Target Blood Sugar Ranges

Blood sugar changes every 5-10 minutes. The only way to know blood sugar numbers is to test. Food, medications, exercise, and stress all affect the blood sugar. Some of the symptoms of high blood sugar and low blood sugar are the same. Please see the table below for the target blood sugar recommendations that vary by organization.


Before meals

Two hours after meals

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists

110 mg/dL or less

140 mg/dL or less

American Diabetes Association

90-130 mg/dL

180 mg/dL or less

The Diabetes Treatment Center recommends the following for our patients:

Before meals 80-120 mg/dL

Two hours after meals 100-140 mg/dL

We base these target ranges on the findings of numerous research studies that show the benefits of good blood sugar control.

Test tubes

Low blood sugar

Low blood sugar is also known as hypoglycemia or insulin reaction. This may happen when there is too much insulin in the blood or too little glucose (sugar). Low blood sugar is brought on by:

  • Not eating enough or not eating a balanced meal
  • Not eating meals regularly or on time
  • Excessive exercise
  • Taking too much diabetes medication or insulin

High blood sugar

Persons with diabetes can become very ill and even go into a coma if their blood sugar is too high. High blood sugar is bought on by:

  • Undiagnosed/untreated diabetes
  • Eating too much
  • Failure to take insulin or not taking enough
  • Illness, fever
  • Infection
  • Emotional stress