Say hello to next-generation wellness tech: the continuous blood glucose monitor. Also known as a CGM, it’s a wearable health monitor. Like an Oura Ring, a CGM displays in-the-moment info about your health. Specifically, how your body reacts to foods, stressors, exercise, sleep, and more. Said differently, CGMs analyze changes in your blood glucose levels. As you live your life, your CGM is taking stats. Continuous glucose monitoring devices, like Levels, are the new frontier of wellness. In today’s article, we’re diving into what they are, why they’re beneficial, and the best continuous blood glucose monitors.
What is Blood Glucose?
Before we dive into CGMs, let’s start with the basics. What is blood glucose? Glucose, or blood sugar, is our main source of energy. It’s a type of sugar we get from the foods we eat. From cereal to carrots, our body uses that sugar for energy. As it travels through our bloodstream to our cells, it’s called blood glucose (or blood sugar). Our bodies break down—or convert—most carbohydrates into glucose. With the help of a hormone called insulin, glucose travels into the cells of the body where it can be used for energy.
Why is it Important to understand Blood Glucose?
Armed with an understanding of blood glucose, you make more informed decisions about your lifestyle. It’s important to understand blood glucose because ideally, you want your blood sugar levels to stay in a healthy range. If glucose levels get too low, you can lose the ability to think and function normally. If they get too high—and stay high—elevated glucose can cause unwanted health conditions. See here for recommended blood sugar ranges.
How Can You naturally Manage Your Glucose Levels?
Through food and lifestyle. First and foremost, focus on building a balanced plate. That means including the three macronutrients—protein (animal protein, yogurt, tofu, etc.), complex carbohydrates (fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, legumes, etc.), and healthy fats (avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, etc.). Ideally, your meals contain all three macronutrients. And when possible, pack in fiber-rich ingredients—leafy greens, non-starchy carbohydrates, and seeds. Counter to diet culture, you need to eat enough. After all, eating less than your caloric needs increases the production of cortisol. Cortisol is our stress hormone. Chronically elevated cortisol causes blood sugar imbalance.
Secondly, take inventory of your lifestyle. Beyond food, managing your glucose means getting quality sleep, minimizing stress, and moving your body. Exercise is important for many reasons, but it’s crucial for helping control blood sugar spikes. Movement encourages insulin sensitivity (a good thing!). When you exercise, your muscles absorb sugar from what you eat, naturally lowering blood sugar levels. Good news: no need for intense exercise. In fact, moderate-intensity exercise—like walking—has been found to reduce blood sugar spikes. Strength training is ideal. But standing at your desk counts, too.
What is a Continuous Blood Glucose Monitor?
Maybe you’ve seen celeb influencers, doctors, or friends wearing a censor on the back of their arm called a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). It’s a wearable piece of technology. It gives you direct insight into your health, showing how your food and lifestyle choices influence your cellular biology. Want to skip the waitlist and get yours TODAY? Click here!
Even without a CGM, you’ll notice physical signs of blood sugar imbalance. For example, indications of blood glucose spikes include immediate energy, adrenaline, etc. Dips in blood sugar include hanger, shakiness, and foggy brain. These are all helpful and insightful. But CGMs are much more specific. Over time, you can track your glucose patterns and responses to certain foods and habits. These patterns can help you improve insulin sensitivity, reverse pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, improve pregnancy outcomes for gestational diabetes, and more.
How is a CGM Device Inserted?
The CGM device is inserted under the skin on your arm via a small needle. It measures your blood glucose levels from your tissue fluid between the cells. This information is tracked every few minutes and updated to the app. Does it hurt? Most say, no. There may be mild discomfort when first inserting the sensor, but there is no pain afterward.
Who are CGMs for?
They’re not just for Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). However, CGMs have been a game-changer since they were first approved by the FDA in 1999. Even if you don’t have diabetes, the CGM technology can quickly improve your overall health. CGMs help with symptoms associated with regular glucose spikes including fatigue, weight gain, imbalanced mood, metabolic / hormone issues (like PCOS), and more.
Furthermore, since regular glucose elevations are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, it can also serve as a tool to help prevent heart disease. Think of a continuous glucose monitor as the tech that allows you to lift up the hood of your car—so to speak—and see how your food and lifestyle habits impact how well your car (body) runs. With this knowledge, anyone (and everyone) can benefit from a CGM. They’re the ticket to personalized nutrition, exercise, sleep habits, and more.
BLOOD GLUCOSE MONITOR vs Continuous Glucose Monitor
The word continuous is key. Ultimately, the biggest difference is in the way your measurements are taken. Blood glucose monitoring requires a finger stick / prick. CGMs, on the other hand, place a sensor under the skin that connects to the transmitter. This transmitter continuously sends regular intervals of glucose readings to a receiver (or your phone). While a blood glucose device is only capable of generating a single glucose level reading, a CGM is gathering data over the course of the day—even while you sleep.
the Best Continuous Glucose Monitors for 2022
So, what are the best continuous glucose monitors?
Exciting news! SKIP THE WAITLIST HERE! There are over 150,000 people on the waitlist for Levels. Use this link to get yours, today. This is my top recommended continuous blood glucose monitor. They’ve partnered with FreeStyle Libre, the sensor that lives on your arm. In essence, FreeStyle Libre provides the sensor and Levels provides all the software data from the sensor. I absolutely love mine. I’ve only been wearing mine for a short time period, and it’s already changing the way I approach food and exercise.
Like Levels, Signos is another continuous glucose monitor. You you can sign up for Signos here! They just opened hundreds more spots. Tune into your body’s signals with this continuous glucose monitor. Take control of your health with data-backed insights that inspire sustainable transformation. If you want to try Signos, now is your chance.
In the meantime, consider Dexcom. Their newest system contains a small, wearable sensor. Its transmitter sends your glucose numbers to a smart device (or receiver) every 5 minutes. It’s easy to wear and easy to use. Dexcom is the most accurate CGM on the market.
For traditional blood glucose monitors, I recommend Care Touch. This system is best for blood sugar tracking newbies. It’s quick, convenient, and the reviews speak for themselves. Plus, Care Touch is affordable. CareSens is another affordable and highly rated blood glucose monitor. And for a meter with a large display, Metene has great reviews.
Are blood glucose monitors accurate?
According to the FDA, accurate glucose meters provide results that are within ±15% of the lab 95% of the time. For example, if your lab test results show a blood glucose value of 170, your glucose meter reading must fall between 145 and 195. This is important to keep in mind when you’re using a blood glucose device. CGMs are not perfectly accurate devices either (although they are typically more accurate than standard finger pricking devices).
If you don’t want to wear a CGM, check out my Blood Sugar Reset Meal Plan. It’s an intro to managing blood sugar, complete with a a 7-day meal plan to help balance your blood sugar. SIGN UP BELOW!