...Beyond glycaemic index you can test your own blood sugar responses to what you eat every day to work out your own personal carbohydrate allowance and treat high or low blood sugar with diet and natural remedies ..low blood sugar can contribute to low serotonin depression, anxiety and bipolar depression, Hidden high blood sugar damages your body...

-Section III-
-Blood Sugar Treatments & Solutions-
 
-|-
-Chapter 7-
How and Why to Test your own Individual Blood Sugar Responses to Your Own Meals

PeterSmithUK.com © 2014 (updated 21st June 14)
 
...Beyond glycaemic index you can test your own blood sugar responses to what you eat every day to work out your own personal carbohydrate allowance and treat high or low blood sugar with diet and natural remedies ..low blood sugar can contribute to low serotonin depression, anxiety and bipolar depression, Hidden high blood sugar damages your body...

When I first started working on my own hypoglycaemia I didn’t even have access to the now prevalent glycaemic index, glycaemic load and zone diet systems. The GI, GL and zone diets are incredibly useful systems to help us balance our blood sugar and some of the greatest developments in nutritional medicine I’ve seen in the past 20 years.
 
Even with the help of these diet systems it would still take at least a year for my patients to fully get to grips with the effects that different carbohydrates and meal combinations would have on their blood sugar so that they could work out the perfect blood sugar balancing diet for their own individual body. If you’ve only got a very mild issue with reactive hypoglycaemia you could treat it by just following a low GI, GL and zone diet if you want but below I’m going to show you a new and better way to balance your blood sugar by simply buying the type of blood sugar meter that diabetics use and measure your own blood sugar before and after eating to accurately see the way your blood sugar respond in the real world to your typical meals.  
 
This will enable you to quickly work out the optimum diet for you to eliminate both high and low blood sugar problems in a fraction of the time it used to take and how to make sure you are maintaining the optimal low blood sugar levels in the future to prevent degenerative disease from AGE and free radical damage.
 
Up until now you probably thought that only people with diabetes needed to test their own blood sugar but as we saw earlier you can have undetected after-meal spikes in blood sugar and fasting blood sugar above 85 mg/dL () that is a real cause for concern. Even if you don’t have diabetes or pre-diabetic high blood sugar but just want to prevent bouts of low blood sugar causing tiredness, carbohydrate cravings and possibly more seriously contributing to your mental health problems using a blood sugar meter will help you quickly and effectively achieve your goals.
 

By Testing Your Personal Glycaemic Response you can go
Beyond the GI Diet. 

Testing your own blood sugar will enable you to determine how in or out of balance your blood sugar is in the first place, do you have reactive hypoglycaemia, undiagnosed after meal high blood sugar or insulin resistance etc. 
 
Self-testing will then enable you to treat your blood sugar condition more accurately than you ever could by just following the generic glycaemic index glycaemic load and zone diets.  GI and GL numbers were worked out by averaging the effects of specific carbohydrates on a group of test subjects and are a very useful general guide but what if your individual body responds differently to the average; self-testing will enable you to adjust or compensate for any differences between your individual body and the average person.
 
Self-testing will also enable you to get around the common problem of not being able to find a GI or GL number for a specific food you eat, a specific brand of rice for example, or the variety of breakfast cereal sold in your country; from now on you will be able to determine the actual glycaemic effects for the foods you eat for yourself.
 
Self-testing will enable you to establish your personal carbohydrate allowance i.e. how much of a particular carbohydrate you can eat without it producing an unhealthy spike in your blood sugar. You could just stop eating carbohydrates altogether but for many people being able to include at least some carbohydrates with meals is important to help them feel satisfied from the meal and therefore preventing feelings of hunger causing cravings and overeating.
 
Self-testing will enable you to measure exactly how your typical real meal choices actually affect your blood sugar levels and see how different combinations of protein, oil and fibre affect the carbohydrates.
 
Self-testing will enable you to use sophisticated blood sugar control techniques, things like see how different methods of food preparation affect the way a specific carbohydrate affects your blood sugar, for example you could see for yourself how mashed potatoes produces a much quicker rise in your blood sugar compared to the same potatoes served as a chilled potato salad. I’ll discuss how different cooking methods, healthy fats, acidic liquids (vinegar/lemon juice), fibre etc. change how quickly a carbohydrate containing meal releases glucose into the blood later in the dietary therapy section. 
 
Finally taking the guess work out of the effects on your blood sugar of what you’re eating self-testing will enable you to precisely adjust the amount, type and way you eat carbohydrates to save you years of trial and error to achieve your health goals.  
 
Please note I’m not suggesting you test yourself continuously every day for the rest of your life, the idea is just to do a few tests over the coming months until you achieve your blood sugar health goals and can put together meal combinations that you can be sure are not going to produce unhealthy effects on your blood sugar.  
 
