The Missing Piece of the Diabetes Puzzle

A Suprisingly Easy Insight into Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.


Modern medicine operates much like a farmer who fixes his fences ONLY after the horses or cows have broken out. Hence, most serious health conditions incubate for years before they are diagnosed. This is certainly true of type 2 diabetes.

A Healthier Blood Sugar Range

A couple of weeks ago, I read a timely article in Life Extension magazine entitled “Glucose: The Silent Killer.”1 In addition to summarizing all of the really bad things that excess blood sugar can do to your body, the article documented an important fact:

By the time you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you’ve actually had blood sugar problems for YEARS. (Note: Do not confuse type 1 diabetes with type 2 diabetes. They are really very different. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease, which begins in childhood and requires insulin. Type 2 diabetes, also called diabesity, is related to your diet and lifestyle.)

I certainly knew this to be true, and I have written about it in my books. But there is a new piece to the puzzle: We’ve set the range for normal blood sugar too high.

Recent studies indicate that fasting glucose levels should be in the range of 70–85 mg/dL. Unfortunately, most standard labs give the upper limit of normal for a fasting blood sugar at 99 mg/dL. That’s too high!

In addition, blood sugar levels after a meal should not spike more than 40 mg/dL over your fasting level. This means that your blood sugar level should be in the range of 110–125mg/dL one or two hours after a meal.

Glucose Meter Testing

A glucose meter can be a powerful ally in helping you manage your blood sugar to prevent type 2 diabetes.

After reading this compelling new data on blood sugar, I decided to test my own blood sugar on a regular basis to see how I was doing—to take my health into my own hands.

Taking control of your health starts with knowing where you stand. You don’t need to wait! I sure didn’t. (I have a family history of cardiovascular disease, so doing what I can to keep my blood sugar normal is a good way to support my heart, and so forth.)

The first thing I did was consult with my Facebook community. I have a lot of “experts” there—individuals with diabetes who regularly check their own blood sugar. After getting some opinions, I bought a One Touch Ultra Glucometer on, along with lancets and blood sugar strips. Ingenious, simple, and oh-so empowering!

I quickly discovered that my blood sugar never went above 120 mg/dL. Probably because I have pretty much quelled my excess sugar cravings over the years by focusing on LOTS of activities that bring sweetness into my life in other ways besides eating sugar. This includes dancing tango in close embrace, listening to good music, de-cluttering my house, doing work I love, and taking long baths while reading good novels or looking out the window at the river.

I have created a personal paradise for myself. This process has taken a lifetime, and began in earnest during perimenopause—the time of life when most women first develop blood sugar and blood pressure problems.

I encourage you to do the same.

Add Healthy Sweetness to Your Life

Be kind and gentle with yourself if you are not there yet. (I realize that I am reporting from the front lines here!) Bringing sweetness of other kinds into your life will bolster your health, allow you to enjoy your life even more, and help you curb those carb cravings!

Don’t get me wrong. I crave a gooey chocolate brownie, just like you do. So, from time to time, I indulge without going overboard and savor every bite.

But I want to continue to flourish in the personal paradise I’ve created. And that means doing what I can to keep my blood sugar levels normal.

If you’re checking your blood sugar levels regularly, if you’ve figured out a way to curb your sugar cravings, or if you just like what you’ve read, please leave a comment here or on my Facebook page. Note: It can take up to 24 hours (and occasionally longer) for your posts to show up on

p.s. Coming soon: a blog that includes some specific things you can do to keep your blood sugar levels balanced and normal.


  1. To read the article online, go to
Last Updated: March 1, 2012

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.


Add comment
  1. yolande mistri
    9 years ago

    I have been diagnosed with type 1 three years ago. I am now 68. I lived all over the world
    and in the u.s. for 30 years. now live in a small village in goa india. I am on four insulin sots
    a day. I would truly appreciate knowing how to get the sugar under control. your help
    would be truly appreciated. with much gratitude yolande. also a type 1 buddy would be
    so wonderful.

  2. Verna Siegel
    9 years ago

    Well I took your advice and bought a glucometer and was shocked at the fasting number! I have a blood work up every year with naturopath and it has always been in the”normal” range-but under 100 but not by much.

