The Lingo Blog

Nutrition

Be empowered to make healthier, more-informed choices and establish better habits. The Lingo team of experts across nutrition, fitness, physiology, and wellness share science-backed information to support your personal metabolic health journey.

Essential Guides

Image for A day in the life with Lingo

A day in the life with Lingo

Year-to-year. Month-to-month. Day-to-day. Your daily Lingo journey is designed to help you meet your needs and move towards your health goals. Along the way, you’ll learn from personalized recommendations to take steps towards reducing your glucose spikes. Morning As you start your day, check in on your progress with your Daily Briefing, see your glucose status for the morning, and view your daily Points target to start the day strong. You’ll naturally accrue Points across your day from meals, snacks, and even stress. The more spikes, the more Points you accrue. Your goal is to stay below or at your daily target, which updates on a weekly basis based on your progress. Mid-morning If mid-morning hunger hits, check in with your Lingo graph to see if your hunger could be related to a post-breakfast spike and crash. You can check in on your graph and log key activities any time of day, so stay on it and adjust your meal planning. Remember to set aside time for activity too. Daily activity is vital to wellbeing, so commit to moving more every day. Add more steps after every meal, set aside time for exercise and move towards improved glucose control and metabolism. (1) Afternoon Fight off post-lunch glucose crashes by choosing savoury, not sweet foods, opting for satiating, high-protein, and low-carbohydrate choices instead of sugar packed options. The former helps keep you full and won’t derail your progress. Evening For your last meal of the day, build your perfect dinner plate: ½ colorful vegetables, ¼ high-quality proteins, and ¼ whole grains, root veggies, or other starches. Resist over-indulging with dessert or alcohol. Research has found that meals high in protein and healthy fats, with moderate complex carbs can improve sleep quality. (2) Before you close the kitchen for the evening, log your meal and add in a few steps, sit ups, or dance moves to help you burn off some energy. Check in with Lingo. How did you do?

 
Image for A day of eating with Lingo

A day of eating with Lingo

Your needs change over time; even day-to-day, So, it can be helpful to have an idea of what a day in the life with Lingo might look like. Morning Start your day out on the right foot with a serving of our cheesy egg scramble and a light walk. Getting a few steps in before or after breakfast can help you balance your glucose response (1) Mid-Morning Don’t wait to eat until you’re starving. A simple snack, like one handful of pistachios (40 grams), can keep you full until lunch time. Afternoon Keep up the good work with one of our tuna and avocado salad wraps. This recipe is filled with hearty fats and vegetables to keep you full, flatten your glucose curve, and give you energy. Not only that, but the omega-3 fatty acids in the tuna and avocado fuel heart and brain health. (2) Evening End the day with our chicken stir fry with Pak Choy, broccoli, and brown rice. It will fill you up and has the right mix of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to help your body recover. Research also suggests that a meal high in protein, healthy fats, and moderate complex carbohydrates (like whole grains and pulses) may improve your sleep quality. (3) In addition to balanced meals and snacks like the ones above, you may need more nutrients after your workout – especially if you have a few hours to go before your next meal. A protein shake like the Ensure High Protein Shake is a great option for muscle recovery. Calorie needs vary among individuals, so speak with your physician or dietitian to determine how much food you should include in your day.

