HomeDiabetes7 Ways to Reduce Blood Sugar Spikes After Meals

7 Ways to Reduce Blood Sugar Spikes After Meals

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7 Ways to Reduce Blood Sugar Spikes After Meals

This content material initially appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By April Hopcroft

Many individuals with diabetes – even these utilizing the most recent expertise – battle with excessive blood sugar after consuming. We spoke with specialists for recommendations on the right way to decrease these cussed glucose spikes.

We’ve all been there: it’s been an extended, demanding day at work and also you’re excited to sit down down for dinner at your favourite restaurant.

Or possibly you’re desirous to watch the sport and dig right into a feast of wings, nachos, and sliders with family and friends. Maybe you’ve been touring or in your ft all day and are able to gobble up the primary meals you encounter.

Whatever the scenario, it’s probably you don’t wish to take the time to bolus and wait to your insulin to kick in earlier than you begin consuming. In any case, meals are sometimes a social exercise, and it’s no enjoyable to attend whereas others are chowing down.

However because the meal wears on, you catch a glimpse of your cellphone and are startled to see your blood sugar is effectively into the 200s and rising. Quickly, you begin to acknowledge the telltale indicators of excessive blood sugar: achiness, fatigue, and a common feeling of unease.

There’s little doubt about it – navigating meals will be difficult when you may have diabetes. Even amongst individuals who use automated insulin supply (AID) programs, analysis means that reaching postprandial glycemic management will be troublesome.

Why do blood sugar spikes after meals occur?

Sudden will increase in blood glucose after consuming are regular, even in individuals with out diabetes. After consuming carbohydrates, blood sugar ranges rise as our our bodies break carbohydrates down into sugars.

In individuals with out diabetes, this improve in blood sugar triggers the instant launch of insulin. Inside minutes, insulin begins transporting glucose from the bloodstream into cells, serving to to scale back blood sugar after consuming. Put up-meal blood glucose spikes are normally non permanent and infrequently go unnoticed in these with out diabetes.

Nonetheless, in individuals with diabetes, blood sugar spikes will be extra pronounced and last more. Insulin delivered by way of injections or an insulin pump takes longer to begin working in comparison with the insulin produced naturally by the physique, which means blood glucose will proceed to rise whereas the injected insulin kicks in.

Individuals with diabetes produce other hormonal variations that may have an effect on the velocity of digestion. These with out purposeful beta cells additionally can not produce the hormone amylin, which helps sluggish digestion and reduces post-meal glucose. Which means individuals with out sufficient amylin could expertise challenges with excessive glucose ranges after consuming.

For those who’ve been fighting post-meal hyperglycemia, take inventory of your present circumstances and in the event you’ve skilled main life adjustments lately, steered LaurieAnn Scher, licensed diabetes care and schooling specialist.

Have you ever skilled stressors, reminiscent of learning for a giant examination, switching jobs, or shifting? This may set off the discharge of stress hormones like cortisol, which may promote weight achieve and have an effect on metabolism, together with insulin resistance.

Possibly your consuming or train patterns have shifted, maybe on account of adjustments like beginning faculty, shifting in with a accomplice, or navigating parenthood. Food regimen adjustments can lead individuals to achieve extra muscle or fats. With a special proportion of fats and muscle mass, insulin resistance can fluctuate, impacting your insulin wants, Scher added.

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Many different elements can have an effect on insulin resistance and blood glucose administration, reminiscent of utilizing contraception, environmental circumstances, dehydration, and extra.

Why is it vital to scale back blood sugar spikes?

Excessive blood sugar after meals raises your danger of diabetes problems, together with kidney illness, heart problems, and diabetic neuropathy. Put up-meal hyperglycemia may also have an effect on high quality of life, resulting in unfavorable results on temper, diabetes misery, and points like mind fog or sluggishness.

To place it merely, excessive blood sugar after consuming “doesn’t really feel nice, and it may be laborious to assume and see,” stated Scher.

Analysis additionally suggests that higher glycemic management after meals is linked to improved A1C and fasting glucose ranges.

In accordance with the American Diabetes Affiliation 2024 Requirements of Care, you must purpose for blood sugar to be lower than 180 mg/dL inside 1-2 hours after you begin consuming. In contrast, in most individuals with out diabetes, two-hour postprandial blood sugar ranges are usually lower than 120 mg/dL and barely exceed 140 mg/dL.

Tips on how to stop blood sugar spikes after consuming

From drugs to food regimen and bodily exercise, there are lots of totally different methods to stop bothersome blood sugar spikes after meals. As with all elements of diabetes care, it’s vital to acknowledge that what works for one particular person could not work for another person.

