According to Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, based on his evaluation of thousands of diabetic and non-diabetic patients in his practice, he has determined that the most nearly perfect blood glucose number is 83 mg/dL (4.6 mmol/l).

“Just because something is common doesn’t mean it’s normal,” says Chris Kresser in his two-part article, “When ‘Normal’ Blood Sugar Isn’t Normal.” “Unless you think it’s normal for people to develop diabetic complications like neuropathy, retinopathy, and cardiovascular disease as they age, and spend the last several years of their lives in hospitals or assisted living facilities. Common, but not normal.”1

According to continuous glucose monitoring studies of healthy people, a normal fasting blood sugar is 83 mg/dL or less…. I’m also going to show you that so-called normal blood sugar, as dictated by the ADA, can double your risk of heart disease and lead to all kinds of complications down the road.”2

Kelley Pounds, RN, says, “True normal blood sugar should always be the goal. ‘Diabetic normal’ should never be settled for unless you have reached the max benefit from lifestyle change.”3

Jenny Ruhl has published a very thorough paper, with documented resources, showing what she believes truly normal blood sugars are:4

  • Fasting and Pre-meal: between 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/l) and 92 mg/dL (5.0 mmol/l). [We state this range as 70-99 mg/dL or 3.8-5.6 mmol/l.]
  • Blood sugars under 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/l) are considered to be hypoglycemic and should be avoided. [We consider < 67 mg/dL or < 3.8 mmol/l) to be hypoglycemic.]
  • Post-meal: under 120 mg/dL (6.6 mmol/l) one or two hours after a meal. [We recommend no higher than this number at one hour after the first bite of a meal.]
  • Most normal people are under 100 mg/dL (5.5 mmol/l) two hours after eating.
  • A truly normal A1C is between 4.6% and 5.4% [We believe this to be 4.0-5.6%.]

Of course, in order to measure your blood glucose at home, you need to master the use of your glucometer (you can read about this as one of the five essential habits).

Finally, David Spero, RN, says, “People can trade off how low they want their blood glucose against how much work they are willing to do and how many foods they’re willing to cut back or give up.”5

To give you some perspective when you check your daily blood glucose: Normal non-diabetic fasting (pre-meal) blood glucose is between 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) and 92 mg/dL (5.0 mmol/L). Post-meal blood sugar (postprandial): Independent of what they eat, the blood sugars of truly normal (non-diabetic) people are under 120 mg/dL (6.6 mmol/L) one or two hours after a meal. Most normal (non-diabetic) people are under 100 mg/dL (5.5 mmol/L) two hours after eating.

The following chart is a simplified look at what we can expect the results of “Eating to Your Meter” to be:

Endnotes

1Kresser, Chris. “When ‘Normal’ Blood Sugar Isn’t Normal (Part 1),” Kresser Institute (October 24, 2016). https://kresserinstitute.com/normal-blood-sugar-isnt-normal-part-1/ (accessed on 7/30/2020).

2Kresser, Chris. “When ‘Normal’ Blood Sugar Isn’t Normal (Part 2),” Kresser Institute (October 31, 2016). https://kresserinstitute.com/normal-blood-sugar-isnt-normal-part-2/ (accessed on 7/30/2020).

3Pounds, Kelley, RN, CDE. “’Diabetic Normal’ Blood Sugar Is NOT Normal Blood Sugar,” Low Carb RN (CDE) (August 13, 2016). https://lowcarbrn.wordpress.com/2016/08/13/diabetic-normal-blood-sugar-is-not-normal-blood-sugar/ (accessed on 7/30/2020).

4Ruhl, Jenny. “What is a Normal Blood Sugar?” Blood Sugar 101, n.d. https://www.bloodsugar101.com/what-is-a-normal-blood-sugar and https://www.bloodsugar101.com/organ-damage-and-blood-sugar-level (accessed on 7/30/2020). This information is also available in a print book by the same title.

