High fasting blood sugar levels can be confusing, to say the least, especially if you generally manage to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Why, then, do they occur and how can you lower these levels naturally? You can learn more through this guide.
What Are Fasting Blood Sugar Levels?
Fasting blood sugar levels tend to refer to your blood sugar levels when you are fasting or have not yet eaten. In most cases, these refer to your blood sugar levels in the morning right after you wake up and before you break your fast.
If you get a blood sugar reading in the morning that suggests that your levels are high, then this can indicate some kind of reaction or a change in your hormones while you are asleep.
Of course, the causes might vary among different people, but having such high fasting blood sugar levels is actually more common than you might think.
What Causes Blood Levels To Spike?
Fasting blood sugar levels can spike in the morning due to several reasons that can include the following.
- The Dawn Phenomenon: This is when your body prepares the glucose stored inside it to start the day while it also simultaneously releases hormones, which can then work against the impact of insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels in the morning.
- The Somogyi Effect: If your blood sugar levels become too low in the night, then your body will start releasing hormones to compensate, also resulting in the release of hormones stored in the liver, resulting in high blood sugar levels in the morning, which can be particularly high if you already have diabetes.
- Changes in Routine: A sudden change in your routine can also cause your fasting blood sugar levels to rise. In particular, if you miss your daily or routine exercise, then your levels might rise.
- High-Fat Dinner: Usually, your blood sugar levels tend to increase a while after your meal but if you have a high-fat dinner, your blood sugar levels might end up rising much later than usual (in the morning) because fats can impact metabolism and the effects of insulin.
There might be some other causes as well, although these are generally quite common. There might also be some additional causes depending on whether you experience the dawn phenomenon or the Somogyi effect.
How to Lower Fasting Blood Sugar Levels Naturally
Now that you know what causes fasting blood sugar levels to rise, you can go through some natural ways in which you can lower these levels and manage them effectively.
Regular exercise is essential since it can help improve the impact of insulin, resulting in higher insulin sensitivity for a longer period of time.
In addition, exercise can also allow your muscles to use this blood sugar for contraction and provide you with sufficient energy. However, skipping out on your routine, especially if you already have high blood sugar levels, can end up increasing the levels in the morning.
To prevent this, therefore, it is important for you to find a routine that works best for you. This can include opting for the right days and times to exercise while trying to avoid skipping it as far as possible.
You can also try testing your blood sugar levels frequently to see how exercise makes a difference. If you have a hard time doing an entire chunk of exercise at once, you can try breaking it up into intervals across your day.
Restrict Carb Intake in Evenings
It is possible that eating food that contains high levels of carbohydrates can end up increasing your blood sugar levels if you already have diabetes. In particular, if you increase your intake of carbohydrates in the evenings, this can result in high blood sugar levels the next morning.
This is because your body tends to convert these carbohydrates into glucose. For this reason, you should try to restrict your intake of carbohydrates in the evening, whether that includes as a meal for dinner or as a snack. This can help you combat the dawn phenomenon effectively.
Of course, how many carbs you eat can depend, although the general guideline is to eat 45-60 grams of carbohydrate (for each meal) and 15-20 grams of carbohydrate servings (for snacks).
If your blood sugar levels tend to spike quite a bit, then make sure you discuss the portions with a doctor or dietitian.
If you happen to take some medications already to help you manage your diabetes, then perhaps you might need to alter their schedule or dosage. While this is not exactly a natural method, it might be necessary and will not involve too many changes if you are used to taking these medications regularly.
There might also be some other medications that you might be taking that could be affecting your fasting blood sugar levels. It is important to get a hold of the cause if this is the case and see how you can work around the issue (after discussing it with your doctor).
Reduce Fat Intake For Dinner
Having too much fat for dinner can lead to a spike in your blood pressure levels in the morning. This is mainly because fats can slow down your regular rate of digestion while also affecting your body’s ability to absorb certain elements and nutrients.
