functional medicine

My experience with a continuous glucose monitor

by Lil Runner

For one month, I used a continuous glucose monitor to track my blood sugar, well, continuously. Blood sugar balance is hugely important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and I wanted to see what was going on in there!

Levels Health is the app/subscription that connects to the Freestyle Libre sensor (shown above on my arm with sticker cover). It is a little circle that has a little needle applied to your skin to access the blood for blood glucose level. With the subscription for one month, you receive two sensors. You can scan it using your phone/app whenever you want, but it is tracking continuously, unless you go more than 8 hours. My first attempt at this was in December around Christmas time which was a bad move all around, but I saved my next two weeks for the start of my cycle a few months later when I seem to be able to follow a plan and eat well without cravings. In March, on my second time using the Levels app and the new two-week sensor, I had improved scores and balance.

The Levels app links up with FreeStyle Libre to evaluate your blood sugar and provide you scores based on your input. Each time you eat, you snap a picture and type in what you ate, and the app gives your meal a rating two hours later. Blood sugar should be a steady small rise and fall rather than huge peaks and dips. Balanced meals will keep blood sugar in the “healthy range” which is recommended to be below 110 two hours after a meal, and 78-88 before the next meal, while refined carbohydrates, fruit, and unbalanced meals will send blood sugar to a peak and a dip and into the “danger zone.” This helped me to structure how I would balance my meals, and made me think twice about having refined carbs or sweets.

When thinking of structuring you or your child’s meals, a straight up banana will cause a big rise, while a banana with nut butter and chia seeds will balance it out. Having a carbohydrate such as a fruit with protein and fat should keep the blood sugar steady. I did some testing using the CGM and found that protein powders that are low in sugar actually had a larger rise in blood sugar than expected. Additionally, fruit by itself will cause a peak, especially bananas, grapes and sumo oranges accordingly to Levels, while a nicely balanced meal keeps things nice and stable. If you are having peaks and dips all day long, this will continue at night when you’re sleeping and wake you up. It was interesting to correlate the times that I was waking up with low blood sugar shown on the sensor.

Throughout the second two weeks, I ate mostly protein with vegetables, little fruit and no refined carbs and my meals usually scored a 9 or 10. In the first two weeks, anything with refined carbs or sweets spiked my blood sugar immediately! Usually it came back down quickly, but something such as pizza kept the blood sugar up for a long time. Eating protein and fiber before fruit or carbs helps blunt a spike, as does walking after a meal. It was a cool experiment to guide me towards blood sugar stabilization, which in turn helps with sleep, hormones and our full body systems for optimal health.

Levels offers a subscription for one year & you can decide how often you want to have sensors delivered. They last for two weeks. I have no affiliation with the company and I’m sharing my experience! I don’t have diabetes.