Understanding Why Are Fasting Glucose Levels High?

Parul Dube

April 26, 2022

Fasting glucose levels are your blood sugar levels on an empty stomach. It is usually measured early in the morning when the person wakes up. It is because your body digests the last meal (dinner), and the released glucose is either absorbed or stored in the morning. A fasting blood sugar test can diagnose if a person has diabetes or not. For example, it is normal if your fasting blood sugar levels are less than 100mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). However, if the fasting blood sugar level is between 100mg/dL to 125mg/dL, you are in the prediabetic stage. In addition, fasting blood sugar levels above 125mg/dL indicate diabetes.

The readings mentioned above suggest that you should be cautious if your fasting blood sugar levels are above 100mg/dL. High fasting blood sugar levels indicate the stage of diabetes you are at. However, it is possible to manage it. And the results are rewarding. If you are prediabetic, maintaining healthy fasting blood sugar levels can help reverse the condition. Further, it can help prevent the development of diabetes in the future.

Symptoms of High Fasting Glucose Levels

High fasting blood sugar levels suggest that the body cannot lower blood sugar levels. The reason for this may be insulin resistance or inadequate insulin production, or in some cases, both. Recognising the signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) can help you manage your diabetes. Some patients with diabetes have symptoms of elevated blood sugar right away. In contrast, others go undetected for years due to mild or ambiguous symptoms. Early symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Increased thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Unhealthy Weight loss

Causes of Spike in Fasting Blood Glucose Levels

The Somogyi Effect

As per this effect, a high fasting blood sugar level in the morning can be due to a low blood sugar level at night. At night, the low blood sugar level can result from taking too much insulin (the hormone that keeps glucose under check). Another reason may be skipping dinner (which will lead to lower glucose intake).

Research has shown both these practices reduce the amount of glucose in the body. In response, the body makes more glucose to compensate for the decreased glucose level. As a result, you wake up with high glucose levels.

The Dawn Phenomenon

In the early hours of the morning, the liver boosts the production of glucose, which provides energy that helps you wake up. In addition, it triggers the pancreas to release insulin to keep blood glucose levels in check. But if you have diabetes, your pancreas may not be in a position to produce enough insulin. As a result, your blood sugar levels may be high when you wake up. 

Improper Diet

It is vital to keep track of what you consume. Foods rich in carbohydrates and sugars can cause spikes in fasting blood sugar levels. Therefore, you should limit their consumption, especially during dinner. However, it’s okay to consume them in a limited amount if you do not have diabetes. Furthermore, a diet high in carbs, such as white rice, pasta, and highly processed or fried foods, can lead to a spike in blood sugar.

Lack of Sleep

Lack of sleep makes you tired and irritated. In addition, it also impacts your body’s ability to regulate and break down blood sugar. Research has shown that even one night of sleep deprivation causes your body to utilise insulin inefficiently. The ineffective response to insulin by the body’s cells leads to more insulin secretion by the pancreas. As a result, the cells fail to absorb the blood glucose, and the insulin level keeps rising. That can raise your fasting blood sugar levels above what they should be. 

Too Much of Stress

Being stressed releases chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline. It activates the body’s fight-or-flight response, making your body react as if it’s under attack. To respond to a threat, the body uses the accumulated energy in the form of glucose and fat. With diabetes, insulin cannot break down the glucose present in cells. Instead, it results in a spike in fasting blood sugar levels. 

High Fasting Blood Glucose Levels: Dietary Steps to Take

Eat Fewer Refined Carbs

Refined carbs are also called processed carbs. White bread, white rice, soda, candy, breakfast cereals, and desserts are all examples of refined carbohydrates. At the same time, vitamins, minerals, and fibre lack refined carbohydrates. Since the body readily and rapidly digests refined carbohydrates, they have a high glycemic index. 

As per studies, after consuming meals with a high glycemic index, you can experience a spike in blood sugar followed by a dip in blood sugar. As a result, it can drive appetite and contribute to overeating and weight gain.

Reduce Sugar Intake

Added sugars like sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup aren’t necessary for your nutritional intake. They’re essentially empty calories. Your body quickly breaks these simple sugars down, resulting in a rapid rise in blood sugar. 

