A while ago I attached a glucose monitor to my arm for 14 days. You’ll all know that a glucose monitor is a useful tool for diabetics, but can it be life-changing for non-diabetics too?
With more and more research linking poor blood sugar control to many of the diseases of our time such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, dementia and even cancer, I wanted to really understand how my body responds to different foods.
I wanted to understand what’s right for my body, not what’s right according to “guidelines”, or what’s right for another body.
In fact, as I thought about it more, I wanted to understand not just how I could optimize and maintain my weight, but also how I could optimize my energy levels, fitness level, and of course, how I could adjust, according to data, in order to prevent disease.
Here’s what I learnt:
Lesson 1: With stress and poor sleep my sugars were higher.
Being able to see my baseline rise, I could make better decisions as to my food choices to help compensate for this. All hormones are a web – a change in my cortisol (stress hormone) meant that there was a change in my insulin and therefore sugar control. By making sure I ate accordingly, I could maintain my glucose levels and support my body to prevent sugar cravings, and further fatigue.
Lesson 2: My highest (with the most rapid increase) reading came from eating white rice.
This rice was recently cooked. It was a good reminder to cook my rice the day before. This allows resistance starches to form, which slows down the absorption of glucose from the rice.
Lesson 3: Don’t underestimate the role of fiber in slowing down the absorption of glucose from food.
If I had carbohydrates in a meal, I could mitigate a rise in glucose if I had enough fiber – that means lots of non-starchy veggies.
Lesson 4: Dairy caused the second highest climb for me – a full cream plain cheese caused a big spike in my sugars.
I suspect that dairy created an inflammatory response for me and/or I was more sensitive to the lactose. I noticed that I was tired 30 minutes later. I didn’t see this one coming, but it just goes to show that everyone is different and, for me, dairy is something that I need to keep an eye on.
So what now for me?
I was truly amazed by all that I learnt during my 14 days. By tackling my blood glucose, I could ensure better sugar stability and BUILD MY METABOLIC FLEXIBILITY, meaning I could teach my body to seamlessly switch between burning glucose and fat. And with the information that I gathered, I’m refining my diet and monitoring my progress.
And more importantly, what now for patients of Hanya House?
The truth is that I’ve spent a large part of the last two years researching insulin resistance, weightloss, and metabolic health. They’re all related, and although weightloss is a big motivator for many people, by managing insulin, we’re turning on longevity genes and preventing chronic disease (and these things excite me even more).
The glucose monitor is an invaluable addition to my functional medicine tool box because it is a real-time window into what would normally be invisible in your body, helping me (and you) to instantly see how different variables (food, sleep, stress) are affecting your glucose levels.
But the best results come from a multi-pronged approach, looking at blood panels, analysing data from the glucose monitor, changing how we eat, and considering safe medical interventions to improve insulin resistance at a cellular level. And so I’m really excited (and proud) to share my new Functional Medicine Weight Management Program. Years in the making, it’s finally here, and it’s all about SUSTAINABLE weight management and improved metabolic health. If you feel drawn to find out more, click here.
Yours in sugar-free living,
Dr. Rav James