Prediction: Even healthy people will be tracking blood sugar

glucose level  meter

In a recent opinion piece for CNBC, a California endocrinologist is predicting that by 2025 many more people will be continuously tracking their own blood sugar — even people who don’t have diabetes.

The major reason for that, argues Dr. Aaron Neinstein, is the incredible improvements in the technology when it comes to measuring blood glucose levels and the powerful information such tracking yields.

CNBC: By 2025 a lot more people will be tracking their blood sugar — here’s why

Dr. Neinstein, who is a professor medicine at the University of California in San Francisco, says new devices are increasingly sleek, affordable, accurate and avoid the painful pricking of fingers.

These better devices mean continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) use has increased in Americans with type 1 diabetes, from six per cent in 2011 to 38 per cent in 2018. (People with type 1 diabetes need to track their blood sugar very closely in order to give themselves the right dose of insulin.) People with type 2 diabetes using a CGM can also learn which foods spike their blood sugar the most, as this can vary between individuals.

But Dr. Neinstein predicts ostensibly healthy people will increasingly use the devices, too “because the feedback is very powerful.”

In fact, he wore one himself for two weeks and discovered his favorite soup at his hospital café caused him a sustained high level of blood sugar.

His surprising personal finding mirrors the findings of a recent study. In 2018 researchers at Stanford University of School of Medicine gave 57 subjects a CGM. Most were ostensibly healthy, some were showing signs of pre-diabetes and five had type 2 diabetes. They found the level of sugar in an individual’s blood fluctuates much more widely than presumed and that was unable to be accurately detected by traditional measuring methods, such as the one-and-done finger prick method.

PLOS One: Diabetic-level glucose spikes seen in healthy people

These fluctuations, or “spikes” in supposedly health people were as high as levels in people with diabetes, and occurred after eating specific foods, most commonly refined or starchy carbohydrates. Some subjects were “spikier” than others with tremendous individual variation, which the researchers described as low, moderate and severe responses.

“There are lots of folks running around with their glucose levels spiking and they don’t even know it,” said Michael Snyder, professor and chair of genetics at Stanford and senior author of the study, published in July 2018.

The researchers found the increasing ease and accuracy of CGM devices could enable users to create a unique understanding how specific foods impacted their own blood sugar response and enable individuals to create a personalized diet that would lead to the best blood sugar control.

Anne Mullens


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  1. William
    I have been testing blood glucose via finger prick for several years. I am not and never have been prediabetic. However, this testing keeps me aware of the way of living that is best for me.
  2. Karamah Khashiun
    I have type 2/adult onset diabetes since about 1989. I used spot daily/before meals and bedtime fingersticks until March 2018, when I finally qualified for and received Dexcom 6 CGM. My sugar was mostly elevated and My A1c fluctuated between 7 and 13 Since I began using CGM, not only are my numbers improving, for the first time I know the foods that make my sugar spike and the serving size that works best, ie one rather than 2 slices of bread. I feel better and have to remind myself to eat because I no longer have excessive hunger caused by frequent blood sugar spikes. I educate friends and family about the value of using CGM, better sugar management, improved vision, neuropathy and circulation, no fingersticks is a bonus.
    Reply: #14
  3. 1 comment removed
  4. Stacy
    Lies, lies, lies! The CGM devices they are raving about are NOT accurate, require constant trouble shooting, maintenance, and new parts replacement. They are horribly over priced, with very little scientific testing. The technology doesn't work as advertised, just like it's finger meter counterpart. Diabetic tools have gotten fancier over the years, but NOT more accurate, and wildly misguide those, who lives so desperately rely on them. Diabetic care needs to change. People deserve better!
  5. William Zorbas
    Where do get this machine at ?
    Reply: #7
  6. Jonathan Ashilevi
    Where can I also get some of the machine to buy am a type 2 diabetic
    Reply: #8
  7. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    Where do get this machine at ?

    You may wish to ask your doctor or pharmacist.

  8. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    Where can I also get some of the machine to buy am a type 2 diabetic

    You may wish to ask your doctor or pharmacist.

  9. Eddy
    Get a prescription for your doc. Changed my behavior totally. Even if its not very accurate, it still reflects what food causes spikes...and that good enough for me until they improve in accuracy.
  10. Maria Vincenzi
    Where do you get one
  11. Steph
    We use the Dexcom six and it is highly accurate compared to some of the other devices. In our experience it is within three points of the fingerstick and definitely gives us forewarning of blood sugar drops and spikes. It is been a game changer .
  12. Birgit
    I'm not so sure that CGM is an option for everybody. Chances might increase if the sensor could be attached on top of some thin part of the skin without the need to have direct contact with the blood. Also there are conditions that can easily prevent anything to stay in place on one's skin or to send send signals successfully.
  13. Cassieoz
    Yet another aim to improve the health of urban middle classes 🙄. By the time your BGL starts to rise, you're years down the track. This fails to recognise the role of hyperinsulinaemia in poor health
  14. Maggie
    Fabulous results
    Than’ you for posting
  15. Michael
    For me ,a Type 2 diabetic for about 20 years, LCHF diet has taken me from an A1C of 8+ to 5.8 within about 6 months. My A1C may have improved much quicker than 6 months but that was the interval between A1C tests.

    I'm certainly not against the use of these new testing devices but for me the A1C is an accurate test and attaining the improvements have nothing to do with which method of monitoring blood sugar I use on a daily basis.

    In the past going low on blood sugar was my biggest concern as I did have a few very severe episodes of low blood sugar. Now low blood sugar is no longer a concern since I am maintaining a LCHF diet and have been able to remove most of my diabetic meds. For those who are concerned with unexpected low blood sugar then constant monitoring could be well warranted.

    For those wanting to identify problem foods additional finger sticks after a questionable meal at 1,2, 3 and even 4 hours after eating will give you the information you need. Testing like this will also give an indication of how long it takes for your body to return to its "normal" blood sugar.

    My comments are based on my experiences and what has given me some success.

    I still have weight to loose and meds to stop taking, I am not cured of diabetes yet. Best wishes to all, Mike

  16. Melanie
    I feel like it should be highly recommended to test blood sugars before meals if you are overweight. Anyone can buy a meter without a prescription. Clearly we (overweight) are not doing too well determining if we are actually hungry or not!!! Anything over 5.0 and I will skip my planned meal...anything below 5.0 and I will eat my planned meal. Using this strategy along with Winnipeg's "Four weeks of healthy menus" has changed my life. If you are significantly overweight this will cause very rapid yet healthy weight loss.
  17. Epohon
    “There are lots of folks running around with their glucose levels spiking and they don’t even know it,” said Michael Snyder, professor and chair of genetics at Stanford

    And... Those folks will develop diabetes? Are at the higher risk of developing it? Is that the claim? Guess not.
    What a shameful l'art pour l'art statement by a geneticist. This is how selling your soul to Silicone Valley looks like.
    This quackery paved the way for a company to invent even more absurd theories about phantasmagoric role of CGM for exercise. Surely there will be victims and someone will be lining their pockets.
    No sense of responsibility, no instinct to protect the public. Fad medicine.

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