How To Lower Blood Sugar: 12 Ways To Do It Quickly & Easily 2023

Reviewed by Dr. Drew Sutton, MD

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how to lower blood sugar

High blood sugar levels are associated with diabetes and hyperglycemia. Your body regulates your blood sugar level naturally through the production of a hormone called insulin.

Multiple factors can affect your body’s ability to control blood glucose. If your body can’t manage your blood glucose levels effectively, then you have diabetes or one of several related conditions.

If you’re diabetic or just concerned about your blood sugar, it’s important to know how to manage it. Read on to learn 12 quick and easy ways to lower blood sugar levels.

What Are The Signs Of High Blood Sugar?

Symptoms of high blood sugar levels vary from mild to life-threatening. The earliest signs[1] of high blood sugar include:

  • Feeling very tired
  • Increased thirst
  • Blurry vision
  • And frequent urination

Extremely high blood sugar can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)[2]. DKA is very serious and can cause coma or death. The early signs of DKA include:

  • Fast breathing
  • Dry skin and mouth
  • Flushed face
  • Fruity-smelling breath
  • Headache
  • Muscle Stiffness or Pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • And frequent urination or thirst that’s lasted longer than a day

If you think you may have DKA, call your healthcare provider right away. They may instruct you to test your urine for ketones or visit the emergency room.

how to lower blood sugar

Check Your Blood Sugar

People with diabetes need to check their blood sugars regularly. Your doctor will talk about your blood sugar management schedule. The typical recommendations for when to check your sugars include

  • Fasting blood sugar first thing in the morning
  • Before every meal
  • Two hours after every meal,
  • Last thing before bed

What are my target blood sugar levels?

Your blood sugar target is the range you want your monitor to read at any given time. The CDC says[3] that typical targets are:

  • Before a meal: 80-130 mg/dL
  • Two hours after the start of a meal: 180 mg/dL or lower

These numbers can differ depending on your age, medications, comorbidities, and other factors. If you ever have any questions, contact your doctor. 

12 Tips To Lower Blood Sugar

If you struggle to manage your blood sugar, it’s vital to know how to lower it quickly. Here are some standard techniques to treat hyperglycemia. Always discuss with your doctor the safest methods for you.

Take Insulin

Your doctor might prescribe diabetes medication to keep your blood sugar levels in an ideal range. People with diabetes frequently use insulin[4]. Some people with type 1 diabetes require insulin to be administered continuously by a computerized pump.

If you missed a scheduled dose of any medicine, you should take it as soon as you remember. Never take insulin if it wasn’t prescribed to you.

Emergency personnel can use rapid-acting insulin to lower blood sugars quickly. Subcutaneous injection and inhalation are both effective at reducing blood sugar quickly.

Be Carb Smart

The moderation of carbohydrate intake is vital when you have diabetes. Carbs turn into blood sugar and can quickly cause higher blood sugar levels.

What is the optimal amount of carbs in a day?

Your typical healthy adult should consume about half of their calories from carbohydrates. And You should eat those calories at frequent intervals throughout the day.

Doctors often tell people with diabetes to start a low-carb diet. This recommendation is usually to stay below 150g of carbohydrates per day. However, more strict diets have restrictions as low as 50g or less per day.

Always chat with your doctor before you dramatically change your eating habits.

Fill Up On Fiber

Fiber can help control diabetes. Studies show[5] that high-fiber foods can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 19% compared with low-fiber foods. Therefore, supplementing dietary fiber may improve your glucose levels.

Keep up your fiber intake with whole grains and leafy greens. Supplements and snacks made out of psyllium fiber will reduce blood sugar too.

Get More Quality Shuteye

Getting good sleep is our best weapon against any illness. Many otherwise healthy individuals develop chronic ailments simply because they are not getting enough sleep. These same individuals develop insomnia, turning the problem into a vicious cycle.