Let’s briefly recap how mainstream medicine tests blood sugar before moving on to how you can do a better job by testing your blood sugar levels for yourself.
If you don’t have obvious signs of diabetes your doctor probably won’t test you for high blood sugar at all and even if you do get tested you will probably only have your overnight fasting blood sugar tested before you have breakfast. As discussed previously in functional medicine we think the level considered normal for fasting blood sugar is set too high (100 mg/dL) so you may be told your levels are fine when in fact your blood sugar above the ideal level (85 mg/dL) and causing ongoing damage to your body; if you want to avoid chronic disease you should not accept a fasting blood glucose level above 85 mg/dL and to take action to lower it and keep it low. Worse still is only looking at fasting blood sugar levels in the morning only gives you a snapshot of your blood sugar and does not reveal post-meal spikes in blood sugar that can be every bit as damaging as elevated fasting blood sugar; these post-meal spikes in blood sugar can even damage the very cells in your pancreas that make insulin, so you may be going down a path towards developing diabetes later on in your life without even knowing it. 
 
This is exactly what’s happening to millions of people throughout the world, besides the individual human cost the financial costs of diabetes and diabetic related illness are rapidly becoming unsustainable, numerous governments and economists in many countries around the world have been reported as saying that if current trends were to continue diabetes and diabetic related illnesses will financially bankrupt national health care services around the world.
 
So if you don’t want to be just another statistic of the diabetic epidemic take matters into your own hands and test your own blood sugar routinely once a year or so to make sure your diet and lifestyle are not causing degenerative high blood sugar levels.
 

How to Test and Monitor Your Own Blood Sugar Levels

 

How to Determine Fasting Sugar

First thing in the morning after fasting for at least 12 hours other than a little water prick your finger, squeeze out a drop of blood and apply it to the test strip of your blood sugar meter, keep a record of the number and the date for future comparison. For accuracy do this on two separate days, consecutive days if you want and average the two numbers.
This is your fasting blood sugar level.
 

How to Determine After-Meal Blood Sugar

Test your blood sugar just before the meal you want to test, breakfast, lunch or dinner and then again one hour after eating, two hours after eating and finally three hours after eating. Keep a record of the numbers, the date and details of what you wait, particularly the type and amount of carbohydrates and how you cook them.
 
You’ll want to test all the typical meals you eat, for example you want to know if the muesli or beans on toast you typically eat for breakfast overwhelms your blood sugar regulating capacity, the pasta salad or sandwiches you have for lunch and the various dinner options you eat.
 
I like the above method because it tells you what’s happening in the real world on a daily basis, however another useful test you may want to try is every once in a while really test your blood sugar control by giving it a tougher challenge to reveal it you (still) have some insulin resistance and a poor pancreatic function. Eat about 170 g (6oz) of a high GI carbohydrate like baked potato or high GI rice without any oil or fat that would sow down your digestion. Even after such a meal a healthy body will still be able to bring blood sugar back down to less than 120 (6.66) after 2 hours and back to the same level as before the meal after 3 hours. This test is quite stressful to you blood sugar control system and could for example cause a hypoglycaemia crash in someone with hypoglycaemia, so I would only recommend doing it occasionally, perhaps once every six months over the next two-three years to show you the genuine improvements in your blood sugar control. 
 

Your Blood Sugar Level Goals

Optimum Fasting Blood Sugar Levels 

You want your fasting blood sugar in the morning before breakfast to be less than 85 mg/dL (4.7 mmol/L) and ideally less than 80 (4.44). 
For accuracy test your fasting (morning) blood sugar on a couple of days i.e. twice. Continue to test your fasting blood sugar once or twice a month (two days each time) and use the techniques in this book to improve your body’s blood sugar regulation until you can wake up in the morning and produce a blood sugar value of less than 80-85 mg/dL (4.44-4.7 millimoles/l).  
 

Optimum After-Meal Blood Sugar Levels 

Test your blood glucose before you eat, then one hour, two hours and 3 hours after eating, you want your numbers to be:-
  • Before you eat: less than 85-90 (4.7-5.0).
  • 1 hour after eating (the spike) less than 140 (7.8). 
  • 2 hours after eating less than 120 (6.7).  
  • 3 hours after eating you should be back down to the same baseline as you were before you ate i.e. less than 85-90 (4.7-5.0).
IMPORTANT: during the 3 hours you are testing your after-meal blood sugar you can drink moderate amounts of water but don’t eat anything else.

Let’s look at these numbers in more detail:
 

Before meal blood sugar should be less than 85-90 (4.7-5).

