Friday, March 18, 2016

Why I do test my glucose periodically- home glucose testing for the WIN! A top tool for my health

2 hrs post glucose, potatoes spike my values!
I don't eat white or sweet potatoes, most of the time. Even when I pick out potatoes out of soups and stews, my glucose really shows an effect. Imagine if I had chosen to eaten even a small amount of potatoes frequently? I had no symptoms, I felt totally normal.

My food template chooses me based on my genetics. The screen shot on the left shows 2 hours post picking potatoes out of a stew I bought while dining out one night.

My glucose values are silent. When I got my 23nMe genetics report (via Promethease data base) I knew I would have to manage my blood glucose the rest of my life. My genetic risks (many FTO double homozygous genes- both for obesity and type 2 diabetes).

It's the hand I was dealt, but diabetes is NOT the disease I have to have.

My diabetes risks won't get less as a I age. As much as a Paleo, Low Carb , Ketosis fan that I am, I still have to monitor and adjust my food choices if I don't want diabetes or obesity. This means n=1 glucose testing until I know what will and won't give me higher glucose readings.

My doctor never told me to monitor.  Fortunately, a lot of other people in my boat, who blog and post about it did. People who either were type 2 diabetes and are now in remission or people who get high glucose spikes like I do after eating certain foods.

And I'm super picky about MY normal glucose ranges. I know too many people in real life who stay with super high normals who seem to not have great outcomes. I didn't live through 40 years of yo-yo dieting and obesity for just so-so results. The folks I know in real life who are very cautious about keeping their glucose levels away from the cut-offs seem to be ill less often, have better weight management and fewer complications of type 2 diabetes.

My 2 hours post glucose does not lie. 102. Happily, my morning fasting glucose had gone back down. My glucose levels have stayed within my normal. I'm in and out of ketosis over the weeks, so my fasting glucose are going to be on the lower side of "normal".

 And, sometimes I will choose to eat a soup or stew where I pick out the potatoes. Sometimes it's the only choice at a restaurant or the best choice. But rarely. Most of the time I can get a simple grilled protein with simply prepared vegetables. EZ. Meat and veggies and some natural fat.

I'm not a bad person. I don't need to potato or rice harder. I just have to swim around my biggest risks in my own personal genetics. Keeping my blood glucose in a monitored range is also key for long term weight maintenance.

I enjoy having low visceral fat!
I'm very thankful (-AKA what's working)

1.That I still periodically monitor my glucose at home
2. That others in type 2 diabetes remission share their own ranges for "normal"
3. That I know my genetic risks for type 2 diabetes.
4. That I maintain a glucose range that will make it very hard to develop the type 2 diabetes disease via LCHF, Paleo-ish food template that keeps my blood glucose in check.
5. That I maintain a my weight and am "tough" with food and NOT moderate.

There's a reason Dr. Berkeley recommends no "S" foods. No or super low starchy foods post obesity weight management. 

Monitoring my blood glucose is a top 10 tool for me for weight maintenance and good overall health.

Moderating a food that keeps my glucose high is like smoking a short cigarette. It's not going to decrease my risks. Abstinence makes my health stronger.  So much moderation advice. Who wants a moderate case of diabetes???? Bueller??  I hear crickets....  LOL

Here's to n=1 your food template, based on your genetics. It's awesome if you can eat potatoes. They are great. Potatoes are just not great for me, most of the time. I'm very thankful that home glucose testing is affordable.
2 week glucose average- both fasting and 2 hour post meal

Moderate Carrot Cake 2010, not a great glucose plan
What didn't work in the past
1. I only monitored my glucose 1x per year, at my employer wellness event. I watched my glucose and HA1c get to pre-diabetes levels, with LOTS of visceral fat.
2. I totally believed that I could have okay health outcomes with the ADA glucose ranges. Nope. Being morbidly obese was not good for me.
3. I had no clue how much genetic risk I had. No type 2 diabetics in my family, but in my genetic make ups, yes! I could tell that the genotype was becoming a phenotype and expressing.
4. I ate 200-300 grams of carbs day, via WW frozen meals, Healthy Choice dinners and snacks like low point popcorn, low fat ice-cream. Hey, fat was the enemy, carbs were A-okay. Uhhhhh!
5. I could not maintain or manage my weight by being moderate. Moderate food template = nearly pre-diabetes. Which IS diabetes. I wanted to fool myself.

