You may have been seeing Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) popping up on your instagram feed lately. Several companies have developed apps that integrate with Continuous Glucose Monitors to help with weight loss, restore metabolic and cardiovascular health and rebalance hormones. 

The CGM gives you a window into your own metabolic health by giving you continuous data on how your body’s glucose fluctuates based on what you eat and drink, how much you move and how stressed you are.

By seeing this data in virtually real time, you can adjust your lifestyle and diet to help you to reduce spikes in blood glucose levels and keep it steady. 

What Blood Glucose Spikes Do?

When blood glucose levels spike,  it causes your body to release insulin. Your body releases insulin normally however blood sugar spikes demand an increased amount of insulin. Over time, with these large spikes, your body may develop insulin resistance [1]. That is, your body becomes numb to the effect of insulin. Over time, you may start to see average glucose levels go up.  This can eventually lead to a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. 

Insulin is your main fat storage hormone. When your body needs more and more insulin to tackle blood sugar spikes, you might start to notice that weight loss is harder. 

Insulin resistance, and increased blood glucose levels, are also a source of inflammation in the body and can cause other symptoms besides weight gain.

  • Elevated blood pressure of 130/80 or higher [2]
  • Elevated cholesterol levels (and lower HDL levels)
  • Elevated levels of testosterone (leading to PCOS) [3]
  • Elevated risk for heart disease [4]

How Does a Continuous Glucose Monitor Work

A Continuous Glucose Monitor is a little different than a blood glucose meter. When you use a monitor, you stick your finger and the blood glucose level is read on your meter. The CGM, on the other hand, reads your interstitial fluid through a bendable needle that’s stuck into your arm and attached to a sensor device. There is a 5-10 minute delay compared to a blood glucose meter reading. However your reader (or app) will provide you with data 24-7 which will include night time levels. 

Benefits of Having a Continuous Glucose Monitor

I had been testing my fasting blood glucose every morning for several months and became frustrated by what I was seeing. I seemed to never get my blood sugar below 90. The interesting part was that when I ate carbs at dinner my fasting morning blood glucose might be a little lower than if I had a low carb dinner. 

The challenge with using a blood glucose meter is that you won’t see how your low night-time blood sugar can spike a release of glycogen stores from your liver. Or that a bad night’s sleep may have caused an increase in blood glucose levels. You also wouldn’t see how your alarm shocks your adrenal glands into producing cortisol which also spikes release of glycogen stores. 

With a Continuous Glucose Monitor, I can see exactly what happens at night as well as during the day. As I made changes to my meals, sleep habits and wake up routine, I saw a stabilization of my glucose levels. 

Who Could Benefit from a Continuous Glucose Monitor

I’m a fan of the Continuous Glucose Monitor and I have been recommending this to many of my clients who struggle to accomplish one or more of the following: 

  • Improve metabolic health
  • Reduce risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Weight loss
  • Reduce elevated testosterone levels
  • Improve cholesterol levels
  • Taking Metformin but has not had any nutrition coaching

That said, you typically need a prescription from your PCP. Most doctors are happy to oblige because this device simply monitors to allow you to make diet and lifestyle changes that they themselves may not be trained in.  

If you’d like to learn how to work with me, I’m currently accepting clients for my Ultimate Wellness Program. All you need to do is book a free chat with me. 

[1] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/insulin-and-insulin-resistance#basics

[2] https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/insulin-resistance-syndrome

[3] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos/causes/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2911067/

 

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