7 Methods to Cut back 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 – wrestle with excessive blood sugar after consuming. We spoke with specialists for tips about easy methods to decrease these cussed glucose spikes.

We’ve all been there: it’s been a protracted, demanding day at work and also you’re excited to take a seat down for dinner at your favourite restaurant.

Or perhaps 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 toes all day and are able to gobble up the primary meals you encounter.

Whatever the scenario, it’s probably you don’t need to take the time to bolus and wait on your insulin to kick in earlier than you begin consuming. In spite of everything, 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 telephone 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 normal feeling of unease.

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

Why do blood sugar spikes after meals occur?

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

In folks with out diabetes, this improve in blood sugar triggers the quick launch of insulin. Inside minutes, insulin begins transporting glucose from the bloodstream into cells, serving to to cut back blood sugar after consuming. Submit-meal blood glucose spikes are normally momentary and infrequently go unnoticed in these with out diabetes.

Nonetheless, in folks with diabetes, blood sugar spikes may be extra pronounced and last more. Insulin delivered through 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.

Folks 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 gradual digestion and reduces post-meal glucose. Which means folks with out sufficient amylin might expertise challenges with excessive glucose ranges after consuming.

In case you’ve been combating post-meal hyperglycemia, take inventory of your present circumstances and in the event you’ve skilled main life adjustments just lately, urged LaurieAnn Scher, licensed diabetes care and training specialist.

Have you ever skilled stressors, similar to finding out for an enormous examination, switching jobs, or shifting? This may set off the discharge of stress hormones like cortisol, which might promote weight acquire and have an effect on metabolism, together with insulin resistance.

Perhaps your consuming or train patterns have shifted, maybe because of adjustments like beginning school, shifting in with a companion, or navigating parenthood. Weight loss program adjustments can lead folks to realize extra muscle or fats. With a unique proportion of fats and muscle mass, insulin resistance can fluctuate, impacting your insulin wants, Scher added.

Many different elements can have an effect on insulin resistance and blood glucose administration, similar to utilizing contraception, environmental situations, dehydration, and extra.

Why is it essential to cut back blood sugar spikes?

Excessive blood sugar after meals raises your danger of diabetes issues, together with kidney illness, heart problems, and diabetic neuropathy. Submit-meal hyperglycemia may have an effect on high quality of life, resulting in unfavourable 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 response to the American Diabetes Affiliation 2024 Requirements of Care, you need to goal 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 infrequently exceed 140 mg/dL.

Learn how to stop blood sugar spikes after consuming

From medicines to eating regimen and bodily exercise, there are numerous completely different methods to stop bothersome blood sugar spikes after meals. As with all components of diabetes care, it’s essential to acknowledge that what works for one individual might not work for another person.

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

1. Experiment with completely different insulins and dose timing

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

That’s, you need to often study basal and bolus insulin, alongside together with your different medicines. You could want to regulate your insulin routine and tweak bolus doses and timing all through your life.

There are a number of various kinds of mealtime insulin, every with its personal time to onset of blood glucose decreasing:

Type Names Time to onset Peak Period
Quick-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 an enormous function round mealtime. For some meals, you could want a 30-minute pre-bolus earlier than, whereas others would possibly require a shorter pre-bolus of 10-Quarter-hour earlier than consuming.

Some folks discover they like an prolonged bolus, which suggests the insulin is delivered over an prolonged interval, as a substitute of .

Digestion price additionally elements into the timing of mealtime insulin, particularly for folks with situations like gastroparesis or exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.

2. Attempt a brief quantity of bodily exercise

Being lively 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 just take pleasure in to be able to make it a sustainable behavior.

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

  • Climb a set of stairs in your own home or office.
  • Bounce rope, jog in place, or do leaping jacks – these take up little or no area.
  • Do squats at your desk. Since squats train the most important muscle groups in your physique (your glutes and quads), they’re very efficient at decreasing glucose. “The quads and glutes are like sponges, they suck up all of the glucose and use it way more readily than smaller muscle groups,” Scher stated.
  • Have a dance social gathering – put in your favourite songs and jam out to your coronary heart’s content material.

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.

In case you choose to assume forward, think about the various kinds of train that you are able to do all through the day that improve insulin sensitivity. Power coaching earlier than consuming has been proven to enhance post-meal blood glucose in folks with prediabetes by enhancing insulin sensitivity. Likewise, analysis suggests that exercising earlier than meals can improve insulin sensitivity and enhance general glycemic management in folks with sort 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes.

After all, any type of train can result in drops in glucose ranges and trigger hypoglycemia. In case you use insulin, it’s subsequently essential 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 function within the intestine microbiome, serving to sweep micro organism from the colon and retaining bowel actions common. You’ll be able to eat extra fiber by including fruits, greens, legumes, and complete grains to your eating regimen.

“We will think about fiber certainly one of 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. Once you pair fiber-rich meals with carbohydrates, it helps stop blood sugar spikes and likewise reduces speedy drops in blood sugar.

Including an excessive amount of fiber too rapidly might trigger some GI misery, so Hisamatsu urged going “low and gradual” when growing fiber consumption and ensuring to remain adequately hydrated. Begin by considering of meals you already take pleasure in and attempt to add some greens or complete grains. As an example, 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 various kinds of carbohydrates is vital to managing post-meal blood sugar spikes.

“I’ve at all times stated there’s nothing that an individual with diabetes can’t eat, besides poison and meals with poison,” Scher stated. “You’ll be able to have cake, sweet, and so forth. You’re human. You simply have to discover ways to handle it.”

Carbohydrates may be divided into two normal classes:

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

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

When you’ve recognized these areas, think about 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 really helpful specializing in growing 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. Attempt setting a brief basal price

In the identical approach that some folks select to decrease their basal insulin price throughout train, you possibly can think about briefly growing your basal price by a sure proportion earlier than or after meals.

Likewise, some insulin pumps help you set a decrease pre-meal goal, similar to 80 or 85 mg/dL slightly than 95 mg/dL earlier than consuming.

Setting a brief basal price may be useful once you’re consuming meals that has vital refined carbohydrates in it, similar to pastries, bread, pasta, pancakes, pizza, and even white rice. This technique could also be particularly helpful for these with extra insulin resistance.

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

6. Use CGM as a instrument to tell choices

Steady glucose displays (CGM) present priceless data that may make it easier to handle post-meal blood sugar.

Since everybody responds otherwise to meals, Scher stated CGMs help you perceive your physique’s distinctive response. As an example, some folks 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 sort 2 diabetes, whether or not or not they’re on insulin remedy, might 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 pattern arrows on a CGM can assist inform mealtime insulin dosing. Use time in vary to determine patterns and make changes as wanted – you would possibly want a unique insulin-to-carb ratio or correction issue relying in your mealtime.

Even when you have sort 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 make it easier to 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 stress to physique temperature to blood glucose.

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

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

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

The underside line

Blood sugar spikes after meals are a standard a part of life when you might have diabetes. Whereas having a constant meal construction can assist stop giant spikes, it isn’t at all times attainable 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 completely different, so you could have to undergo some trial and error to determine what works greatest for you.

“We’re not check tubes,” Scher stated. “What works for one individual, might not work for another person.”

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

“We’re right here to assist 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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