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Can Blood Sugar Rise Without Eating

Controlling The Dawn Phenomenon

Controlling The Dawn Phenomenon

Do you wake up with a blood glucose level that’s higher than when you went to bed? You might wonder how this could be. Is this “dawn phenomenon” serious, and what can you do about it? Our reader Mishelle commented here, “I don’t eat [much] during the day. [I take metformin morning and night.] My blood sugar is still too high in the morning…sometimes 125–140ish.” How can Mishelle’s glucose levels go up if she didn’t eat anything? She probably has a mild case of dawn phenomenon. Her glucose is going up from sources other than digested food. Some of it is produced by the liver from stored starch and fatty acids. Livers that produce too much glucose are one of the main ways diabetes causes high blood glucose levels. Other organs also produce small amounts of glucose. This is called “gluconeogenesis” for you science freaks out there. Organs do this to keep blood glucose from going too low at night or other times of not eating. From about 2 AM to 8 AM, most people’s bodies produce hormones, including cortisol, glucagon, and epinephrine. All these hormones increase insulin resistance and tell the liver to make more glucose. The idea is to get you enough glucose to get out of bed and start the day. The whole process is apparently started by growth hormones. Everyone has a dawn phenomenon. Otherwise they’d be too weak to get breakfast. But in people without diabetes, insulin levels also increase to handle the extra glucose. People with diabetes can’t increase insulin levels that much, so their early morning blood glucose levels can rise dramatically. Experts disagree on how many people have a dawn phenomenon. Estimates range from 3% to 50% of Type 2s and from 25% to 50% of Type 1s. Is dawn phenomenon a serious problem? It can be serious. According t Continue reading >>

12 Simple Tips To Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes

12 Simple Tips To Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes

Blood sugar spikes occur when your blood sugar rises and then falls sharply after you eat. In the short term, they can cause lethargy and hunger. Over time, your body may not be able to lower blood sugar effectively, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a rising health problem. In fact, 29 million Americans have diabetes, and 25% of them don't even know they have it (1). Blood sugar spikes can also cause your blood vessels to harden and narrow, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. This article looks at 12 simple things you can do to prevent blood sugar spikes. Carbohydrates (carbs) are what cause blood sugar to rise. When you eat carbs, they are broken down into simple sugars. Those sugars then enter the bloodstream. As your blood sugar levels rise, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin, which prompts your cells to absorb sugar from the blood. This causes your blood sugar levels to drop. Many studies have shown that consuming a low-carb diet can help prevent blood sugar spikes (2, 3, 4, 5). Low-carb diets also have the added benefit of aiding weight loss, which can also reduce blood sugar spikes (6, 7, 8, 9). There are lots of ways to reduce your carb intake, including counting carbs. Here's a guide on how to do it. A low-carb diet can help prevent blood sugar spikes and aid weight loss. Counting carbs can also help. Refined carbs, otherwise known as processed carbs, are sugars or refined grains. Some common sources of refined carbs are table sugar, white bread, white rice, soda, candy, breakfast cereals and desserts. Refined carbs have been stripped of almost all nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Refined carbs are said to have a high glycemic index because they are very easily and quickly digested by the body. This leads to blood sugar Continue reading >>

Should You Skip A Meal If Your Blood Glucose Is High?

Should You Skip A Meal If Your Blood Glucose Is High?

High blood glucose levels can damage the small arteries and nerves in your eyes, kidneys, heart, brain and feet over time. If you have diabetes, high blood sugar is defined as higher than 130 mg/dL when fasting and above 180 mg/dL two hours after eating, unless your doctor has specified a different target for you. Managing your blood glucose levels closely is the key to healthy living with diabetes. If your blood glucose levels are high, don't skip a meal; rather, try to understand the causes behind your high reading and do some damage control by eating healthy and exercising. The Cause If your blood glucose levels are higher than they should be, start by determining what caused the rise. Did you eat more carbohydrates than usual? Carbohydrates found in grains, potatoes and sugar increase your blood sugar levels the most, and eating too much can result in high glucose levels. Are you more stressed than usual or are you feeling sick? Stress and illness also increase your blood sugar levels. Did you skip your usual walk or did your forget to take your medications? Both exercise and prescribed medications decrease your blood sugar levels. Keeping a journal of what you eat, how you feel, how much you exercise and the medications and supplements you take can help you figure out the cause of your high blood sugar. Skipping Meals Skipping meals can actually increase your blood glucose levels. If your body doesn't get a regular supply of energy from food, your liver may panic and start releasing glucose into your bloodstream. This glucose can come from stored liver glycogen or can be newly synthesized from protein. Skipping a meal can cause you to have high blood glucose levels, so don't skip a meal in an attempt to lower high blood sugar. Healthy Meal Instead of skipping a mea Continue reading >>

