What Should My Blood Sugar Be After Eating a Meal?

controlling high blood sugars after eating

Dear Dr. E,

I‘m fairly newly diagnosed with diabetes, and I was wondering what a good/normal blood sugar number is to have after eating a meal? Mine often spikes to 250 or more, and stays that way for a few hours.

Dr. Edelman: Preventing your blood sugar level from rising too high after eating is one of the biggest challenges in diabetes. For folks who have a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device, they now know how high they get after each meal and snack. For those of you still pricking your finger, you may or may not know how high you really go after eating unless you get lucky and time the peak glucose level just right.

The American Diabetes Association, who sets most of the standards, states that your post-meal (or postprandial) glucose level should be less than 180mg/dL two hours after the start of your meal. I guess you have to start somewhere with guidelines, but we here at TCOYD have things to add to that fairly rigid goal. What if you are Italian and have a typical two-hour, five-course meal? Of course the composition of the types of food you eat has a tremendous influence on when to test, i.e. vegetarian, vegan, meat and potatoes person…etc.

One of the most important things to look at is the change from baseline. In other words, the difference in glucose value between the start of the meal and the two-hour mark, or peak postprandial rise. What if you start a meal with a BG of 155 mg/dL, which is not too bad. It would be impossible to stay under the recommended goal of 180mg/dL, only 25 points higher. I like to speak about the “Delta 50” which refers to keeping your glucose from going up more than 50 points no matter where you start from. Even that is a tough goal for many folks whose diet contains a lot of carbs.

No matter what type of diabetes you have, trying to keep your blood glucose levels from rising excessively after eating is tough, but something you can work toward with pharmacological and non-pharmacological tips and tricks, which we explain in more detail in our recent Dose of Drs. E + P: Post-Meal High-Blood Sugars: How to “Strike the Spike”.  Go easy on yourself and do the best you can.


Additional Resources:

Strike the Spike: Controlling Blood Sugars After Eating

How Do I Know How Much Insulin I Need with Each Meal?

How to Pump for Pizza and Other High Fat Foods

Complex Food Dosing When Eating Out

Overbasalization in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes: You Can Have Too Much of a Good Thing!

The Many Reasons for High and Low Blood Sugars (and why we need a LOT of compassion for ourselves!)

How to Eat 3 Donuts and Stay in Range

Battle of the Blood Sugars: The Pizza Challenge


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    I use Novolog, Tresiba, & Afrezza.
    For me, I need to take my mealtime insulin 45 minutes before I eat. My highs after a meal usually don’t break 180. I use a G6, and I just completed my very first week of 100% TIR. Usually 96-99% TIR. I’m 69 yrs old.

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      Wow! You are a rockstar! We may need to feature you in our next video! 😉 Congrats and thanks for sharing!

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    I have never been diagnosed with any type of diabetes, but all my doctors think there is something going on with my sugar levels but just haven’t caught it in any tests. Today, I’ve felt off all day and about an hour after I ate dinner I started getting the shaky weak feeling. I checked my glucose levels with my glucose monitor and it was only 102. Is that normal for that long after dinner, and for me to be feeling ill?

  3. I’m a new diabetic just one year out I took my A1C from 14.9 to 4.8 but I eat very little Carbs and I try to keep my BS at around 100 but sometimes I long to eat more Carbs but now I’m afraid to.

    • With glucose control like that, you definitely should be able to be more liberal with your diet. An A1c less than 7% is excellent, so hopefully you’re not restricting yourself too much.

  4. I am a new diabetic patience I am 58 yrs old my number is 99 2 hrs after eating is that good

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    My test read 102 2 hours after I had my meal is that good or bad

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      We do talk about this in the article, and there are additional references below. If you have concerns about your blood sugar levels, it would be best for you to speak with your doctor.

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    My blood sugar is 102afterninehoursofeatingisthatokay

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