Why Elevated Glucose May Lead To Weight Gain
Foods high in sugar and refined carbs may promote weight gain because of their impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. These foods are considered high-glycemic carbs because they are quickly digested and lead to rapid rises in blood sugar.
Examples of high-glycemic foods include:
- White bread, bagels, white rice, white-flour pasta
- Muffins, croissants, doughnuts, flavored instant oatmeal, most cereals
- Cakes, candy, cookies, and most desserts
- Corn and white potatoes
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Occasionally eating some cake at a birthday party isn’t a big deal, but a diet high in these foods and low in other blood sugar balancing nutrients like fiber and protein can mean you have higher insulin levels than usual as your body tries to lower blood sugar. Over time, insulin can promote fat storage.
When your glucose spikes and you don’t burn the excess energy, your body converts the extra glucose to glycogen stored in your muscle tissue and liver or as fat stored in your adipose cells.
By learning how your blood sugar responds to food and exercise, you can keep your glucose in a target range that also promotes a healthy weight.
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Official Hba1c Ada Recommendation For Someone With Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association recommends an HbA1C of less than 7% for most nonpregnant adults with diabetes. A lower goal, such as less than 6.5%, may be appropriate for some people who have had diabetes for a shorter amount of time, for younger people, for those without heart disease, and/or for those with type 2 diabetes treated with lifestyle or metformin only. A higher HbA1C goal, such as less than 8%, may be appropriate for people with a history of severe hypoglycemia, a limited life expectancy, advanced diabetes complications, other illnesses, or for whom a lower HbA1C goal is difficult to achieve. Its important that people with diabetes discuss their target blood sugar goals with their health care provider.
HbA1C levels should be checked between two to four times per year in people who have diabetes.
What Foods Raise Glucose Levels
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Your Blood Sugar Isnt Just Because Of What You Eat
Mainstream media would have you believe that your blood sugar levels are impacted only by what you eat and how much you exercise, but people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who test their blood sugars frequently could tell you otherwise.
Its especially important to keep this in mind when looking at your own blood sugars and your goals because there are certain variables and challenges that impact blood sugar levels that you cant always control.
- Menstrual cycles: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Adrenaline rushes from competitive sports, heated arguments, or rollercoaster rides: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- The common cold and other illnesses: usually raise blood sugar and insulin needs
- Hormonal changes due to puberty and healthy growth in young adults: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- An injury that raises overall inflammation levels: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Glucogenesis during anaerobic exercise: raises blood sugar
While you cant necessarily prevent these factors that affect your blood sugar from occurring, you can work with your diabetes healthcare team to adjust your insulin, other diabetes medications, nutrition and activity levels to help compensate for them when they do occur.
For example, when engaging in anaerobic exercise like weightlifting many people with type 1 diabetes find it necessary to take a small bolus of insulin prior to or during their workout because anaerobic exercise can actually raise blood sugar.
Does A Blood Sugar Spike Mean You Have Diabetes
Occasional high spikes donât mean you have diabetes. Itâs normal for your blood sugar to go up after eating a meal high in carbohydrates or even due to lifestyle habits and events. Besides food, your blood sugar can be affected by stress, lack of sleep, age, menstrual cycle, physical activity, and even being sick.
What affects one person’s blood sugar may also affect yours differently. We can all have different responses to food, so monitoring the overall trend of your blood sugar gives you the most insight into your overall health.
However, while infrequent spikes aren’t a problem, if they happen more regularly, it’s time to take a closer look at what’s contributing.
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What Are Normal Blood Glucose Levels For People With Diabetes
People with diabetes will often have higher blood sugar targets or âacceptableâ ranges than those without the condition, although these levels can also vary individually depending on a personâs treatment goals.
According to the American Diabetes Association, target blood sugar levels for people with diabetes are:
- Before eating: 80â130 mg/dL
- One to two hours after eating: < 180 mg/dL
Type 1 Diabetes Facts
The risk of developing type 1 diabetes can be affected by your genetics i.e. if your parents or siblings have type 1 diabetes.