As per studies, sugar consumption correlates to the development of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance happens when the cells of our body fail to respond to the secretion of insulin appropriately. It is a primary cause of the body’s inability to control blood sugar efficiently, leading to high fasting blood sugar levels.

Increase Fibre Intake

Fibre helps in slowing down the breakdown of sugar. As a result, it prevents sudden spikes in blood glucose levels. Fibres also have other benefits like digestive benefits, making them even more beneficial to eat.

Based on these dietary tips, the following are a few fantastic dishes that can help you tackle high fasting blood glucose levels.

Foods to Regulate Fasting Blood Sugar Levels

There are a lot of dishes that you can consume to prevent high fasting blood glucose levels. People with type 1 and 2 diabetes can also consume these dishes to manage their blood sugar levels.

Oats Upma

It is a quick oatmeal breakfast that you can cook in 15 minutes.


  • Oats: 1 cup
  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Mustard Seeds: ¼ tsp
  • Chana Dal: ½ tsp
  • Urad Dal: ½ tsp
  • Salt: As per taste
  • Turmeric: ¼ tsp
  • Veggies (Peas, carrots, onion, chillies, beans): As preferred


  1. Dry roast the oats until they become crisp. Once roasted, put it aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and let them pop. Once they pop, add chana dal and urad dal.
  3. Add some peanuts and split cashews.
  4. Fry until the dal turns golden. Add grated ginger and fry for a minute more.
  5. Add some chopped onion and green chillies.
  6. Put some vegetables like peas, carrots and beans as well. 
  7. Fry for a few minutes.
  8. Sprinkle some water and cover the pan for 3 minutes.
  9. Add ½ tablespoon salt and ¼ tablespoon turmeric.
  10. Pour water and let it boil. If you want more mushy oats, add more water.
  11. Add roasted oats to the mixture. Mix well till the water is absorbed.
  12. Cover the pan for 2-3 minutes. 
  13. Oats upma is ready to be served. 

Oats Egg Omelette

It is a filling breakfast that you can make easily. 


  • Oat flour: ¼ cup
  • Milk: 3tsp
  • Eggs: 2
  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Veggies (Onion, Capsicum, Green Chillies, Carrots) Finely chopped: As preferred.


  1. Chop some onions, capsicum, green chillies and carrots.
  2. Add oat flour, salt and turmeric to a bowl. Add milk also to it. 
  3. Break the eggs. Beat them together until they are of pouring consistency.
  4. Add one tablespoon of oil to a pan and heat it.
  5. Pour the egg mixture when the pan is hot.
  6. Mix all the vegetables and add them to the pan.
  7. Flip when the base is firm enough. 
  8. Cook the other side. 

Coconut Oats

Another healthy and easy to make oatmeal dish is coconut oats. 


  • Rolled Oats: 1 cup
  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Chana Dal: ½ tsp
  • Urad Dal: ½ tsp
  • Cashews: 10 g
  • Ginger (Grated): ½ tsp
  • Curry Leaves: 5
  • Green Chillies (chopped): 2
  • Coconut (Grated): 2 tsp
  • Mint Leaves: 6
  • Lemon Juice: ½ lemon
  • Salt: As per taste


  1. Add rolled oats to a strainer and pour 3 cups of water. Rinse them under running water. Make sure that you rinse off the water thoroughly. 
  2. Heat a pan with oil and add cumin and mustard.
  3. After some time, add urad dal, chana dal and cashews.
  4. Fry until the colour turns golden. Add grated ginger, curry leaves, green chillies and fry for a minute more.
  5. Now, add ½ tablespoon salt and ¼ tablespoon turmeric.
  6. Add a tablespoon of water. It will soften the dal.
  7. Add rolled oats to this mixture.
  8. Stir it well. Cover the pan and heat for 2 minutes. Then turn off the stove. 
  9. Add coconut and some coriander leaves.
  10. Sprinkle lemon juice and mix the contents of the pan.

High Fasting Blood Sugar Levels: Other Regulatory Measures

Regular Exercise

Exercise increases the insulin sensitivity of cells, which helps to reduce blood sugar surges. In addition, muscle cells take sugar out of the bloodstream during exercise, which helps to lower blood sugar levels. Therefore, you can reduce a blood sugar rise by high-intensity and moderate-intensity exercise. Blood sugar regulation may be affected by exercise, whether on an empty stomach or a full stomach. 

