Maintaining your blood blood sugar levels can be a bit of a roller coaster when you have diabetes. It’s important to know what affects blood sugar levels for you. Also known as glucose, blood sugar is a critical source of energy for your body.
If you don’t have diabetes, you can still feel bad if your blood sugar spikes or drops. It’s unlikely for it to be dangerous to your health in the same way as if you’re diabetic.
1. Your last meal and/or snack was loaded with sugar.
Eating or drinking a bunch of sugary stuff all at once can cause your blood sugar to spike. This might seem confusing if you didn’t consume a ton of obviously sugary things like cookies and candy, but carbohydrates in foods like white bread and rice also convert to glucose in your body and affect your blood sugar.
Eating or drinking too much sugar-heavy food or drink at once is a major factor in what affects blood sugar levels. Make sure to have protein and fat with your sugar to help lower the odds that it will skew your blood sugar as much.
2. You’re not eating often enough.
If you’ve gone too long without eating, your liver can only produce so much glucose before your blood sugar drops and you start to feel shaky, weak, or get a headache. How long is too long between meals varies from person to person, but in general, it’s a bad idea to go more than five hours without eating because it can negatively affect you blood sugar levels. Some people with more sensitive cases of diabetes may need to eat every three hours or so to avoid hypoglycemia.
If it’s been hours since you last ate something and you’re feeling the symptoms of low blood sugar, you need to at least have a snack.
3. You drank too much alcohol.
Some forms of alcohol, like beer and hard cider, contain a lot of carbohydrates, which can commonly affect blood sugar levels. Drinking heavily without eating can also block your liver from releasing stored glucose into your bloodstream and cause low blood sugar.
When you have diabetes and you’re experiencing a blood sugar crash after drinking you may need a fast-acting carbohydrate like fruit juice to bring up your blood sugar levels. Prevention is key in situations like this.
4. You drink too much coffee.
While population-based studies seem to indicate that a coffee habit can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the long run, evidence suggests that for people who already have diabetes, caffeine can be tricky and one of the foods that raise blood sugar.
For some people, coffee affects blood sugar levels show that they may be more sensitive to caffeine than others. If you notice this, talk to you doctor to figure out what this could mean for you.
5. You took too much or not enough insulin.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you likely already know you need lifelong insulin therapy to regulate your blood sugar levels. This can be administered via injections or a pump you can wear that uses a catheter to feed insulin into your system. And if you have type 2 diabetes, you won’t necessarily need insulin, but it can be useful if a healthy diet and staying active aren’t enough to manage your blood sugar levels.
If you notice that you’re regularly taking too much or too little insulin, talk to your doctor to figure out if there’s any way to make the process easier to follow.
It’s important to know what affects blood sugar levels in order to manager your diabetes properly. Some factors are general, while others are more specific for each individual.