Some of you may have noticed that the before meal blood sugar level of 85-90 (4.7-5.0) is slightly above the ideal fasting blood sugar level of less than 80-85 (4.4-4.7). This is because during the day while we are active and still absorbing the remnants of our last meal our blood sugar is likely to be slightly above the level it is first thing in the morning after perhaps 10 hours a fasting, if you can get your daytime pre-meal blood sugar down to less than 85 (4.7) you’ve got excellent blood sugar control and the ageing effects of glycation should be at an absolute minimum.
 

Spikes in blood sugar higher than 140 (7.77) 1 hour after eating need treating.

About 45 minutes to an hour after eating the release of glucose from what we have just eaten into the bloodstream will be well underway and our blood sugar levels will peak; when blood sugar goes above 140 mg/dL (7.77 mmol/L) it can damage the beta cells in the pancreas, the very cells that make insulin and are essential for controlling blood sugar [i]. The implication of this is that if your blood sugar regularly goes up 140 especially if it stays there for a couple of hours every time you eat it causes damage to your pancreas that is gradually turning you into a diabetic; other studies have shown that when blood sugar rises over 140 (7.77) after meals it causes nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) [ii][iii][iv], if you are experiencing numbness and loss of sensation in your extremities, fingers and toes consult with your physician and use all the techniques in this book to make sure your blood sugar stays below 140. Actually if your blood sugar goes slightly over 140 (7.77) at the one hour post-meal test I wouldn’t worry about it too much but if it’s still even near 140 at the two-hour post-meal test that’s unacceptable.
 
There are several effective ways to prevent post-meal spikes in blood sugar:-
  • Don’t eat high GI foods in the first place.
  • Always eat plenty healthy oils and lots of fibre to slow down digestion and the release of glucose into the blood.
  • Consume a desert spoon or 2 of the acidic liquid such as Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, either diluted in a little water or as addressing.
  • Supplement green coffee.
  • If you have insulin resistance undergo the insulin resistance and Type II diabetes recovery program described elsewhere.
Remember: high GI foods are the primary cause of high blood sugar spikes after eating so avoid eating anything with a GI above 70.
 
Within 2 hours of eating your blood sugar should be less than 120 (6 .66).
A healthy body should be able to bring after-meal blood glucose levels down to 120 (6.66) within 2 hours, if you can’t you may not be making enough insulin and you probably have some degree of insulin resistance whereby the cells around your body are less sensitive to insulin so you can’t efficiently clear the surplus glucose from your blood by transporting it into the cells where it is converted into glycogen or fat, so it just continues to circulate in the blood forming glycation end products and causing damage.
 
3 hours after eating you should be able to bring your blood sugar levels down to your daytime pre-meal baseline of 85-90 (4.7-5) if you can’t you almost certainly insulin resistant/diabetic.
 
There are several ways to prevent prolonged after meal high blood sugar:-
  • Don’t eat high glycaemic load meals, remember glycaemic load is a measure of the amount of glucose contained in the meal/carbohydrates.

Whenever you eat start and carbohydrate foods, especially on those occasions when you eat more than you should take the supplement transglucosidase which converts a portion of the carbohydrates you’ve eaten into beneficial prebiotic dietary fibre instead of into glucose.
·        Undergo the insulin resistance and Type II diabetes recovery program described elsewhere.
 
To prevent post-meal spikes in blood sugar you can avoid high GI foods and use tricks like consuming vinegar, fibre and healthy oils which slows down the release of glucose, effectively what these tricks do is to lower the GI of the meal, but in the end all the carbohydrates in the meal is eventually going to be turned into glucose albeit more slowly and so these tricks don’t really help us with the other problem of prolonged after meal high blood sugar. To prevent this problem you must reduced the glycaemic load of your meals and reverse insulin resistance. The only trick I know to reduce the glycaemic load of a meal is using transglucosidase. 


THE FOLLOWING GREYED OUT TEXT IS UNDER DEVELOPMENT
when to test which meals to test
experimenting with different meals to establish your personal carbohydrate allowance
 

Choosing a Blood Sugar Tester

There are some fancy all in one devices that take a drop of blood from your finger and measure it as well but I’ve never tried them, the well tried and tested method consists of two basic parts the blood sugar meter with disposable test strips and the finger pricking device with disposable lancets (sterile needles). To perform a test you put a new test strip in the meter and a new lancet in the finger pricking device, prick your finger squeeze a drop of blood onto the test strip and a few seconds later the meter reads your blood sugar level.
 
You can buy a blood sugar meter at the pharmacy or online without a prescription, all today’s blood glucose meters are adequate for our purposes, which one you choose just comes down to personal preference and price. Different units are sold in different countries so I can’t recommend a specific unit for you, to choose a device look at the online reviews on the national diabetic websites for your own country or ask your local pharmacists for their recommendation for a simple blood glucose tester and lancet device.  There are a lot of different devices and it’s easy to become confused, but for our purposes we only need a simple cheap unit that just gives the blood sugar number, there’s no need to have multiple alarms, data storage memory or Wi-Fi synchronisation to an iPhone App that plots your blood sugar on a graphic (although that does sound pretty cool and I want one of those).  So just choose any budget unit that gets good reviews in your country.
 
