Understanding Terminologies Which You Hear When We Talk Health
We regularly use many terminologies when we talk nutrition, science and health. What exactly do they mean or define. Read here a comprehensive list with their definitions.
Glucose Variability is the measure of oscillations (“ups and downs”) in your glucose levels. It also represents the quality of fuel and oxidative stress on the body. Keeping a low glucose variability helps lower oxidative stress, optimizing for longevity. Consuming foods that give you a stable response, getting quality sleep and reducing overall stress helps optimize this biomarker. Maintaining glucose variability of 12% and lower is considered ideal.
The body produces glucose from the food we eat. Glucose is absorbed directly into the blood from the intestines, which results in a rapid increase in blood glucose or blood sugar. It is then transported through the bloodstream to generate energy for all the cells in the body. Our cells cannot use glucose without the help of insulin, a hormone that allows cells to absorb it. Thus, the body depends on glucose to keep all its mechanisms functioning effectively, giving us the energy to go about our day-to-day activities.
Glucose levels often go unnoticed when they are within the ideal range. However, when these levels in the blood are too high or low, our normal functioning is affected. There is a complex system in place for keeping glucose within a healthy range, metabolizing it into fuel or storing it for later use. Insulin plays a crucial role in this process. Optimising blood glucose levels through regular monitoring can have various benefits in terms of controlling metabolism, managing weight, understanding your ideal diet and improving athletic performance.
Peter Attia mentions in one of his blogs, “Higher glucose variability and higher (and more) peak glucose levels are each independently associated with accelerated onset of disease and death, even in non-diabetics. Prospective studies show that higher glucose variability in non-diabetics is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, frailty, cardiovascular death, cancer death, and death from any cause compared to lower glucose variability. Other prospective studies show similar trends for higher compared to lower peak glucose levels and several human experiments demonstrate that high glucose peaks induce endothelial dysfunction in healthy non-diabetic individuals, and higher postprandial glucose levels are also associated with higher carotid intima-media thickness, suggesting higher glucose peaks may accelerate the development of atherosclerosis, even in those with normal glucose tolerance.”
When I started wearing CGM, it was 90% “insight” and 10% behavioural. After a few months, the situation has changed. I now have a good idea of what triggers the spikes, but it has become a remarkable accountability tool. It’s simultaneously a behavioural and analytical tool that can track and uncover strategies and tactics, which can actually save an enormous amount of time and money by preventing bad outcomes in the future. Over the 4 months, I have been using the CGM I have found that some of the ‘healthy’ foods were not healthy for me like sweet potato. I even noticed Paneer purchased from market spikes my glucose higher than paneer made at home. I also found a way to manage my sweet tooth. If I ate my dessert along with food rich in high fibre, say, a plate of leafy salad and green veggies, the GI effect of the dessert would substantially reduce. Another way to blunt sugar spike was to take a glass of lemon water or even cinnamon in food. Glucose monitoring is a useful tool not just for diabetics people but for non-diabetics and those who want to optimise their food to manage focused work and exercise. I also found that every time I did some intense work my glucose would spike and with few physiological sighs I could manage it better. It’s not just a tool for people with diabetes, it’s a tool for anybody who’s interested in improving their health because it gives you the best real-world insight into these three metrics:
- What’s your average blood glucose?
- How much does it vary?
- How high are the peaks and how often do you have them?
And with this knowledge you can find ways to manage the spikes and your health better.
March 13, 2022