What are normal blood sugar levels?
If only you could feel like Superman all day…alert, energetic, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound….
How do we often try to feel like Superman? By drinking energy drinks, multiple cups of coffee, a few donuts and other high-glycemic or caffeinated fixes.
For the first few minutes after consuming a sugary or chemical-buzz inducing treat, we fleetingly feel like a superhero. How quickly, though, we come crashing back down to Earth as our blood sugar levels, after skyrocketing, fueling the brief energy burst, then plummets, making us feel tired and cranky.
Our brains are wired and conditioned by habit to be rewarded by sweet treats. The reward mechanism wired in our brain tells us that we will feel great after eating a pint of ice cream. Despite knowing--maybe sometimes denying--the fact that within an hour or two after eating the excess ice cream, an energy crash will occur, some of us continue to fall prey to the sugar.
For the over 25 million adults and children in the U.S. who have diabetes--and the approximately 80 million who are pre-diabetic and might not even know it--regularly monitoring blood sugar levels can help manage and even improve diabetes.
How can you tell if you should get a blood sugar test?
If you’ve never had a diagnostic test--fasting blood sugar level test; oral glucose tolerance test; IV glucose tolerance test; random blood-sugar test; or home testing with a glucometer--if you frequently experience the following, you should have a blood sugar test performed by a medical professional:
--bingeing late at night
--low energy in the morning
--foot pain or numbness
Different factors play a part in determining an individual’s proper blood sugar levels, such as genetics, activity level, diet and insulin sensitivity so one person’s ‘normal’ blood sugar level could differ from another’s due to individual, unique biochemistries.
But no matter your constitutional type (lean and tall, short and stout, for example) everyone benefits from ‘homeostasis,’ whereby the body’s multiple systems self-regulate to try and operate at a normal level. This is why we can’t always feel high after that extra slice of pie. Our bodies prefer to operate with rock-steady energy and burn sugars slowly.
Crunching the numbers
Again, one person’s normal homeostatic blood sugar might be different than somebody else’s, but in general, normal, healthy fasting blood sugar levels in the morning, for somebody who does not have diabetes is between 70-100 (mg/dl). Blood sugar levels are typically lowest in the morning because we have hopefully gone at least 8 hours without eating.
Within an hour or two after eating, blood sugar levels typically rise, but normally, not higher than 125. For those with diabetes, medical consensus recommends levels lower than 180 post-meals; diabetics should have a pre-meal blood sugar reading (using a glucometer) of approximately 70-130.
Chronically high blood sugar levels--hyperglycemia--can lead to an official diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. The human body can only self-regulate and try to achieve homeostasis so much; after a while, the body cannot regulate blood sugar levels effectively if it’s bombarded with sugar. The pancreas becomes stressed out, continually trying to release insulin to escort the sugars to the cells.
During the day, i.e. after breakfast, a blood sugar level still effectively governed by homeostasis will regulate at 80-110, though many medical experts, in order to avoid the risk of pre-diabetes and worse, believe that 80-85 is a normal, healthy level during the day.
An interesting factoid about sugar and the body: you’d think that considering the human body has trillions of cells, there would be lots of sugar swimming around the blood and saturating cells, but in actuality, there’s only an amount of blood sugar equivalent to about the size of a few sugar packets.
It’s easy to see how powerful sugar is, then, in determining our overall health.
What's the best diagnostic tool for monitoring blood sugar levels?
In addition to getting tested on occasion, by a medical doctor, the easiest way to assess your blood sugar levels is to use a glucometer, which is the size of the palm of a human hand and pricks the skin (usually on a finger) to obtain a droplet of blood to read blood sugar levels.
For those people who have the rarer, type 1 diabetes and do not produce insulin, multiple tests--perhaps up to 10 times a day is necessary--whereas those with the more common type 2 should test approximately 5 times per day on average.
Similar to the benefits of keeping a food journal, regularly monitoring and recording blood sugar levels in a diary (include in your food journal) can help monitor levels and analyze if dietary modifications are necessary. Many modern glucometers store your blood sugar reading so adding those records to a separate food journal may not be necessary.
Eat all the Miracle Noodle you want to help regulate blood sugar
Sorry to lecture, but don’t roll the dice with your blood sugar levels. Long-term complications from diabetes, which include blindness, foot amputation and fatal heart disease, are not worth a third trip to the all-you-can-eat pasta bar. Instead, opt for foods like Miracle Noodle, with which you can indulge in multiple servings because it has zero net calories and zero net carbs; it won’t raise your blood sugar levels at all.
Prepare a quick Miracle Noodle dish with lots of steamed or lightly cooked veggies and add a lean protein like fish for the perfect low-glycemic meal.
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