top of page

Use a CGM to help you find your optimal diet

What should your glucose levels be? Here’s the ultimate guide to healthy blood sugar ranges

  • Viewing diet through the lens of glucose levels can be a powerful way to personalize food choices and optimize metabolic health.

  • High post-meal spikes in glucose are uniquely damaging to brain, heart, liver cells and minimizing them should be a dietary priority. Keeping glucose levels steady over time leads to better health outcomes.

  • We have two different metabolisms (night and day metabolism) Having too low blood glucose level at night is called Nocturnal hypoglycemia                                    and having too high blood glucose at night is called nocturnal hyperglycemia                                       they both are pretty devastating chronic conditions that can sneak up onto us while we sleep and if not treat it they will develop in to a mature chronic disease. Using a CGM will give you the opportunity to be aware of what's happening at night and do something about it.

  • Having a fasting glucose level in the "normal" range may not be good enough: research shows that a higher fasting glucose level (even in the "normal" range) increases risk of chronic disease. Dietary choices have a strong impact on fasting glucose levels.

  • There is simply no one-size-fits-all metabolic eating plan that works for everyone. Different people can have very different glycemic reactions to the exact same foods, and the metabolic impact of lifestyle choices and other individual factors are difficult to measure with traditional tools.

  • Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) can help. With real-time, objective, actionable information about how food and lifestyle choices affect glucose levels, it’s possible to create an individualized diet to support optimal health.

  • if you are interested in a personal consultation or coaching on how to use a CGM please let me know.

Humans are complex organisms, each with a unique genetic, biochemical, and microbial blueprint. The reality is that every bite we consume impacts whether our bodies are moving towards optimal health or dysfunction. While a standard guidebook for living would be nice, the truth is that each person must determine the unique diet that supports their body’s highest level of functioning. Fortunately, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) can be a powerful tool in this pursuit. CGM can provide data and feedback to help determine how daily choices affect glucose levels in real-time. We can finally write our own guidebooks, linking the meals we eat with metabolic health with actionable information that can inform our food choices. We understand, it’s tough out there. We’re surrounded by what feels like unlimited sources of food, plenty of which claim to be “healthy.” But despite this abundance, our country is sicker than ever. Recent research shows that in 2018, 80% of consumers found conflicting information about food and nutrition, and 59% say that makes them doubt their choices. The beauty of objective data is that it cuts through the noise.

Glucose levels, and how they change over the long and short term, have a great deal to do with health and well-being. Diet is the most significant determinant of our blood sugar. Chronically elevated levels and post-meal spikes can lead to serious dysfunction, including increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, liver cirrhosis, obesity, death from cancer, and more. Healthy regulation of glucose is a fundamental building block of an optimal diet.

Related article: 12 glucose-lowering strategies to improve metabolic fitness

In the past, there have been a few tools to help understand how food affects glucose levels. A glycemic index chart could offer rough estimates of a food’s predicted glucose impact for the general population. Daily finger sticks to spot check glucose levels could provide more personalized information. CGM changed all this. This powerful tool can track glucose trends 24-hours a day, not only in response to diet but for lifestyle behaviors including exercise, sleep, and many others that affect glucose. A diet that optimizes glucose levels should have three main goals:

  1. Minimizing spikes after meals

  2. Maintaining levels in a relatively narrow and healthy range

  3. Keeping fasting glucose (measured after consuming no calories for at least 8 hours) in a range that carries the lowest risk

Minimize Glucose Spikes After a Meal.

The term postprandial hyperglycemia refers to larger than average elevations, or spikes, in glucose levels after eating a meal. Excessive spikes are dangerous for many reasons. They’re a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease,thickened carotid artery walls, liver disease, obesity, stroke, retinopathy, renal failure, cognitive dysfunction, cancer, and mortality. The mechanisms that link glucose spikes with chronic disease may include oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which can contribute to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance refers to the state when the body’s cells become less responsive—or “numb”—to signals from insulin, a hormone that allows cells to take up glucose. Insulin resistance can be the first step toward diabetes.

Related article: What is insulin resistance?

Scientists believe it proceeds like this: Insulin resistance leads to lower post-meal blood glucose control, followed by elevated fasting glucose levels, which leads to sustained high glucose levels over time. As a point of reference from the International Diabetes Federation, healthy people should rarely exceed 140 mg/dL after a meal, and glucose should revert to pre-meal levels within two to three hours. However, studies of non-diabetic populations wearing CGMs suggest that we may benefit from keeping an even tighter range after meals. One study showed that healthy young adults spent about 80% of the time at glucose levels under 100 mg/dL and less than 1% over 140 mg/dL. Another study showed that healthy individuals spend 94.4% of the time at glucose levels under 120 mg/dL, and again, less than 1%  above 140 mg/dL. So aiming to just stay below a level of 140 mg/dL after meals is likely too lenient of a benchmark for optimal health. A healthy person should more likely keep their glucose below 100 mg/dL for the vast majority of the day and rarely ever exceed 120 mg/dL.

The implications are clear. When seen through the lens of glucose levels, an optimal diet should focus on foods that minimize post-meal spikes. This kind of diet can reduce the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. They can also improve insulin sensitivity and cholesterol profiles. The concept of the glycemic index (GI) has pretty simple parameters: It describes the rise in glucose levels observed after the intake of 50 grams of carbohydrates of a specific food. Under this paradigm, a food with a higher glycemic index raises glucose levels more than a food with a lower index. But the GI has limited application in the real world because very few people eat 50 grams of a particular carbohydrate at a time. Despite this, some studies find that a diet’s glycemic index is a good predictor of blood sugar fluctuations and that low glycemic index diets can reduce post-meal glucose elevations (see Figure 1).

What’s your Personal Optimal Diet? a CGM will Help You Find Out

bottom of page