Is anyone else monitoring their blood glucose at home? Have you made changes on your food template to get better fasting and 2 hours post meal values?

Tortie #1 photo bombing my photoshoot


  1. Such an important reminder, Karen!

    My glucose levels were at the high range of normal last year, and my doctor didn't say anything. I brought it up to her, and she said that stress may have been a factor as the test was right after my dad's severe stroke. My levels have gone down, but I'm still not happy with them. I know I'll have to be more vigilant with carbs... It's so important to be informed and our own advocates!

    1. Andrea, thanks! My glucose slowly went up from 2007-2011 when I did the diet to lose the weight. Then I still had funky readings and pretty high A1c, too. I figured out fast that dried fruits and tropical fruits were definitely taking me back quickly to overweight and increasing my risks.

      Glad you are monitoring this, it will keep you well, for sure!

  2. First, let me say this: a 102 2 hours post meal is exceptional for someone who is not a diabetic. Really. This is in the low...maybe mid...range for people without diabetes. Since you mentioned it, tho, and said you were glad that your numbers were back down later, I'm thinking that you don't usually get to this normal number, but are on the low side of it.

    Okay. I said that so you wouldn't think I was freaking out over a 102 when I ask this: Have you ever had the 6 hour (usually 6 hours, anyway) glucose test? As I'm sure you know, but just so we're on the same page, that's the test given to determine who your body manages glucose and to see if you're pre-diabetic or full blown.

    They take your glucose, then give you an incredibly sweet syrup to drink and then take your glucose readings first every 20 minutes, then every hour. If you hit b140 or over at any time, you're diagnosed with pre-diabeties, if over 199 the diagnosis is diabetes. (At least, I think those are the numbers. Pretty close, if not.)

    Since your glucose went up more than your normal after a potatoless stew, I wonder how you'd do on the glucose test. If I were to guess, after ingesting 75 grams of sugar all at once, I bet you'd hit pre-diabeties numbers, at least. Or not. Your body may still be able to regulate the glucose. After all, 102 pp is really low sine I'd think the stew had carrots and some kind of starch for a thickener.

    Ha. Sorry about sharing my mind noise with you. :} If you do ever get that test, tho, do let me know.

    I had it done several years before I was dx with DMs and it showed that I was having high spikes in my glucose then a sudden drop to quite low. It was that drop that had sent me to the MD. He told me that if I didn't lose weight, I would be diabetic in 1- years. I DID lose weight, then gained it back, then lost it, then gained it back...and was diabetic in 15 years. Same month I turned 40. Yeah.

    Great job, Karen, on your wisdom and determination to do what your body needs. I've learned that what you do is what needs to be done the hard way--I hope others who read your blog learn by your example what should be done.


    1. Hi Deb, yes, I'm very aware of OGTT's (Oral glucose tolerance tests) since I have administered them before (long ago, under a doctors supervision...). Anyhoo, I hope to never have to take one (had a normal gestational diabetes screen in 2000), and use diet and lifestyle to keep the genetic risk low and never produce the phenotype. I'll be sharing some Dr. Berkeley resources in another post.

      Thank you- taking action sooner was a blessing!!! So many are showing up so sick (for many reasons) with out of control glucose and preventable heart disease. I'm glad to spend my money on monitoring at home. It's a lasting side effect of food addiction. Glad that treating my food addiction has also halted my risk, so far. Just glad I got on the weight loss thing before I was diagnosed.


  3. I assume you needed RX from your doctor for reader and strips? Insurance?

    1. Vickie, nope! I ordered my kit from Amazon for around $30-40. I only spot monitor when I make bigger changes, or to see how certain foods react. Better than paying $122 at my doctors office for her to tell me I had post menopausal weight gain.

