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Control Your BGL (Blood Glucose Level) with a Low Carb Lifestyle
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Control Your BGL (Blood Glucose Level) with a Low Carb Lifestyle
BGL Tools There are many variables involved in BGLs (Blood Glucose Levels), but the biggest factor is the amount of carbs you eat.

Carbs are converted to glucose in your body, so it makes sense that eating fewer of them will lower your BGLs.

Following a low carb lifestyle isn't difficult. Learn the basics and you can get and keep your BGLs under control with fewer or no meds. This applies to all types of diabetes.


* STEP 1 *

Glucose Meter Your glucose meter is your friend and most important tool for controlling your BGLs.

Get a meter and strips and learn to use them.


* STEP 2 *

BGL Heading Use pieces of paper or a small notebook for a journal. Put the date at the top of the first page.

You can also include your weight in the upper left corner and any special details (illness, etc.) in the upper right corner.



* STEP 3 *

BGL Fasting First thing in the morning (before eating, showering, or moving around much), take your fasting BGL and record it in your journal.

Write the time on the left, followed by "Fasting," followed by the number on your meter.

Putting an asterisk next to the meter reading helps to make it stand out.

Example:

9:30 a.m. Fasting *85


* STEP 4 *


BGL Breakfast Eat a very low carb breakfast 1/2 to 1 hour after getting up.

BGLs tend to be very picky in the morning, so keep the carbs very low for this meal.

Eggs and meat are a good choice.

If your tummy doesn't like a big breakfast, a cup of unsweetened almond milk or an Atkins shake are also a good choice. Don't skip breakfast or any other meals.

Record the time, what you ate, and how many net carbs it contained (if you know) on the next line in your journal. It helps to put the carb count in parentheses to keep that number separate from your BGL numbers.

Example:

10 a.m. 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (2)


* STEP 5 *

BGL Post Breakfast 2 hours after breakfast (timing from your first bite), test your BGL and record it in your journal.

Example:

12 p.m. 2 hours post breakfast *83


* STEP 6 *


BGL Lunch 4 to 5 hours after breakfast, eat a low carb lunch. Record the time, foods, and carb counts in your journal.

Example:

2 p.m. Lettuce-wrapped bunless burger (2)
           Salad with bleu cheese dressing (5)


* STEP 7 *


BGL Post Lunch 2 hours after your first bite of lunch, test your BGL and record it in your journal.

Example:

4 p.m. 2 hours post lunch *87


* STEP 8 *


BGL Dinner 4 to 5 hours after lunch, eat a low carb dinner and record it in your journal.

Example:

6 p.m. Shirataki noodle casserole (2)
           1 cup green beans (6)


* STEP 9 *

BGL Post Dinner 2 hours after dinner, test your BGL and record it in your journal.

Example:

8 p.m. 2 hours post dinner *85


* STEP 10 *

BGL Snack If you are going to be up for several more hours, you can add a snack/meal 4 to 5 hours after dinner.

Record it in your journal.

Example:

10 p.m. Low Carb No-Bake Chocolate
            Cheesecake   (3)


* STEP 11 *

BGL Post Snack 2 hours after your snack (if you had one), test your BGL and record the results in your journal.

Example:

12 a.m. 2 hours post snack *84


* STEP 12 *

Ate Oatmeal As you continue recording in your journal each day, examine your food choices and their effects on your BGL.

A truly normal BGL is in the mid-80s. Keeping your BGL under 100 at all times will drastically reduce your risk of developing diabetes complications.


* STEP 13 *


Oatmeal Problem If you have been eating a lot of carbs, it may take a little time to get your BGLs under 100, but remove those foods from your diet that spike them higher than your goal.

Gradually lower your goal until you are removing any food that causes your BGL to go over 100.

Depending on where you are starting out, this may happen very quickly or take a couple of weeks or more.



* STEP 14 *


Remove Oatmeal Continue keeping your journal every day and removing foods that cause BGL spikes.

Don't assume you know what your BGL will be; test it.

Your body may stop tolerating foods it was fine with earlier and/or not tolerate foods you have been told are fine for diabetics; if you don't test, you won't know what YOUR body tolerates.


* TIPS *


- Figure net carb counts by subtracting the fiber from the total carbs since fiber doesn't usually have much effect on BGLs.

- If you don't have enough strips to test after every meal, rotate which meals you test after and/or test after trying a food for the first time.

- Setting a timer (on your watch or elsewhere) helps to remember when to test.

- Keeping your meals spaced 4 to 5 hours apart allows your body to deal with one meal before asking it to deal with another one.


- Keep your carbs spread throughout your day; clumping them together will cause BGL spikes.

- Plan ahead so you are never caught without low carb food to eat at the proper time.

- The Atkins Induction Acceptable Foods List is a good resource for low carb foods.

-
Boredom can derail your best-laid plans; peruse low carb cookbooks and online recipes to keep your diet interesting and satisfying. Also check out the Get Out and Stay Out of a Rut on Your Low Carb Lifestyle link on the left.

- If you take insulin or other meds to lower your BGLs, reduce carb amounts slowly, checking your BGL often and reducing your meds if necessary to avoid hypos. Record the meds and when you took them in your BGL notebook.


- It is best to have a doctor's guidance while lowering your BGLs (especially if you take meds), but be aware some doctors are anti-low carb.

- Don't rely on fasting levels only; finding out what happens when you eat is vitally important for controlling BGLs.

- Glucose meters measure the glucose in fruit, but not the fructose. Fructose can cause damage to your body, so don't assume fruit, sweeteners made from fruit, or fruit-containing foods are safe just because the fructose in them doesn't show up on your meter. Fructose can also affect your A1c levels.

- Your peak BGL may not be 2 hours after a meal; it may be sooner. It's a good idea to test at 1 and 1  1/2 hours as well as 2 hours to see when you usually peak and set that as your testing time after meals. You want to catch (and lower) your peaks. (Eating a lot of protein can cause a spike in your BGL many hours later.)

- For more about my own experiences with controlling BGLs, check out How Do I Manage My Weight and BGLs?

- Why do I aim for a BGL under 100 at all times?  Check out What is a Normal Blood Sugar?


* More Info *








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