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Blood Sugar Levels Charts by Age: Knowing Your “Normal” Levels

February 18, 2022
Written by
Team NutriSense
Liz McKinney
Reviewed by
Cheri B.
RD

Have you ever felt confused about what normal blood glucose levels should be? Since blood sugar levels are key to overall wellness, it’s essential to track and monitor them to ensure you maintain optimal levels. And as it turns out, these optimal glucose levels will vary for many reasons. 

Blood glucose levels will vary among different age groups and at different times of the day. And they fluctuate whether you have diabetes or not! It can be challenging to figure all this out on your own, especially if you haven’t already been monitoring your glucose levels. Read on for a simple guide to understanding what’s “normal” and see the typical blood glucose levels for your age range. 

What’s a Normal Blood Sugar Level?

A hand holding a phone with the NutriSense app open, checking their glucose chart

A "normal" blood sugar level varies based on many factors. First, it’s essential to understand precisely what blood sugar actually is. Your body metabolizes carbohydrates into glucose, which is your body’s primary energy source. Your pancreas releases insulin to shuttle glucose into your cells to convert to energy or store as glycogen in your liver and muscles or as fat in adipose tissue. Insulin tightly controls the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. Remember, glucose levels are never a flat line and are influenced by many factors, including:

  • The type and quantity of food you consume and when you consume it.
  • The amount and the intensity of physical activity you engage in.
  • Any medications you may be taking.
  • Medical conditions and chronic illnesses you may have. 
  • How old you are.
  • The amount of stress you’re under at the time.
  • Issues like dehydration. 
  • Menstrual periods and where you are in your monthly cycle.
  • The amount and frequency of alcohol intake. 

Typical glucose values are often listed as being in range to help capture any normal fluctuations that may occur. Additionally, for those who have prediabetes or diabetes (characterized by some level of insulin resistance), a normal glucose range may be broader or more lenient. It’s because it also accounts for any damage that may have already occurred in the body that makes a tighter range unrealistic. 

Now let’s dive into some specifics on normal levels, based on different age ranges!

Normal Blood Sugar Levels For Children [Ages 6-12]

Typically, children without diabetes between the ages of 6-12 should have normal glucose readings that look like this:

  • Before breakfast (fasting blood sugar): 70 to 120 mg/dL
  • One to two hours after meals: Less than 140 mg/dL
  • Before meals and at bedtime: 70 to 120 mg/dL

Parents or caregivers won’t typically be checking a child’s glucose throughout the day unless they have a medical condition. Still, it can be helpful to know what is healthy.

For children with diabetes, the amount of glucose in the blood will fluctuate from when they wake up, based on their activity levels, and before they sleep at night. It’s important to remember that despite all this, glucose should overall stay between 80-180 mg/dL at all times throughout the day. 

Normal blood glucose levels chart for children

Normal Blood Sugar Levels for Teens [Ages 13-19]

A couple in the kitchen with a glucometer

There are no set guidelines by the American Diabetes Association for typical blood glucose for teens without diabetes. So, the NutriSense Team recommends aiming for the same guidelines for healthy children/adults without diabetes, keeping glucose between 70-140 mg/dL. 

For teenagers with diabetes, glucose should stay between 70-150 mg/dL throughout the day. Controlling blood glucose during the teenage years could be more difficult, so maintaining a healthy diet and exercise become even more critical. 

Normal blood sugar levels for teens chart

Normal Blood Sugar Levels for Adults [Ages 20+]

We have the most information on what glucose levels should be like for adults since this is the time of life when glucose issues typically arise. You may notice that labs have different reference ranges. 

Many labs have a maximum value for typical fasting glucose of 100 or even 105 mg/dL. However, we’re all about optimizing here at NutriSense, and research shows that optimal fasting glucose should actually be between 70-90 mg/dL for adults without diabetes. Research also shows that fasting glucose levels above 90 can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. 

