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Food and Blood Glucose Levels: How to Eat to Your Meter

Food and Blood Glucose Levels: How to Eat to Your Meter

As many people that have diabetes know, what you eat greatly affects your blood glucose levels.  Glucose is the simple sugar that the body creates when breaking down carbohydrates.  Diabetics can’t regulate their blood glucose levels naturally; they are often too high.  This is why they use a blood glucose meter to check their levels multiple times a day.

Most people with blood glucose meters check their blood sugar before each meal and a few hours afterwards.  Eating specific foods can help keep your blood glucose levels in an acceptable range.  This is sometimes referred to as “eating to your meter.”  While the specifics of what blood sugar levels are ideal vary from person to person, anyone with diabetes can benefit from learning what to consume in order to manage the disease.  Read on for some helpful tips on how to eat to your meter.

Take notes

If you are serious about eating to your meter, you’re going to need to get organized.  Record your blood glucose levels every time you check them and all the food you eat in a day.  Try to check your levels at the same time every day – about two hours after eating – so that your results are as accurate as possible. 

After a week or so, look back and see what foods seemed to help you keep your blood sugar in an acceptable range.  You want your blood glucose levels to stay about the same from when you check before a meal to when you check two hours after.  Whatever you eat for a meal that leads to this result are probably beneficial foods for you.  Try to eat more of these foods the next week and less of any foods that caused a spike in your levels.  Pay close attention to carbohydrates, since these affect glucose levels the most.

Find healthier alternatives

You might find that some of your favorite foods are causing high blood glucose levels.  First, try eating smaller servings.  If that doesn’t work, seek out a healthier but still tasty alternative.  As the popularity of gluten free and low- or no-carb diets grows, the options on how to make sweets do as well.  Experiment with different recipes.  Eat to your meter doesn’t have to mean eat only things you don’t like.  Occasional treats are fine.  Discovering delicious foods that help you stay in range are even better.

Include exercise in your plan

You may find that exercising regularly can help keep your blood glucose levels steady.  A good balance of physical activity and eating to your meter is often the best way to control diabetes.  Exercising may even allow you to eat foods that are causing a bit of a spike.  If there are a few carbohydrate-heavy meals you can’t imagine giving up, try working out on the days you eat those foods and see if that helps at all.

Partner with your doctor

As with any choices that you make that impact your health, you should consult your doctor about your decision to eat to your meter.  It is highly likely that they have many additional tips and tricks that will be beneficial for you to know.  Also, they are probably the person that knows the most about your own diabetes.  Your doctor knows what blood glucose levels you should try to stay on, what specific health risks you face, and more.  They should be your partner in this journey to use diet to keep your diabetes under control.

The doctors at BASS Advanced Urgent Care can help with everything from a wellness checkup to blood glucose testing. Walk in from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. any weekday for an appointment.