I did a continuous glucose monitor (CMG) experiment for a month. I’d assumed things based on decades of education and like most humans, established habits based on repetition of what I felt was working for me.
In other words, I suppose even before I began there were hypotheses that I had been living for decades.
Eating either high fat or high protein or combining them at meals would cause stable blood glucose.
Eating high protein and fiber meals would cause the most stable blood glucose.
Quality sleep results in stable blood sugar levels.
Exercise, specifically strength training (long term) and secondarily (more immediate), walking or yoga to reduce stress stabilize blood sugar levels.
While these are fairly reasonable assumptions, as you may know if you’re reading this, habits that have worked with the hormonal levels we had won’t necessarily work the same with the hormonal levels we have.
Who This is For and Who It’s Not
If you enjoy observing the value of tools without even investing in them to decide if it’s a yes, a no, or just a no, not right now for you personally… then this is for you.
If you don’t want to improve your health and prevent disease and learn why you can’t lose weight with exercise (even after having corrected decades-old myths with Flipping 50 formula), skip it.
If you don’t like learning from others’ experiences to help you determine if something that could help you improve energy, decrease fatigue, or improve your overall health and longevity… skip it.
I’ve previously shared posts about continuous blood glucose monitors and their utility for midlife women more susceptible to insulin resistance and blood sugar issues. The accessibility of tools like this for proactive health-oriented individuals can help change health care, so that it truly is health care, not sick care.
I think you’ll agree it would be ridiculous to think that sick people would only be willing to share their medicine with others who get sick but not to share tools that could prevent others from getting sick and needing the medicine. That disease prevention is the power of a glucose monitor. (link to other blog and podcast content below)
Come along and I’ll share what I learned in my glucose monitor experiment.
That said, I set out to observe. During the first week, I watched and recorded my sleep, waking habits, exercise, drinks, and meals.
When I woke, I did a scan and recorded my sleep from the night before.
I recorded the 14 oz of water I drank first thing and the matcha with coconut milk and stevia that follows.
It all got recorded.
I share nothing with you that I don’t know, like and trust myself, use with clients or recommend to family … and often all of the above.
I Wore a Glucose Monitor for 30 Days, Here’s What Happened.
In this follow up to my glucose monitor experiment I’m sharing with you what I learned, how it might affect me, and what I’m planning to test next.
In the resources below I’ll share what I used (and suggest for clients) so if you too want to try to get insight into why you’re healthy eating and exercise aren’t working, you’ve got another tool.
I learned having matcha with coconut milk and stevia spikes my blood sugar far more than coffee with coconut milk (or MCT oil) and stevia.
Matcha is my morning go-to for the last 18 months. I virtually had given up coffee. Matcha, if you’re unfamiliar is powdered green tea leaves. That makes it 8-10 times more antioxidant-rich than a cup of green tea. It also has the power to boost fat burning, increase clarity and focus without causing jitters. I metabolize caffeine well (I offer DNA testing and have tested myself to know), so jitters were not an issue, but for any midlife woman, cortisol is. Especially one who enjoys a bit “more” exercise. Too much overall stress will cause your body to store fat and halt fat burning.
**If you’re thinking of trying Matcha, do be cautious. It’s grown in the shade, and without screening susceptible to mold, toxins, including heavy metals. My matcha of choice is quadruple-screened (and the taste is amazing)
As much as I didn’t really want to do it, during the experiment I tried coffee first. Blood sugar spikes were smaller. If I had a cup of matcha first and a cup of coffee second, the spikes from coffee were smaller, whereas if I had two cups of matcha (with coconut milk and stevia) the spike from second was consistently greater than the first.
I learned that (meals and) snacks high in protein, though not necessarily high fat without protein, stabilize my blood sugar best.
Coconut milk and a part of avocado with sea salt (separate occasions) were not high enough in protein though the fat content was high to stabilize blood sugar. Nut butter with an apple was. At the same time I was doing my glucose monitor experiment some of our community members were. An apple and nut butter for one of them spiked blood sugar, while for me it was optimal. Interesting right?
Things she might want to test:
- the time since her last meal
- content of last meal – whether a high protein + fiber meal prior to the snack changes her reaction to the snack
- stress level influence on same snacks (or meals)
- presence/lack of exercise influence on her reaction to the snack
- quality of sleep prior to having the snack
I confirmed that high protein meals are great blood sugar stabilizing meals for me.
Protein smoothies with more fruit (specifically certain fruit: mango and pineapple) caused a spike compared with smoothies with same amount of protein and fiber with less fruit and or berries or apple.
I learned low sugar “naked” (meaning alone and on an empty stomach) fruit as a snack can spike my blood sugar. (grapefruit)
I learned stress changes everything. Same foods, same timing have a very different blood sugar response when I’m stressed.
I’m taking a month or two off, knowing what I now know. Part of what I learned I can use to start the process of behavior change. Some of those habits like first thing in the morning take time to change (at least for me!)
What I’m planning on testing:
A glucose monitor experiment wouldn’t be a true experiment if I didn’t determine what needs to be tested next to gain more insight, right?
- A new sequence of eating foods I like. Say, a few pistachio nuts or a simple protein shake before grapefruit. (I don’t eat grapefruit because it’s a “diet” food: I actually like it).
- How the time of day I strength train influences my blood sugar levels.
- How yoga before meals (lunch and primarily dinner) influences blood sugar levels.
- How taking supplements influences my blood sugar levels.
Are you next?
Even though I hope this helps you reflect on your habits, it’s not you. Your personal variables are infinite. The thing I love about this is you see in real time exactly what is happening based on the habits you have. A blood test, or saliva test shows you a snapshot of the day you took the test. The old-fashioned glucometer (in my drawer, used for 5 years occasionally) only tells you when you prick your finger. A continuous glucose monitor removes the obstacle that make it hard or inconvenient to measure what effect your habits have.
You see the results of your habits externally every day. With this CGM you have the opportunity to learn more about why those results are happening.
If you have 20 or more pounds to lose and “healthy habits” aren’t helping you, this tool may give you some insight. Test, don’t guess is always a good rule of thumb. If you tend to skip meals, diet, or you’re fasting and reducing your caloric intake both, testing micronutrient levels and hormone status is wise. If you have gut issues or digestive problems testing gut health and doing a stool test can provide insight.
Flipping 50’s Fit U is an exercise, and exercise nutrition program, designed for women in midlife+ who have 20 or more to lose.