Manage Your Carb Intake
Your carb intake strongly influences your blood sugar levels .
Your body breaks carbs down into sugars, mainly glucose. Then, insulin helps your body use and store it for energy.
When you eat too many carbs or have insulin-function problems, this process fails, and blood glucose levels can rise.
Thats why the American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes manage their carb intake by counting carbs and being aware of how many they need .
Some studies find that this can help you plan your meals appropriately, further improving blood sugar management (
Foods that are high in fiber include:
The recommended daily intake of fiber is about 25 grams for women and 35 grams for men. Thats about 14 grams for every 1,000 calories .
Eating plenty of fiber can aid blood sugar management. Soluble dietary fiber appears to be more effective than insoluble fiber for this purpose.
Add More Resistant Starch To Your Plate
Not all carbohydrates are equal. Simple sugars digest quickly, and the glucose hits your blood fast, causing a spike in blood sugars. Resistant starches with complex carbohydrates take longer to break down. Your blood sugar levels will rise slowly and not get quite as high.
Some examples of resistant starches include:
- Rice and potatoes, served cooked but cold
- Whole grains such as barley and oats
- Plantains, underripe bananas
In This Article Well Take A Closer Look At How To Reduce Blood Sugar Level Immediately And What Foods Help Lower Blood Sugar Over Time
There isnât one food that will magically protect your body from developing diabetes. But there are some foods that research has proven can help promote healthy blood sugar levels over time. Keep reading to learn how to reduce blood sugar levels immediately, foods that help lower blood sugars, and which foods to eat in the moment when your blood sugar is higher than youâd like.
*This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services. This article and the links contained in it provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this article is not a substitute for medical care. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or registered dietitian.*
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Start With These Tips To Lower Blood Sugar Levels
To help you get started on filling your plate with more blood sugar friendly foods that will help lower your blood sugar, start by removing refined sugar, refined grains, and most processed foods from your diet. Processed foods all contain chemicals and refined ingredients that our bodies dont recognize as real nutrients, so our cells never really get what they need and we feel hungry all the time as a result. This also leads to blood sugar swings and spikes that cause insulin to work less efficiently.
What helps insulin work best so that blood sugar stays in a stable place are foods that pack dense amounts of nutrition and contain amino acids , fiber , and healthy fats from real food.
Lets check out some foods that can help lower blood sugar levels by offering us these nutritional benefits, shall we?
Do Some Physical Activity
Physical activity, whether its walking, jogging, bicycling, or dancing helps lower blood sugars both in the short-term and long-term. When you move, your cells take up glucose from the blood to be used as energy, thereby lowering blood sugars. You dont have to rush to the gym, either going for a walk, marching in place, or turning on the tunes and dancing at home can do wonders for your blood sugars. However, if you take insulin and your blood sugars are above 250 mg/dl, you should first check your urine for ketones using ketone strips. If you have ketones, dont exercise , and contact your provider.
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Best Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Quickly
When treated early, you can bring high blood sugar levels down and prevent complications, including DKA.
Some sources suggest that drinking water or eating a high protein snack can quickly lower your blood sugar levels, though there isnt enough research to support this.
If you have high blood sugar and need to lower it fast, try the following methods:
Which Carbs Raise Blood Sugar Levels
In plant foods, carbs comprise a combination of starch, sugar, and fiber. Only the starch and sugar components raise blood sugar.
Fiber thats naturally found in foods, whether soluble or insoluble, doesnt break down into glucose in the body, and doesnt raise blood sugar levels .
You can actually subtract the fiber and sugar alcohols from the total carb content, leaving you with the digestible or net carb content. For example, 1 cup of cauliflower contains 5 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fiber. Therefore, its net carb content is 2 grams.
Prebiotic fiber, such as inulin, has even been shown to improve fasting blood sugar and other health markers in people with type 2 diabetes .
Sugar alcohols, such as maltitol, xylitol, erythritol, and sorbitol, are often used to sweeten sugar-free candy and other diet products.
