include:
Normal Blood Sugar Takeaways
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What To Eat To Keep Your Blood Sugar In Check
Swap difficult diets for good and simple healthy foods. Hereâs how.
You need to eat wisely to keep your diabetes in check. The key is to choose healthy foods and portion sizes so that you can control both your weight and blood sugar levels.
The first step: Learn whatâs good for you, says diabetes educator Emmy Suhl, RD, CDE, of Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
âThereâs no such thing as a diabetes diet,â Suhl says. âThe best diet for someone with diabetes is your basic, healthy diet.â
Dont Forget To Keep Moving
Being more physically active goes hand in hand with eating healthier. It can help you manage your diabetes and also reduce your risk of heart problems. This is because it increases the amount of glucose used by your muscles and helps the body use insulin more efficiently.
Try to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week. This is any activity that raises your heart rate, makes you breathe faster and feel warmer. You should still be able to talk and only be slightly out of breath. And you dont have to do all 150 minutes in one go. Break it down into bite-size chunks of 10 minutes throughout the week or 30 minutes 5 times a week.
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How To Lower Blood Sugar Naturally
Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is the main sugar in your blood and your bodys main source of energy. Blood sugars vary all day. A normal fasting blood sugar is less than 100 mg/dl. Blood sugars anytime of day regardless of when or what the last meal was should always be under 200 mg/dl. Blood sugars exceeding these two levels could signal prediabetes or Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot produce enough insulin or use insulin properly to correct blood sugars to safe levels.
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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Start The Day With A Breakfast High In Healthy Fat And Protein
Piggybacking off of tip #1 its ESPECIALLY important to keep blood sugar levels steady in the morning with a breakfast high in protein and healthy fat. Because maintaining balanced blood sugar levels in the morning will keep them steady through to lunch without the snack-attack or need for coffee.
And eating breakfast in itself is important for blood sugar regulation. When you skip out on breakfast, your body produces the stress hormones cortisol, which in turn elevates blood sugar levels.
Eat Less Red And Processed Meat
If youre cutting down on carbs, you might start to have bigger portions of meat to fill you up. But its not a good idea to do this with red and processed meat, like ham, bacon, sausages, beef and lamb. These all have links with heart problems and cancers.
Try swapping red and processed meat for these:
- pulses such as beans and lentils
- poultry like chicken and turkey
- unsalted nuts
Beans, peas and lentils are also very high in fibre and dont affect your blood glucose levels too much making them a great swap for processed and red meat and keeping you feeling full. Most of us know that fish is good for us, but oily fish like salmon and mackerel are even better. These are rich in something called omega-3 oil, which helps protect your heart. Try and aim to eat two portions of oily fish a week.
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Get Your Minerals And Vitamins From Foods
Theres no evidence that mineral and vitamin supplements help you manage your diabetes. So, unless youve been told to take something by your healthcare team, like folic acid for pregnancy, you dont need to take supplements.
Its better to get your essential nutrients by eating a mixture of different foods. This is because some supplements can affect your medications or make some diabetes complications worse, like kidney disease.
Reduce Your Sugar Intake
The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day. That translates to around 350 calories .
While some of this is added as table sugar, most of it comes from processed and prepared foods, such as candy, cookies and sodas.
You have no nutritional need for added sugar like sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup. They are, in effect, just empty calories.
Your body breaks these simple sugars down very easily, causing an almost immediate spike in blood sugar.
Studies show that consuming sugars is associated with developing insulin resistance.
This is when the cells fail to respond as they should to the release of insulin, resulting in the body not being able to control blood sugar effectively .
In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration changed the way foods have to be labeled in the US. Foods now have to display the amount of added sugars they contain in grams and as a percentage of the recommended daily maximum intake.
An alternative option to giving up sugar entirely is to replace it with sugar substitutes.
Sugar is effectively empty calories. It causes an immediate blood sugar spike and high intake is associated with insulin resistance.
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Sprinkle On The Cinnamon
Need another reason to love this sweet and comforting spice? Research has shown that cinnamon may increase insulin sensitivity and therefore help reduce blood sugar. Bonus: This powerful little spice may also help reduce bad cholesterol levels. So go ahead and sprinkle some into your coffee grounds before brewing, or shake some on top of your oatmeal.
If You Keep Getting Exercise Lows
Youâll need to make a few changes. Talk to your doctor about options like:
- Adjusting your insulin or medications
- Eating more before you work out
- Changing the kind of workout you do or how long you do it
American Diabetes Association: âBlood Glucose Control and Exercise,â âDKA & Ketones,â âHypoglycemia .â
Lakewood Hospital/Cleveland Clinic. âType 2 Diabetes: Pre-Exercise Blood Sugar Guidelines.â
Sheri Colberg-Ochs, PhD, professor of exercise science, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va.
Joslin Diabetes Center: âWhy Do Blood Glucose Levels Sometimes Go Up after Physical Activity?â, âWhy Is My Blood Glucose Sometimes Low after Physical Activity?â Why Canât I Exercise with Ketones?â
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Blood Sugar And Exercise
There are a few ways that exercise lowers blood sugar:
- Insulin sensitivity is increased, so your muscle cells are better able to use any available insulin to take up glucose during and after activity.
- When your muscles contract during activity, your cells are able to take up glucose and use it for energy whether insulin is available or not.
This is how exercise can help lower blood sugar in the short term. And when you are active on a regular basis, it can also lower your A1C.
Great Bedtime Snacks For People Living With Diabetes
For some people, a healthy bedtime snack helps to prevent glucose swings during the night. By eating a small snack that is full of protein and healthy fats , your body may be better able to avoid an overnight high but if you take insulin, be sure to cover the carbohydrates in your snack even if it only requires a small dose of insulin.
Here are some snack ideas:
Plain nuts or seeds try eating a small handful
Raw vegetables, such as carrots, celery, cucumbers, or tomatoes, with a small amount of hummus or peanut butter
Plain yogurt, and you can add berries or cinnamon
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Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Out Of Whack And 12 Ways To Balance It Naturally
Raise your hand if any of these sound familiar:
- You take the term hangry to an all new level.
- If you miss a meal, you are super irritable and say things you later regret.
- You feel like a brand new person after you eat.
- You find it super difficult to lose weight.
- You constantly crave sugar.
- You always feel thirsty and use the bathroom a lot.
- You often feel anxious and sluggish.
- You find it difficult to concentrate and stay focused.
- You have trouble sleeping through the night.
- Your cuts and bruises seem to take a long time to heal.
If you are sitting there thinking, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”, the problem could be that your blood sugar is out of whack.
But don’t stress. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to better balance your blood sugar, improve your energy, enhance your mood, productivity and metabolism. But before we get to that, let’s go back to the basics.
Go For A Walk After You Eat
Beyond avoiding the couch, there is something you can actually do to help your blood sugar levels after a meal. Lace up those sneakers, and go for a walk to help balance blood sugar levels further. You’ll even walk off some of those calories, as an added perk.
“Taking a walk after a meal will help to minimize the rise in blood sugar since your muscles will use that glucose for fuel,” she explains.
Something quick, like 10 to 20 minutes, will do the trick, and it’s a bonus if you can get outdoors for some fresh air and exposure to nature, which may further boost your mood and help you de-stress.
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