“Eating to Your Meter” is perhaps the ONE most important strategy you can employ! What it means is that you will determine what food(s) you can eat that will not spike your blood glucose (and, thus, your insulin levels) by careful testing with your blood glucose meter.
When you want to test for a specific food, either a new food (or recipe) or one that you haven’t tested for a while, here’s how to test:
- 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 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!
- 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 (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 several times on different days. Make sure the rest of the content of the meal stays consistent. Keep accurate records with dates and test results.
The idea behind testing at 1 hr and 2 hrs is based on the premise that your blood sugar will peak at 1 hr after eating the first bite, and that blood sugar will go back down to normal at 2 hrs. This doesn’t work for people who have gastroparesis or after a meal that is high in fiber and/or protein, which causes digestion to take much longer. You will just have to experiment with your timing for blood sugar peaking and blood sugar normalization.
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