According to one research, exercising before breakfast effectively reduces blood sugar levels better than exercising after breakfast. In addition, increasing your physical activity also aids weight loss, boosting the fight against blood sugar rise. It is suitable for combating high fasting blood glucose levels as well.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

It is relatively more challenging for the body to use insulin and manage blood sugar levels with overweight or obesity. The body fails to actively respond to insulin due to extra weight in the body. It results in increased high fasting blood glucose levels and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Insulin insensitivity leads to weight gain, leading to poor insulin sensitivity, creating a loop. 

Although the exact mechanisms are unknown, research links fat to insulin resistance and the growth of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of high fasting blood glucose levels and even reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Eat Early

One possible reason for high fasting blood glucose levels may be that the body is not getting enough time to lower the sugar content in the blood. In addition, it can be due to a delay in the action of the insulin hormone secreted by the pancreas. So, an excellent way to reduce blood glucose levels is to give the body more time to manage blood sugar levels by itself. You can do it by having dinner a few hours before the usual time. It provides the body with enough time to control blood sugar levels by itself, leading to lower fasting blood sugar levels. 


High fasting blood glucose levels are a worrying sign. As soon as your fasting blood glucose levels go above 100mg/dL, you should become alert and actively work to prevent the worsening of your blood sugar. However, there is a silver lining. Simple steps like dietary modifications can help prevent fasting blood sugar rises. As a result, you can tackle high fasting blood glucose levels. Simple tweaks in diet and eating routine can be beneficial. Complementary changes in lifestyle like exercising and changing meals also go a long way. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What fasting glucose level is diabetes?

A: Fasting glucose test measures the body’s blood sugar level after an overnight fast. A fasting blood sugar level of 99 mg/dL or less is normal. In contrast, 100 to 125 mg/dL implies prediabetes, and 126 mg/dL indicates diabetes. 

Q: How to lower fasting glucose levels gestational diabetes?

A: High fasting levels are prevalent in pregnant women with gestational diabetes, and they are the most difficult to manage. For most people who have high fasting levels, the only method to lower them is to take medicine like Metformin or insulin. 

Q: What is plasma fasting glucose level?

A: The fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test, commonly known as the fasting blood glucose test (FBG) or fasting blood sugar test, determines blood glucose (sugar) levels. It is a reasonably easy, precise, and affordable test that reveals abnormalities with insulin function and assesses suspected diabetes. 

Q: Is fasting sugar 110 normal?

A: Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Fasting blood sugar levels between 110 and 125 are called prediabetes. A blood sugar level of less than 110 is normal, whereas a more than 126 indicates diabetes. 

Q: What is an acceptable fasting glucose level?

A: Normal fasting blood glucose concentrations should range from 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) to 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L). In the case of fasting blood glucose levels between 100 and 125 mg/dL (5.6 and 6.9 mmol/L), lifestyle adjustments and glycemia monitoring are necessary.  

Q: What is normal blood sugar by age?

A: Adults without diabetes having a fasting blood glucose level lower than 100 mg/dL are safe and have an average blood glucose level. The blood sugar levels keep changing and fluctuating as the day goes by, depending on the diet and physical activities.  

Q: Can I drink water before the fasting blood sugar test?

A: Before a fasting blood sugar test, having water can result in lowered blood sugar levels or, at the very least, keep them from rising too high. The blood loses a lot of glucose when you drink more water. In the state of dehydration, the volume of blood is lower than normal, but the sugar levels remain unchanged.

About the Author

Parul holds a Masters of Medical Science in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and has worked across the globe from the U.K to New Zealand (NZ) gaining her License with the Health Professionals Council (HPC, UK) and the NZ Nutrition Council. From being a Gold medalist in Clinical Nutrition to being awarded an internship with World Health Organisation (WHO, Cairo, Egypt) and Contracts with CDC Parul has had a wide spectrum of work experiences. She is very passionate about Nutrition and Fitness and holds strong to her guiding mantras ‘ Move more’ and ‘Eat Food that your grandmother can recognize’!

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