The phrase, “eat to your meter,” means using your glucose meter to help you determine what foods/beverages you can consume that will not harm your diabetic body.
Goal: To eliminate (abstain from) foods that cause blood glucose spikes.
Here’s how to test for a specific food, recipe, or meal:
- Baseline: Test pre-meal to get a fasting baseline. Ideally, you should have a non-diabetic normal of 70-99 mg/dL (or 3.8-5.6 mmol/l). If it’s higher than that, it’s okay. Just write it down.
- Blood sugar peak: Test one (1) hour after taking the first bite of your meal because that’s when blood sugar typically peaks. If you are clearly diabetic, it may not peak until 90 minutes after the start of your meal. If your blood sugar raises more than 20-30 mg/dL (or more than 1.4-2.0 mmol/l), that’s a red flag that the food, recipe, or meal being tested may not be a suitable one to include in your diet.
- Blood sugar normalization: Test two (2) to three (3) hours after taking the first bite of your meal as that is when your blood sugar should come back down to close to your pre-meal number. If it does not, keep testing every 30 or 60 minutes until it does!
- Delayed blood sugar peak and normalization: If your meal is high in fiber (such as whole grains and legumes) or if it is high in protein of any kind, test again at four (4), five (5) or even six (6) hours after said meal, because high-fiber high-protein meals typically take longer to digest and may cause your blood sugar to remain high for several hours after the meal.
- Repeat this testing process for a specific food, recipe, or meal several times on different days. Make sure the content of the meal stays consistent. Keep accurate records with dates and test results.
If you have diabetes, you may also be familiar with the ADA (American Diabetes Association) targets of <130 pre-meal and <180 post-meal. PLEASE DISREGARD THESE TARGETS. These targets WILL NOT protect you from serious diabetes complications. Just because these are considered “average” or “normal” diabetic blood glucose levels, it is also “normal” for many with diabetes to develop heart and kidney disease, strokes, and undergo amputations. These are considered just part of the “normal” progression of diabetes by organizations like the ADA.