How I Test New Foods and Drinks
Last updated: March 2022
There are differing opinions on when a person should test his or her blood sugar to determine when and how high the peak is. The most common time I hear is, about two hours after eating. I believe this is a good time to test, but not for a peak. In my opinion, this gives you an idea if you are coming down off a peak and how far off you are from your target blood glucose level.
The method I use is a little costly in the sense of using up a fair amount of test strips, but it is the best way I have found to test food and drinks to see exactly how my body responds to them.
Blood sugar baseline before food
First, I get a baseline right before eating. It is best to get a baseline when you're fasting or at least eight hours after eating. If I am going to test a new food, I do it an hour or so after I wake up. This is to hopefully compensate for the dawn phenomenon and allow my blood sugar to stabilize prior to the experiment. If you forget and do not get a baseline, this will not work because you are going to test for the specific amount you increase above the baseline number.
Blood sugar 30 & 60 minutes post food
Second, I set a timer and test 30 minutes after I finish the food I am testing. This will let me know how quickly it hits my bloodstream and how fast it affects me. Next, I take a reading in another 30 minutes, or one hour after I finish eating or drinking. A lot of carbs, especially simple carbs, will cause your peak to be around the one-hour mark. If you wait until the two-hour mark, you will see the peak, but it might not be the top of the peak which can be misleading as to how your body reacts to that food.
Blood sugar 2 hours post food
Finally, I take a reading at the two-hour mark. This will allow me to see how fast the decline from the peak is, or if I am still going up or staying around the peak long after eating. Complex carbs will probably not drop as quickly as simple carbs by the two-hour mark, but you should not see as big of a peak with complex carbs either.
Additional options for testing
As you can see, this can be a bit pricy using four strips for one test. Ideally, you don’t want to test new foods more than once a week. Purposely giving yourself blood sugar spikes isn’t healthy, but it is also the only way to know how you react to a certain food. One alternative to save some strips is to test an entire meal. Generally, people don’t eat just one item by itself. A lot of the time it is paired with other foods. You could test the combination you use the most and see how that as a whole affects your blood glucose levels. Of course, if you have a spike, you will have to investigate further.
One other method to save strips would be to eliminate one of the three post-meal tests. If you test at the 30-minute mark, and you have a pretty decent spike on your test, then eliminate the two hour and test again at one hour. This will most likely give you a better peak number. On the other hand, if it is a small increase, test at two hours as that will more than likely be closest to your peak. Of course, if you skip the 30-minute test, do both the hour and two-hour test.
Do you chew your food slowly or quickly?
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