Several factors affect your blood sugar level, including the foods you eat. During digestion, carbohydrates are turned into sugar, which your body uses for energy. Excess sugar from any source (that is, sugar that your body doesn't need right away) is stored in your cells for later use. However, when your cells contain too much sugar, it can lead to type 2 diabetes . That is why it is important to eat a balanced diet to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Blood sugar levels can vary depending on many factors, including age and life expectancy, comorbid conditions like heart disease , stress, and lifestyle factors like physical activity, smoking, or alcohol use.
Who Should Monitor Blood Sugar Levels
If you have type 1 or 2 diabetes, regularly checking your blood sugar level can help you understand how medications such as insulin, food, and physical activity affect your blood glucose levels. It also allows you to detect increases in blood sugar levels early. This is the most important thing you can do to prevent diabetes complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation.
Other people who may find it helpful to regularly monitor their blood glucose levels include:
- Insulin intake
- Who is pregnant
- Difficulty controlling blood glucose levels.
- Low blood glucose
- Low blood glucose without the usual warning signs
- Ketones due to high blood glucose levels
Normal blood sugar after meals
Checking your blood glucose an hour or two after a meal (after a meal) can help you understand how your blood sugar reacts to the foods you eat. It can also provide information on whether you are taking the correct dose of insulin or if you need to consult with your healthcare provider to discuss medications, diet, or lifestyle changes.
There are two ways to measure blood glucose: with a finger prick (finger test) with a glucometer or by continuous glucose monitoring. The frequency of glucose tests varies from several times a week to four to six times a day. Generally, the American Diabetes Association recommends keeping your blood sugar level below 180 mg / dL 1 to 2 hours after a meal.
However, your target blood sugar range will depend on the following:
- Duration of diabetes
- Age or life expectancy
- Other health conditions or diseases
- Heart disease or complications of diabetes.
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
|Blood glucose goal after meals|
|Preschoolers without diabetes (up to 5 years)||<250 mg / dl|
|School-age children without diabetes (6-11 years)||<225 mg / dl|
|Adolescents without diabetes (12-18 years)||<200 mg / dl|
|Children (0-18) with diabetes, one hour after eating||90 to 130 mg / dL|
|Children (0-18) with diabetes, two hours after eating||90-110 mg / dl|
|Adults without diabetes, not pregnant, two hours after eating||90-180 mg / dl|
|Adults with diabetes who are not pregnant.||<180 mg / dl|
|Adults with diabetes who take insulin with meals.||<180 mg / dl|
|Adults with diabetes who do not take insulin with meals.||<140 mg / dl|
|Women with gestational diabetes, one hour after eating||<140 mg / dl|
|Women with gestational diabetes, two hours after eating||<120 mg / dl|
|Pregnant women with pre-existing type 1 or 2 diabetes, one hour after eating.||<110-140 mg / dl|
|Pregnant women with pre-existing type 1 or 2 diabetes, two hours after eating.||<100-120 mg / dl|
How Food Affects Blood Sugar
When you eat food, your body breaks it down into important parts:
- Vitamins and minerals
All parts are essential in a healthy diet, but all three types of carbohydrates (starch, sugar, and fiber) are especially important when it comes to blood glucose levels. While the general rule of thumb is that the more carbohydrates you eat, the higher your blood sugar levels will be, not all three types of carbohydrates convert to blood sugar at the same rate.
Foods that are appropriate for each carbohydrate category include:
- Starches or complex carbohydrates : starchy vegetables, dry beans, and grains.
- Sugar : fruits, baked goods, drinks, and prepared foods like cereals or granola bars.
- Fiber : Whole wheat foods, chickpeas, lentils, berries, pears, and Brussels sprouts.
The glycemic index helps you know which foods can raise or help lower your blood sugar level. On a scale of 0 to 100, foods with a high index are rapidly digested, absorbed, and metabolized, resulting in noticeable fluctuations in blood sugar (glucose) levels, while foods with a low index cause smaller fluctuations in blood glucose levels.
The American Diabetes Association recommends adding lean sources of protein (such as meats, poultry, low-fat cheeses) and heart-healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, peanut butter) to reduce the overall glycemic effect of foods or snacks. .
