Blood glucose levels aren’t just something diabetics have to monitor. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes, you should be checking your levels regularly. The first step to managing it is by learning the range of normal blood sugar levels for non-diabetics.
Your pancreas constantly releases a steady, low level of insulin and appropriate blood sugar levels vary throughout the day and from person to person. Different carbohydrates spike people differently. In fact, a study in the journal “Cell” looked at the effect different kinds of carbs have on people. They found some people spiking high with a banana but not a cookie, while others can have the opposite reaction.
So, let’s take a look at normal blood sugar levels for non-diabetics, how to track your blood sugar level and what you can do to control it.
Normal Blood Sugar Levels for Non-Diabetics
The American Diabetes Association recommends the following targets for non-diabetic blood sugar levels:
- Before meals: Between 70 and 130 mg/dl
- Two hours after starting a meal: Less than 180
More or less stringent goals may be recommended for you. Remember, healthy blood glucose ranges can be different for everybody.
Should Non-Diabetics Check Blood Sugar?
The short answer is “Yes.” Talk to your doctor about whether you should be checking your blood glucose. Your doctor can explain in detail the normal blood sugar levels for non-diabetics and where your range should be.
The American Diabetes Association suggests asymptomatic people over age 45 get tested at a minimum every three years. But, because high blood sugar is “often asymptomatic and can cause complications if left untreated”, you should have your blood sugar checked more if you have risk factors such as:
- being overweight
- having a high-risk race or ethnicity [such as African-American]
- lipid problems
If your blood sugar levels are elevated, but not high enough to be classified as diabetic, you have prediabetes. That’s why it’s important to track your blood glucose levels, no matter how healthy you are.
How To Check Blood Sugar
Now that you know what a normal blood sugar level for non-diabetics is, you will want to keep track of it. You can use a traditional home glucose monitoring meter to test your blood. Here’s how:
- After washing your hands, insert a test strip into your meter.
- Use your lancing device on the side of your fingertip to get a drop of blood.
- Touch and hold the edge of the test strip to the drop of blood, and wait for the result.
- Your blood glucose level will appear on the meter's display.
Some devices let you test you upper arm, forearm, base of the thumb, and thigh.
The most useful time of day to check your blood sugar is just before the three meals of the day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and just before going to bed.
How To Control Blood Sugar Levels
Your diet is a good place to start. Carbohydrates are the easiest food to convert into glucose, which is why they have the greatest impact on blood glucose levels.
When you eat carbs, they’re broken down into glucose as they’re digested. Glucose is absorbed by the cells lining of your small intestine, transferred into your bloodstream and delivered throughout your body.
Researchers say eating a high fiber diet and foods with complex carbohydrates can help control blood sugar. That’s because high fiber and complex carbohydrates will slow down how quickly the food you eat is converted into glucose.
In the end, it’s important for everyone to monitor their blood glucose levels—not just diabetics. You can learn more about your blood sugar and how to control it in our guide “Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers” . You’ll also find out the 15 things you can do to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.