Are you confused if what you are eating is healthy?

Are whole grains good for us?
Do we need to be gluten free?
Should we be eating dairy regularly?
What about fruit?
Nuts?
Beans?
Ahhhhhhhh!

Let’s face it, there is A LOT of conflicting diet information out there. Where do you even start?

Well it all comes down to one very basic thing…your blood sugar

It doesn’t have to be complicated. 

It doesn’t have to take weeks of diet diaries and calorie counting. 

Nor does it require reading endless books, websites, studies, and journals to get the most up-to-date nutrition advice. 

It is really quite simple, and it can be tested. 

Wouldn’t it be great to know when you eat something how the inside of your body responds? Does it give you the green light or the red light?

Well, you can learn this with a very inexpensive piece of equipment that you can find at any drug store or pharmacy called a glucose meter or glucometer.

Here is one that I recommend.

Here is a box of 100 test strips and a box of disposable lancets.

Click here for a video tutorial on how to test your blood sugar.

So, ask your body what it thinks of the food you are eating by taking your blood sugar.

Here is a quick & very basic break down on how your blood sugar works.

Step 1: You eat a food 

Step 2: It gets broken down into two categories: stuff the body will use and stuff that will become waste

Step 3: Glucose, aka blood sugar, is one of the essential breakdown products of food that the body and brain use for fuel 

Step 4: Depending on the types of food you just ate, your blood sugar rises. If you just ate a meal high in starch and sugar, your blood sugar rises high over a normal fasting level. If you just had a meal of healthy fats and proteins, your blood sugar does not rise as high.

…….

Having a normal functioning blood sugar is the key to optimal health and the prevention of chronic disease in your life!

The amount of time that your blood sugar spends elevated over 140 mg/dl (7.77 mmol/L) proportionately raises your risk for damage to the pancreas and the nervous system. Studies suggest that elevated blood sugar also correlates to increased rates of diabetes, stroke, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

With an inexpensive glucose meter, you can see the direct effect on your blood sugar of that burger that you just ate. 

…….

So what is the best way to test your blood sugar?

First: Test your blood sugar first thing in the morning before you have eaten anything.

This is called your “fasting” blood sugar level. Optimally this level should be between 75-90 mg/dL (4.16-5 mmol/L).

Second: Test your 1-hour post-meal blood sugar. 

Your blood sugar will reach its highest point around 1-hour after eating the meal. This reading tells you how high your meal has made your blood sugar. It is important that you are not eating food that consistently raises your blood sugar over 120 mg/dL (6.66 mmol/L).

Third: Test your 2-hour post-meal blood sugar. 

This reading tells you how efficient your body is at balancing your blood sugar. Optimally this level should be less than 120 mg/dL (6.66 mmol/L). The closer to 100, the better. 

Fourth: Test your 3-hour post-meal blood sugar.

Your glucose level should be back to your fasting level or under 100 mg/dL (5.55 mmol/L). This is a normal healthy response to eating a meal.

Fifth: If your blood sugar has not returned to your fasting level by hour three, continue to test it hourly until you see how long this process takes for your body. A normal response is 3 hours post-meal.

In the beginning, it is a good idea to pick some meals that you eat on a regular basis and take a day to test those. 

Record your findings. And as time goes on, you will have a diary of what foods your body likes best.

…….

Now there is one catch. 

What does it mean if you eat something clearly unhealthy, like a candy bar, and your blood sugar does not elevate over the 120 mg/dL (6.66 mmol/L) mark? 

This means your body is adapting to the rise in blood sugar very well! And this is a good thing. You have a very healthy body. However, if you continue to eat processed foods high in starch and sugars, over time your body will slowly lose this ability to adapt. This is not a good practice. 

Want to know some foods that commonly convert quickly to sugar and cause a rapid high spike in blood sugar?

White foods- white rice, white potato, all forms of sugar

Refined grains- breads, pasta, crackers, baked goods, cereals, chips

Candy and sweets

Soda, juice, sweetened drinks

Believe it or not, the American Diabetic Association (ADA) still recommends eating some of these foods, even to those with diabetes. Eating cereal and English muffins for breakfast is a good recipe for developing diabetes!

…….

By familiarizing yourself with the effect that food has on your blood sugar, you will start to learn what foods your body loves and which ones to eat only on special occasions or not at all. 

A balanced blood sugar results in feeling healthier, having more energy, preventing the afternoon crash and the “hangrys” (hungry + angry), and getting a better night’s rest. 

The next step in learning about what foods are the healthiest for you  is nutrient density & bio-availabiliy, but that is a topic for another day.

Now go make yourself your favorite meal and test this out for yourself!

…….

**This post first appeared on Eat, Live, Life. A great site for learning how to live a healthy life.**


    7 replies to "Want to know if your diet is healthy? Track your blood sugar."