There are a lot of factors that can impact a higher fasting blood glucose value. It’s essential to pay attention to things like what and when you ate the night before, sleep quality and quantity, and stress levels. Also, watch your alcohol intake, note any medications/supplements you’re taking, and monitor your overall physical activity and body weight. 

Of course, the expected glucose ranges for adults with diabetes will differ from the glucose ranges for adults without diabetes. The American Diabetic Association also suggests different glucose ranges for healthy adults, adults with prediabetes, and adults with diabetes. Healthy adults without diabetes should keep glucose between 70-140 mg/dL. 

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) guidelines, adults with healthy glucose metabolism should stay below 140 mg/dL after meals. Healthy adults with standard glucose tolerance have been shown to remain below 140 mg/dL between 95-99 percent of the time while wearing a CGM. Spikes above 160 mg/dL at all can be problematic. They can indicate reduced insulin sensitivity, an increased risk of diabetes, and impaired beta-cell function. Remember, most healthy people will see a peak glucose value within 30 minutes of eating.

Wondering where prediabetes factors into all of this? The ADA classifies prediabetes fasting glucose levels above 100 mg/dL and up to 125 mg/dL and a two-hour postprandial level between 140-199 mg/dL. It’s usually diagnosed with an oral glucose tolerance test. An A1C between 5.7-6.4 percent is considered a prediabetic level. 

Diabetes is typically diagnosed after two repeat fasting glucose tests above 125 mg/dL or a two-hour reading above 200 mg/dL after an oral glucose tolerance test. Additionally, an A1C above 6.5 percent is considered a diabetic level. Diabetes is also diagnosed if a random blood sugar check at any time of the day is above 200 mg/dL.


Normal Blood Sugar Levels for Older Adults [ Ages 65+]

Let’s spend a minute discussing the average levels for older adults, by which we mean over the age of 65. Those who do not have diabetes may be held to the same glucose range as healthy younger adults, keeping glucose between 70-140 mg/dL during the day. 

For older adults with diabetes and comorbidities or severe diabetes symptoms like neuropathy, kidney damage, or retinopathy, the recommended glucose threshold, and A1C values may be more lenient. It will all depend on how much damage has been done to the pancreas. 

Warning Signs of High Blood Sugar

While there are ways to track, monitor, and determine whether you have high blood sugar, you may not always know when you’re experiencing it. Often, there are no warning signs until your levels rise much higher than the expected range. 

For example, adults with prediabetes may not realize they have this condition based on symptoms alone. However, here are some classic symptoms of high blood sugar that may occur:

  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty concentrating/ Brain fog
  • Increased thirst
  • Anxiety
  • Increased cravings 

It’s easy to attribute these symptoms to other causes, some as seemingly routine as feeling thirsty or getting a slight headache! That’s where wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) can be invaluable. You may often be able to connect these symptoms to blood glucose spiking throughout the day when you’re monitoring your levels with a CGM. 

How To Lower Blood Sugar

There are many ways to reduce higher glucose readings that are practical and can be done each day! Here are a few tips from our dietitian, Liz McKinney:

  • Take walks after meals and aim for 10,000 steps daily. Movement through the day, as well as targeted exercise, are both equally important. 
  • Try drinking some apple cider vinegar in some water before your meals. Meta-analyses suggest that ingesting vinegar at the start of a meal—one to two tablespoons in a glass of water—can diminish the post-meal (or “postprandial”) surge in blood glucose. For two hours after a meal, vinegar consumption is associated with a reduction in postprandial blood sugar of about 20 to 40 percent.
  • Focus on protein-rich meals. While everyone will have a different protein target, aiming to eat adequate protein at each meal helps to produce a gentler glucose curve.
  • Avoid grazing throughout the day and allow some fasting time between dinner and breakfast (around 12 hours at least!). Frequently eating over the course of the day tells your body that it’s in a fed state. By giving your body a “break,” the glucose levels in your blood have a chance to return to pre-meal values. 
  • Work on stress management. Easier said than done, we know! But, working on ways to help manage perceived stress is an important way to reduce glucose values. When your body is stressed, it releases cortisol, which tells your liver to release glucose into your bloodstream as a quick energy source in case you need to run from a predator. This is an example of an evolutionary mismatch, where our bodies have not adapted to modern stressors. Try taking walks outside, meditation, practicing deep breathing, and journaling, which are some excellent ways to manage stress levels. 

