Monday, April 12, 2021

CGMs in Nondiabetics

 As continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) become a little less expensive, they're starting to be used by nondiabetics as a way to understand their responses to different foods. You need a prescription, but they're not difficult to get.

On one hand, it annoys me that well-heeled nondiabetics are able to use CGMs when many people with diabetes cannot. On the other hand, the more we understand how foods affect our blood glucose (BG), and the more the general public understands this, the more pressure there will be on the food industry to produce healthy foods that don't raise BG.

Some physicians are even using CGMs themselves so they have better understanding of how foods affect their diabetic patients. This is good.

 If you're interested in this, search on "CGM nondiabetic" and you'll get a lot of hits. Following are a few samples.

Here is a formal study from 2007. Glucose was measured by means of a catheter inserted at the study site. Note that they found BG levels went highest after breakfast, but many people continue to eat carby breakfasts.

 This one is a blog by a "nutritional therapy practitioner" with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). PCOS does increas the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but it hadn't yet developed in the blogger, Emily Blasik. It was interesting in part because of some of the confusion about carbs. For instance, she mentions eating a "zucchini crust pizza," after which her BG spiked. But if you read the text, you see that the pizza crust included tapioca starch, which has a very high GI. In fact, if you look at the incredients of "cauliflour pie crust" in your supermarket, you'll find that they add flour, most likely to get the crust to stick together.

Here's a blog by a nondiabetic CDE, LilyNichols. It's long, with references and 149 comments currently, but if you have the time you might enjoy it, as she's very thorough, so there's something for everyone.

This blog is by a dietition, Kara Collier. The high-stress day is especially interesting.

And for athletes, especially men, this one in Men's Health, focuses on the effect exercise has on BG. Interestingly, some of the nondiabetic participants found what people with diabetes have found for years: you can eat exactly the same thing at the same time of day and get different results.

Finally (in this blog; there are zillions more blogs about CGMs in nondiabetics), here is a CGM site by a physician.

 What most of the bloggers learned was something people with diabetes have known for a long time: it's carbohydrate that makes BG go up, and "healthy" foods like oatmeal with milk are among the worst offenders, whereas "unhealthy" foods like bacon and eggs keep BG more level. Several also found that strenuous exercise made BG go up (I've always found that). It makes sense, because if your body senses that you're needing more energy, it's going to try to produce extra energy as glucose even if you're fat adapted.

Perhaps when people realize that old-fashioned foods like meat and cheese are kinder to BG levels than pasta and rice, we'll see new food trends. One problem is that in some parts of the world, people can't afford a lot of meat, and they may not be able to eat dairy because as adults they don't have the enzymes that break down lactose. Perhaps one reason they were able to tolerate high-grain diets in the past was because they didn't have enough food to overeat. Or perhaps the high-grain diets did make their BG levels go up but they got a lot of exercise and didn't live long enough to see the long-term effects of the grains.

 Whatever, the study of BG levels in nondiabetics may give us new ways of thinking about BG levels in people with diabetes.