    • Mary M. Martinez

      Thanks, very informative.

    • Sagar

      Hey thanks for the info.. btw I’ve some issues regarding my health, hope you would like to hear and love to comment on that! I’m an Indian and my family is having diabetes. My grandfather died in 1975 by kidney failure and my father has also diabetes but in control. I’m 33 years old and recently I’ve been diagnosed with diabetes.. My fasting was 169 and PP was 292 (:O) . Then I started to do Yoga and diet.. after one month my fasting sugar level was 110 and PP was 127. But today I accidentally checked my blood sugar just after two hours of the wheat porridge+milk+honey+banana meal as breakfast and the result was 115. Seemed fine but I checked my sugar level again after the lunch (after two hours) but this time I got 145. So, should I worry or not?

      • AH

        I talked to my doctor when I was diagnosed, and she said that a blood sugar monitor can kind of bee like a bathroom scale, it fluctuates frequently and can make the user feel a little “crazy” when they think they’re being good with diet & exercise. From my understanding (speaking to a nutritionist) bananas are very high in sugar- did you use the whole thing? Maybe try switching to 1/2 banana & see if that helps?

    • Alice

      Thank you for this information. When you say a breakfast of cereal.And.English muffins, would.you please be more specific? Does it have.to be unsweetened cereal,such as oatmeal with diced apple and raisins? Or can it be Cheerios?

      What would you put on the English muffins, jelly,.all-fruit spread,.butter,or.can I have one Half-Life in with butter, and the other half with jelly or all-fruit, please? Diabetic,and my morning fasting sugars have progressed this last year from an avg of95-105, to 95-120s, but the last 2 were 170 and 152.

      I’m not on medication..

      I only eat whole grains. I have a terrible time eating at the same times or every 3 hours,very chaotic to a starve-binge eating disorder that started by dieting and dieting exacerbates it, Spielberg diet again. I have starved/dieted/binged up to.370lbs, so dieting is the worst for me. I went for 30 years almost never eating before 4 pm,and it has taken half a.dozen years of eating disorder treatments to be able to eat breakfast most days. It’s 3 pm and I haven’t eaten breakfast yet. About to test and go eat.

      Also,why,.When I eats cup of ice.cream and other sweets at night or the previous day,is my blood sugar under 100.the next morning, but if I don’t eat sweets, the BG is over 100 – 120 the next morning, please? Thank you in advanced any help you might provide.

    • Alice

      I apologize for all the auto-word errors!

      Corrected:

      Thank you for this information. When you say a breakfast of cereal and.English muffins, would.you please be more specific? Does it have.to be unsweetened cereal,such as oatmeal with diced apple and raisins? Or can it be Cheerios?

      What would you put on the English muffins, jelly, all-fruit spread, butter,or can I have one half with butter, and the other half with jelly or all-fruit, please? I’m Diabetic,and my morning fasting sugars have progressed this last year from an avg of 95-105, to 95-120s, but the last 2 mornings my readings were 170 and 152.

      I’m not on medication..

      I only eat whole grains. Other than sweets, I eat a home-made, mostly whole foods diet.

      I have a terrible time eating at the same times or every 3 hours,very chaotic due to a starve-binge eating disorder that started by dieting, and dieting exacerbates it. I will never diet again. I have starved/dieted/binged up to 370lbs, so dieting is the worst for me. I went for 30 years almost never eating before 4 pm,and it has taken half a.dozen years of eating disorder treatments to be able to eat breakfast at all, most days. It’s 3 pm and I haven’t eaten breakfast yet. So please don’t advise weight loss. It just triggers me to not eat, especiallybreakfast,and dieting and meal skipping restricting is a set-up for binging/make-up eating. I’m about to test and go eat now.

      Also,why, when I eat a cup of ice.cream and other sweets at night or the previous day,is my blood sugar under 100.the next morning, but if I don’t eat sweets, the BG is over 100 – 120 the next morning, please? This is driving me crazy. I read from Dr. McDougall that carbohydrates -probably he ONLY meant starches- stimulate the pancreas and help to maintain healthy BG, and I do have an intentionally whole-starch centered diet, but these blood sugar tests in relation to eating sweets are very confusing, and tempt me to eat sweets to get lower morning readings. I only test in the morning currently.

      Thank you in advanced any help you might provide.

    • Iluebe T.

      Thanks for these awesome post on blood sugar levels, very informative. Like your blog

    • Carol

      Hi, I have been told I am pre diabetic and decided to check my blood sugars at different times to see the trends. I’ve only been doing it for about a week but what does it mean if my fasting are consistently 100-06 but my post parandials are 135 or less (mostly 120 or less) . I’ve checked my glucose before bed and it was 88 but then 105 in the morning. The post parandials
      don’t seem bad but my castings are almost all in the prediabetic range.

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