Warning Signs of Low Blood Sugar

When glucose drops below 70 mg/dL, this is known as hypoglycemia, and it’s associated with symptoms like:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Shakiness
  • Nervousness/Anxiety 
  • Chills
  • Sweating/Feeling clammy
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Pale skin
  • Hunger
  • Sleepiness

How to Raise Your Blood Sugar

When blood sugar drops  <70, accompanied by symptoms, eat 15 grams of quickly absorbing carbs (like apple juice or a glucose tablet), then wait 15 minutes for your glucose to rise. 

Once your glucose returns to normal levels, it can help to eat a protein or fiber-focused meal to prevent future dips. McKinney suggests unsweetened Greek yogurt with berries or one to two hard-boiled eggs with sliced avocado on a slice of whole-wheat toast. 

If you eat a low carbohydrate diet, seeing your glucose dip  <70 may not be a cause for concern. It’s because your body may already be accustomed to lower baseline glucose. In this case, it’s essential to monitor for symptoms and make sure glycemic variability is even during the day. 

Get Help Monitoring Your Blood Sugar Levels With NutriSense and Our Dietitians

It’s important to note that no governing body has established exactly what 24-hour glucose using a CGM should be, but this is an area of ongoing research! We know that using the CGM to track glycemic variability offers insight into the swings in glucose throughout the day that are missed in a lab value or A1C. 

CGM devices measure interstitial glucose levels (glucose from the fluid between cells). In contrast, a blood test measures glucose in the blood/plasma. While interstitial glucose and blood/plasma glucose levels are correlated, they are different measurements, so diagnoses are not made while wearing the CGM. 

To find out about this and much more, sign up for one of the programs at NutriSense! Using a continuous glucose monitor can help you learn more about your body and address and prevent various health issues. With a NutriSense subscription, you can use these continuous glucose monitors with an innovative app that tracks your blood glucose levels in real-time! There’s also a team of registered dietitians to help you read and understand the data.

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Blood Sugar Levels Charts by Age: Knowing Your “Normal” Levels
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20 Mental Health and Wellness Podcasts Recommended by Dietitians
20 Mental Health and Wellness Podcasts Recommended by Dietitians

This week, we’ve compiled some of our favorite podcasts that go beyond nutrition. Here are 20 wellness-focused podcasts to add to your queue.

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Are BCAAs Worth It? The Bottom Line on Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Are BCAAs Worth It? The Bottom Line on Branched-Chain Amino Acids

Are BCAAs worth it? This post digs into 30+ years of research to answer this question. The answer may surprise you.

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8
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Science Backed Tips for Menopause-Related Weight Gain
Science Backed Tips for Menopause-Related Weight Gain

Menopause can be a difficult journey, so we've compiled some of the most effective, science backed tips to help you with menopause-related weight gain.

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8
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Help Dad Stay Healthy this Father's Day
Help Dad Stay Healthy this Father's Day

Father’s Day is around the corner, and whether you’re celebrating your dad, a father figure, or another cherished loved one, helping them take care of their health can be the ultimate gift.

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10
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11 Great Low-Carb Snacks to Add to Your Diet [+ 5 Recipes our Dietitians Love]
11 Great Low-Carb Snacks to Add to Your Diet [+ 5 Recipes our Dietitians Love]

Here's a helpful list of some of our favorite low-carb snacks that can help you keep your diet varied and full of healthy nutrients.

