3 Ways To Bring Down Post-Meal Blood Glucose Spikes

The list of things you need to do to control blood sugar level is a long one.

This is why most diabetic patients find it a challenge to manage blood sugar – so overwhelming it can be – most people never realize they’re a victim of postprandial hyperglycemia.


Postprandial what?

Postprandial hyperglycemia implies high blood glucose levels that you experience after eating meals. People with diabetes normally experience an increase in blood glucose after eating; however, if the post-meal spikes are above normal-range, they can cause higher HbA1c results (shows how well you’re managing your diabetes), indicating a higher risk for serious complications.

These post-meal blood glucose spikes damage cells through multiple mechanisms and have been associated with cancer, kidney failure, retinal damage and cardiovascular disease. The ideal level of post-meal blood glucose level at its peak is below 185 mg/dl, or less than 85 mg/dl higher than it was before the intake of calories. In reality, diabetic patients are failing to achieve these ideals.

Loretta DiPietro, lead author and chair of the George Washington University’s School of Public Health & Health Services, explains that the post-dinner period is a vulnerable time for seniors at risk of developing diabetes. Because the production of insulin decreases at the late hours, older adults may go to sleep with extremely high glucose levels, reducing their resistance against diabetes… Above 55? Food for thought.

Measuring post meal spikes

A blood glucose meter can be used to check blood glucose level an hour post meal. Blood sample from a finger is recommended because of the structure of blood circulation; blood samples from the fingers display changes sooner than samples from alternate sites. Use the ideal range to interpret your postprandial spike results.

A more detailed analysis can be obtained through a blood glucose monitor. Dexcom, a leader in continuous glucose monitoring technologies, informs that without the data derived from these devices, patients simply aren’t equipped with the tools to adequately control their blood glucose levels. Most blood glucose monitors feature software that provides graphical and statistical presentation of the rise in post-meal blood glucose levels.

Bringing down the surge

Lowering post-meal spikes does not require taking more insulin; instead, a number of strategies can be used, including:

Short walks

Physical activity takes blood flow away from the intestines, leading to slower glucose absorption and release of other simples sugars. The sugars entering the bloodstream are consumed by the active muscles.

A 15-mintue walk after eating could also reduce the vulnerability to type-2 diabetes, according to a study by George Washington University. The take-home message is that post-meal walks control blood sugar, even at low intensity, the researchers suggested.

Smart eating

Eating veggies and greens along with lean protein, such as fish and lean meat, slows digestion to ward off a blood sugar rush after you finish a meal. Only eat carbs with a low- to moderate-glycemic index.

Foods full of fiber such as whole grain and brown rice score low on the glycemic index. Others like table sugar score high. Rule of thumb; if its white, it’s safe to bite – doesn’t apply.

Portion control

To prevent your blood glucose from spiking all at once, consider eating in portions. You can take insulin before any meal; just don’t finish all the food at once.

Eat carbs, proteins and fats at every meal equal to the size of your palm, and eat 4-5 smaller meals every day instead of 2-3 larger ones. Portion control will help in slower digestion and cause the blood glucose to rise less rapidly.