In one study by the Harvard Medical Center[6], volunteers sleeping only for hours per night had more cholesterol in their blood. High cholesterol reduces insulin’s ability to regulate blood sugar. High cholesterol also leads to obesity, heart disease, and strokes.

Before making other significant changes, ensure you get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. You will likely notice an improvement in multiple areas of your life.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise can be a beneficial tool to reduce your blood sugar; it improves insulin sensitivity and speeds up your metabolism. During muscle contractions, the cells utilize glucose to provide the needed energy. When all that blood sugar gets used up, it lowers blood glucose levels. 

The American Diabetes Association Standards of Diabetes Care[7] recommends 200-300 minutes of exercise per week. But just one 15-minute workout can lower blood glucose naturally. As always, talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

Drink Water And Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration can help you manage diabetes[8] and excrete excess glucose. Your body needs plenty of water to keep your blood dilute enough to do its job. Your kidneys and liver need enough water to carry away waste and excess sugar.

Staying hydrated is vital for blood sugar management. Lack of body fluids causes high blood glucose. High blood glucose can cause frequent urination and makes it harder to stay hydrated. It turns into yet another vicious cycle.

Implement Portion Control

Managing your blood sugar is a lifelong project. It’s important to implement sustainable changes. Many dieters find the most success with simple portion control. It’s less complicated than counting calories, doesn’t require much planning, and doesn’t require you to give up your favorite foods.

Avoid large portions, and learn the nutritional values of specific portions. What’s one serving of meat? One serving of wine? One hundred calories of salad dressing? These shortcuts can help you make smarter choices.

Lose a Little Weight

The American Diabetes Association[9] (ADA) recommends that patients with Type 2 diabetes aim to lose at least 5% of their body weight. This modest value can throw some patients into remission!

Even if you still need medical attention to manage your blood sugar levels, a modest 5 pounds of weight loss can make things easier for you.

Get a Handle on Stress

Stress has significant effects on our metabolisms. Mobilizing energy is a critical mechanism of the fight or flight response. During stress, your blood pressure rises, and insulin levels drop. More glucose enters the bloodstream, causing high blood sugar.

Reducing your stress can help lower your blood sugar. Pursuits such as meditation, yoga, and spending time in nature are powerful tools for managing stress.

Never Skip Eating Breakfast

Everyone knows breakfast is an important meal. Eating breakfast is crucial to reducing significant fluctuations in your blood sugar levels. It also helps prevent excessive weight gain from binging after many hours of hunger. A high-protein breakfast is superior to one high in carbohydrates, particularly for people with diabetes.

Add More Resistant Starch to Your Plate

Not all carbohydrates are equal. Simple sugars digest quickly, and the glucose hits your blood fast, causing a spike in blood sugars. Resistant starches[10] with complex carbohydrates take longer to break down. Your blood sugar levels will rise slowly and not get quite as high.

Some examples of resistant starches include:

  • Rice and potatoes, served cooked but cold
  • Whole grains such as barley and oats
  • Plantains, underripe bananas

Quit Smoking

Smoking is a major cause of type 2 diabetes. Smoking cigarettes makes you 30-40% more likely to develop diabetes[11] than nonsmokers. Your risk climbs the more you smoke.

Diabetes is harder to manage when you smoke. It makes dosing insulin and other necessities more difficult. The negative health consequences of diabetes are likely to be more serious too. Giving up smoking is an action you can take today to help manage your blood sugar levels. 

Risks of Very High Blood Sugar

Clinically high blood sugar is called hyperglycemia. It’s a severe danger, particularly for those who have type 1 diabetes. Diabetic ketoacidosis[12] (DKA) is a life-threatening condition. It happens in patients whose hyperglycemia gets out of control.

Diabetic ketoacidosis happens once a person’s blood sugar rises above 240 mg/dL. Eating well, taking medications on time, and monitoring your blood sugars are the best ways to avoid this complication.


