Jun 1, 2021
The excitement of getting your Veri continuous glucose monitor is only the beginning. The real fun sets in when you start using it and receiving tons of feedback on your diet, exercise, and sleep.
At the same time, it can be overwhelming to see all these numbers and charts. While you probably want to explore how every aspect of your lifestyle impacts your blood glucose and therefore your overall health and wellness, we suggest starting off small. One change built upon another will help you see better results and turn those changes into lifelong habits.
Where to begin? Here are six things we recommend focusing on while using Veri.
When you record meals, include the nitty-gritty. Rather than saying you had a sandwich, note what kind of bread you used as well as everything inside, down to the condiments. You'll find that both the macronutrient balance of your meal (fats, carbs, and proteins) and the quality of your ingredients can make a significant difference in how your blood sugar responds.
For example, sugary instant oatmeal for breakfast might make your glucose levels spike. But have steel cut oats with nut butter and maybe an egg or two, and you'll likely see much less impact, if any. You may even discover that fresh bread from a local farmer's market is way easier on your blood sugar compared to packaged bread—including whole grain—that you buy from the supermarket.
You probably don't need Veri to know that simple or processed carbs—including sugars—make your blood glucose skyrocket. That doesn't mean you can't have a sweetened latte or dessert. Many people who use continuous glucose monitors find that if they have some protein or fat with carbohydrates in balance, the glucose surge they have is less severe. Consider trying something like an unsweetened Greek yogurt before the sweetened latte, or having a meal heavier in protein and fats and lighter in carbs before that brownie, and see what happens.
We've all been there. You're stuck in back-to-back meetings and don't have time for a real lunch, so you stuff your face with a cheeseburger from the fast food place downstairs. Or you are literally on the run, going from being slammed at the office to an appointment and you have to shovel in a burrito between the two.
Using Veri will help you see that eating too quickly can lead to a surge in blood sugar. If you eat that same meal and take the time to actually chew, taste and enjoy your food, you may find it has a much smaller impact. It makes sense: When you inundate your body with a large amount of food all at once, it's harder to process and you often will eat more than your body wants because it does not have time to give you the ‘I’m full’ signal.
The advice to take a walk after a meal appears to have truth to it. In one study, after eating white bread, participants were split into three groups: They either worked out on an exercise bike 15 minutes later, cycled 45 minutes later, or they didn't do any activity. Turns out, their blood glucose response was lower when they biked 45 minutes after the bread. The study authors conclude that waiting a half-hour may be the ideal time to get some post-meal exercise (1). And you don't need to go balls-to-the-wall. Even 10 minutes of low-impact activity works, they add. Plus, an earlier study found that for people living with diabetes, taking a 15-minute walk within 45 minutes of each meal helps control post-meal blood glucose response (2)
The takeaway: Try a short walk or other low-intensity exercise after your next meal and see what your continuous glucose monitor shows.
If you don't get the zzzs you want, take a look at what you eat close to bed and how that impacts your blood glucose. Oftentimes, the sweet and processed foods we tend to reach for at night also trigger spikes in blood sugar. This leads to increased resting heart rate and decreased heart rate variability. Clearly, a faster heart doesn't send the “time to chill” signal to the brain. And lower heart rate variability—how much the time between heartbeats differs—is bad for overall health. Higher HRV indicates a healthier cardiovascular system and is associated with better sleep (3).
So check out your sleep data and compare that to your bedtime blood sugar levels. You might find that your late-night Oreos are to blame for your poor sleep. But if you change your snack or don't eat so close to bed, you may be able to doze better.
All of us process foods differently. Some people can have a bowl of white rice and not see much impact on their blood sugar. Others go on a rollercoaster of highs and lows in energy and mood for hours to come. So what we said above may or may not apply to you. That's the best thing about using Veri—you get to see how different foods and meals impact you and then you can use that data to optimize all areas of your life.
1. AN Reynolds and BJ Venn. “The Timing of Activity after Eating Affects the Glycaemic Response of Healthy Adults: A Randomised Controlled Trial”, 2018, Published in Nutrients. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6267507/
2. L DiPietro et al. “Three 15-min Bouts of Moderate Postmeal Walking Significantly Improves 24-h Glycemic Control in Older People at Risk for Impaired Glucose Tolerance”, 2013, Published in Diabetes Care. URL: https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2013/06/03/dc13-0084.abstract
3. J Gouin et al. “Heart Rate Variability Predicts Sleep Efficiency”, 2013, Published in Sleep Medicine. URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1389945713015360