Double Check

Double Check

If your blood glucose meter flashes a high number say 245 a couple of hours after lunch, can you blame it on your food? Not necessarily. To learn a meal’s effect on your blood sugar, measure blood glucose before eating and again about two hours after your first bite. Pairing these readings gives you critical clues when exploring the reasons your blood sugar is out of target range, experts say. 


Though something’s indeed awry, a post-meal reading of 245 mg/dl means something very different if you started lunch with a blood glucose level of 130 mg/dl versus a prelunch reading of 225 mg/dl. If your blood glucose rose only 20 points from 225 to 245, lunch isn’t to blame for the elevated number. Something else is the problem. On the other hand, if your blood glucose jumped more than 50 points in the two hours since that first bite, what or how much you ate may need to change. 


When you self-monitor blood glucose (SMBG), you can take more or fewer measurements. Though it may seem like a pain or wasteful to use two lancets, two strips, and two drops of blood these paired blood glucose checks help you gather useful clues that could bring better health for years to come. Now if you are having a danger meal, you should cut your portions and eliminate the extras. 


For example, when eating pasta, spreads a scant cup of the pasta over the plate and adds plenty of nonstarchy veggies either to the sauce or as a generous side dish. This tweak is necessary through paired measurements as it gives the illusion of more food and keeps her blood glucose in range.

Making paired measurements work for you

Here’s how it works, measure your blood glucose levels before eating breakfast and two hours after the start of breakfast for a full week. Eventually, do the same for lunch, then move on to dinner. If you don’t have enough test strips to cover two measurements each day, you can gather the same valuable information by measuring every other day for two weeks. 


The next step is to put on your detective cap to find the meaning in all the numbers you’ve collected. It may be easier than you think. Trimming your carbohydrate intake when you sit down to the problem meal may be all it takes to improve those postmeal readings. Use paired glucose monitoring all day, every day. If you’re thinking it’s too much of a hassle to test more often, compare it to the consequences of dealing with highs and lows in your blood sugar levels. 


Need help making sense of all those blood glucose numbers? Make an appointment with your health care provider or a certified diabetes educator and see a registered dietitian if you have questions about the appropriate dietary changes.


Diabetic Living is the only lifestyle magazine that demonstrates how to live fully each and every day while managing diabetes.