Such fats can also make it more difficult for insulin to work properly. It is, therefore, important for you to reduce your fat intake for dinner as much as possible, especially if you have diabetes.
You should also make sure that the fats you eat are good fats.
Go for other kinds of food such as vegetables, fish, beans, poultry (without the skin) and try using olive oil for frying. Barley, lentils, legumes and oats with a low glycemic index can further help manage your carb intake at the same time too.
Eat A Light Breakfast
If you tend to experience the dawn phenomenon, then it might make a difference if you have a light breakfast after the spike, especially since your meal might end up spiking your levels even more.
A light and healthy breakfast can help in this case. However, try not to skip breakfast. If you are particularly worried, then you can simply do some light exercise before you eat your breakfast to help you manage your glucose levels in a more effective manner.
Avoid high-fat foods for breakfast.
Eat Carbs At Night (Somogyi Effect)
This might sound completely contradictory to a previous point made about not eating too many carbs in the evening or at night.
However, while that was more applicable to the dawn phenomenon, increasing your carb intake at night can work better for the Somogyi effect wherein your blood sugar levels become too low during the night.
Ideally, a small snack at night right before you sleep can do the trick. Opt for healthy options that can help you maintain your blood sugar levels at night so your body does not try to compensate in the morning. Examples include peanut butter, fruit, hummus and carrots and yogurt (low-fat), among others.
Eat More Fiber
Fiber can be a great way for you to manage your high blood sugar levels in the morning. In this sense, having a meal rich in fiber can reduce the spike in blood sugar levels since your body takes longer to absorb and digest fiber.
This can not only help prevent sudden spikes but can also prevent extreme lows, resulting in a more gradual function in the body. This can particularly be of use for the Somogyi effect since the fibers can prevent the blood sugar levels from reducing significantly during the night.
Opt For Smaller Portions
Smaller portions across your meals can make it easier for your body to regulate and maintain healthy blood sugar levels instead of leading to sudden spikes or even lows during the night.
Of course, this does not mean starving yourself or skipping meals, since this might end up doing more harm than good. Instead, keep track of how much you eat during each meal, especially if you have diabetes.
You can also try eating snacks in between three smaller meals instead of having three large meals every day. Take smaller plates, take your time to chew and eat your food and try documenting your portions.
Dehydration right before you sleep or through the night can often lead to a fluctuation in your blood sugar levels. Even if you do not drink enough water during the day, you are bound to experience the effects in the morning.
This is because not drinking enough water can make it difficult for your kidneys to get rid of the extra levels of sugar in your body.
If you tend to forget, try keeping reminders throughout the day to drink water. You should also drink water before sleeping and right after you wake up to help lower your fasting blood sugar levels.
Whenever your mind and body are stressed, your body releases hormones like cortisol that can then end up increasing the blood sugar levels in your body. This also occurs when it comes to fasting blood sugar levels.
It is, therefore, essential for you to learn how to manage your stress levels. While you might not be able to completely get rid of the stressor itself, you can manage your reaction to the stressor and calm your mind and body through breathing techniques and regular exercise.
Improve Sleeping Habits
Having healthy sleeping habits can boost your overall health. In particular, it can also help with the healthy functioning of insulin while not sleeping well or enough during the night can result in adverse effects on insulin in the body.
It is for this reason that your morning blood sugar levels might show a spike.
Ask Your Doctor
Of course, if none of these natural methods work and you are unable to determine the cause, then it might be time for you to ask your doctor to see if you need to make any changes to your routine and habits. This can give you a more complete and effective strategy for dealing with your high fasting blood sugar levels.
Definitely talk to your doctor first if you feel the need to alter your medications.
It is clear that there are several causes behind your fasting blood sugar levels spiking. It is important to lower these levels and, luckily, there are many natural methods that can help you do this, such as lifestyle changes and diet changes. Speak to your doctor or nutritionist for further advice.