My body now has Bluetooth
My body now has Bluetooth.
Or more precisely, my blood has Bluetooth.
I am hooked up to my iPhone with a sensor stuck to my abdominals. This sensor is linked to a small wire in my bloodstream and gives me a continuous stream of information about my blood glucose levels.
I wasn’t sure how I would feel wearing a sensor that has access to my bloodstream, but it feels.. awesome. Wearable tech that connects into me really makes me feel like I have taken the first step to become a cyborg.
How does a CGM (Continues glucose monitor) work?
- I am wearing a patch on my stomach which fits a sensor.
- The sensor connects after a lot of effort, time and warming up to an app on my phone.
- I calibrate the sensor by pricking my finger and testing with a normal blood glucose monitor.
- I can see my current blood sugar level and a chart that shows me when my insulin level spikes.
Why am I interested in my blood sugar?
I guess it was inevitable: I love data and I’ve always been obsessed with sugar.
I blame Garmin for flaming the first fixation: Data. Ever since I’ve had my heart rate on my wrist while running, I love tracking and comparing the numbers. I got very excited when Garmin put a heart rate monitor in a wearable, office-appropriate device that I could have on every day – and every night. While heart rate data has not significantly changed my life, I do love looking at my low wake-up heartrate. It makes me feel like a fit person.
Then there is my obsession with sugar. I can’t resist eating it, but at the same time, consuming sugar frightens the living daylights out of me. The fear drove me to low carb eating for years. In fact, one of my first posts were written on the topic of eating too many sweets while cycling.
But lately, I have grown more and more confused about sugar. When I was in Camp Keto, I knew sugar was the root of all evil and the worst type of food for your health. Now that I am trying to eat more plant-based, I hear that sugar is not that bad and that the problem with society is the processed meat and fat. Baffling…
I don’t know if I should cut all sugar, or even as many carbs as possible. The transition to mostly plants has been challenging enough – I am not sure I want to turn to the uber restrictive world of low-carb-vegans just yet.
The idea behind wearing a CGM
A study with continuous glucose monitors found that glucose responses are highly individual.
Some people have insulin spikes for ice cream while others have for sushi. Since these responses are individual, the only way to know which carbs keep you full is to eat them and look at your insulin response.
A simple way to do this is to prick your finger after a meal, but unless you are diabetic, you are unlikely to get the timing right to find spikes. Based on experience, I would also say it would also be challenging to summon the motivation to routinely prick your finger in the name of scientific exploration.
Lessons learn from my responses
I was already pretty sure chocolate bars are bad for me, but some other findings have been surprising.
White rice is not great but seems at least leagues better than a bowl of oats, which makes my blood sugar level plummet.
My trip to Italy was interesting since my body seemed perfectly happy with a plate of pasta but panicked by the sight of a pizza.
One of the most interesting findings was that my body seemingly prefers rich, dark chocolate cake to nutritious, vegan ramen with mung bean noodles.
I would have never guessed the chart below, but I had a much smaller insulin response from cake than from the noodles.
I will be wearing the device for 30 days and hope to learn even more interesting surprises about my blood and insulin.
During this time I’ll mostly try to make my body happy and feed it as much cake as it wants. 😉