Low-Sugar Optimal Diet through CGM
Nutrition

Low-Sugar Optimal Diet through CGM

“This is the best diet to help you keep your blood sugar in check!”

Have you ever had a non-diabetic person confidently recommend a diet plan they've never used but strongly vouch for its efficacy?

Have you been given diet advice or recommendations that you've found to be contradictory, difficult or confusing to follow?

Have you ever been completely or partly unsuccessful when you, as a diabetic tried a bunch of diets in hopes or desperation to lower blood sugar values?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to even one of the above questions, this article is for you. Read on to find answers to FAQs about creating an Optimal Diet.

Is there an Optimal Diet Plan to lower blood sugar levels?

Unfortunately, there isn't a perfect, one-size-fits-all, universal diet that can magically lower your blood sugar values when followed by any and all individuals with diabetes. A diet that is rigid or resorting to extreme crash diets or trending fads is neither ideal nor sustainable. However, there is a way to determine and personalize a diet plan using Precision Nutrition through a combination of multiple approaches that have been scientifically proven to yield the best long-term health benefits; thus making it the most Optimal Diabetes Diet for you.

What is blood glucose? How does it affect your health?

Before getting into how CGM helps in determining an optimal diet plan, we must first get a basic understanding of Blood Glucose levels and how it affects your health. Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, comes from the food you eat. Your body digests that food to create glucose; which at normal levels is a precious fuel for all cells in your body. The glucose that isn’t needed right away gets stored in cells for later use. Type 2 diabetes is a condition that’s characterized by higher levels of blood sugar than normal.

Over time, the excessive glucose from the unmanaged diabetes starts behaving  like a slow-acting poison, damaging your body and leading to problems with your heart, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels. High sugar levels also erode the ability of cells in your pancreas to make insulin, making the organ overcompensate resulting in high insulin levels and permanently damaging the pancreas over time. High levels of blood sugar can cause changes that leads to atherosclerosis or hardening of the blood vessels.

Can Glucose Levels Help Select Optimal Diet?

Everybody is unique and responds differently to different food items. You cannot compare your body’s response to someone else’s, even if you both have the same type of diabetes. This is where the glucose levels come in. They determine how your body processes glucose in all sorts of situations and allows you to curate a plan that works best for you. Knowing the glycemic index of the food alone is not enough. A low sugar diet for diabetics is an important part of any diet plan. The level of blood sugar depends on the body’s insulin sensitivity, metabolic capabilities, production of insulin, and so on. Glucose levels are an indication of all of these factors combined.

What is Continuous Glucose Monitoring?

Whenever you are watching your diet for blood sugar levels, you need to have a goal in mind. Continuous Glucose Monitoring is the device that helps you determine your goals that need to be achieved. This is a device that has a sensor that has to be placed under the skin. It should be placed on the belly or the arm of the person. This device takes readings at regular intervals throughout the day and gives you an accurate pattern of your blood glucose levels. The data is sent to a cellphone or another device which can show you the results or you can download them from the same. How is this device more useful and different from all the other tools? 

  1. Fingerstick tests can be eliminated – You don’t need to stick your finger every now and then to find out the glucose levels in the body. 
  2. Figure out a plan based on the results – You can plan your diet, and exercise regime, and your doctor has a better understanding of your body’s patterns and medications can be recommended accordingly. 
  3. Get notified in case of dips or rises – CGM sends you an alert when the blood glucose levels are too low or too high. You can take preventive steps and avoid any long-term damage to your body. 
  4. Better care for you – When you know how your body reacts in various situations, you are better prepared to care for your body. Your personalized data can make a lot of difference and put you and the professional working with you with better data to work on. 

How are Blood Glucose Levels measured and does it have a bearing on selecting an Optimal Diet?

Studies have shown that Normal Blood Glucose levels among healthy adults are typically under 100mg/dL and variations in values are measured through tests for Fasting and Postprandial Blood Glucose Levels.

