What Is an Ideal Blood Sugar Level?

The ideal blood sugar level, also referred to as glucose level, depends on a number of factors. Although the normal fasting level is considered to be anything between 80 and 100, normal blood glucose levels do fluctuate throughout the day in response to food intake, exercise and stress level. Depending on whether you are diabetic, prediabetic or simply monitoring your blood glucose level for preventive purposes, your doctor may recommend different levels to strive for.

Time Frame

  • One of the biggest factors in fluctuating glucose levels is the time you take the test. Glucose levels rise in the first two hours after eating and should begin to decrease after this point, reducing to a normal reading. For diabetics, the blood glucose should not rise above 180 after a meal and should be less than 120 before a meal.


  • Eating a meal high in refined sugars or carbohydrates will increase glucose levels quickly. Meals that are balanced with whole grains and unrefined flours and sugars will cause a more gradual increase. If glucose levels are spiking quickly after meals, it is a sign that you are eating too many carbohydrates or refined sugars. Levels may be decreased by monitoring carbohydrate intake or by beginning an effective exercise program.


  • A diagnosis of diabetes requires fasting for 8 hours prior to visiting the lab for blood work. A test result indicating a blood glucose level of 126 or above indicates diabetes. Results between 100 and 125 are considered prediabetes; those 99 and below are considered normal.


  • Maintaining a blood glucose level within normal limits greatly reduces the risk of complications from diabetes. An effective exercise program, generally 20 minutes or more a day of walking, can reduce blood glucose levels and lower high blood pressure, a common coexisting condition. Both of these reductions decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. A balanced diet low in refined carbohydrates and fats is an effective way to control both blood sugar levels and cholesterol.


  • According to the National Diabetes Association, heredity is a contributing factor to the development of diabetes. Those with a family history of diabetes should be tested periodically to determine their blood glucose level and should maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, a diet low in fats and refined sugars, and a healthy body weight to reduce the chances of developing diabetes.