- In terms of inheritance of type 1 diabetes there is a 2% risk if the mother has type 1 diabetes, 8% risk if the father has type 1 diabetes and a 30% risk of the child developing type 1 diabetes if both parents are type 1
- Within 20 years of diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, nearly all of those diagnosed have some degree of retinopathy
There is also a sub-type of type 1 diabetes known as brittle diabetes
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Type 2 diabetes causes the body to become resistant to the hormone insulin. This hormone unlocks cells. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. While both types of the disease can cause problems, you can minimize the impact by following healthy eating and being physically active. The sooner you know more about diabetes, the better prepared you will be to deal with it. Once you know more about the disease, youll be better prepared for treatment.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that causes the body to produce too much insulin. It is also known as type 2 diabetes. If you have type 1, you can control your blood glucose levels by eating a balanced diet. If you have type 2 diabetes, you can even prevent it by adopting healthy lifestyle habits and modifying your diet. Its important to seek information that can help you be your own health advocate. There are many different types of diabetes, so its important to learn as much as you can about the condition.
Normal Hba1c For Person Without Diabetes
For someone who does not have diabetes, a normal HbA1C level is below 5.7%. An A1C between 5.7% to 6.4% is indicative of prediabetes.
Its recommended that adults over the age of 45 or adults under 45 who are overweight and have one or more risk factors for diabetes have a baseline A1C checked. If the result is normal, the A1C should be checked every three years. If the result indicates prediabetes, the A1C should be checked every one to two years.
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When To See A Healthcare Professional
Hyperglycemia can happen suddenly after injury or illness. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms call 911 or have someone else call for you:
- Trouble breathing or talking
- Weakness or confusion
The aforementioned signs and symptoms can be a signal of diabetic ketoacidosis or worse, and if left untreated can be life-threatening. Fortunately, immediate recognition and treatment of these symptoms can lead to a rapid amelioration of your high blood sugar levels.
Although more research needs to be done to elucidate the long-term impacts of hyperglycemia on nondiabetic patientsespecially after acute injuryone thing is clear: living a healthy lifestyle that includes eating a balanced diet and routine exercise is the best way to avoid hyperglycemia and acute complications.
To prevent hyperglycemia:
Diagnosing Prediabetes Type 2 And Type 1 Diabetes
Depending on which country or medical organization you ask, the qualifying numbers for normal versus prediabetes versus diagnosed type 1 or type 2 diabetes can vary slightly.
The following blood sugar and A1c results are used to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes according to sources including the American Diabetes Association and Diabetes UK:
- HbA1c: 5.7 to 6.4 percent
- Fasting: 100 to 125 mg/dL
- 2 hours after a meal: 140 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL
Type 1 or 2 diabetes
- HbA1c: 6.5 percent or higher
- Fasting: 126 mg/dL or higher
- 2 hours after a meal: 200 mg/dL or higher
Please note:Type 1 diabetes tends to develop very quickly which means that by the time symptoms are felt, blood sugar levels are generally well above 200 mg/dL all the time. For many, symptoms come on so quickly that they are dismissed as the lingering flu or another seemingly ordinary virus.
By the time blood sugar levels are tested, many newly diagnosed type 1 patients will see levels above 400 mg/dL or higher. If you do suspect that you or a loved one has type 1 diabetes, visit your primary care or urgent care immediately and ask for a urine test to measure ketones in addition to testing blood sugar levels and A1c.
Read more about ketones at diagnosis in ourDiabetic Ketoacidosis Guide.
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When Blood Sugar Levels Wont Go Down
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Waking Glucose Vs Post
Compared to pre-meal glucose, the association between waking and post-meal glucose is not as strong. In other words, putting all the focus on manipulating your post-prandial glucose values will likely not help you lower critical metabolic health indicators, like your waking glucose or reduced body fat level.
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How Is Blood Sugar Measured
In the United States, blood sugar is measured in milligrams per deciliter . This is abbreviated as mg/dl.
In Europe and Canada, blood sugar is measured a little differently, by millimole per liter, which is abbreviated mmol. However its measured, blood sugar is the concentration of sugar or glucose in the bloodstream.
If you multiply the Canadian or European mmol, by the number 18, you can calculate milligrams per deciliter.
In other words, if a person in Canada reports their blood sugar as an 8, multiply 8 times 18 to give you the number 144 . Using this calculation, this persons blood sugar = 144 mg/dl, .