    I have been testing my glucose levels several times a day now but I never get a reading below 100 for fasting. Infact, my fasting numbers are between 120-140. OMG! Again shocked! After I eat the levels go down and stay between 105-140 through out the day with an occasional low number of 67 92 89. My average so far for 30 days is 124.
    I have changed my diet this month and added more exercise classes at the gym and now have an appt with my ND. I have been scarred straight. I am not taking ‘norma range’ for granted. Oh and I am 66years old.

  3. diflucan
    12 years ago


  4. Donna Abreu
    12 years ago

    Also, is there a way to measure how you respond to foods as far as insulin production? I’d like to know if I am sensitive to whole grains, or nuts for example. Can I just test my blood glucose levels after eating those foods?

  5. rulide
    12 years ago

    I can speak much on this question.

  6. farlLini
    12 years ago

    I am final, I am sorry, but you could not give little bit more information.

  7. Rachel
    12 years ago

    Having strong diabetic tendencies on one side of the family I have noticed that I am very sensitive to sugar over the years and get checked every now and then. It’s been hard to take myself completely off of sugar, but I appreciate your comments and insight on this. For me I’ve noticed that it makes a big difference if I get rid of sugar all together which I’ve been working on for the past couple of years. Also noticing that raw food really helps to make my body feel better.

  8. Sue
    12 years ago

    Read Wheat Belly by William Davis, M.D. Think I may be gluten sensitive but not celiac. Had a colonoscopy and didnt find anything. Have you read this?Have recently seen Dr. Hyman on T.V. and his advice is essentially the same. I would love to bring my cholesterol down without statins which make me sick. There is heart didease in my family on my dads side. I am a 61 year old woman.

  9. Vida Twynham
    12 years ago

    Please watch “Planeat”. Talk about what to eat and not eat. This video is a second from “Forks Over Knives” so happy I watched. Following a guide to healthy eating isn’t easy unless you know what kinds of foods does what to your body,mind and self. I have and following Wisdom of Menopause” i feel at 44 I’m ahead of the game. Oh yes, and I’ve lost 15 lbs.

  10. Kelly Slusher
    12 years ago

    Three months ago I had blood work done and found out I had hyperglycemia with no diabetes. I immediately cut out carbs, and started eating white meat everyday, fish, eggs and yams for breakfast, salads, veggies, hemp seeds, unsweetened yogurt, almonds, stevia, and fruits only on occasion. I got serious with daily affirmations. After a just a few days, I instantly felt better. I enjoy feeding my body and spirit lots of LOVE!

  11. Toni
    12 years ago

    Dr Northrup,

    You mentioned a certain brand of bars that are good to eat if you are diabetic or have blood sugar problems. You mentioned the raw foodists would hate them because they are processed.

  12. LF
    12 years ago

    I wish there was another way to test one’s own blood sugar without the pricking. The idea of sticking myself is too uncomfortable. I am skinny but very fit with great muscle tone and a dancer’s body. I have been going to the gym 5 days a week for 20 years and am also a weekend ballroom dancer. I have been on the Atkins diet for 20 years. The tendency for high blood sugar is genetic for some of us. I had gestational diabetes with my first pregnancy, a clue that something was amiss.

  13. Jane
    12 years ago

    Dr. Northrup, the best way to test for blood sugar is A1C, not glucose readings. I’m not sure this is the way to go. You need to get an A1C done.

  14. Karla
    12 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this information with us. Appreciate you. Have a great rest of your day!

  15. Cheryl
    12 years ago

    I was diagnosed with Diabetes a year ago at 60. I should have listened to my body when I developed gestational diabetes in my 30’s. Although I have been a vegetarian and considered myself a healthy eater, I did consume too many carbs. I loved to bake for my family! I have completely eliminated sugar, white flour, potatoes, and all refined carbs from my diet. My husband and I started walking the dogs at a local shelter once or twice a week for exercise. Thanks for the advice!

