Increasingly it's been accepted that glucose and insulin are at the core of a variety of dangerous diseases and health conditions: from Alzheimer's (now called type 3 Diabetes by some), to fatty liver syndrome, and type 2 diabetes, we're just now starting to understand how dangereous high blood glucose levels and insulin can be.
Diabetes (T1) runs in my family. So concepts like insulin, gluconeogenesis (the process by which the liver creates new glucose), glycation are not new to me. I've seen first-hand what hypoglycemia looks like (it's scary) and have read extensively about the perils of having high-glucose levels over a sustained period of time.
Until not long ago I thought that constantly checking one's glucose was something only diabetics needed to do. After all they don't produce their own insulin so they need to monitor their glucose levels continuously to adjust their food intake, exercise, and insulin shots.
But, it turns out, that there are benefits to glucose monitoring even if one is not diabetic. Longevity-focused doctors like Peter Attia wear a Dexcom CGM every day. And companies like Levels Health are on a mission to improve the metabolic fitness of people by changing their relationship with glucose.
For the past 5 days I've been wearing a FreeStyleLibre CGM thanks to the Levels Health program (you need a prescription in the US to get one) and the results have been surprising and encouraging.
For example, I knew that white rice has a high glycemic index but to see a massive spike in my blood sugar after just eating a handful of it was eye-opening:
My glucose spiked to 160 very fast (within an hour of eating) and took a long while to return back to normal (between 70 and 110 mg/dL)
On the flip side, it seems that my time-restricted feeding (I only eat between 12PM and 8PM) and low-carb diet—I ate the rice during my cheat day—are good for me since, overall, the Levels app reports that my metabolic fitness is 98% and I've spent more than 90% within the normal ranges since I started wearing the CGM.
So, if even for a decently informed person there are knowledge gaps, and lessons to learn, what would happen if we normalize CGMs? What if instead of going on crazy fat-loss diets, gastric bypasses, dieting pills, etc. doctors prescribed wearing a CGM for a couple of months every year to keep us in check?
Information is power. With the help of your doctor and the insights a CGM gives us, we can make make smarter choices, get better care from our physicians and be healthier overall.