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When is the best time to check my blood sugars after eating?

Question. When is the best time to check my blood glucose after eating?

Answer. If you want to see the effect of your meal, test your blood glucose in pairs. Measure it immediately before eating and approximately two hours after. The change in blood glucose is largely the effect of the food most recently eaten. Ideally, your blood glucose will rise no more than 40-mg/dl between the two measurements. You must not rely on the post-meal measurement only. You may falsely believe that your lunch, for example, caused an unhealthy increase in your blood glucose when, in fact, it was elevated prior to lunch.

Consider this example. Two hours after eating a sandwich, some carrots and celery sticks and a small apple (totaling about 45 grams of carbohydrates), your blood glucose was elevated at 190 mg/dl. You may incorrectly think that you cannot handle 45 grams of carbohydrates at lunch. However, it's possible that your pre-meal blood glucose was 175 mg/dl and that the lunch increased it by a mere 15 mg/dl.

You should measure your blood glucose around meals frequently to learn your body's response. Be sure to use blood glucose data wisely. You may need to take your test results and a food record to a registered dietitian or a certified diabetes educator to help you understand the effects of various foods, quantities of food, medications and exercise. One thing I do not want you to do is to fear your food or fear carbohydrates. I would much prefer that you eat healthfully and take additional medications, if necessary, than eat an unpleasant or unhealthful diet to control your blood glucose.

About Jill Weisenberger

Jill Weisenberger, MS, RD, CDE is the author of Diabetes Weight Loss: Week by Week (American Diabetes Association, 2012). She serves as contributing editor of Environmental Nutrition. A recognized speaker and consultant, Jill is recognized for her practical advice and desires to help others improve their eating habits, to lose weight and to live healthier lives.

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