Some of them, especially maltitol, can actually raise blood sugar levels in people with diabetes .
For this reason, use the net carb tool cautiously, as the count listed on a products label may not be accurate if all the carbs contributed by maltitol are subtracted from the total.
Furthermore, the net carb tool isnt used by the Food and Drug Administration or the ADA.
This carb counter may be a valuable resource. It provides data for hundreds of foods on total carbs, net carbs, fiber, protein and fat.
Starches and sugars raise blood sugar levels, but dietary fiber does not. The sugar alcohol maltitol may also raise blood sugar.
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Get Trendy With Apple Cider Vinegar
If you do a quick Google search, youll see that apple cider vinegar is good for pretty much everything. You can use it to tone your skin, clean your pipes, and possibly lower your blood sugar!
A clinical review found that taking ACV daily could reduce blood glucose levels. Unfortunately, most of the trials were very small and some had mixed results.
But since youve probably got it in your house anyway, try taking a swig or two before meals, testing yourself, and seeing if a little ACV shot works for you .
Emergency Treatments To Lower Blood Sugar Levels
If you have diabetes or a history of hyperglycemia, it’s essential to know how to instantly manage high blood sugar levels. For example, if you notice symptoms of high blood sugar levels, you might have to go to the emergency room.
The physicians may use different emergency treatments to bring your sugar levels back to optimal.
You might receive fluids intravenously . It will help hydrate you. Since one of the symptoms of high blood sugar levels is excessive urination, you lose a lot of water in hyperglycemia.
Intravenous fluid administration will replace the fluids you lost. It will also dilute the excessive sugar volume in your body.
Depending on your condition, you may also get insulin therapy. It will replace fluids and electrolytes in your blood.
If your body does not have enough insulin, that can also lower the levels of electrolytes. These minerals are essential for proper tissue functioning. Therefore, when you go to the emergency room, the physicians may also give you Intravenous electrolytes.
Electrolyte replacement ensures that your nerves, muscles, and heart function optimally.
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First Check Your Ketones
If you live with insulin-dependent diabetes, high blood sugars can put you at risk of developing ketones. Blood sugar levels over 250 mg/dL with too little insulin can quickly turn into diabetic ketoacidosis if it continues to rise.
Test your urine for ketones, and contact your doctor or visit an urgent care facility if you measure with moderate to large ketones.
When large ketones are present, correcting a high blood sugar with insulin via pump or injection wont be effective. Instead, youll likely need intravenous fluids for a few hours to restabilize.
If you only have moderate ketones or less, you may be able to correct with insulin at home but youll likely need a larger dose than normal. Contact your healthcare team if you test positive for ketones and are unsure of how to safely manage the situation.
You can learn more in our guide: What Levels of Blood Sugar are Dangerous
How Exercise Impacts Glucose In The Moment
When you exercise, your body relies on two sources of fuel: glucose and fat. How your blood sugar changes during exercise depends on the intensity level of your workout and the fuel source your body is using.
Steady-state cardio exercises, like jogging or gentle swimming, donât rely on your body having to produce quick bursts of energy. In these cases, it gets more of its energy from fat, so your blood sugar will usually stay at the same level or decrease.
Higher-intensity exercises like HIIT, strength training, and sprinting cause your body to release a surge of adrenaline. To ensure that you have enough energy readily available for this, your body releases glucose from your liver, increasing your blood sugar levels.
Put more simply, your body works through exercise using supply and demand. During high-intensity exercises, it doesnt have the supply of energy on hand to fuel your workout. So, it releases glucose, immediately meeting the energy demand to fuel your workout while causing a short-term spike in blood sugar. During low-intensity exercise, your body has enough energy on hand to meet the demand, so blood glucose typically stays steady or decreases.
Short-term level changes like these are not harmful, just a standard part of our physiology.
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Ramp Up Your Movement Each Day
Exercise helps improve blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity and the bodys ability to use glucose as energy, according to the American Diabetes Association. In type 2, exercise helps improve insulin resistance, says James G. Beckerman, MD, a cardiologist in Portland, Oregon. The end result is lower blood sugars.
