Want to get lean and prevent all kinds of diseases? Well a cheap, trusty glucometer will help you do just that. Glucometers are used by people with diabetes, but can be bought and used by anyone. Managing your blood sugar is the best way to prevent Type 2 diabetes; a dangerous, health robbing disease. Weight loss and maintenance is also a great side effect of keeping blood glucose in a healthy range.
On a personal note, I’ve been using glucometers for many years. Type II diabetes runs in my family. Seeing limbs amputated due to this disease was scary. It was also interesting to me, as a curious child, to notice that many of the people on my mom’s side of the family suffered from obesity. All of these people ate fairly reasonable portions. They weren’t gluttonous, nor were they “lazy”, an unfortunate label society puts onto people struggling with their weight.
I distinctly remember the dinners at my grandmothers house, and how most of the table was filled with carb heavy foods; rolls, cranberry sauce, yams with marshmallows, those weird jello molds with flecks of cream. All of it was delicious, and all of it was making my family sicker.
Looking back, it’s pretty clear to me that a diet high in carbohydrates was the cause of my grandmother’s diabetes. Its also clear to me that I have more of my maternal genetics than paternal. My mother’s genes blessed me with good skin, an ability to gain muscle faster than most meat heads, wavy hair, and a great face shape (humble brag). Her genes are also laced with carbohydrate intolerance, and a propensity towards weight gain.
If I didn’t exercise, and ate refined carbohydrates “in moderation” every day, I would be overweight and pre-diabetic. I wouldn’t have to eat tons of food. I wouldn’t have to be lazy…just live an average life of walking occasionally and eating bread a couple times a day would be enough. Seriously, my adiposity genetics are strong.
As I got older and learned what type II diabetes is, I started testing my glucose. As I suspected, my glucose would soar through the roof after eating refined carbs! I’ve used this little tool to stave off diabetes, keep my body fat low, and keep my energy stable.
I don’t advocate the Atkins diet, ketogenic, or even low carb. I advocate taking control of your health through simple tests like this, as well as inner body awareness. Carbs are still a big part of my diet, just not the kind of carbs that send my glucose through the roof for hours (bread, sweets, cereals, certain fruits etc.)
Here’s a typical breakfast for me. Two or three high quality scrambled eggs, half a plantain, and vegetables. All cooked in a little coconut oil or olive oil, depending on my mood.
If it were up to me, I’d fry up two gooey plantains, smother those suckers in butter and brown sugar, and call it a day…but I’m a responsible adult, and so I opt for a middle ground. This type of breakfast is lean, and makes me feel wide awake well into the afternoon.
Speaking of wide awake, did you know that blood sugar swings are a major cause of fatigue? That’s right. Your afternoon nap attack might be a result of a carb heavy breakfast. Keeping your blood glucose in a healthy range will stave off that sleepy, foggy feeling that so many people get all day.
The specific numbers below are suggestions made from one of Chris Kresser’s articles on glucometers. It’s a fabulous article, and discusses why the recommended glucose rates given by American health officials are too high. listed below come directly from
WHAT TO TEST
Fasting Glucose – This is the amount of sugar in your blood after not eating for about 12 hours. This number should ideally be between 70-89 mg/dL. Mine is anywhere from 75-85 depending on what I ate the previous day/sleep quality etc.
Pre-Post Meal Glucose – Taking pre and post meal glucose will give you a good idea of how a particular food or meal affects your body. If your glucose is above 120 mg/dL for more than two hours after a meal, that meal probably had too much sugar or starchy carbs for you.
Post Workout/Walk Glucose – This is more of a motivational tool to get you moving. You should see your blood sugar decrease after you move around. Whether it’s a walk or a workout, movement helps keep glucose levels in a healthy range. If you’re having trouble managing your glucose, exercise of some kind every day will help lower it.
Glucometers aren’t 100% accurate. They’re great for ball park figures, but could be off by 10 mg/dL. They’re a great tool for getting a general feel, but don’t live and die by the glucometer.
THINGS THAT MAKE INSULIN SENSITIVITY WORSE
Stress and poor sleep habits increase blood glucose. If you’re eating all the right things but you haven’t addressed stress or sleep, getting those squared away will help.
It sounds so cliche, but your thoughts and attitude have an infinite amount of power over your health. Don’t stress too much over the small stuff! Relaxation is a health booster.