“It’s all about tailoring to the affected person’s wants, consolation stage, background, what they’ve tried, and what they’re keen and concerned with,” stated Rina Hisamatsu, a registered dietitian on the Michigan Collaborative for Kind 2 Diabetes (MCT2D).

1. Experiment with totally different insulins and dose timing

For any diabetes remedy, Scher suggested, “Don’t set it and neglect it.”

That’s, you must usually study basal and bolus insulin, alongside together with your different drugs. You might want to regulate your insulin routine and tweak bolus doses and timing all through your life.

There are a number of several types of mealtime insulin, every with its personal time to onset of blood glucose reducing:

Kind Names Time to onset Peak Length
Brief-acting (common) Humulin R and Novolin R (NPH) half-hour 2-3 hours 3-6 hours
Fast-acting Apidra (glulisine)
Humalog (lispro)
Novolog (aspart)
Quarter-hour 1 hour 2-4 hours
Lyumjev (lispro) Quarter-hour 2-3 hours 4-7 hours
Afrezza (inhaled) 12 minutes 30-60 minutes 1.5-4.5 hours
Quick-acting Fiasp (aspart) 3 minutes 1-3 hours 3-5 hours


The timing of rapid-acting insulin performs a giant position round mealtime. For some meals, you could want a 30-minute pre-bolus earlier than, whereas others may require a shorter pre-bolus of 10-Quarter-hour earlier than consuming.

Some individuals discover they like an prolonged bolus, which implies the insulin is delivered over an prolonged interval, as an alternative of unexpectedly.

Digestion charge additionally elements into the timing of mealtime insulin, particularly for individuals with circumstances like gastroparesis or exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.

2. Strive a brief quantity of bodily exercise

Being energetic for even just some minutes after consuming can assist decrease blood glucose and stop blood sugar spikes.

Any motion is healthier than no motion, irrespective of how small. And most significantly, Hisamatsu stated, attempt to discover an exercise that you simply take pleasure in as a way to make it a sustainable behavior.

Taking a stroll – whether or not inside your house, across the block, or on a motorcycle path – goes a good distance towards regulating glucose. Past taking a stroll, there are lots of different choices for brief bursts of train like:

  • Climb a set of stairs in your home or office.
  • Soar rope, jog in place, or do leaping jacks – these take up little or no house.
  • Do squats at your desk. Since squats train the most important muscle mass in your physique (your glutes and quads), they’re very efficient at reducing glucose. “The quads and glutes are like sponges, they suck up all of the glucose and use it rather more readily than smaller muscle mass,” Scher stated.
  • Have a dance get together – put in your favourite songs and jam out to your coronary heart’s content material.
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Analysis exhibits that breaking apart a sedentary life-style each hour can enhance insulin sensitivity (how effectively your physique’s cells reply to insulin) and post-meal glucose.

For those who favor to assume forward, contemplate the several types of train that you are able to do all through the day that improve insulin sensitivity. Energy coaching earlier than consuming has been proven to enhance post-meal blood glucose in individuals with prediabetes by enhancing insulin sensitivity. Likewise, analysis suggests that exercising earlier than meals can improve insulin sensitivity and enhance general glycemic management in individuals with kind 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes.

After all, any type of train can result in drops in glucose ranges and trigger hypoglycemia. For those who use insulin, it’s due to this fact vital to think about your insulin on board and take steps to stop hypoglycemia throughout train, Scher stated.

3. Eat high-fiber meals

In distinction to different carbohydrates, fiber can’t be digested by the physique, so it has much less of an affect on blood glucose ranges. Because of this, it helps you are feeling full and glad.

Fiber additionally performs a key position within the intestine microbiome, serving to sweep micro organism from the colon and preserving bowel actions common. You possibly can eat extra fiber by including fruits, greens, legumes, and complete grains to your food regimen.

“We are able to contemplate fiber one in all our greatest buddies,” Hisamatsu stated, as fiber-rich meals are usually low-calorie however have a excessive nutrient density, significantly non-starchy greens.

Likewise, Scher stated fiber is sort of a parachute. While you pair fiber-rich meals with carbohydrates, it helps stop blood sugar spikes and in addition reduces fast drops in blood sugar.

Including an excessive amount of fiber too shortly could trigger some GI misery, so Hisamatsu steered going “low and sluggish” when rising fiber consumption and ensuring to remain adequately hydrated. Begin by pondering of meals you already take pleasure in and attempt to add some greens or complete grains. As an illustration, add sauteed greens to spaghetti, tuck some beans right into a quesadilla, or swap whole-grain bread for white bread.

4. Offset carbs with fats and protein

Understanding the several types of carbohydrates is essential to managing post-meal blood sugar spikes.