Many different factors affect your blood sugar levels. These factors include:

  • Activity levels
  • Stress levels
  • Hormones
  • Diet
  • Genetics
  • And factors we may still need to recognize

There is promising research demonstrating that various strategies can manage blood sugar levels. With the support of your doctor, diabetes doesn’t have to control your life.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for blood sugar to go down?

The speed at which you can lower your blood sugar depends on many factors. The most important factor is the method you choose to use. Injected or inhaled insulin can change your blood sugar levels within minutes. It will recover in a few hours if your blood sugar is high but not dangerously.

What foods lower blood sugar immediately?

Foods that help lower blood sugar are high in fiber and low in carbs. Here’s a list of ideas:
Beans and lentils
Salmon or other fatty fish
Peanut butter, nut butter, & seed butter
Plain yogurt and kefir with live cultures
Fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi

Will diet drinks affect my blood sugar?

Technically speaking, diet drinks with zero-calorie sweeteners do not cause your blood sugar to change. However, some research suggests that those sweeteners may confuse your metabolism in the long term. Like all things, consume in moderation.

+ 12 sources

MIDSS adheres to strict procurement guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutes, and medical associations. We work mainly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure the accuracy of the information. We avoid the use of tertiary references. You can read about how we ensure the accuracy and timeliness of our content in our editorial process.

  1. CDC (2021). Manage Blood Sugar. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: [Accessed 26 Dec. 2022].
  2. CDC (2021). Diabetic Ketoacidosis. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: [Accessed 26 Dec. 2022].
  3. CDC (2021). Diabetic Ketoacidosis. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: [Accessed 26 Dec. 2022].
  4. CDC (2021). 4 Ways To Take Insulin. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: [Accessed 26 Dec. 2022].
  5. Anderson, J.W., Baird, P., Davis Jr, R.H., Ferreri, S., Knudtson, M., Koraym, A., Waters, V. and Williams, C.L. (2009). Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutrition Reviews, [online] 67(4), pp.188–205. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00189.x.
  6. Shan, Z., Ma, H., Xie, M., Yan, P., Guo, Y., Bao, W., Rong, Y., Jackson, C.L., Hu, F.B. and Liu, L. (2015). Sleep Duration and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-analysis of Prospective Studies. Diabetes Care, [online] 38(3), pp.529–537. doi:10.2337/dc14-2073.
  7. Introduction: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2022. (2021). Diabetes Care, [online] 45(Supplement_1), pp.S1–S2. doi:10.2337/dc22-sint.
  8. Naumann, J., Biehler, D., Lüty, T. and Sadaghiani, C. (2017). Prevention and Therapy of Type 2 Diabetes—What Is the Potential of Daily Water Intake and Its Mineral Nutrients? Nutrients, [online] 9(8), p.914. doi:10.3390/nu9080914.
  9. Introduction: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2022. (2021). Diabetes Care, [online] 45(Supplement_1), pp.S1–S2. doi:10.2337/dc22-sint.
  10. (2014). Carbohydrates. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Dec. 2022].
  11. CDCTobaccoFree (2022). Smoking and Heart Disease and Stroke. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: [Accessed 26 Dec. 2022].
  12. CDC (2021). Manage Blood Sugar. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: [Accessed 26 Dec. 2022].


Nia is a STEM educator, certified personal trainer, fitness instructor, and certified nurses' aid. She received her Bachelor's in Creative Writing and Music Theory from The College of Idaho in 2010 at the age of 18. She spent the next 5 years studying Biochemistry and STEM education at Boise State University. Now a mother of 2, she resides in central Idaho and owns a writing agency specializing in content and copywriting for Health, Science, & Education.


Drew is a retired ENT doctor who now lives in the Southeastern US. He was a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology and an MD degree. He completed his internship in General Surgery and Residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and practiced for almost 30 years in all aspects of ENT, including a specialization in disorders of the ear and skull base. Drew is passionate about communicating his clinical experiences and making his knowledge more accessible to the general public by medical writing.

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