Glucose meterHere is an excerpt from Wheat Belly Total Health that discusses how to use a glucose meter to accelerate weight loss. The same strategy can be used to reverse type 2 diabetes as much as possible in as short a time as possible. (Taken from Chapter 7: Grainless Living Day-to-Day.)

A blood sugar meter used pre- and post-meal can be a very powerful tool for weight loss and the reversal of metabolic distortions like high blood sugar. But you have to know how to apply the information.

Many people are frightened at the prospect of getting their blood checked for anything, and are particularly frightened by the prospect of checking it themselves. They’re frightened that it could be painful or expensive, or that it would make them feel like they have diabetes. As diabetics and anyone else comfortable with checking blood sugars will attest, the process is easy. It is not painful, as the devices used to prick the finger are spring-loaded and cause minimal discomfort. And costs are modest, especially if you obtain a device and test strips from your physician who will often just given them to you. (The device manufacturers give them away to physicians, since their money is made on the repeat sales of test strips.) If worse comes to worst, you might have to shell out the equivalent of the cost of a nice dinner at a restaurant to have a glucose meter and test strips for glucose and ketones (if desired; discussed below).

There are a number of devices that can test your blood sugar. I’ve had good experiences with the OneTouch Ultra, Accu-Chek Aviva, Bayer Contour, and ReliOn brands. The Precision Xtra tests for both glucose and ketones, using different test strips for each. Instructions are provided with each device, and it will take about 15 minutes to get any of these up and running. Once you get comfortable with the process, it requires just 1 to 2 minutes to obtain a blood sugar or ketone value.

Here are some tips to help you get reliable readings:

Try using the soft pads of your fingers first, though you can test just about anywhere on your body, including the sides of your fingers or even the back of your hand.

Swab with an alcohol wipe first to ensure that the surface you choose is clean and free of hand creams, lotions, etc.

Don’t “milk” your finger to get an adequate drop of blood. If the blood that results from your finger stick is too small, repeat using a deeper setting on your finger stick device and/or use firmer pressure on the device. You can also bend over and lower your hand toward the floor for 30 seconds before performing the finger stick, as this will encourage blood to pool in your hands.

Rotate finger-stick sites to avoid making one site sore.

Remember: The goal here is not to control blood sugar with medication or insulin but to identify problem foods that provoke blood sugar and insulin, thereby impairing weight-loss efforts. To do this we check blood sugar immediately prior to a meal and then 30 to 60 minutes after the start of the meal. Aim for no change in blood sugar when you take these two readings. If the after-meal value jumps up to, say, 138 mg/dl, look at that meal and identify the carbohydrate source that was too much for you, and then either slash your portion size or eliminate that food. (In the meantime, go for a walk, ride a stationary bike for 20 minutes, or engage in some other light activity to drop your blood sugar back to its starting level.)

By applying this simple strategy, you identify then adjust or remove foods that provoke insulin release. Doing so allows weight loss to proceed at its maximum rate. Even if you start as a diabetic, not allowing any rise in blood sugar will, over time, allow insulin sensitivity to be restored and even fasting blood sugars will trend downward. (Of course, if you are taking insulin or oral diabetes drugs such as glimepiride, glyburide, or glipizide, talk to your healthcare provider about reducing your doses or eliminating, as you will need much less; under no circumstances do you want to chance hypoglycemia as you become less diabetic.)

You’ll find more helpful strategies to achieve total or ideal health in a grain-free lifestyle in the Wheat Belly Total Health book.