Free Yourself from Fatigue with a Glucose Meter
Glucose meters aren’t just for diabetics. If your youthful energy has evaporated, and you want to feel free and easy again, you may want to monitor your blood sugars throughout the day to find out if you are suffering from insulin resistance.
How Does Insulin Resistance Cause Fatigue?
Insulin is a carrier. It transports glucose from the bloodstream to the cells to be used for energy. When insulin levels have been chronically high for extended periods of time, cells in the body “stop listening” to this messenger. There can literally be a flood of glucose in your blood, but not enough in your cells to meet all your energy demands. You feel tired, especially after meals. This causes you to want something sweet for quick energy following a meal. You feel you need dessert.
How Can a Glucose Meter Help You Identify Insulin Resistance?
When you start eating, blood sugar levels begin to rise. They peak, on average, about 60 minutes after the start of a meal. A healthy reading one hour “post-prandial” (post-meal) would ideally be no higher than 140. Diabetics are encouraged to keep this number under 180 because that’s where organ damage begins. If your post-meal reading is high, you likely have either:
- eaten a meal that is too high in quick-absorbing carbohydrates, or
- have insulin resistance that is keeping the glucose from leaving he bloodstream.
By two hours after a meal, blood sugar levels should be dropping, and glucose levels should should not exceed 120 at this point. The slower your readings are to drop below 100, the greater your likelihood of insulin resistance. In fact, if they don’t drop below 100 ever, then insulin resistance will most assuredly affect your health.
On the other hand, your reading can be too low. Blood sugars are generally their lowest four hours after the start of the last meal, right before the next meal. You don’t want to see anything lower than 70, as this would indicate a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) response.
You might think of hypoglycemia as a result of eating a low-carbohydrate meal. On the contrary, it is often a reaction to eating too many carbs, triggering a surge of insulin. When you eat a high-carb meal and blood sugars rise above 140, the pancreas over-compensates with a burst of insulin, which subsequently drops the blood sugars below healthy ranges. Some individuals may experience hypoglycemia for years before insulin resistance sets in.
Use a Glucose Meter to Reverse Insulin Resistance
To avoid the damaging insulin rush, you will need to change the “glycemic load” of your meals. Basically, you have to eat foods that do not readily and rapidly convert to glucose. You can do this by adding more fiber, fat, and protein to your meal, and by switching carbs to ones with a lower glycemic load. For example, you could swap sweet potatoes for white potatoes, quinoa or brown rice for white rice, beans for pasta, fruit for soda, and oats for crackers. You can also reduce the serving size of your carbs. Fill your plate with vegetables instead of foods made from flour and processed ingredients.
You will know you have succeeded in preventing an insulin burst when your post-meal readings are within normal ranges, as noted above.