  16. Robin
    12 years ago

    On todays radio show, you mentioned the ideal breakfast being eggs and I also recall some mention about oatmeal being a no-no…is it just the instant oatmeal? Reason asking is that I am a regular oatmeal with fruit kind of gal but do eat rolled oats “Old Fashioned.” Hope these are okay. Thanks for you show…really enjoy you 🙂

  17. Cheryl
    12 years ago

    I took a class for diabetics after being diagnosed with pre-diabetes which I think I had had
    for years. It has never gone on to be diabetes YET, but I am trying to maintain a good diet
    low in carbs and get plenty of exercise. In the class they gave me a blood sugar monitor,
    which I have used from time to time (not on a regular basis )and my blood sugar averages
    around 103, sometimes higher, and sometimes lower but never over 120.

    (I am 66.

  18. Julie
    12 years ago

    And…good advice for monitoring blood sugar. Another thing people can do is add up the carb grams they eat by using a tool like the one on I was surprised to find that on my “healthy diet” (which included brown rice and whole wheat products) I was eating almost 200 grams per day! I get the willies thinking about pricking my fingers so I’ll pass for now, and hope that my high-protein, high-fat, low-carb diet is doing me well 🙂 I sure do feel great from it!

  19. Julie
    12 years ago

    The online article referenced fails to make any mention of controlling glucose and insulin production by reducing carbohydrate intake. Instead, it suggests that adults should take metformin, one of the effects of which is preventing glycogen from being secreted by the liver. Glycogen is the fuel that muscles need to function, and reducing that fuel seems to me to be a dangerous side effect. Wouldn’t it make much more sense to go to the source of the glucose, which is the dietary food intake?

  20. Carmen
    12 years ago

    What I would like to know is how to do this well on a “food combining” diet. I am doing food combining due to needing to strengthen my digestive system and dealing with food allergies. I don’t eat anything processed, at this point and no sugar/alcohol but cannot combine protein with carbs. When I do eat carbs its lentils, buckwheat or quinoa mixed with veggies. Any suggestions? And thanks for the interesting article.

  21. Sam
    12 years ago

    was diagnosed with Type II. I am 61 & overweiht. I am also well educated, read,understand the implications. can’t get control of my eating & make every excuse not to exercise.I just moved to the country happy & peaceful, a place I have wanted to live. started walking yesterday 3/4 of a mile.I want to get this new book BUT I that the Dr. although I hesitate…can I do what he suggests or will it be just another waste of money???

  22. Lisa
    12 years ago

    I am 49 years old, excercise regularly by mixing it all up-yoga, cardio, weight bearing. I have gained 10 lbs. in the past year. I have never had weight issues until now. It is not weight gain from muscle either. This I know for sure. I definitely have symptons of menopause. I just purchased Dr. Hyman’s book and hope it helps because I feel as though it may be the missing piece of the puzzle to help me through this frustrating time with the weight gain. I will get my sugar tested.

  23. J
    12 years ago

    I enjoyed your comments about focusing on activities that brought sweetness into your life and creating a personal paradise for yourself. I discovered years ago that paradise can be found in the simple things like a relaxing bath, a leisurely walk, watching a sunset or sunrise, etc. Too often I get focused on other activities in life and forget to take time for those simple pleasures. Thanks for the reminder of the simple pleasures and the importance they are to overall health!

  24. mary
    12 years ago

    What do you think of statins causing type 2 diabetes

  25. Maya
    12 years ago

    Karen, chill out or you might get something else xx

  26. karen
    12 years ago

    Mine is Genetic too, But when I found out, I am sure I had had it for at lest 10 years. I looked back at my lab reports and with one of the tests By the time the fasting blood sugar test was done it was 11:00 – my test read around 200 but no one flaged it because they just assumed the I had eaten but The Test was fasting!

  27. Karen
    12 years ago

    1.Type 2 is not only linked to diet and lifestyle. Not all type 2 are overweight. I am healthy, slim, active and no smoker. Type 2 can also be genetic or a consequence of other health conditions.
    2.Not everyone who is diagnosed with type 2 will have had diabetes for years. I had diabetes for a maximum of 6 months before I was diagnosed and thats a fact.

  28. karen
    12 years ago

    3.Type 1 can occur in any young person in their teens, twenties and thirties I have many type1 friends who are in this age range. Not just children.
    4.You suggest trying to eat chocolate in modest amounts, fine but the biggest problem for diabetics is carbohydrates not chocolate. You make no mention of carbs and the amount of sugar they produce and the importance of carb counting!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *