Continuous glucose monitors are becoming all the rage these days. For those of you who are new to CGMs, they check your blood sugar every 5 minutes for about 10 days. With such frequent testing, without having to prick your finger over and over again, you are able to see real time data on how what you are eating NOW impacts your blood sugar.
Why should you care? Repeated suboptimal elevations in blood sugar levels can lead to inflammation and promote cellular aging. High blood sugar levels leads to the production of advanced glycation end products, otherwise known as AGEs which can lead to chronic health conditions and accelerated aging. Excessive spikes are also a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, etc.
So I decided to try it for myself. Why? Because I love n of 1 experiments and I wanted to see how my dietary choices, my lifestyle, my exercise, and my sleep affected my blood glucose levels. I used a Dexcom G6 for 10 days. The first 5-6 days I ate as I normally would. The remainder of the days I adjusted things to try to achieve what I considered optimal glucose management. Based on research I had done (here, here, here, and here), the goals I wanted to achieve were:
So what did I learn about myself?? Well, that's what is so interesting…I learned a lot! Without the insight of the CGM I would never have this deep understanding of what I can do to tweak things to better control my blood sugar, reduce inflammation and AGEs, and ultimately support optimal health. Here is what I learned:
Overall, what I learned just confirmed what I knew, but also individualized things based on ME and MY current lifestyle. Currently I am a breastfeeding mama of two, that prioritizes quality balanced meals with lots of veggies, that isn’t exercising hardcore (rather just taking long walks most days), and getting VERY bad sleep. This experiment showed me that yes, I can make sure my blood sugars are well controlled if I am more mindful of my food choices and my exercise, despite having very poor quality sleep (which unfortunately negatively impacts insulin sensitivity). Interestingly breastfeeding helps increase insulin sensitivity, so together these two factors are likely a wash at this point for me. So based on this experiment, what will I change?
Now I am curious what will happen when I stop breastfeeding and my sleep quality improves… Maybe then I will reach for another CGM experiment!
And just for those of you who are curious, the pictures below are a fews of the meals and snacks that met all my blood sugar goals.
Like to read? Then get your evidence based nutrition information here! All posts written by Selva Wohlgemuth, MS, RDN Functional Nutritionist & Clinical Dietitian