Ways to Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Navigating the complexities of blood sugar management is a pivotal aspect of living with diabetes. With the condition affecting millions globally, understanding and controlling blood sugar levels is a shared challenge. This article aims to shed light on effective strategies to maintain healthy glucose readings, a foundation for diabetic health.

Understanding Diabetes and Blood Sugar Levels

Diabetes groups together two different, yet serious health conditions; type 1 and type 2 diabetes. For people living with diabetes, their body is unable to maintain a healthy balance of sugar in the bloodstream. Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main sugar found in your blood. It originates from the food you consume, specifically carbohydrate containing foods, and serves as a crucial and preferential energy source for the body. For individuals living with diabetes, “what should your blood sugar levels be” is more than a query—it’s a daily concern. Keeping these levels within a target range is vital to minimise the risk of complications such as neuropathy, nephropathy, and retinopathy (1).

What Should Blood Sugar Levels be?

Depending on your health status, blood sugar targets will vary from person to person. For people without diabetes, their blood sugars should vary throughout the day and have a healthy range of 4.0-7.8 mmols/L. For people living with diabetes, targets may vary based on targets set by your GP or specialist. However, these are some general guidelines and blood sugar targets to aim for:

Type 1:
Before meals: 4.0 – 6.0 mmol/L
2 hours after starting meals: 4.0 – 8.0 mmol/L

Type 2:
Before meals: 4.0 – 7.0 mmol/L
2 hours after starting meals: 5.0 – 10.0 mmol/L (2)

When it comes to keeping blood sugars controlled, the first aspect of lifestyle modification that has a significant impact is dietary intake.

Dietary changes to Lower Blood Sugar Levels

The good news is that there are a number of dietary changes you can adopt to keep your blood sugars floating in between a healthy range. To manage these levels effectively, people living with diabetes must adopt a multifaceted approach. Knowing how to lower blood sugars with diet and keep them low isn’t just about cutting out sugar or carbs. It involves integrating some of our recommendations that follow:

  • Understand Carbohydrates: When carbohydrates are eaten, they break down into glucose, impacting your blood sugar levels. There are 3 main types of carbohydrates; sugar, starches and fibre. Considering the quality and quantity of carbs you consume, and using tools like the glycemic index to choose foods that have a minimal effect on blood sugar spikes (3).
  • Stay Hydrated with Water: Staying hydrated helps to prevent your blood glucose levels from becoming too concentrated and keep your kidneys free from working overtime. It’s recommended to aim for 8 glasses of water that ar 250mL each glass. (4).
  • Implement Portion Control: Overeating can lead to elevated blood sugar levels, especially if the meal is rich in carbs. Understanding healthy portion sizes can help prevent spikes in you blood sugar and can be a key tool in maintaing a healthy waistline.
  • Choose Low-Glycemic Foods: Choosing foods with a low glycemic index have been shown to reduce long-term blood sugar levels in diabetics and subsequently reduce the risk of a hyperglycemic episode (5).
  • Incorporating Fiber-Rich Foods: Soluble fibre, in particular, can slow carb digestion and sugar absorption, aiding in blood sugar control. It’s also assists in the feeling of fullness, preventing overeating (6).
  • Balancing Meals with Protein: Protein has minimal impact on blood sugar levels and is known as a low glycemic load food. It also promotes satiety, preventing overeating and should be incorporated at all meals times (5).
  • Selecting Healthy Fats: Unsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, and avocados promote the feeling of fullness and can help stabilise blood sugar levels.

Lifestyle Modifications

  • Exercise Regularly: Physical activity increases insulin sensitivity, allowing the cells in your body to use the available sugar in your bloodstream more effectively (7).
  • Evenly Spread Meals Throughout the Day: Evenly distributing meals and eating at regular times helps maintain steady blood sugar levels throughout the day (5).
  • Quality Sleep: Poor sleep can affect blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. When we’re tired, we also have a tendency to reach for foods with little nutrition as a quick energy fix, playing havoc with blood sugar levels (8).
  • Stress Management: Stress hormones can cause blood sugar levels to spike. Techniques such as mindfulness and yoga can be beneficial to keeping them steady.

Medical Interventions

While lifestyle and dietary adjustments are foundational, medication may be necessary for some individuals living with diabetes. Always consult with your General Practitioner of specialist to determine the best course of action for your needs.


Managing blood sugar is a delicate balance, but with the right knowledge and tools, it’s an achievable goal. By incorporating these strategies into your routine, you can take control of your diabetes and lead a healthier life.

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