Managing blood sugar
There are several other ways to control your blood sugar by keeping it as constant as possible and preventing blood sugar spikes with meals. Eating several small meals throughout the day, instead of two or three large meals, can also help.
The plate method offers an easy way to plan perfectly balanced and portioned meals without counting, calculating, weighing or measuring. Start with a reasonable-sized plate (about 9 inches in diameter) or a salad or dessert plate. Now imagine a line in the center that divides the plate in two. Add another imaginary line in the middle so that you have only three sections.
Top off the largest serving (the side you didn't share) with non-starchy vegetables for a healthy superfood mix packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals.
When you're not eating foods that are ideal for divided servings, such as soups, pizzas, casseroles, and pasta dishes, remember that the goal is to eat primarily non-starchy vegetables and include smaller portions from the other two categories.
Examples of non-starchy vegetables:
- Broccoli or cauliflower
- Green beans or peas
Then fill a quarter of your plate with lean, low-fat protein, keeping in mind that some plant proteins, like beans and legumes, can also be high in carbohydrates and raise blood sugar.
Examples of lean and low-fat proteins include:
- Chicken, turkey and eggs
- Fish such as salmon, cod, tuna, tilapia, or swordfish.
- Seafood such as shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, or lobsters.
- Lean cuts of beef, such as ground beef, round loin, tenderloin, pâté, or tenderloin
- Lean cuts of pork, such as a center loin chop or sirloin
- Lean meat delicacies
- Cheese and curd
- Beans, lentils, hummus, and falafel.
- Nuts and peanut butter
- Tofu and tempeh
- Plant-based meat substitutes
To finish your plate, fill the remaining quarter with carbohydrates, the food that affects blood sugar the most. Remember, many foods can be classified as carbohydrates, including foods that are high in natural sugar, such as fresh and dried fruits, yogurt, sour cream, milk, and milk substitutes.
What can you drink with meals?
Add a low-calorie, low-sugar drink or opt for water. Proper hydration is important to help your body eliminate excess sugar.
Some drinks that are good for keeping your blood sugar low include:
- Unsweetened tea (hot or cold)
- Unsweetened coffee (hot or cold)
- Sparkling water or sparkling water.
- Flavored water or soda with no added sugar
- Diet sodas or other diet drinks
Another option is to calculate the total amount of carbohydrates in grams per meal. The way you do this may differ slightly depending on whether you are taking insulin with meals.
For people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who take insulin with meals, they will calculate the insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio (ICR) to monitor their blood sugar level after a meal. To do this, you need to calculate the total amount of carbohydrates in grams and compare it to the dose of rapid-acting insulin to lower blood sugar levels.
Start by identifying your total carbohydrates on your nutrition label. Next, determine the serving size by measuring or weighing the food. Remember, fiber doesn't count when it comes to blood sugar, so you must subtract fiber from your total carbohydrates. This leaves you with net carbs (the amount that affects your blood sugar level). Add all the net carbs in one meal, and then divide that number by your personal insulin-to-carbs ratio.
The ICR is different for everyone, and some people will even have a different insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio for breakfast compared to other meals. If you don't know your ICR, ask your healthcare professional or dietitian.
If you don't take insulin with your meals, you can track your carbohydrates by adding them to better understand how your food choices affect your blood sugar, or you can use the plate method. Some people also choose to count carbohydrates based on carbohydrate selection, where one option contains approximately 15 grams of carbohydrate.
How many carbohydrates should you eat?
There is no magic formula. The amount of carbohydrates you need depends on factors such as your body size, activity level, appetite, and hunger. Talk to a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN / RD) or Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) to help you determine what works best for you.
Nutrition therapy is a nutritional support service that includes nutritional assessment, diagnosis, and counseling to help people set priorities, goals, and action plans. It focuses on empowering people to make healthier food choices based on factors such as their health, diet, and current activity. It is offered by registered dietitians and nutritionists in various individual sessions.
Get the word of drug information
As with everything related to health, what is normal for you can be very different from others. This is why ideal blood sugar levels after meals are discussed in various ranges and why it is important to establish your normal level by monitoring your food intake and how it affects your blood sugar. People with diabetes need to pay more attention to carbohydrate intake to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and control their diabetes. With a little effort and a little effort, you can come up with a diet that is not only balanced, but aims to help you live your best life.