Depending on the type of sugar, it can take anywhere from one to four hours for the body to digest it; however, blood sugar can begin to rise within just 20 minutes of consumption, explains Aglaee Jacob for SFGate. Foods with a lower glycemic index have less impact on your blood sugar.
Both carbohydrates and starches turn into simple sugars during the digestive process. Eating a well-balanced meal that contains proteins, fiber and healthy fats can slow down the rate at which blood sugar rises since these foods take the body longer to digest, according to Jacob.
Individuals with diabetes must be especially conscious of their sugar intake, as their bodies do not produce insulin to help regulate blood glucose levels in the same way a "typical" person's body does, notes the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Publications.