      Since I was never diagnosed, insurance will not cover. Dr. Berkely has more info on glucose, I'll do a follow up blog post- I could have been diagnosed in 2011, but I steered clear of the doctor at that time. Now it's just up to me to act "as if".

  4. Karen-
    I did the same. When I hit a certain age bought a glucometer and periodically checked BG#
    Self Care feels so good and so does being proactive. American medicine is no based on the model of "prevention".

    1. Good to know!!! Glad you are monitoring. Oh, the money I've saved on doctors visits, illnesses that would have occurred. My risk is super high, yet I don't have the disease.... heh, heh heh. Yes, prevention seems to be do-it-yourself. I'm very thankful for those who have reversed type 2 (both IRL and in support groups) have shared their stories.

      So interesting, either people think my 102 reading is just fine or they want to know why I'd even chance it. LOL... two distinct schools of people. I know people in real life who get set off by white onion. I can do small amounts of those and shallots just fine, but potatoes and non-berry fruit. Look out!!! So glad to have the n=1.

  5. I know it is different in the UK but a home glucose monitoring kit can be purchased from any of our major chemist stores.
    Looking back it was Eddie,my husband - for those that may not know, who first knew about his diabetes. He bought one of these kits, his blood sugar levels were too high ... he then went to see the GP and the rest is history so to speak.
    If there is a history of diabetes in the family these self testing kits can be so helpful.

    All the best Jan

    1. Yes, once I knew my risks, Jan, I knew I was fooling myself not to test periodically. The nice thing about being very low carb on some days, I don't have to measure. If I make changes- say a little bit more carbs on some days, then I"ll monitor more often. I seem to go in several day cycles where "carbing" it up more with non-starchy veggies goes well, as long as I have olive oil or avocado with my meal.

      So glad I monitor. Disease saver. :)

  6. My blood sugar never goes as low as yours... never. I maintain a fasting glucose of around 5 to 5.3 (90-95). My blood sugar has never gone below around 4.7 (85). Your levels are incredibly low!! I do check my blood sometimes one hour then two hours after a meal and know that it's this that is important, how much your blood sugar spikes and how long to return to a normal level.

    I used to have the "morning phenomenon" - high fasting blood sugar, but that seems to have improved over the years. Also don't forget that when you don't eat many carbs then have a meal with more carbs than usual in it, your blood sugar will spike more severely. That is why before taking a glucose tolerance test low carbers are advised to eat more carbs for three days prior so they don't get a false result!

  7. Hi Lynda, since I went Keto-ish, my fasting glucose dropped from the 80's to the 70's. I seem to be normal for the others like me eating this way. I feel great energy wise and stable- no shakey states. True about the spikes. This meal should have been still low carb, but there must have been considerable broken up potatoes at the bottom of the stew.

    My HA1c was raising back to close to the pre-diabetic cut of levels, until I switched over to lower carb. I'll be excited to see the lower level this year when tested. My genetics...... I'm not really sure how I made it through my 40's without needing Metformin.... amazing. But I will take diet controlled disease management any day. I'm just glad I changed up before being diagnosed.

    Thanks for stopping by the blog.

    1. Me too... I was pre-diabetic although only through my own diagnosis. It seems doctors wait until your blood sugar is very high before they tell you anything over here! My HbA1c has been well within normal range now for nearly five years - long may that continue!!

  8. Very good post. In the past I liked to spot check myself too, even though I'm not diabetic. I noticed a bad night of sleep would bring my fasting numbers up. Ran out of testing strips and just haven't restocked but definitely should. This post also reminds me of a study where OGTTs included insulin levels too and it was found that many people with "normal" blood sugar response to the OGTT had high insulin levels--meaning they had insulin resistance/diabetes in their future as well as the other problems high insulin is linked too, but would have no clue if only blood sugar is measured. That is what I think of when people eat a carby diet and say they don't need to worry about it because their blood sugar is always normal when they get blood work done. For a small section of the population that may be true but not for most.

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