AskNadia: Fasting High Blood Sugars & The Dawn Phenomenon

Hi Nadia,

I have had Type 2 diabetes for ten years and I control it with diet and exercise. My fasting sugar levels are always high. My sugar level will not go down. What do I need to do to bring my fasting blood sugar level down?

Thank you,

Dear Jack:

I am assuming that when you say fasting blood sugar, you mean your morning blood sugar level. If this is the case, it sounds like you might be experiencing the “Dawn Phenomenon”, when your body releases extra glucose in the morning before you wake up.

Dr. Bernstein, One of our board members says ” the dawn phenomenon is the situation where the liver removes insulin from the blood in the morning hours, which causes morning blood sugars to go up, even if breakfast is skipped.

Non-diabetics make insulin in little squirts about a minute apart. They make it whenever they need it and they make less of it if their blood sugar drops.”

If you can test in the early mornings several days in a row and log your readings, your doctor will be better able to help you ascertain if you are in fact experiencing the dawn phenomenon. The more data you have on your blood sugars in the wee hours of the morning, the more helpful it will be for your healthcare professional.


The low carbohydrates community will tell you that they experience better blood sugar readings when they cut out high carbohydrates from their diet. I have seen this to be true with my former type 1 husband. He went on the Bernstein diet back in the 1990’s and his blood sugar rarely spiked above 100. In the long run the strict diet was not sustainable for him. However, he still maintains a low carb diet which continues to help him keep his blood sugars in check.

Here are three more articles on the “Dawn Phenomenon” for you to read.

I hope you found this helpful.


The Dawn phenomenon: What Can You Do?


Nadia’s feedback on your question is in no way intended to initiate or replace your healthcare professional’s therapy or advice. Please check in with your medical team to discuss your diabetes management concerns.

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AskNadia (ranked #1 by Google), named “Best Diabetes Blog for 2017 by Healthline and with 24 nominations, Nadia Al-Samarrie’s efforts have made her stand out as a pioneer and leading patient advocate in the diabetes community.

Nadia was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. She was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” and with her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, co-founded Diabetes Interview, now Diabetes Health magazine.

Under her reign- Diabetes Health magazine was named one of the top 10 magazines to follow in the world for 2018 by Feedspot Blog Reader

Nadia has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, and other major cable networks. Her publications, medical supply business, and website have been cited, recognized and published in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, Ann Landers advice column, former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, Entrepreneur magazine, Houston News,, Brand Week, Drug Topics, and many other media outlets.

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