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7
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Low Glycemic Index Recipe Ideas Everyone Will Enjoy
Low Glycemic Index Recipe Ideas Everyone Will Enjoy

Whether you're looking for low GI summer snacks or healthy sweet treats, this post has got you covered. Here are tasty low glycemic index recipes everyone will enjoy!

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Do Grapes Raise Blood Sugar Levels?
Do Grapes Raise Blood Sugar Levels?

Wondering if grapes are safe for people with diabetes to include in their diet? Read on to find out.

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7
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The Relationship Between Cholesterol and Blood Sugar
The Relationship Between Cholesterol and Blood Sugar

Cholesterol plays a very important role in the human body, contributing to the structure of the cells, helping with vitamin D synthesis, and also promoting the production of steroid and sex hormones, like cortisol, aldosterone, testosterone, and estrogen. But how exactly is cholesterol connected to blood glucose levels?

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20 Questions to Ask Your CGM Provider (with Kara Collier)
20 Questions to Ask Your CGM Provider (with Kara Collier)

We sat down with Kara Collier, our co-founder and VP of Health here at NutriSense, to take a closer look at how CGMs work and what you need to know about these devices before using one.

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Are Carbs and Sugar the Same? 
Are Carbs and Sugar the Same? 

Are carbs and sugar the same? In this post, we break down the key differences between the two and share the benefits of complex carbohydrates.

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9
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Best Recovery Breakfasts to Beat Post-Workout DOMS
Best Recovery Breakfasts to Beat Post-Workout DOMS

Read on to learn more about DOMS, how long it can last, and then pick from our list of the best breakfasts to help beat that post-workout soreness, support muscle building, and encourage fat loss.

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13
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7 Plant-Derived Supplements to Help Lower Blood Sugar
7 Plant-Derived Supplements to Help Lower Blood Sugar

When it comes to lowering blood sugar levels, not all supplements are created equal. From ginseng to aloe vera, here are some of the best supplements to help avoid high blood sugar and encourage blood sugar control.

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Is Bloating After Surgery Normal?
Is Bloating After Surgery Normal?

Bloating that results from a surgery can sometimes be an unexpected part of the recovery process. Is there anything you can do to reduce bloating or prevent it from happening? And what causes this bloating anyway? Read on to find the answer to these questions and much more to help you combat your post-surgery swelling. 

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9
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Is Fiber a Carb? 
Is Fiber a Carb? 

Learn why fiber is classified as a carb and how to increase your intake of this health promoting nutrient.

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9
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Living with Autoimmune Conditions: Parkinson’s Disease 
Living with Autoimmune Conditions: Parkinson’s Disease 

Did you know Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease? Read on to learn what it's like living with PD plus discover treatment options.

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10
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An Expert Breaks Down 11 Viral Health Trends
An Expert Breaks Down 11 Viral Health Trends

From rosemary water to dry scooping, should you be trying every new trend that hits TikTok? How can you tell which ones may help and which ones to steer clear of?

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8
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Does Eating Too Much Sugar Affect Your Skin?
Does Eating Too Much Sugar Affect Your Skin?

As great as sugar tastes, including too much of it in your diet can lead to certain health problems. Read on to learn more about the role sugar plays in keeping your skin healthy.

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14 Health and Nutrition Podcasts Recommended by Dietitians
14 Health and Nutrition Podcasts Recommended by Dietitians

Read on to see which podcasts our dietitians recommend if you’re interested in learning more about nutrition and health.

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Does Nicotine Affect Blood Glucose?
Does Nicotine Affect Blood Glucose?

Nicotine is a chemical in tobacco that can affect your health in various ways. Read our article to learn how it impacts blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.

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Why Everyone, Including Healthy People Should Use CGMs
Why Everyone, Including Healthy People Should Use CGMs

CGMs are now an excellent tool for anyone who wants to optimize their metabolic health. Read on to find out more about the benefits CGMs can have for healthy people!

