Diabetes is a global epidemic that threatens the health and well-being of hundreds of millions of people. The first step in patient treatment is to monitor glucose levels. Currently this is most commonly done using enzymatic strips. This approach suffers from several limitations, namely it requires a blood sample and is therefore invasive, the quality and the stability of the enzymatic strips vary widely, and the patient is burdened by performing the measurement themselves. This results in dangerous fluctuations in glucose levels often going undetected. There is currently intense research towards new approaches in glucose detection that would enable non-invasive continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). In this review, we explore the state-of-the-art in glucose detection technologies. In particular, we focus on the physical mechanisms behind different approaches, and how these influence and determine the accuracy and reliability of glucose detection. We begin by reviewing the basic physical and chemical properties of the glucose molecule. Although these play a central role in detection, especially the anomeric ratio, they are surprisingly often overlooked in the literature. We then review state-of-the art and emerging detection methods. Finally, we survey the current market for glucometers. Recent results show that past challenges in glucose detection are now being overcome, thereby enabling the development of smart wearable devices for non-invasive continuous glucose monitoring. These new directions in glucose detection have enormous potential to improve the quality of life of millions of diabetics, as well as offer insight into the development, treatment and even prevention of the disease.