5 Surprising Blood Sugar Spikers—None of Which Are Foods

Most of us managing blood sugar are on high alert when it comes to food. But here’s a list of 5 non-food culprits that can also cause spikes and are worth keeping on the radar.


  1. Skipping breakfast. “Dawn phenomenon” is an early morning spike that occurs even when you don’t eat. It’s your body’s natural way of providing energy to get you going after a long slumber. The brain releases the hormone cortisol, which triggers the liver to supply glucose to the bloodstream. This mechanism comes into play with some of the other spikers coming up, which is why it’s worth understanding. Ironically, the best way to snuff it is by eating something shortly after waking up. And while intermittent fasting is gaining a lot of traction (which entails not eating in the morning), it seems well advised to get blood sugar under control before going in that direction.
  2. Being dehydrated. When dehydrated, the body releases a hormone called vasopressin, which again triggers the release of glucose from the liver. To stay properly hydrated: Divide your body weight (lbs) in half –and drink that amount in ounces of clean, filtered or spring water daily.
  3. Being sick. Again, your body is triggering glucose release from the liver to provide energy to fight the illness. Stay on top of testing and factor into the mix when not feeling your best.  Another good reason to take extreme care of yourself and avoid getting sick in the first place.
  4. Antibiotics and decongestants. Consider if you really need them and tighten up your testing if you’re using them. Antibiotics should be reserved for true infections.  If you like the idea of “killing bugs”, try some oregano oil instead.   For congestion, eucalyptus and myrtle oil in steam work great. So do stick-on nasal strips.
  5. Physical Inactivity. Just 3 days of inactivity causes blood sugar increases, even for those not dealing with type 2 diabetes. Conversely, one good workout can lower blood sugar for 24 hours. It increases the body’s insulin sensitivity and helps cells pull glucose from the blood and use it for energy. Get off your butt and move on most days. Extra credit points for brisk 20 minute walks after meals.


Of course the only way to know for sure if it’s an issue for you to is to measure your blood sugar.   Be precise and always do so at 1 and 2 hours post meal.  Considerable evidence suggests that these are the key numbers to get right to stay healthy and avoid the damage of high blood sugar.

What curve balls have you encountered in managing your blood sugar?  What are some tricks or hacks you’ve discovered that work for you?

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Kristine Winnik

1 year ago

Very informative! I have noticed I feel more tired when I’ve skipped breakfast.

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