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People With Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes can occur during pregnancy. Often, it is a temporary condition, but it can lead to pregnancy complications.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with a diagnosis of gestational diabetes aim for blood sugar levels similar to those for people without diabetes, although individual targets may vary.
The ADA offers the following as a guideline:
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A wide range of complications can also result, such as slow wound healing and frequent infections. Other possible complications include:
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If You Dont Have Diabetes
Even if you dont have diabetes, its important to eat regularly to prevent hypoglycemia. Ideally, meals and snacks should contain a balance of carbs, protein, and heart-healthy fats to help support healthy blood sugar levels.
You may also want to keep a few healthy snacks on hand in case you start feeling side effects such as hunger, sweating, or shakiness. Fresh fruit, trail mix, and crackers with peanut butter are a few quick and easy snack ideas for low blood sugar levels.
If you regularly experience low blood sugar levels, talk with your doctor to see whether underlying factors could play a role.
Hypoglycemia is a serious condition that can occur when your blood sugar levels drop too low. Although its more common in people with diabetes, it can also be caused by other health conditions.
If left untreated, hypoglycemia can cause serious side effects and long-term health consequences.
However, there are plenty of ways to prevent hypoglycemia, including eating regularly, following a healthy diet, monitoring your blood sugar levels carefully, taking medications as directed by your doctor, and, in some cases, surgery.
How Much Should My Glucose Rise After I Eat
Because post-meal values are often used to diagnose diabetes, many people track this metric and focus on their glucose readings after they eat.
As a result, they try to minimise and manipulate the rise by:
- Avoiding carbs in the hopes of lowering blood sugar, reducing insulin, and therefore losing weight. This belief is rife in the keto community, and its caused many to gain weight over the long term. For more discussion, see Keto Lie #10: Stable Blood Sugars Will Lead to Fat Loss.
- Flatlining blood glucose levels, believing it will help them lose weight. We have seen this trend really take off recently with the rise in popularity of continuous glucose monitors . See Glucose Revolution by Jessie Inchauspe : Review for more information.
- Eating excessive amounts of fat thinking its a free food because it has the lowest insulin index value. At the end of the day, calories still count, and pure fat is pretty nutrient-poor and not satiating. For more on this topic, check out Keto Lie #11: You Should Eat Fat to Satiety to Lose Body Fat, Making Sense of the Food Insulin Index, and Keto Lie #12: If In Doubt, Keep Calm and Keto On!
The chart below shows the average rise in glucose after eating for 3,725 Data-Driven Fasting Challenge participants. We see only an average increase after eating of 16 mg/dL .
All that said, the table below shows the analysis of the rise in glucose.
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Cgm Studies In Nondiabetic Individuals
One study from 2009 entitled Reference Values for Continuous Glucose Monitoring in Chinese Subjects looked at the glucose levels of 434 healthy adults using CGM and found the following:
- On average, their daily glucose levels stayed between 70140 mg/dl for 93% of the day, with very small portions of the day spent above 140 mg/dl or below 70 mg/dl.
- Also, their mean 24-hour glucose levels were around 104 mg/dl
- 1-hour post-meal glucose values average 121-123 mg/dl for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- 3-hour post-meal glucose values were around 97-114 mg/dl.
- Peak post-meal values appeared to be around 60 minutes after eating.
- Mean fasting glucose was 86 ± 7 mg/dl.
- Mean daytime glucose was 106 ± 11 mg/dl.
- Mean nighttime glucose was 99 ± 11 mg/dl.
A 2010 study, Variation of Interstitial Glucose Measurements Assessed by Continuous Glucose Monitors in Healthy, Nondiabetic Individuals, looked at a healthy population of 74 individuals that included children, adolescents, and adults during daily living using CGM. This research showed that:
- Glucose levels stayed between 71-120 mg/dl for 91% of the day.
- Levels were lower than 70 mg/dl for 1.7% of the time and greater than 140 mg/dl, only 0.4% of the time.
- Mean 24-hour glucose was 98 ± 10 mg/dl.
- Mean fasting glucose of 86 ± 8 mg/dl.
Compared to the first study mentioned, these healthy, nondiabetic individuals appeared to have a tighter range of glucose, spending the vast majority of the 24-hour period between 71-120 mg/dl.