Blood Glucose Levels

Goal of Optimal Low Blood Sugar Diet

  1. Reduce rise in blood glucose levels after meals - Right after a meal, the body generally experiences a spike in blood glucose levels due to the processing of food ingested. This is a sensitive time for the body, and a sudden spike can cause liver disease, renal failure, stroke, cardiovascular complications, and health issues that may be difficult or impossible to reverse. Pay special attention to food items that can increase the insulin sensitivity of the body, as it is one of the important factors in the post-meal rise in glucose levels. Opt for low GI level foods and increase the intake of fiber along with food to reduce the rise in blood sugar levels after meals.  
  2. Maintaining a healthy range of glucose levels - Glycemic excursions are extreme fluctuations in blood glucose levels. These are said to be more harmful than just a higher level as they can cause damage to the nervous system, inflammation, and damage to blood vessels too. The cause of these large swings is generally reduced insulin sensitivity.  
  3. Maintaining fasting sugar level to minimize risk - Fasting glucose is measured after fasting for 8 hours. If the range of the glucose level is “high”, then it is an indication of diabetes developing in the body. At the same time, there is a higher risk of heart diseases, strokes, and other health problems when the result is on the higher side. When the range is “normal”, it means that the person has an increased risk of diabetes. 

Identify which Foods affect your blood sugar levels?

  1. Glycemic Index : A numeric score assigned to a particular food based on how drastically it makes your blood sugar rise after consuming 50 gms of the same. So a food with a higher GI raises the glucose level more & the lower a food's glycemic index, the slower the blood sugar rises after eating that food. However, GI has drawbacks that make it ineffective to formulate an Optimal Diet Plan.
  • Not personalized enough and cannot predict how your body might respond to the carbohydrate content in a particular meal.
  • Does not take into account other key factors like genetics, sleep quality, stress levels, weight, gut microbiome, food combos, and insulin sensitivity.
  • Does not take into account the potential health risks from conditions such as heart disease, risk of stroke, obesity, etc.
  • The same food may impact another person very differently. Each of us absorbs and utilizes food in a distinct manner, leading to better health or to dysfunction.

        2. Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) : A device that automatically tracks your blood glucose levels, day and night a few days or hours, and allowing you to monitor upward and downward trends of your glucose levels. A CGM tracks your sugar levels over a few days or hours and gives you data and feedback about how the food choices you made have affected your blood glucose levels and to what extent.

Three Key aspects tracked on CGM to optimize diet plan?

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) allows you to check on your glucose levels and look out for these 3 key changes, and take appropriate and effective actions.

  1. Post-Meal Spikes : Postprandial Hyperglycemia can be managed with the right choice of food. Individuals with this condition are at risk for type 2 diabetes, heart and liver diseases, obesity, and cancer, among other diseases.
  2. Glycemic Variability : Since lowering Glucose Levels is the key goal, you can track when and what caused the glycemic fluctuations. The ideal glycemic levels should not exceed 120mg/dL and be less than 100mg/dL for most of the day.
  3. Fasting Glucose Levels : Maintain a healthy Fasting Glucose value of under 100 mg/dL, by following an optimal diet of not consuming any calories for at least 8 hours before taking the reading.

What is the role of Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) in creating an optimal diet plan?

You can effectively leverage the power of CGM to assess data and feedback that shows what and how your daily food choices affect your glucose levels in real-time. Based on the CGM data, the link between the below factors becomes very clear.

Bottom Line

CGM gives you data and feedback that showing how daily choices affect your glucose levels in real-time. This is a real boon in a world where there are a plethora of ‘healthy’ food choices that tempt us at every turn and through multiple media outlets, shops and nutritionists advertising and offering multiple diet plans. Using CGM, you can create an optimal diet plan based on the data that shows the link between the meals you eat, your blood sugar level and metabolic responses. Talk to your health provider today and choose the best suited CGM device and try it yourself! Good health to you!

FAQs

How do you use CGM for Diabetes management?

CGM provides one with accurate data using technology. It eliminates any assumptions that you can be making and reduces the margin of error. It provides one with data that is actionable and you can draw precise conclusions. You don’t have to rely on nutritional data given on the labels or suggested by the dieticians alone to manage your blood sugar levels. It gives you data that can be used for drawing up a regimen that includes your diet, exercise, rest periods, and medications, and helps to further enhance your well-being. 

How do you use CGM for weight loss?

When you start using CGM, gather data and analyze how your blood sugar levels are affected throughout the day. You can then devise a diet plan that ensures your body burns stored fat without compromising your overall health. 

How many carbs should be eaten in Hypoglycemia?

Follow the 15-15 rule if you have hypoglycemia to determine the impact of the carbs consumed. This rule refers to consuming 15 grams of carbs and waiting for 15 minutes to check your blood sugar level. If it seems stable or below target, you can have another serving and follow the same rule. 

What are the recommended foods for low sugar levels?

You should consider having candy, dried or fresh fruits, fruit juice, and honey. In case of an emergency, a few biscuits work well too. 

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