Why Your “normal” Blood Sugar Isn’t Normal (part 2)

Why Your “normal” Blood Sugar Isn’t Normal (part 2)

Hi, I just found this site and would like to participate. I will give my numbers, etc. First, my last A1c was 6.1, the doc said it was Pre-diabetes in January of 2014, OK, I get it that part, but what confuses me is that at home, on my glucometer, all my fastings were “Normal” however, back then, I had not checked after meals, so maybe they were the culprits. Now, I am checking all the time and driving myself crazy. In the morning sometimes fasting is 95 and other times 85, it varies day to day. Usually, after a low carb meal, it drops to the 80’s the first hour and lower the second. On some days, when I am naughty and eat wrong, my b/s sugar is still low, and on other days, I can eat the same thing, and it goes sky high, again, not consistent. Normally, however, since February, my fbs is 90, 1 hour after, 120, 2nd hour, back to 90, but, that changes as well. In February, of 2014, on the 5th, it was horrible. I think I had eaten Lasagne, well, before, my sugars did not change much, but that night, WHAM-O I started at 80 before the meal, I forgot to take it at the one and two hour mark, but did at the 3 hour mark, it was 175, then at four hours, down to 160, then at 5 hours, back to 175. I went to bed, because by that time, it was 2 AM, but when I woke up at 8:00 and took it, it was back to 89!!!! This horrible ordeal has only happened once, but, I have gone up to 178 since, but come down to normal in 2 hours. I don’t know if I was extra stressed that day or what, I am under tons of it, my marriage is not good, my dear dad died 2 years ago and my very best friend died 7 months ago, I live in a strange country, I am from America, but moved to New Zealand last year, and I am soooo unhappy. Anyway, what does confuse me is why the daily differences, even though I may Continue reading >>

20 Reasons For Blood Sugar Swings

20 Reasons For Blood Sugar Swings

Upswing: Caffeine Your blood sugar can rise after you have coffee -- even black coffee with no calories -- thanks to the caffeine. The same goes for black tea, green tea, and energy drinks. Each person with diabetes reacts to foods and drinks differently, so it's best to keep track of your own responses. Ironically, other compounds in coffee may help prevent type 2 diabetes in healthy people. Many of these will raise your blood sugar levels. Why? They can still have plenty of carbs from starches. Check the total carbohydrates on the Nutrition Facts label before you dig in. You should also pay attention to sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol. They add sweetness with fewer carbs than sugar (sucrose), but they may still have enough to boost your levels. One study found that people with type 2 diabetes who switched to a vegan (or all vegetable-based) diet had better blood sugar control and needed less insulin. A boost in fiber from whole grains and beans might play a role, by slowing down the digestion of carbs. But scientists need more research to know if going vegan really helps diabetes. Talk to your doctor before you make major diet changes. Blood sugar can dip dangerously low during shut-eye for some people with diabetes, especially if they take insulin. It's best to check your levels at bedtime and when you wake up. A snack before bed may help. For some people, blood sugar can rise in the morning -- even before breakfast -- due to changes in hormones or a drop in insulin. Regular testing is important. One option is a continuous blood glucose monitor, which can alert you to highs and lows. Physical activity is a great health booster for everyone. But people with diabetes should tailor it to what they need. When you work out hard enough to sweat and raise your h Continue reading >>

> When Blood Sugar Is Too Low

> When Blood Sugar Is Too Low

No matter what we're doing — even when we're sleeping — our brains depend on glucose to function. Glucose is a sugar that comes from the foods we eat, and it's also formed and stored inside the body. It's the main source of energy for the cells of our body, and it's carried to each cell through the bloodstream. The blood glucose level is the amount of glucose in the blood. When blood glucose levels (also called blood sugar levels) drop too low, it's called hypoglycemia (pronounced: hi-po-gly-SEE-me-uh). Very low blood sugar levels can cause severe symptoms that need to be treated right away. People with diabetes can have low blood sugar levels because of the medicines they have to take to manage their diabetes. They may need a hormone called insulin or diabetes pills (or both) to help their bodies use the sugar in their blood. These medicines help take the sugar out of the blood and get it into the body's cells, which makes the level of sugar in the blood go down. But sometimes it's a tricky balancing act and blood sugar levels can get too low. People with diabetes need to keep their blood sugars from getting too high or too low. Part of keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range is having good timing, and balancing when and what they eat and when they exercise with when they take medicines. Some things that can make low blood sugar levels more likely to happen are: skipping meals and snacks not eating enough food at a meal or snack exercising longer or harder than usual without eating some extra food getting too much insulin not timing the insulin doses properly with meals, snacks, and exercise Also, certain things may increase how quickly insulin gets absorbed into the bloodstream and can make hypoglycemia more likely to occur. For example, taking a hot shower Continue reading >>

