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Controlling blood sugar through CGM

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Once just used in the treatment of diabetes, CGM can improve your health and your fitness.

Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), helps you optimise your metabolism and has become very popular among the biohacking community. Biohacking – also known as DIY biology – involves lifestyle and dietary changes that improve the functioning of your body. Some biohacking is small changes, other biohackers go in for self-experimentation and monitoring through wearable tech.

Just as using a personal fitness wearable, such as a Fitbit, can provide the motivation you need for couch to 5k, or making sure you move around enough and hit your fitness targets, so a CGM can do the same for your eating habits, reinforcing good behaviours and preventing your glucose levels from spiking.

Wearable tech

Sugar spikes

We all consume too much sugar, even though those little red warning labels encourage us not to. As well as the obvious offenders, such as cakes, biscuits and sweets, ready meals, sauces, juices and alcohol also often contain high levels of sugar.

When we eat or drink something with high sugar content, the blood is flooded with glucose. This can create sudden spikes and drops in blood sugar levels. Sometimes we don’t even notice this yo-yoing, but a so-called ‘sugar crash’ can result in headaches, fatigue, irritability, increased heart rate and anxiety.

Flattening the roller-coaster

Fluctuating blood sugar is taxing on the body, even when you don’t feel the side effects of a sugar crash. So what can you do to monitor the situation and see what dietary habits are engineering the best outcomes for your healthspan, as well as avoiding obesity, developing diabetes, or other life-threatening conditions?

Smart, wearable tech is the latest CGM must-have; originally intended for the management of diabetes, companies are realising that CGM has a biohacking following and that it can be used for diet and fitness management. While some countries are keeping CGM behind a prescription wall for clinical use, others are not, and savvy shoppers are using eBay and internet shopping to get around restrictions.

levels cgm longevity
New York start-up Levels is aiming to help people maximise their metabolic health and, ultimately, improve their healthy lifespan.

FreeStyle Libre CGM has received a CE mark and is commercially available; coupled with a handy app, the system will monitor glucose levels and can be programmed to warn the user about spikes. Levels has taken things to a new level altogether, with a waiting list and Bulletproof’s Dave Asprey and biohacker Tim Gray among its users. Neither option is cheap, however.

DIY glucose hacking

Although you can’t monitor your glucose levels without the tech, there are steps you can take to reduce your sugar intake, and cut down glucose spikes and crashes.

  • Cut back on your portion sizes – less is more!
  • Cut back on breads, grains, potatoes, fruit juice, pastries, cakes, sweetened drinks and other foods that are carbohydrate-rich. Try to up your fibre content.
  • Change your consumption order – the later in the meal the carbs, the better. Given that it all ends up in your stomach, it seems strange, but studies show that eating your fish before your chips and your roast beef before your roast potatoes can make a difference to your glucose levels.
  • Switch out the butter. Research indicates that monounsaturated fats can damp down blood glucose levels after a meal, whereas saturated fats do not. Breadsticks with olive oil would be a better choice than bread and butter!
Image credits: nikolaprihodova / Shutterstock, Free-Photos / Pixabay and Levels

 


The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Eleanor Garth
Deputy Editor Now a science and medicine journalist, Eleanor worked as a consultant for university spin-out companies and provided research support at Imperial College London and various London hospitals in a former life.
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