“I’ve all the time stated there’s nothing that an individual with diabetes can’t eat, besides poison and meals with poison,” Scher stated. “You possibly can have cake, sweet, and many others. You’re human. You simply must discover ways to handle it.”

Carbohydrates will be divided into two common classes:

  • Easy carbs are sugars. These carbs are damaged down shortly and normally result in massive spikes in blood sugar. Examples embrace soda, baked items, breakfast cereals, and fruit juice.
  • Complicated carbs are damaged down extra slowly and result in extra predictable, gradual will increase in blood sugar. Examples embrace beans, fruits, greens, and complete grains.

Hisamatsu steered beginning with “low-hanging fruit” by figuring out elements of your food regimen the place you are inclined to eat extra refined or easy carbohydrates. Possibly you’re flying out the door to work within the morning, so breakfast has turn out to be a sugary granola bar. Otherwise you crave fruit juice at lunch and a cookie for dessert.

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When you’ve recognized these areas, contemplate methods so as to add extra complicated carbs and fiber-rich meals. Begin with small modifications and take a look at behavior stacking to make sure sustainable adjustments.

Total, Hisamatsu advisable specializing in rising fiber and protein consumption, whereas including fats for taste and fullness.

“Once we can deal with a stability of various meals teams, it may be useful to enhance one’s postprandial glucose,” she stated.

5. Strive setting a short lived basal charge

In the identical manner that some individuals select to decrease their basal insulin charge throughout train, you can contemplate briefly rising your basal charge by a sure proportion earlier than or after meals.

Likewise, some insulin pumps mean you can set a decrease pre-meal goal, reminiscent of 80 or 85 mg/dL relatively than 95 mg/dL earlier than consuming.

Setting a short lived basal charge will be useful whenever you’re consuming meals that has vital refined carbohydrates in it, reminiscent of pastries, bread, pasta, pancakes, pizza, and even white rice. This technique could also be particularly useful for these with extra insulin resistance.

You may need to experiment by way of trial and error to determine what works finest for you. Seek the advice of your healthcare supplier to seek out the best basal charge for mealtimes.

6. Use CGM as a instrument to tell choices

Steady glucose screens (CGM) present worthwhile info that may assist you handle post-meal blood sugar.

Since everybody responds in a different way to meals, Scher stated CGMs mean you can perceive your physique’s distinctive response. As an illustration, some individuals with diabetes can eat white rice with none blood sugar spikes, whereas many others will expertise excessive blood sugar shortly after consuming rice.

“People with kind 2 diabetes, whether or not or not they’re on insulin remedy, could profit from utilizing a CGM,” Hisamatsu stated. “In tandem with life-style change, CGM is usually a useful information for sufferers to see real-time information and the way meals and life-style affect postprandial glucose which can assist determine areas for enchancment.”

The development arrows on a CGM can assist inform mealtime insulin dosing. Use time in vary to determine patterns and make changes as wanted – you may want a special insulin-to-carb ratio or correction issue relying in your mealtime.

Even when you have kind 2 diabetes and your insurance coverage doesn’t cowl CGM, skilled CGM could also be an choice for you.

“The trick is discovering a supplier in your space that can assist you do knowledgeable CGM trial,” Scher stated. In most states within the U.S., insurance policy will cowl one or two trials {of professional} CGM per 12 months.

7. Keep hydrated

Staying hydrated all through the day is essential to many bodily capabilities, from regulating blood strain to physique temperature to blood glucose.

While you’re dehydrated, the quantity of water in your bloodstream decreases, making the glucose in your blood extra concentrated. This may result in barely larger blood sugar ranges or trigger fast spikes.

Certainly, analysis suggests that not ingesting sufficient water results in worse glucose management in kind 2 diabetes. Dehydration can result in a cycle of upper glucose ranges, so it’s particularly vital to hydrate effectively when it’s scorching exterior.

Whether or not it’s investing in a colourful water bottle or pairing hydration together with your morning espresso, make sure you get your fluids in.

The underside line

Blood sugar spikes after meals are a standard a part of life when you may have diabetes. Whereas having a constant meal construction can assist stop massive spikes, it isn’t all the time potential to plan all of your meals.

To handle post-meal blood glucose ranges, it’s a good suggestion to construct a “toolbox” of methods. Everyone seems to be totally different, so you could must undergo some trial and error to determine what works finest for you.

“We’re not take a look at tubes,” Scher stated. “What works for one particular person, could not work for another person.”

It’s additionally vital to know when to succeed in out to your healthcare supplier for skilled recommendation.

“We’re right here to help you and to work as a crew,” Scher stated. “If one thing doesn’t really feel proper, let’s work as specialists collectively to assist determine it out.”

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