How to Control Blood Sugar Spikes

Many diabetics struggle to control the sudden blood sugar spikes that can occur after meals. Knowing why blood sugar spikes happen and making small changes to your meals and routine can help you better manage diabetes.

What Causes Spikes?

The blood sugar spikes that you encounter after a meal happen because your body is not completely in sync. When a non-diabetic eats a meal, there is an immediate release of insulin into the bloodstream, and the production of a hormone called amylin occurs. Insulin that is produced by the pancreas does its job in just a few minutes, which is to move glucose obtained from food from the bloodstream into cells throughout the body. The hormone amylin keeps food from reaching the intestines too quickly, which is where the nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream. When this happens blood sugar rises only a small amount after meals.

For people with diabetes, the process is a bit different and the timing does not work the same. When insulin is injected or infused via a pump into the body it takes approximately 15 minutes to start working. Once insulin begins to work it will take 60 to 90 minutes to peak and four hours or more to finish working. Furthermore, amylin is either produced in insufficient amounts or not at all in people who have diabetes. Due to the insufficient amounts of amylin food is digested even faster than usual. This combination of slower insulin and faster digestion can cause blood sugar levels to rise very high right after a meal.

How to Prevent Spikes

  1. Split your meals. To keep your blood sugar from spiking try saving a portion of your meal for a snack, one or two hours later. You should still take the full mealtime insulin before eating any meal, but try to avoid eating the entire meal at once.
  2. Get moving. Doing a little exercise after eating can reduce post-meal spikes as well. When you take insulin prior to a meal or snack and exercise after, the enhanced blood flow to the skin surface is likely to make the insulin absorb and act more quickly. Ten to fifteen minutes of mild activity will go a long way. The key is to avoid sitting for extended periods of time after a meal.
  3. Understand glycemic load and carbohydrates. Glycemic load (GL) measures how many carbohydrates are in food affects your blood sugar levels. Foods made with refined carbohydrates, like white pasta, are digested quickly and have a higher GL that causes blood sugar levels to rise rapidly, but foods made with complex carbohydrates, such as whole-wheat pasta, have a lower GL that has a much smaller effect on blood sugar.
  4. Control portion size. Keep in mind that a large meal means more sugar enters the bloodstream at one time. Eating smaller portions beefed up by low GL snacks, such as nuts, keeps your blood sugar even throughout the day.
  5. Try different food combinations. Remember that what you eat with your carbohydrates matters as well. Protein and fat slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, which will help prevent insulin spikes and drops. Try pairing an apple with peanut butter or serving rice with beans and avocado. These kinds of combinations can lessen the blood-sugar impact of your meal. Simply remember that the less processed your food and the more work your body has to do to digest it, the better it is for your blood sugar.

Sources: Sharecare.com and DiabetesSisters.org
Photo: [SOURCE]

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Today, the healing benefits of essential oils are more than the claims of ancient tradition and alternative medicine. They are increasingly the...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

There is nothing close to a one-size-fits-all exercise program for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The best general advice is to...

More Articles

With such a marked increase in the number of new diabetes cases, more people are wondering if type 1 diabetes...

Keeping your blood sugar levels under control can be tough. There are so many factors that can affect blood sugar, like exercise, food, illness,...

Today, the healing benefits of essential oils are more than the claims of ancient tradition and alternative medicine. They are increasingly the...

Stomach aches and other gastrointestinal pains can be signs of a bigger problem. One such problem for diabetics is gastroparesis, or delayed...

Two of the most common symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst and increased urine production. These symptoms are so prevalent in diabetics that...

People with diabetes are about twice as likely to experience heart disease as those without the condition, making cardiovascular health a critical...

Pilates is an exercise method proven to improve flexibility, strength, coordination, muscular stamina, balance, and posture. Many Pilates...

It can be difficult enough to get on stage and make a roomful of strangers laugh, but for comedians suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes,...

All diabetics know that maintaining proper blood sugar levels is the lifeline...

Most people with insulin-dependent diabetes use syringes and lancets every day. However, many of them do not know how to dispose of these...

Explaining diabetes to children can seem like a daunting task, but in reality, it is no more difficult than discussing anything else important....

Diabetes is a complex disease, affecting virtually every part of the body. The damage it does, to nerve endings, blood vessels, organs, and the...

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes have successfully competed in the Olympic Games. Their amazing stories prove that diabetes is no match for...

If your child has diabetes, you want him or her to be safe while in school and to have the same educational opportunities as other children....

Do not let pictures of yoga experts with their bodies twisted into bizarre, compact shapes fool you. Even people with stiff muscles, creaky joints...