7 Scientifically Proven Strategies for Controlling Blood Sugar

Controlling blood sugar

When your blood sugar is out of whack, you might feel tired, hungry, and moody. But if you have chronically elevated blood sugar, you’re also putting your future health at risk. The negative effects of diabetes can be serious and even life-threatening. They include heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation.

People with diabetes also have a higher risk for mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. The best way to lower these odds is to keep your blood sugar in a healthy range. Let’s look at some ways to lower your blood sugar level naturally. But be sure to see your physician regularly too. In some cases, you may need medications or insulin to keep your blood sugar well controlled.

Take a 10-Minute Walk After Meals

Exercise can be one of the best ways to lower blood sugar levels. When you exercise, your cells become more responsive to insulin. This increased sensitivity to insulin helps move glucose from your bloodstream into cells where they can use it for energy.

The more active you are, the better this works. Just 30 minutes per day could improve how well your body uses insulin and lower your blood sugar levels. But research shows you can get even more benefits by taking a short stroll after a meal.

How do we know this? A study found that a 10-minute walk after each meal was more effective for blood sugar control than a single 30-minute walking session. So, don’t stay in your chair after enjoying a meal, but top that healthy feast off with a 10-minute walk. Walking after meals is an easy way to improve blood glucose control.

Break Up Periods of Sitting

Another way to manage your blood sugar is to reduce sedentary activities. This includes things like sitting for long periods. While this may seem obvious, it’s easy to forget that even when you are doing something as simple as watching TV or reading a book, your body is inactive. There’s also the problem of sitting at a desk at work, which most people do for at least 6 hours per day.

With prolonged sitting, metabolic changes occur that raise your blood sugar and negatively affect blood lipids, particularly blood triglycerides. The result is a higher risk of health problems, including cardiovascular disease. Breaking up periods of sitting helps improve circulation and lower your risk of developing blood clots.

Add More Fiber to Your Meals

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body can’t digest, which is why it’s called “roughage.” Fiber helps lower blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. It does this by increasing the time it takes for food to pass through your digestive system. It also provides a feeling of fullness, as well as other benefits.

How can you boost your fiber intake? Eat more plants! Fiber is in fruits and vegetables, whole grains like oats, wheat bread, nuts, seeds, and beans (such as kidney beans). The amount you need depends on your age and gender: men over 50 need 38 grams per day, and women over 50 need 25 grams per day.

Lose Your Taste for Sweet Stuff

Sugar is a carbohydrate that breaks down into simple sugar glucose. It’s the main source of energy for cells but consuming too much of it can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance. Too much insulin in your bloodstream promotes fat storage, so you have a harder time maintaining a healthy body weight.

Sugar also causes spikes in blood sugar levels after meals, which leads back to old habits: overeating because you still feel hungry after a meal. Don’t forget that foods made with white flour and ultra-processed foods aren’t satiating and have a negative effect on blood glucose – they cause blood sugar spikes. Avoid sugary drinks like soda pop and sugar-sweetened beverages because they don’t offer many nutrients, but contain a lot of calories from added sugars, which can lead to weight gain.

Meals That Include Quality Protein

Eating quality meals that include protein is a simple way to reduce the rise in blood glucose you get with a meal. Protein helps slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, which helps keep blood sugar levels more stable. Protein also helps satisfy hunger better, so you’re less likely to reach for a sugary snack a few hours after eating. So, add a source of quality protein to each meal. It doesn’t have to be animal-based. Plant-based protein sources are helpful, and they have fiber to help with blood sugar control too.

Prioritize Sleep and Stress Management

Prioritizing sleep and stress management are two other actions to lower your blood sugar level. Getting enough sleep helps your body better regulate insulin and manage stress hormones, including cortisol, a stress hormone harmful to blood glucose control and your waistline.

Why is excess cortisol problematic? Cortisol increases visceral fat, an unhealthy type of deep belly fat that increases the risk of insulin resistance. When you’re stressed, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode and releases sugar into your bloodstream for energy. This can cause your blood sugar to spike.

Add These Foods to Your Diet

Some studies show that adding a little apple cider vinegar or cinnamon to a meal can lower the blood sugar response to that meal. Add a pinch of cinnamon to your coffee or oatmeal in the morning and use an apple cider vinegar-based dressing on your salad. Doing this can lead to a small but meaningful drop in your blood sugar response to a meal and there are few downsides to doing so.

Vinegar works because the acetic acid slows stomach emptying, leading to a more subdued glucose rise. Cinnamon modestly improves insulin sensitivity. Although not all studies show benefits, there’s enough evidence to make it worthwhile.


It’s the small things you do each day that benefit your health. Put these tips into practice, and see your doctor regularly if you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.


  • Barzkar F, Baradaran HR, Khamseh ME, Vesal Azad R, Koohpayehzadeh J, Moradi Y. Medicinal plants in the adjunctive treatment of patients with type-1 diabetes: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2020 Sep 22;19(2):1917-1929. doi: 10.1007/s40200-020-00633-x. PMID: 33520869; PMCID: PMC7843700.
  • Hlebowicz J, Darwiche G, Björgell O, Almér LO. Effect of apple cider vinegar on delayed gastric emptying in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a pilot study. BMC Gastroenterol. 2007 Dec 20;7:46. doi: 10.1186/1471-230X-7-46. PMID: 18093343; PMCID: PMC2245945.
  • “How to Lower Blood Sugar? Take a 10-Minute Walk After Meals, Study Says.” 21 Oct. 2016, .diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/lower-blood-sugar-take-10-minute-walk-meals-study-says/.

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