• Nov 2023(updated on Feb 2024)

How to avoid a glucose (blood sugar) spike

How to avoid a glucose (blood sugar) spike
  • Glucose spikes, also known as blood sugar spikes, are a marked rise in the amount of glucose in your blood. This can lead to negative health consequences if they occur frequently. 
  • While every person has a unique glucose response to food, there are ways to limit glucose spikes on your own in otherwise metabolically healthy individuals. 
  • We’ve outlined 8 lifestyle habits you can implement to avoid glucose spikes and stay steady. 

You may be familiar with blood sugar spikes, or glucose spikes, and how they’ve made you feel. If you’ve eaten something carb-heavy without any protein or healthy fats, such as a pastry or bowl of pretzels, you may have experienced the tell-tale signs of a glucose spike followed by a crash: irritability, sluggishness, hunger, thirst, cravings, and brain fog.

While these symptoms are unpleasant in the moment, you may not be aware of the further health implications of frequent glucose spikes, both in the short-term and long-term.

Fortunately, you can avoid or lessen glucose spikes thanks to various lifestyle habits. We’ve outlined 8 ways to mitigate glucose spikes both in the moment and habits to build for long-term well-being.

Please note that these tips are for otherwise metabolically healthy individuals and not intended for those with diabetes or other metabolic conditions that require medical interventions. If you’re concerned about your glucose levels, please speak with your doctor.

What is a glucose spike?

After you eat, your body gets to work breaking down the food and drink to be used for energy or stored for later use. Carbohydrates specifically are broken down into glucose, which is circulated in your bloodstream. When the amount of glucose in the blood rises to a level that is higher than what is needed for energy, this is called a glucose spike or blood sugar spike.

While it is normal for your glucose to rise and fall many times throughout the day, a true spike is different. It's a sharp, marked rise in the amount of glucose in your blood, typically followed by a comparable decline, also known as a crash.

Spikes most often occur after eating a large amount of carbohydrates and/or sugar, but can also be caused by stress, intense exercise, poor sleep, caffeine intake, certain medications, and other factors.

Read our full guide on "What is a glucose spike?"

Why you should avoid glucose spikes

Glucose spikes are normal and can occur even in healthy individuals. However, when these glucose spikes happen frequently and consistently, it can lead to negative health complications.

While you may be familiar with the unpleasant effects of a glucose spike followed by a crash — hunger, thirst, irritability, brain fog, increased cravings — you may not be aware of the long-term health implications of consistent glucose spikes.  

Frequent glucose spikes can significantly impact the health of blood vessels and cells. When these spikes become chronic, it can set the stage for future metabolic dysfunction. Elevated glucose increases your risk for developing insulin resistance, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes. They can also cause inflammation and impact your blood vessels, which can lead to other health issues such as heart disease. (1,2)

In the short term, maintaining steady glucose levels can help you feel satiated, energised, and focused.

Limiting the number and size of glucose spikes that occur can help improve your overall well-being. Wearing a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you learn about your glucose patterns and track your spikes. Lingo provides real time insights to help you understand how your habits impact your glucose and metabolic health. With Lingo, you’ll learn to limit the size and frequency spikes and make changes to improve your overall metabolic well-being, which can lead to more energy, better sleep, less hunger and cravings, and increased focus.

How to avoid glucose spikes

There are many ways to manage your glucose naturally in otherwise metabolically healthy individuals. Some of these include:

  1. Limiting foods that cause spikes such as refined carbohydrates, sugars, and sugar-sweetened beverages. 
  2. Pairing a carb with a protein: Instead of eating “naked carbs” (that is, carbohydrates by themselves), create a balanced meal or snack with a carbohydrate, protein, and healthy fat, such as an apple with peanut butter or toast topped with eggs and avocado. When possible, try and eat the protein on your plate before digging into the carbs, or at a minimum, eat them together.
  3. Getting regular exercise: Getting in about 30 minutes of movement daily can help manage your glucose. If you can’t commit to 30 minutes at a time, try incorporating “exercise snacks” throughout the day — just three 10-minute walks or bursts of exercise after each meal add up. 
  4. Eating more veggies and fibre: Leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, and bell peppers contain fibre (a type of carbohydrate), which slows digestion and helps you feel fuller, longer. These veggies also pack important nutrients and phytochemicals. Other types of fibre such as that found in oats, peas, beans, barley, carrots, and citrus fruits can help slow the absorption of sugar to help improve blood glucose. (3)
  5. Managing your stress: Increased stress can also spike your glucose, so managing stress is key. Try incorporating a stress-reducing activity into your day like yoga, meditation, journaling, or listening to calming music. In particular, mindfulness meditation has been proven to reduce stress levels (4) and you can find guided meditations online or in an app — try starting with a few minutes a day to see how that impacts your stress levels.
  6. Drinking enough water: Staying hydrated is crucial for overall well-being, including for metabolism and glucose control. As a general baseline guidance, it’s recommended for women to drink at least 2.7 litres of water a day, while men should aim for 3.7 litres. (5) These needs may vary depending on individual factors such as activity, body size, environmental temperature, and more.
  7. Limiting alcohol: Carb-heavy and sugary alcoholic beverages, such as beer, cocktails, and dessert wines can spike your glucose, so be sure to opt for something with less sugar like a shot of liquor mixed with seltzer water and a slice of citrus or a dry wine like pinot noir, pinot grigio, or brut sparkling. Plus, drinking alcohol too soon before going to bed can interfere with your sleep, which also has a negative impact on glucose. And the more you drink, the more you lower your inhibitions, which may lead you to reach for sugary and carb-heavy snacks that can cause a spike.
  8. Focus on sleep: Getting a good night’s sleep as well as going to bed at an earlier time can help lessen glucose spikes in the morning. Research shows that no matter what you may eat at breakfast, a poor night's sleep leads to more elevated glucose following breakfast when compared to a night of good sleep. Create a nighttime routine that helps you wind down before bed and follow our tips to get a better sleep at night. (6)

A final note from Lingo

While you’re unlikely to avoid glucose spikes entirely, you can take steps to prevent or lessen spikes with a number of lifestyle habits and healthy choices. There are short-term and long-term health benefits to maintaining steady glucose, including improving your metabolic health and overall well-being.

As mentioned, using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand your habits and patterns and work towards limiting glucose spikes.

Lingo is not a medical device and not designed to treat or diagnose any disease or illness. If you have medical questions or concerns regarding your glucose, please contact your doctor.


  1. Jarvis PRE, Cardin JL, Nisevich-Bede PM, McCarter JP. Continuous glucose monitoring in a healthy population: understanding the post-prandial glycemic response in individuals without diabetes mellitus. Metabolism. 2023 Sep;146:155640.  
  2. O'Keefe JH, Gheewala NM, O'Keefe JO. Dietary strategies for improving post-prandial glucose, lipids, inflammation, and cardiovascular health. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008 Jan 22;51(3):249-55.  
  3. Yu K, Ke MY, Li WH, Zhang SQ, Fang XC. The impact of soluble dietary fibre on gastric emptying, postprandial blood glucose and insulin in patients with type 2 diabetes. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2014;23(2):210-8. doi: 10.6133/apjcn.2014.23.2.01. PMID: 24901089.
  4. Grossman P, Niemann L, Schmidt S, Walach H. Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits. A meta-analysis. J Psychosom Res. 2004 Jul;57(1):35-43. doi: 10.1016/S0022-3999(03)00573-7. PMID: 15256293.
  5. Seal AD, Colburn AT, Johnson EC, Peronnet F, Jansen LT, Adams JD, et al. Total water intake guidelines are sufficient for optimal hydration in United States adults. Eur J Nutr. 2023;62(1):221-6.
  6. Tsereteli N, Vallat R, Fernández-Tajes J, Delahanty LM, Ordovas JM, Drew DA, Valdes AM, Segata N, Chan AT, Wolf J, Berry SE, Walker MP, Spector TD, Franks PW. Impact of insufficient sleep on dysregulated blood glucose control under standardised meal conditions. Multicenter Study Diabetologia. 2022 Feb;65(2):356-365. doi: 10.1007/s00125-021-05608-y. Epub 2021 Nov 30. PMID: 34845532 PMCID: PMC8741723

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