Crandall Snyder tells patients that exercise is like spring cleaning for the body. It takes the stored form of glucose and uses it for energy so the next time you eat carbohydrates there’s a place to put it, she says.
Because exercise can immediately reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, work with your healthcare team to determine the right amount of activity and timing for you. A study published in September 2017 in Frontiers in Endocrinology found exercising 30 minutes after the start of a meal is usually best for maintaining blood sugar controls.
Learn more about managing your blood sugar in Diabetes Daily’s article “HbA1C: Everything You Need to Know.”
Maintain Regular Meals & Healthy Snacks
Eating regular meals at the same time each day will help you maintain consistent energy throughout the day and avoid highs from skipping or overeating between meals. Plus, healthy snacks are vital in preventing high blood sugar since they also keep you fuller longer than sugary snacks would, so its less likely that youll indulge again soon after eating them.
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When To Contact Your Doctor
Hyperglycemia can turn into a medical emergency like DKA and HHS that requires immediate intervention by your doctor or a local emergency department. If you have two blood sugar readings of 300 mg/dL or more, or have blood sugar above your target range for more than a week, seek immediate medical help.
Signs of hyperglycemia include:
- Stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
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What Do You Take To Lower Your Blood Sugar
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How To Lower Morning Blood Sugar Without Medication
Diabetes causes high blood sugar levels . Even if you have good control of your levels most of the time, morning blood sugars can be a problem.
But you have options for lowering your morning blood glucose levels. And they don’t involve more medications or insulin.
This article looks at why mornings are a problem and several strategies for starting your day off better.
Verywell / Julie Bang
High morning blood glucose is common. It’s called the dawn phenomenon or dawn effect.
It happens because:
- Your body releases a surge of hormones as it prepares to wake up.
- Those hormones can counter the effects of insulin.
- Insulin regulates blood sugars, so this can make levels rise.
- In people without diabetes, the body naturally releases more insulin to maintain things.
- When you have diabetes, your body may not be able to compensate this way.
You can improve your morning readings despite this. It just takes some work and forethought.
Go For Whole Fruit Over Juice
A glass of orange juice is not the same as eating a whole orange. “People generally drink more juice and therefore consume more calories and sugar than they would by just eating fruit,” says Wylie-Rosett. Plus, you get more fiber from the whole fruit. For instance, there’s about 4 grams in a large orange, compared to less than 1 gram in 8 ounces of juice. A small amount of juice is OK, but it shouldn’t be your go-to beverage, she says. When you do drink it, make sure you’re serving it up in an actual juice glass rather than a large cup.
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Take A Pass On The Bread Bowl
Its obvious that sugary stuff leads to an increase in blood sugar, but starchy foods can do the same thing. Your body processes simple carbs quickly and turns them into sugar, and it needs a lot of insulin to absorb them. That means a bag of Doritos is as likely as a candy bar to cause a spike.
If youre in the middle of a blood sugar spike, its best to curtail your carb intake. Check the glycemic index if youre not sure about a food.
Surprisingly, popcorn and white potatoes are worse than ice cream, according to the index. If you stick to low-carb/low-glycemic-index foods, your blood sugar will return to normal much more quickly.
Ultimately, its best to limit your carb intake. A 2004 study found that a diet of 20 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 50 percent fat lowered fasting blood sugar and kept blood sugar from spiking after meals.
This was a very small study, but the results suggest that lower carb intake can lead to generally lower blood glucose. In general, most people with diabetes eat 40 to 45 percent of their calories in the form of carbohydrates. Choosing nutrient-rich sources of carbs is best.
Another promising study found that after two years on a low-carb diet, many participants with type 2 diabetes were able to manage their condition without medication or resolve it entirely.
The occasional baked potato isnt a problem, but frequent trips to the drive-through are not a good idea. Find a few veggie-and-protein-heavy meals and make them your go-tos.
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