If anything the more important choice than the blood glucose meter is the bloodletting lancet device you buy, you want to get one that reviewers say is painless and comfortable to use.  A good lancet device has variable depth settings and a powerful spring so that the needle goes in and out before your nervous system even has time to register, it should feel no worse than flicking your finger with a fingernail.
 
If money is an issue what you should pay particular attention to is not just the initial cost of the meter itself but the ongoing costs of the test strips, the price of which can vary considerably from say 30p to 1 pound ($.50 to over a dollar).
 
Every time you perform a single test you use a new test strip and lancet.
To monitor the progress in your fasting blood sugar in the morning you only need to do say 2 tests a month, but each time you test your after meal blood sugar response you do a total of 4 tests. Initially you might test your after-meal blood sugar 10 times (2 to 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 to 4 dinners), thereafter you will monitor your treatment progress over several months by testing your after meal blood sugar response once a week initially and then every few weeks as you make progress and your fasting blood sugar a couple of times a month for several months.  Exactly how many lancets and test strips you will need in total depends on how long it takes your body to heal, for a lot of people between 50 and 100 lancets and test strips will suffice and as the test strips are usually sold in boxes of 50 I would recommend buying two boxes of test strips for your starter kit.
 
You should be able to get everything you need above including: 
  • a basic blood glucose meter,
  • 100 test strips, 
  • a lancet device, 
  • 100 lancets, for about £50 or $80.
In the UK I recommend the glucose meter sold by www.homehealth-uk.com 
http://www.homehealth-uk.com/medical/blood_glucose_monitor_testing.htm   
You can get everything you need above for a complete starter kit for about £33 and the replacement strips are cheap. 
 
Please note although multiple people in your household can share the same blood sugar testing meter you must not share the bloodletting lancet with other people because of the risk of cross infection, even if you’re having sex with somebody don’t share needles.
 
THE FOLLOWING GREYED OUT TEXT IS UNDER DEVELOPMENT

Alternative Blood Sugar Tests

 
UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Glycated Haemoglobin Test A1C: interesting but not reliable.
Urine Tests: woefully inadequate.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test: unrealistic, stressful to the body and unnecessary, do real-world, real meal testing instead.

 
Blood Sugar Main Menu
 
  • Hypoglycaemia (Low Blood Sugar)
  • Low Blood Sugar and Mental Health Problems
  • High Blood Sugar Seriously Damages the Body
  • Advanced Glycation End Products High Blood Sugars Toxic Effect
  • Mainstream Medicine’s Fatal Flaw Undiagnosed High Blood Sugar
  • Types of High Blood Sugar: pre-diabetes, insulin resistance, Type II diabetes etc
  • How to Test Your Own Blood Sugar Responses
  • Natural Treatments and Remedies To Correct Blood Sugar Problems
 
[i] Catherine Gleeson at al. Determinants of glucose toxicity and its reversibility in the pancreatic islet beta cell line, HIT-T15. American Journal of physiology first of November 2000 volume 279 number E997-E1002.
[ii] J Robinson Singleton at Al. Increased prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance in patients with painful sensory neuropathy. Diabetes care August 2001 volume 24 number 8, 1448-1453.
[iii] Summer at Al. The spectrum of neuropathy in diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance. Neurology January 14, 2003, volume 60, number 1, 108-111
[iv] Hoffman-Snyder at Al. Value of the oral glucose tolerance test in evaluation of chronic idiopathic axonal polyneuropathy. Arch Neurology, 2006; 63 (8): 1075-1079. 
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Be Well
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Hi my name is Peter Smith I specialise in treating and coaching people how to live well with mental health problems, digestive health problems/IBS, sleep problems and type II diabetes using natural therapies.
I used these techniques to overcome and live well with my own bipolar disorder and IBS. I've been in practice as a natural medicine practitioner since 1988.
 

What I Treat

  • Brain Chemistry and Mental Health problems (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, addiction, OCD)
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  • Meditation and Relaxation brain-training for mental health problems, and adrenal exhaustion (individual and small classes)
  • Cognitive hypnotherapy and NLP
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For an individual treatment plan and prescription of natural remedies, diet and brain training exercises I offer consultations at my London clinic and long distance coaching sessions via Skype
 

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At my London clinic please call the Hale clinic reception:
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(please keep your email brief)

As a general rule improvements are seen within 2-3 appointments so you can quickly know if the treatments are helping you and you are making a good investment.
For a more information about me and what the conditions I treat click here: About About Peter Smith
 
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