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10
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Why Do People Need to Lose Weight Before Bariatric Surgery?
Why Do People Need to Lose Weight Before Bariatric Surgery?

Although bariatric surgery can be an effective way to lose weight and improve health for people who are obese, it’s a major decision. Find out what lifestyle changes you need to make before going under the knife.

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NutriSense Dietitians Recommend: Favorite Grilling Recipes
NutriSense Dietitians Recommend: Favorite Grilling Recipes

Excited to fire up the grill this summer? Read on to learn if grilling is healthy for you plus check out the NutriSense Nutrition Team's favorite grilling recipes for the season.

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9
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How a Healthy Gut Improves Blood Sugar
How a Healthy Gut Improves Blood Sugar

Did you know that your gut health can impact your blood glucose levels? Explore ways to improve your gut health for optimal glucose levels.

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Living With Autoimmune Conditions: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Living With Autoimmune Conditions: Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that can cause swelling and joint pain. Learn more about how it develops and how other health conditions affect its onset.

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13 Best Weight Loss Apps to Consider
13 Best Weight Loss Apps to Consider

We’ve hand-picked the best weight loss apps available. Here are the thirteen best weight loss apps.

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8
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What is Red Light Therapy?
What is Red Light Therapy?

An emerging treatment, red light therapy promises to prevent and treat the signs of aging and other skin issues. Read on to find out more.

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Diets People are Most Likely to Give Up On [+Tips to Stick with Them]
Diets People are Most Likely to Give Up On [+Tips to Stick with Them]

Struggling to stick with a health-promoting diet? Here’s how to make it enjoyable so you can reap the benefits.

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Kara Collier on Optimal Health Through Blood Sugar Regulation
Kara Collier on Optimal Health Through Blood Sugar Regulation

VP of Health and co-founder of NutriSense Kara Collier discusses reaching optimal health through blood sugar regulation, what a continuous glucose monitor is, and who might benefit from using it.

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How to Turn Your Idea into a 120 Person Team with Dan Zavorotny
How to Turn Your Idea into a 120 Person Team with Dan Zavorotny

In this episode of Zero to CEO, Jason Sherman talks to Dan Zavorotny about how to turn your idea into a 120 person team in 2.5 years.

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A Breakdown of Body Mass Index (BMI)
A Breakdown of Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body mass index is a term you may have seen tossed around quite a bit in the health world. You may know that it’s a way to measure body fat, but with so many new tests for measuring overall fitness and health, is BMI still reliable?

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Glucose-Friendly Recipes to Enjoy This Memorial Day
Glucose-Friendly Recipes to Enjoy This Memorial Day

If you're watching your glucose levels, traditional BBQ staples may not be the best choice. Here are some recipes that will help you enjoy a Memorial Day meal without a blood sugar spike.

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Taking Mental Health Online: Tips & Tools for Self-Care
Taking Mental Health Online: Tips & Tools for Self-Care

Mental health has a significant impact on your overall health; here are tips, tools, and apps to improve your mental wellbeing.

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Can You Check Your Blood Sugar at Home Without a Meter
Can You Check Your Blood Sugar at Home Without a Meter

Living with diabetes can be a challenge, especially when it comes to keeping your blood sugar levels regulated. Learn if you can check your blood sugar at home without a meter.

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NutriSense Dietitians Recommend: Best Sunscreen for all Skin Types
NutriSense Dietitians Recommend: Best Sunscreen for all Skin Types

With summer right around the corner, it’s time to make sure you have the tools you need to protect yourself from sunburn and sun damage. But how do you choose the right one for adequate sun protection?

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Japanese Water Therapy & Weight Loss: What’s the Deal? 
Japanese Water Therapy & Weight Loss: What’s the Deal? 

Learn how Japanese water therapy can help with weight loss, energy levels, and detoxification.