How To Gain Weight And Maintain Blood Glucose

How To Gain Weight And Maintain Blood Glucose

By Lara Rondinelli-Hamilton, RD, LDN, CDE Yes, you read the title correctly—there are people with diabetes that are actually trying to gain weight. These people are underweight and need to put on a few pounds without creating extremely high blood sugar levels. Note: If you have diabetes and are losing weight or having difficulty gaining weight, your first step is making sure the issue isn’t due to high blood glucose levels. Uncontrolled hyperglycemia, which is typical with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes (or misdiagnosed type 2), can lead to weight loss and is a dangerous state for your body. If your weight loss or inability to gain weight is unexpected, make sure to discuss it right away with your doctor. It may be that your medication needs to be adjusted for better glycemic control. If, on the other hand, your blood glucose levels are controlled, here are few tips to help you gain weight without spiking your sugar. 1. Eat three meals a day. Don’t skip meals. If you are trying to gain weight, you need to increase your daily caloric intake. If you skip breakfast (or any meal), you could be missing out on an extra 400 to 500 calories per day, which if done consistently could lead to a one-pound weight loss per week. So, even if you are not a breakfast person, find some foods that you can eat for breakfast, such as a fruit-vegetable smoothie (you can add flax seed and coconut oil to increase calories, fiber, and satiety). A quick smoothie could be a few handfuls of spinach, 1 cup frozen berries, ½ banana, 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 tablespoon ground flax seed and ½-1 cup coconut milk. Serve the smoothie with a side of egg and chicken sausage. You might also try an egg, cheese, and avocado sandwich on a low-carb wrap or tortilla. 2. Eat snacks. Snacks and small me Continue reading >>

The 4 Foods That Will Steady Your Blood Sugar

The 4 Foods That Will Steady Your Blood Sugar

Wondering what blood sugar has to do with you, if you don’t have diabetes? Keeping your blood sugar levels as steady as possiblenow may help you avoid getting diabetes later. “As you get older, your risk for type 2 diabetes goes up,” says Alissa Rumsey, Registered Dietitian and Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Since you can’t modify your age, it is important to take other steps to lower your risk, including maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough exercise, and balancing your diet to prevent spikes in blood sugar.” Controlling your blood sugar will also just make you feel better. “It’s best to control blood sugar—it keeps your energy stable,” says Leann Olansky, M.D., an endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “If your blood sugar doesn’t vary that much before and after a meal, that’s a healthier way to be.” Unrelated to diabetes, symptoms of occasional high blood sugar aren’t life-threatening, but rather unpleasant and only potentially dangerous if you suffer from other health problems. “When your blood sugar is too high, it can make you feel sluggish,” says Dr. Olansky. “When it’s higher still, it can lead to dehydration and make your blood pressure unstable, and cause you to urinate more often, especially at night.” But when your blood sugar remains chronically high, insulin, a hormone that’s supposed to help your body store sugar as energy, stops working as it should. “Prolonged high blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance, meaning your body isn’t able to use insulin properly,” says Rumsey. “Over time this insulin resistance can develop into diabetes, when insulin isn’t able to keep your blood sugar within normal levels.” Current research reveals an association between spik Continue reading >>

Eating With Diabetes

Eating With Diabetes

The place to start when learning to eat with diabetes is knowing the three major nutrient groups and how they affect your health. The only three nutrients that provide calories are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Some foods have just one type while others may be a combination of all three. Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are the place to start when learning to eat with diabetes. They are important because they are the only class of foods that change to sugar in your body and increase your blood sugar. It is good to eat nutritious carbohydrate foods, but each person living with diabetes is unique and can tolerate a limited amount of carbohydrate at any one time without causing elevated blood sugar levels. Each person should eat as small an amount of carbohydrate at meals and snacks as is needed to control blood sugar and maintain energy levels. Carbohydrates are measured in grams, and one diabetic serving is 15 grams. This amount is not the same as the serving size on food labels. Each person with diabetes is unique in their ability to process the amount of carbohydrate they eat at any one sitting. One person may be able to eat four servings (60 grams) of carbohydrate at breakfast without their blood sugar becoming too elevated, while another person may only be able to handle two servings (30 grams). In order to learn how much carbohydrate your body can typically handle for each meal, test your blood sugar before and after meals for a few days. You may find that you can tolerate more carbohydrate at some meals than at others. Choose fewer servings of carbohydrate when your blood sugar is high before a meal. Aim for an increase of no more than 50 points from before you start eating until 1-2 hours after you’re done. It is helpful to be fairly consistent with the amount o Continue reading >>

