4 reasons your blood sugar spikes and why food isn’t to blame

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Diabetes | Saturday, September 19, 2015 - 10:00 AM

4 reasons your blood sugar spikes and why food isn’t to blameBlood sugar is sugar found in the bloodstream which gets transported throughout the body as a means to feed cells and make energy. The human body naturally regulates blood sugar levels, but in a person with insulin resistance or diabetes, blood sugar can spike or take dangerously low dips.

Typically, when we eat food the contents get broken down and converted into glucose so that we become energized. Post-meal our blood-sugar spikes, and the food we eat determines how high the spike is and how quickly it will fade out. For example, if we eat something that is sugary, we may experience a sudden spike followed by a crash. If we eat foods high in fiber, our blood sugar levels will maintain a normal level for longer.

Although it’s more common to associate the foods we eat to spikes in our blood sugar, there are other factors which can contribute to uncontrolled blood sugar. Whether you’re diabetic or not, here are four other non-food reasons why you may experience spikes in your blood sugar.

4 reasons your blood sugar spikes


4 reasons your blood sugar spikesThe older you get the more medication you may find yourself on; however, that same medication may aid in one illness while also contributing to spikes in blood sugar. Prescriptions, over-the counter medications and even supplements can contribute to spikes in blood sugar. If you regularly monitor your blood sugar and have been noticing spikes after you take other medications, you may need to speak with your doctor about making changes.

Common medications which can spike blood sugar are asthma medications, certain antidepressants and corticosteroids.

Poor sleep

4 reasons your blood sugar spikesMuch research has been conducted in the area of poor sleep and its link to diabetes. One study showed that poor sleep can lead to spikes in blood sugar. The study showed participants who only slept between four to six hours a night had a much lower tolerance to glucose.

The National Foundation of Sleep suggests that poor sleep is linked to spikes in sugar because it decreases cortisol – the stress hormone – and nervous system activity which occurs while asleep. Both of these aspects, along with some other nightly changes, have affects on blood sugar, so if you’re not getting proper sleep, make the right changes to ensure you do.

Poor oral hygiene

4 reasons your blood sugar spikesYou may be confused as to how your oral health is linked to blood sugar, but numerous studies show that gum disease is a complication of diabetes. Furthermore, researchers suggest unhealthy gums can contribute to spikes in blood sugar. Infections starting in the gums can travel through the bloodstream, and as a means of defense the body will increase blood sugar, this according to the American Dental Association.

Even if you don’t have diabetes, although more care on oral hygiene should be paid if you do, always remember to brush and floss daily to maintain good health.

Lack of exercise

4 reasons your blood sugar spikesIf the most exercise you’re getting is a walk from the TV to the bathroom, you’re putting your blood sugar at risk. Exercise is essential for the proper management of diabetes, and it can aid in the management of blood sugar levels as well. According to the American Diabetes Association, exercise can help improve your glucose levels for up to 24 hours.

Other research found in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise showed only three days of inactivity in healthy adults was enough to cause spikes in blood sugar. The key here is to stay active as often and as much as possible, even if it’s only 10 to 15 minutes a day.

Of course, food plays a large role in blood sugar spikes, but don’t neglect these other causes of blood sugar spikes either. If you’re diabetic, you need to work harder to achieve a healthy lifestyle in order to properly maintain healthy blood sugar levels and not worsen the diabetes. Even if you’re healthy, spikes in blood sugar can be detrimental; be mindful about what you eat, how much you sleep, your oral hygiene, medications you are taking and how often you’re exercising.

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