Why You Might Consider Tracking Blood Glucose
One commonly overlooked function of health (and one worth keeping tabs on) is blood sugar levels and fasting blood glucose.
Not new news that unmanaged blood sugar levels can hedge us towards health conditions such as Diabetes. But unmanaged levels can also hedge us towards conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), where insulin resistance seems a main contributing driver.
Potential Symptoms of Blood Glucose (BG) Dysregulation:
- Amenorrhea or irregular periods
- Disrupted sleep
- Elevated androgens (elevated testosterone/DHEA levels as a females; hair loss, cystic acne, hirsutism or black hairs)
- Increased appetite, sugar cravings
- Joint pain, inflammation
- Mood swings
- Weight gain (especially around stomach)
A Few Potential Contributors to Blood Glucose Dysregulation:
- HPA Axis Dysfunction
- Chronic inflammation
- Hormonal birth control // Post-Birth Control Syndrome
- Poor gut health, gut dysbiosis
- Overtraining, overexercising
- Stress (:
- Thyroid conditions
(Among numerous others)
How to track:
Purchase a Glucometer ~ $50 on Amazon.
When Do I Check My Blood Glucose?
1.Fasting BG (first thing in am). Optimal values 70-85 mg/ dL
2.Post Prandial Blood Glucose (aka BG post-meals). Post-prandial BG should be at its highest around 1hr after eating- then should decrease over the next 2 hrs back toward resting levels. If we’re curious how our body responds to certain foods or food combinations, we can test 1 hour, 2 hours, and 3 hours after eating to get a more comprehensive picture.
Chris Kresser’s Proposed Optimal Levels:
1 hour after eating < 140 mg/DL
2 hours after eating, levels should be <120 mg/dL.
3 hours after eating, levels should be back to fasting levels
My Fasting Blood Glucose is 90-100+ in the morning- Should I be concerned?
Potentially. We likely feel like dog shit if it’s elevated consistently. However, a diagnosis of insulin resistance typically requires abnormal post-prandial blood glucose levels as well as elevated A1C (a measurement of how much of our hemoglobin is bound to glucose). But, pinging back readings 90-100+ consistently is likely worth curiosity and further investigation.
My Fasting Blood Glucose is 100-120+ in the morning – Should I be concerned?
Yessssss. Consult with your physician and hire an experienced coach to work on getting levels into a normal range.
Things to Consider if BG is elevated in the morning:
- Sleep: Sleeping less than our usual or having a disrupted night of sleep will often lead to elevated readings in the morning
- Training/exercise: May need adjustment. Reducing training volume, lowering intensity, or taking more rest days may be necessary
- Stresssssss. Excess cortisol and elevated blood sugar to hand-in-hand.
- Food: Try to keep majority of meals well-rounded so there’s pro/carb/fat/fiber at every meal. Also consider shifting more fat the evening meal if waking up with elevated BG. Ensure caloric & carbs are proportionate to activity levels (:
**Worth mentioning- we are much more concerned with trends over time than one isolated reading- so track for a few days so we can get a better idea of how our BG is fluctuating over time.
We’ll reiterate again that if blood glucose seems of concern, be working with a physician and consider hiring an experienced coach to move levels back towards a normal range.
[Collaboration post with Tiana Tallant]
Enjoy these types of nutrition tips? My ebook (The Badass Nutrition Guide) is the ULTIMATE guide to your BEST you & covers nutrition, macros, cheat sheets, deets on how much to eat, fat loss tips, hormone basics, reverse dieting, & SO much more!