7 Techniques To Reduce Post-meal Spikes During Pregnancy

7 Techniques To Reduce Post-meal Spikes During Pregnancy

“Gary, I think I need more insulin at breakfast.” “Why do you say that, Julianne?” “Because I’m always having high readings right afterwards, and my obstetrician said I shouldn’t spike after I eat.” “And what happens after the spike?” “It usually comes down to normal before lunch. So do you think I should take more insulin?” After-meal blood sugar spikes can create quite a quandary for anyone with diabetes, particularly during pregnancy. Research has shown that fetal macrosomia (overgrowth of the baby) becomes more common when post-meal blood sugars exceed 120 mg/dl (6.7 mmol). With post-meal readings above 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol), the risk more than doubles from baseline. Fetal macrosomia can cause many problems during pregnancy. When the baby grows and develops too rapidly, it can lead to a premature and more complicated birth. It may also cause injuries to occur to the baby during delivery. Why do after-meal blood sugars have such a major influence on the baby’s growth? Nobody knows for certain. Perhaps, when the mother’s blood sugar “spikes” suddenly after meals, the baby is fed more sugar than its pancreas can “cover” with insulin, and high fetal blood sugar results. And because the baby’s kidneys spill almost all excess sugar from the baby’s bloodstream back into the amniotic fluid, the baby then drinks in the extra glucose and winds up growing more than it should. Suffice to say that post-meal blood sugar spikes are something to avoid during pregnancy. But how do we do it? Getting back to Julianne’s question, if she takes more insulin, she’ll probably wind up hypoglycemic before lunch. Luckily, we have some excellent techniques for preventing the after-meal highs without having to take more mealtime insulin. What Causes Sp Continue reading >>

Common Questions About Blood Sugar

Common Questions About Blood Sugar

How often should I test my blood sugar? This is a very common question, and the answer isn't the same for everyone. In general, you should test as often as you need to get helpful information. There's no point in testing if the information you get doesn't help you manage your diabetes. If you've been told to test at certain times, but you don't know why or what to do with the test results, then testing won't seem very meaningful. Here are some general guidelines for deciding how often to test: If you can only test once a day, then do it before breakfast. Keep a written record so that you can see the pattern of the numbers. If you control your blood sugar by diet and exercise only, this once-a-day test might be enough. If you take medicine (diabetes pills or insulin), you will probably want to know how well that medicine is working. The general rule is to test before meals and keep a record. If you want to know how your meals affect your blood sugar, testing about 2 hours after eating can be helpful. Test whenever you feel your blood sugar is either too high or too low. Testing will give you important information about what you need to do to raise or lower your blood sugar. If you take more than 2 insulin shots a day or use an insulin pump, you should test 4 to 6 times a day. You should test more often if you're having unusually high or low readings, if you're sick, under more stress than usual, or are pregnant. If you change your schedule or travel, you should also test your blood sugar more often than usual. Talk to a member of your health care team about how often to test based on your personal care plan. What should my test numbers be? There isn't one blood sugar target that's right for everyone with diabetes. It's important to work with your health care team to set Continue reading >>

Will Blood Sugars Rise Later In Morning Without Eating?

Will Blood Sugars Rise Later In Morning Without Eating?

Keeping track of your blood sugar levels is not only important if you have diabetes, but it can also help you achieve a healthy weight, maintain good energy levels and prevent chronic diseases. You can easily obtain a blood glucose meter at your drugstore to check your blood sugar levels at different times throughout the day to see how your body reacts to the foods you eat. Your blood sugar levels can also change even when you go a few hours without eating. For example, skipping breakfast and not eating in the morning is likely to induce a rise in your blood sugar. Video of the Day Measuring your blood sugar levels occasionally before and after a meal is a good way to observe how your food choices influence your blood sugar levels. Carbohydrate is the nutrient that has the most impact over your blood sugar because both starches and sugars, which constitute the total carb content of a food, are broken down to glucose and, therefore, contribute to elevating your blood sugar after a meal. If you skip breakfast or go for a few hours without eating, you would probably expect your blood sugar levels to decrease, but it actually causes a blood sugar rise in most people. The dawn phenomenon corresponds to a normal effect that occurs in the early hours, while the secretion of many hormones occurs to prepare your body for the day ahead. Among the hormonal changes that accompany the dawn phenomenon is increased insulin resistance. If you are more insulin resistant in the morning, it means that your insulin is not as effective at keeping your blood sugar levels in check as it should be. The dawn phenomenon explains why many diabetics have higher blood sugar levels in the morning. Depending on the time you awake, you may see a rise in your blood sugar levels, even if you don't eat, Continue reading >>

