Why test before meals?

I'm T2, not on insulin, just metformin. I usually test my fbg; I'll often test a second time later in the day. Why does my log book have a space for before and after meal testing? Why does Bob Greene also recommend before & after?
Does before meal testing have any value for diabetics who not insulin dependent?

Yes! If you are controlling with diet/exercise/oral meds, you want to know HOW your control is using those methods. And that means seeing how food affects you. You need to see where you are before eating and then two hours after see where you are. Your fasting sugars might be great but you could be spiking to 275 every time you eat, then returning to maybe 150 and spiking again next time you eat...and not going back to normal until you sleep.........that's important information you'd need to take to your doctor.

And aside from your doctor, it's useful information for you. If you eat a big plate of fried rice and end up in the 200s, and you have a similar experience everytime you eat fried rice, that's telling you that you need to either reduce the serving size, eat something else or do some exercise to keep those numbers down. It also gives you data on where you're at so you can make decisions. If you are 200 and it is mealtime (and you're not on insulin to correct or won't be exercising first), you would be better off having an omelette or a salad or something else low carb.

Taking a BG reading before a meal and after a meal can help you judge what affect certain foods have on your blood sugar and how your body handles the types of food. With diabetes, what works or doesn't work is different for each person, so knowing how food affects your blood sugar is helpful, and you can only get that information by testing before a meal to know where you start and after meal to see the affect of the food.

I think those with the most very mild types of diabetes only have to worry about after-meal numbers.

The rest of us? We are working on the before-meal numbers too. Possibly with even more weight than the after meal numbers. Who cares that your meal raises your bg 50 points when you're starting off at 600?

Thanks all for sharing their experiences/perspective. Certainly, no such thing as "mild diabetes", but I know that my control is good. Testing before meals has always shown that I'm not not high. For me, keeping carb portions small(ish), avoiding white foods (rice, potatoes, etc), plus exercise & metformin seems to keep numbers pretty stable.

My insurance doesn't cover my strips so I never test before meals. I can only afford 1-3 strips most days, so I choose wisely when I use them. After meal I like to be around 110 or lower. My highest bg is usually my fasting bg. Since I know which foods spike me, I totally avoid wheat, cereal, all flour products, fruit, oats and other grains and rice and pasta. I don't even use my log book anymore. I just juse the memory on my meter to track my bgs. Since I have tight bg control 90-110 I feel I don't need a log book.

i am glad your body is stable enough to get away with 3 strips a day. that is great.

All the numbers are important. Before and after let you know the effect that a meal has on you, although that needs some qualifiers when variables like dawn phenomenon and liver dumps mess things up. But in general terms, the bigger the difference between before and after, the more you need to examine the menu to see what caused that and what can be changed next time for a better result.

However, in the real world, most people are not like me and will not test 20 times a day as I did when I was first made aware of Jennifer's Test, Test, Test. It was very effective, but most people simply won't do it. So, apart from the pre-breakfast fasting test I don't usually suggest testing before every meal or snack to new people; just after every meal or snack. That is still a lot of testing, so I suggest they find their peak time to cut back from Jennifer's two tests after a meal to one at their peak.

This was the result: Test, Review, Adjust


I suggest you give that a try.

Cheers, Alan, T2, Australia
Everything in Moderation - Except Laughter

Oh? Define mild diabetes please. Is that the one where the complications just occur later?

If you can change that meal so that next time it only raises you 25 or 30, then my experience is that your base levels go down too if those changes are made consistently over time. So it is very important what the rise is regardless of the base level.

However, your extreme example would rarely be valid, because anyone at 600 should be using insulin or meds to get down from glucotoxicity levels as well as looking at their menu.

Cheers, Alan, T2, Australia
Everything in Moderation - Except Laughter

As one who ended up testing 30 times a day on fingerprick caveman and finally progressing to CGMS , the extra data and times were crucial to catching the important data around the clock.

It allowed my Doctor to adjust metformin treatment as well as insulin doses/type and watching food/digestion issues and BG changes as well as trap all the fun liver dumps and seeing how high my body could drive. Without that extensive data, it was like driving a steam engine without a good level sight glass on the water level and assorted pressure gauges that enables one to keep a high horespower water boiler under control at all times.

Anything less like 4 tests a day are a farce and a disgrace. Its like standing in my town in daylight with two wet fingers in the air and attempting to define what camarillo looks like.

We have the science but no real tools like a 24/7 recording pack that could record all data on bloodstream BG and other factors for 3 days or more around the clock and then computers would analyze and summarize data for Doctor so he can tune all aspects of drug hormones, pancreas, thyroid, gut hormones, diet/carbs and exercise so as to arrest this nasty disease.

We are at the stage where Dr. McCoy of the Star Trek ilk said 20th century (now 21) medicine would kill one.

I am referring to type 2 insulin resistance disease.

The present method of single shot lab tests, educated guesses and the order of Merlin are simply not up to the task.

Once we have detailed data and analysis we will really start chasing this disease and its large numbers of the affected.

As for absolute BG numbers, I have not made that a passion, the problem is that once body skeletal and fat cells saturate, the body drifts out of regulation. The regulation system is based upon glucose storage in the skeletal muscle cells and fat cells in their local storage and as long as there is space, the system remains in control.

Exercise burns off glucose, insulin does not. Keeping room in the skeletal muscle cells and fat cells ensures that insulin resistance is kept to minimum.

While the concept of insulin sensitivity may have some validity, its approach that ignores the finite storage local glucose capacity of the skeletal muscle cells and fat cells and any cells responding to insulin release and impact yet ignoring saturation is right up there with infinite motion and energy machines - academic and misleading.

I think I mean mild as in, the only numbers that are out of whack are the after-meal numbers.

I'm all for arranging testing as to find the out-of-whack numbers, whether they be 125 and 67, or 600 and 30.

Tim.