5Spero, David, BSN, RN. “New Research on High Glucose Levels,” Diabetes Self-management (July 11, 2017). https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/new-research-on-high-glucose-levels/ (accessed on 7/30/2020).

Additional References

Research Connecting Organ Damage with Blood Sugar Level
Post-meal blood sugars of 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/L) and higher and fasting blood sugars over 100 mg/dl (5.6 mmol/L) cause permanent organ damage and cause diabetes to progress.
http://www.phlaunt.com/diabetes/14045678.php

New Research on High Glucose Levels
http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/new-research-on-high-glucose-levels/

What is a Normal Blood Sugar? 
http://www.phlaunt.com/diabetes/16422495.php

ADA Goals
The American Diabetes Association’s goals for glucose control in people with diabetes are sugar levels of 70 to 130 mg/dL before meals, and less than 180 mg/dL after meals.
http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/how-sugar-affects-diabetes?page=2

What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels?
http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/how-sugar-affects-diabetes#1

“Diabetic Normal” Blood Sugar Is NOT Normal Blood Sugar
https://lowcarbrn.wordpress.com/2016/08/13/diabetic-normal-blood-sugar-is-not-normal-blood-sugar/

10 Keys to Controlling Your Blood Glucose
http://www.healthcentral.com/diabetes/cf/slideshows/10-keys-controlling-your-blood-glucose?ic=6044&sp_rid=NjI5OTAyMDAwNDkS1&sp_mid=8228814

A spoonful of sugar
http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/sugar-and-sweeteners/a-spoonful-of-sugar/

Diabetes Is Not A Disease Of Blood Sugar!
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/05/31/diabetes-disease.aspx

Eat To Your Meter
So, here is how you “eat to your meter.”  Take a blood glucose reading before a meal. Eat your meal. If you are NOT diabetic, test your blood glucose 1 hour after a meal (if diabetic, test 1 1/2 hours after a meal. If you are diabetic and commonly experience blood glucose levels over 200, then test 2 hours after a meal).
If you experience more than a 25-30 point spike in your blood glucose between your pre- and post-meal readings, then identify the carbohydrate (grain, starch, legume, or fruit) on your plate. THAT FOOD IS NOT YOUR FRIEND!
https://lowcarbrn.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/eat-to-your-meter/

Napoleon Bonaparte and the insulin revolution (video 6:28)
http://phys.org/news/2015-05-video-napoleon-bonaparte-insulin-revolution.html

HOW TO USE YOUR GLUCOSE METER AS A FUEL GAUGE
http://optimisingnutrition.com/2016/02/15/how-to-use-your-glucose-meter-as-a-fuel-gauge/

Failure of the Blood Glucose paradigm T2D 16
https://intensivedietarymanagement.com/failure-blood-glucose-paradigm/

Glucotoxicity and Double Diabetes
https://intensivedietarymanagement.com/glucotoxicity-double-diabetes-t2d-36/

How to Lower Your Blood Sugar
http://www.phlaunt.com/diabetes/14045524.php

Is your fasting blood glucose higher on low carb or keto?
Five things to know.
https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/fasting-blood-glucose-higher>

Organ & Nerve Damage with BG over 140
Research Connecting Organ Damage with Blood Sugar Level
Post-meal blood sugars of 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/L) and higher and fasting blood sugars over 100 mg/dl (5.6 mmol/L) when found in association with those higher than normal post-meal blood sugars, cause both permanent organ damage and the worsening of diabetes.
http://www.phlaunt.com/diabetes/14045678.php

New Research on High Glucose Levels
Glucose can also start killing beta cells at levels below 140.
https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/new-research-on-high-glucose-levels/

Nerve Damage Occurs when Blood Sugars Rise Over 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) After Meals
Researchers found that the length of time a patient had experienced this nerve pain correlated with how high their blood sugar had risen over 140 mg/dl on the 2-hour glucose tolerance test reading.
https://healthesolutions.com/nerve-damage-occurs-when-blood-sugars-rise-over-140-mgdl-7-8-mmoll-after-meals/

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