8 Sneaky Things That Raise Your Blood Sugar Levels

8 Sneaky Things That Raise Your Blood Sugar Levels

Skipping breakfast iStock/Thinkstock Overweight women who didn’t eat breakfast had higher insulin and blood sugar levels after they ate lunch a few hours later than they did on another day when they ate breakfast, a 2013 study found. Another study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men who regularly skipped breakfast had a 21 percent higher chance of developing diabetes than those who didn’t. A morning meal—especially one that is rich in protein and healthy fat—seems to stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day. Your breakfast is not one of the many foods that raise blood sugar. Here are some other things that happen to your body when you skip breakfast. Artificial sweeteners iStock/Thinkstock They have to be better for your blood sugar than, well, sugar, right? An interesting new Israeli study suggests that artificial sweeteners can still take a negative toll and are one of the foods that raise blood sugar. When researchers gave mice artificial sweeteners, they had higher blood sugar levels than mice who drank plain water—or even water with sugar! The researchers were able to bring the animals’ blood sugar levels down by treating them with antibiotics, which indicates that these fake sweeteners may alter gut bacteria, which in turn seems to affect how the body processes glucose. In a follow-up study of 400 people, the research team found that long-term users of artificial sweeteners were more likely to have higher fasting blood sugar levels, reported HealthDay. While study authors are by no means saying that sugary beverages are healthier, these findings do suggest that people who drink artificially sweetened beverages should do so in moderation as part of a healthy diet. Here's what else happens when you cut artificial sweetener Continue reading >>

Starvation Can Cure Type 2 Diabetes

Starvation Can Cure Type 2 Diabetes

A new study shows that starvation (eating 600 kcal/day) can cure type 2-diabetes, just like gastric bypass surgery. Again, there is no need to explain the effect of the surgery with other speculative theories. The resulting starvation reverses diabetes. And the starvation isn’t even necessary to do that. Guardian: Low-calorie diet offers hope of cure for type 2 diabetes Unnecessary starvation If a type 2 diabetic stops eating (carbs) the symptoms of diabetes starts to go away. But starvation or surgery are unnecessarily painful ways to do it. Luckily diabetics can eat real food to satiety, as long as they avoid sugar and starch. The food that quickly turns into simple sugars in the gut. Cutting away their stomach or starving themselves is not necessary. All they need is good food. More Across the river for water: Surgery for diabetes PS A Gastric Bypass operation protects from eating too much carbohydrates in two ways. Number one: you can only eat miniature portions of anything. Number two: the smaller amounts of starch you eat is not digestedd as easily as the duodenum with the starch-digesting enzyme amylase is diverted from direct contact with the food. Continue reading >>

How Many Factors Actually Affect Blood Glucose?

How Many Factors Actually Affect Blood Glucose?

A printable, colorful PDF version of this article can be found here. twitter summary: Adam identifies at least 22 things that affect blood glucose, including food, medication, activity, biological, & environmental factors. short summary: As patients, we tend to blame ourselves for out of range blood sugars – after all, the equation to “good diabetes management” is supposedly simple (eating, exercise, medication). But have you ever done everything right and still had a glucose that was too high or too low? In this article, I look into the wide variety of things that can actually affect blood glucose - at least 22! – including food, medication, activity, and both biological and environmental factors. The bottom line is that diabetes is very complicated, and for even the most educated and diligent patients, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that affects blood glucose. So when you see an out-of-range glucose value, don’t judge yourself – use it as information to make better decisions. As a patient, I always fall into the trap of thinking I’m at fault for out of range blood sugars. By taking my medication, monitoring my blood glucose, watching what I eat, and exercising, I would like to have perfect in-range values all the time. But after 13 years of type 1 diabetes, I’ve learned it’s just not that simple. There are all kinds of factors that affect blood glucose, many of which are impossible to control, remember, or even account for. Based on personal experience, conversations with experts, and scientific research, here’s a non-exhaustive list of 22 factors that can affect blood glucose. They are separated into five areas – Food, Medication, Activity, Biological factors, and Environmental factors. I’ve provided arrows to show the ge Continue reading >>

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