Beyond Diabetes – Why Blood Sugar Regulation Matters for Everyone 

by Lindsay Cohen, RDN, LDN, CDCES, NBC-HWC

by Lindsay Cohen, RDN, LDN, CDCES, NBC-HWC

Updated May 8, 2024

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Blood sugar, also called blood glucose, is a type of sugar that comes from the food we eat. It is the primary fuel our bodies use for energy. After eating, our bodies break down the food we eat into glucose, which travels through our bloodstream.  

When our blood sugar levels rise, our pancreas releases insulin, a hormone that acts like a key and unlocks the cells, allowing the glucose to enter the cell for energy. This gives us energy and keeps our bodies functioning properly. 

While we often think of the importance of blood sugar regulation in regard to people with diabetes, blood sugar regulation is crucial for everyone’s health and well-being, not just those with diabetes. 

Why Blood Sugar Regulation Matters 

There are several very important reasons why blood sugar regulation matters, even if you don’t have diabetes. 

Consistent Energy Levels – Imagine blood sugar as being the gas tank in your car. Consistent blood sugar levels are like a full tank of gas which translates to consistent and sustained energy throughout the day. However, when the blood sugar level goes too low it is like you are running out of gas in your tank. You might feel shaky, lightheaded, weak, hungry, and even have trouble concentrating. Blood sugar spikes are like flooding the engine. While you might experience a temporary burst of energy, the body struggles to use the excess sugar, leading to an energy crash and fatigue later on. 

Brain Function – Brain function relies heavily on glucose for proper function. Blood sugar fluctuations can impact focus, mood, and cognitive function. 

Cellular Health – Glucose is the cell’s main source of energy. Glucose also provides the building blocks for creating new cells and repairing damaged tissues throughout the body. Blood sugars that are consistently elevated can damage cells over time which can contribute to inflammation and increase the risk of developing chronic diseases. 

Risk of Chronic Diseases – Uncontrolled blood sugar over time can contribute to conditions like, insulin resistance, heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, and possibly certain cancers, even in people without a diabetes diagnosis. 

Weight Management – Spikes in blood sugar may lead to increased hunger and cravings, which can make managing your weight more challenging. 

7 Tips for Healthy Blood Sugar Regulation 

  1. Eat a Balanced Diet – Aim to eat balanced meals with complex, low allergenic carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats while limiting sugary drinks and processed foods. Eating large amounts of foods high in carbohydrates can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, so consuming smaller portions of foods high in carbs and eating meals that are consistent in carbs is ideal. Planning meals in advance or using a meal delivery service that offers low-carb meal options are great ways to stay on track. 
  1. Stay Hydrated – When you are dehydrated, your blood volume decreases, which makes the concentration of glucose in your blood appear higher. Drinking adequate amounts of water helps prevent this. The National Academy of Medicine recommends 9 cups of water daily for women and 13 cups for men. A good rule of thumb is listening to your body and drinking when thirsty. 
  1. Exercise Regularly – Regular physical activity helps improve insulin sensitivity. The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity and adding moderate to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (such as resistance or weights) on at least 2 days per week. 
  1. Adequate Sleep – Adequate sleep can positively impact blood sugar regulation. Studies show that most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep per night regularly to promote optimal health. 
  1. Take Medications as Prescribed – Some medications might be prescribed to address underlying conditions that can contribute to blood sugar issues, such as prediabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, or other hormonal imbalances. In time, with an improved diet and exercise, some people may be able to reduce or eliminate these medications. 
  1. Stress Management – Elevated stress levels can negatively impact blood sugar levels. Coping techniques like meditation, yoga, spending time with friends and family, and spending time in nature can help maintain steady blood sugars. Working with a therapist or counselor to learn coping techniques and healthy ways to manage stress is also encouraged.  
  1. Keep Up with Regular Doctor’s Appointments – According to the CDC, about 38 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it. Attending yearly doctor’s appointments and having blood work done regularly is crucial for early detection.  


Blood sugar regulation is important for everyone’s health, not just people with diabetes. Many factors can impact blood sugar. Healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, staying hydrated, taking medications as prescribed, managing stress, and attending regular doctor’s visits are key strategies to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. 

Always consult your doctor or dietitian for personalized advice and blood sugar management strategies. 

By: Lindsay Cohen, RDN, LDN, CDCES, NBC-HWC
Lindsay is a St. Louis Based registered dietitian, certified diabetes care and education specialist and the owner of ABC Nutrition Solutions. She has personally been living with Type 1 Diabetes since the age of 9. Lindsay is passionate about making nutrition and wellness simple, straightforward and fun for readers and clients. When Lindsay isn’t writing or working with clients, she can be found spending time with her family and friends, trying out a new workout class, taking a walk while listening to an audiobook, traveling or exploring new restaurants. 

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