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Diet Optimization Glucose Monitoring PCOS Type 2 Diabetes

Best Glucose Monitoring Devices

Curious about the best glucose monitoring devices and why you should use one for weight management? Dr. Erica Schulte, a clinical psychologist and weight management researcher, is here to help.

Curious about the best glucose monitoring devices and why you should use one for weight management? Read on!

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Why Measure Your Glucose?

To optimize your diet, you need to better understand how your body responds to the foods you eat. One of the key hormones related to hunger, fullness, and food cravings is called insulin. Insulin is produced by your pancreas when there are high levels of glucose (sugar) in your blood. When the foods you eat spike your glucose levels, then, over time, you may develop insulin resistance, which is recognized as a cause of weight gain, type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and heart disease.

If you have one of these conditions, your healthcare provider may have already recommended you track your blood sugar. However, even my patients who do not have health conditions find great benefit in seeing how different foods impact their glucose levels.

Some Science for Motivation…

You know I can’t resist sharing the science for why I encourage you to consider using glucose monitoring to optimize your diet.

In 2017, researchers in Israel tested whether people had a higher glucose spike after eating white bread (regarded as the less healthy option) compared to whole wheat sourdough bread (considered a healthier option). Surprisingly, about half of the people had a higher glucose response to the white bread and the other half had a higher glucose spike to the whole wheat sourdough!

The bottom line: every single body processes food differently! Wouldn’t you like to know more about how yours works?

Option #1: Continuous Glucose Monitoring

Continuous glucose monitoring devices may be viewed as the preferred option of many people because:

  • You don’t have to prick your finger multiple times throughout the day.
  • You just wear the device on your upper arm and your glucose is automatically measured.
  • The device captures the full extent of the rise and fall of your glucose since it is monitoring all the time.

However, continuous glucose monitoring systems require a prescription. Your healthcare provider would likely write you a prescription if you have a condition like type 2 diabetes, but you may not be approved if you are testing your glucose on your own. The good news is that the device is often covered by insurance with a prescription!

Among the continuous glucose monitoring devices on the market, the Dexcom G6 system is highly accurate and easily allows you to share your results with your healthcare team and any family/friends you select. Your providers will likely have an option they prefer and feel most comfortable prescribing based on your individualized needs, so talk to your doctors about this option!

Option #2: Manual Glucose Monitoring

If you do not have a prescription, prefer a manual method (often more affordable without insurance), or just want to conduct your own experiment to see how foods impact your glucose, then a manual glucose monitoring system is for you!

When I conducted my own experiment, I personally used the Dario Blood Glucose Monitoring System and found it incredibly easy. It comes with a USB dongle for your smartphone, and the Dario app walks you through the process step-by-step. The finger prick device is also quick and painless! I appreciated how the Dario app helped me keep track of my results, learn how my carbohydrate intake related to my glucose levels, and made useful graphs to compare across multiple days.

On the left, you can see an example day graphed in the Dario app, with some modest spikes to blood sugar after eating my breakfast and dinner. On the right, you can see graphs comparing my weekend days. On Sunday, I learned just how much brunch pastries and pasta spike my glucose! I’ll definitely remember to enjoy some protein alongside these foods next time.

                               

If you are excited about simulating continuous glucose monitoring, with a manual device, you can research the Dario system that I used at the link below.

Dario Blood Glucose Meter Kit

How To Interpret Your Glucose

To assess how your glucose responds to different foods, you will want to test yourself (or look at the reading on your continuous glucose monitor):

  • Before eating
  • 30 minutes after eating
  • 1 hour after eating
  • 2 hours after eating

Then, you’ll be looking at the change in your glucose at 30 minutes, 1 hour, and 2 hours after you eat the food/meal, compared to the glucose reading before eating. I suggest doing this for each meal or snack you eat, making sure to wait at least 2 hours between eating!

For weight management, consider increasing how often you eat foods that keep your glucose fairly stable! If certain foods increase your glucose higher, and for longer, you could limit how frequently you have them or make sure you eat them with other foods that help stabilize blood sugar, like lean proteins (e.g., whey protein powder, poultry, seafood, eggs). Eating meals and snacks that contain a combination of macronutrients, such as healthy fats + whole grains + lean protein, will likely help stabilize glucose most effectively. However, conducting this experiment on your own will allow you to choose the specific foods that work best for your body.

Dr. Schulte’s Summary

Learning how your glucose levels change after eating different foods is an excellent way to optimize your diet, control your weight, and/or manage medical conditions related to insulin resistance. If you aren’t able to obtain a prescription from your healthcare provider for a continuous glucose monitoring system, don’t worry! There are many easy-to-use manual kits, such as the Dario Blood Glucose Monitoring System. Use this approach to eat more of the foods that keep your glucose stable!

Questions? Drop a comment below or send an email to erica@drericaschulte.com!

References

Korem, T., Zeevi, D., Zmora, N., Weissbrod, O., Bar, N., Lotan-Pompan, M., Avnit-Sagi, T., Kosower, N., Malka, G., Rein, M., Suez, J., Goldberg, B. Z., Weinberger, A., Levy, A. A., Elinav, E., & Segal, E. (2017). Bread Affects Clinical Parameters and Induces Gut Microbiome-Associated Personal Glycemic Responses. Cell metabolism25(6), 1243–1253.e5.

Disclaimer: all opinions are my own and are not affiliated with my employers. Please seek medical guidance before pursuing weight loss or making significant changes to the way you eat or your physical activity routine.

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