Experiments with my Blood Glucose
After visiting a (non-related) family member with Type 1 diabetes last weekend, and using their glucometer, I was excited to order my own and start running a few tests and experiments, which I've been wanting to do for quite a while. I've been highly interested in diabetes as a subject matter for my entire adult (and even teen) life, and have always wondered how my own body responds to glucose, as I eat a diet fairly high in fruits.
I've only run three tests so far (four if you count someone I talked into testing this morning--post meal, 114, not bad) and things look spot on. I'll be monitoring the next few days as I put together a plan to see what my average blood sugar is.
I'm using the Bayer Contour USB (you can use their provided software to sync with) that I picked up dirt cheap ($20) from Amazon, along with 25 included test strips. The test strips are where the real price is, much like printers and ink cartridges, but at about 50 cents a piece, if you're just running a few experiments its very affordable. I'm logging using a nice app--free--for the iPhone/iPod Touch called Glucose Buddy, which makes it easy to track your tests. Much easier for me then installing the included software from the glucometer and syncing it with my laptop.
Using the guidelines on Blood Sugar 101 (a website and book), I've run one official-ish test. The blood sugar guidelines on this site are much different than what you would find through the American Diabetes Association, WebMD, or your doctor. The guidelines on this site are pulled from clinical studies and research, which provide better insight into what is optimum and healthy than you'll find in the mainstream rendition of science and medicine (when did we ever trust them anyway?). Use their page called Am I Diabetic to review the easy testing protocol and learn more about the numbers, but I'll give you an overview right now.
You find averages using three steps.
1. Pre-meal test. Do this when waking.
2. Post-meal test. One hour after starting a high carb/low fat meal.
3. Second post-meal test. Two hours after starting that same meal.
The reason for the third test is to monitor for a huge blood sugar dip in response to the sugars in your meal. This would point to pre-diabetes/metabolic syndrome.
My tests so far:
Post-meal after breakfast yesterday (7/1/11). Luckily UPS delivered it right after breakfast yesterday. Vegan tacos with pinto beans and brown rice tortillas, and tons of fresh veggies, tomatoes and avocados. I eat this nearly every morning.
One hour after eating my blood glucose was at 105. Awesome. High normal range is 120-140 according to the research, not the ADA. They think normal is closer to 190/200.
Fasting blood glucose 7/2/11. I woke up this morning and tested my blood glucose first thing, and it was at 89. Also a good reading. My fasting blood glucose was at 90 when I tested it at whim last weekend at the breakfast table with family. So far the average is great.
So we decided to have a high carb, low far breakfast this morning. Granola, fresh peaches, raw cashews, and soy (sweetened) yogurt. So sickening sweet it was hard to get down and made our throats burn. Post-meal glucose was 106. Unbelievably fantastic.
I got busy with the morning and forgot to test it two hours after, but I'll get it tomorrow.
Future experiments include testing blood sugar with mood to see if I can draw a correlation between crankiness and blood sugar (I'm pretty sure this could benefit everyone). But what I'm most interested in is testing in correlation to exercise, to see how exercise affects blood sugar. Tests will include testing after a workout and then after a meal after a workout, and see how exercise influences blood sugar levels. I'm also interested to see what ideas you all have for tests to do.
I write this because the vast majority of us, including many of us eating extremely healthy diets, are eating much more sugar then we did several hundred years ago. We also occasionally eat processed foods. Unfortunately, modern times necessitate modern technologies. Factories and laboratories are now behind our food--even if we do not eating ANY refined foods, they're still responsible for every crop, including many heirloom varieties. In dealing with the effects of laboratory and factory foods, we need laboratory devises, like glucometers, to monitor our bodies and to adjust accordingly. They are our defensive weapons.
Of course, there also are offensive weapons against them: to hunt and gather all our food and refuse modern conveniences. I'm not there yet, and since you're reading this on a computer, I'm going to speculate that you're not there yet either.
So I urge you to make a $20 investment to get a handle on how your body is responding to the food you're feeding it. The worst thing that can happen is that you have high blood sugar and you have to make the dietary and lifestyle changes you've been wanting to make anyway: eat better and exercise more. However, if you choose not to make that small monetary and time investment, and high blood sugar runs rampant, the consequences can be disastrous, including passing on diabetes to your children (not to mention: blindness, gangrene, loss of limbs, and ED).
Let me know what you think!
(As a disclaimer: I have no affiliations with Amazon, Bayer, or the folks who produced Blood Sugar 101 or Glucose Buddy).