 
Image for Add fibre to fill up and help manage your glucose

Add fibre to fill up and help manage your glucose

The latest UK data shows that fewer than 1 in 10 adults meet the daily recommended fibre intake of 30g. (1) Vegetables, pulses, nuts, seeds, whole fruits, and whole grains are excellent sources of fibre. So make sure you include them in every meal. How fibre helps Including fibre-rich foods in a meal not only makes it more satisfying (2) it also helps stabilise your glucose. (3) As your body is unable to absorb and break down fibre, it doesn’t cause a glucose spike. A review in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that including fibre-rich foods was linked with improved glucose control in adults with varying health conditions. The review also showed that increasing your daily fibre intake to 35g helps improve the risk factors for heart disease, such as cholesterol levels and bodyweight. (3) Five ways to add fibre Use more pulses: three heaped tablespoons of beans or chickpeas provides at least 4.5g of fibre. Add them to your salads and sauces or have them as a side dish. Opt for wholegrain and seeded bread. A slice of wholegrain bread with avocado provides about 4g of fibre. Adding a tablespoon of flax or chia seeds to your salad (or on your soup, salad, or porridge) provides about 3-5g of fibre. For a fibre-rich snack, a handful of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit adds about 4g. A banana or an apple will each add 2g. Check the nutrition labels for foods ‘high in fibre’ (6g per 100g) or a ‘source of fibre’ (3g or more per 100g) While you’re busy adding fibre, remember to fill up on fluids too. Fibre draws water into the bowel, so drinking plenty of fluids will allow the fibre to do its job properly.

 
Image for Are high or low morning glucose levels normal?

Are high or low morning glucose levels normal?

When you think of sleep, you may think of complete rest and that the systems in your body shut down. However, sleep is a complex process that involves various stages and functions including glucose and energy metabolism, all controlled by the circadian rhythm. (1) Observing higher or lower glucose levels in the morning can be related to circadian rhythm or lifestyle habits and food choices surrounding sleep. The connection between sleep and glucose levels Glucose and sleep have a significant impact on each other. (2) High spikes and low crashes from the day can disrupt sleep, just as a poor night’s sleep worsens your ability to process glucose the following day. High blood sugar in the morning, even if you don’t have diabetes, may reflect what you ate at your evening meal, if you had any alcohol, are stressed, or the quality and duration of your sleep. What causes higher glucose levels in the morning? A large, late meal within 2-3 hours or less of trying to fall asleep Alcohol, especially sugary mixed drinks, within 2-3 hours of bed Stress Short sleep duration Poor sleep quality In the above scenarios, normal physiological processes that occur at night are disturbed as the body is working hard to metabolise a late meal, large amount of carbs or alcohol, or unable to fully rest due to stress. In approximately 50% of people with diabetes, the “dawn phenomenon” is a high blood sugar level in the early morning, generally between the hours of 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. (3) This rise is caused by insulin’s inability to properly act on the release of stored and new glucose from the liver into the blood. While commonly observed in individuals with diabetes, the use of CGMs have revealed that the dawn phenomenon can be experienced by individuals without diabetes, too. What causes lower glucose levels in the morning? Alternatively, if you eat a lower-carb diet or don't eat many carbs in your evening meal, you may notice lower glucose levels in the morning. Alcohol late at night can also cause delayed overnight lows, which might show up after you fall asleep. Why does sleep spike or lower my glucose levels? It’s not sleep per se, but usually meals or activities that take place before you go to sleep that are still being processed overnight. When you use a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo, you may notice your glucose starts to rise in the morning before you even wake up. This is normal and can be attributed to the metabolic processes governed by circadian rhythm, which is the internal clock in the body. When it’s time to wake up, your body temperature begins to rise, along with cortisol and glucose levels. These are all standard functions that tell your body it’s time to wake up. What should my glucose levels be in the morning? After an overnight fast, typical glucose levels in healthy individuals are less than 99 mg/dL (milligrams per decilitre) or 5.5 mmol/L (millimoles per litre), with more optimal levels landing in a tighter range, between 70-90 mg/dL (3.9-5.0 mmol/L). If your morning glucose level is above 99 mg/dL (5.5 mmol/L), it could be a totally normal, temporary response that is related to your meal and drink choices the night before, your total sleep time or sleep quality, or other lifestyle factors like stress. Using a product like Lingo enables you to have insight into how different behaviours impact your glucose. If your morning glucose is consistently elevated higher than the healthy range or changes significantly from what’s typical for you, talk to your doctor about what that may mean for you. What can I do to manage my morning glucose levels? Lifestyle habits you can implement that may improve sleep quality and manage morning glucose levels include: Close the kitchen and finish eating 2-3 hours prior to bedtime. Avoid alcohol, especially soon before going to sleep. Walk for 20 minutes after eating dinner. While some studies show high glycaemic foods may help you fall asleep, (4) avoid large, high-carb meals that your body may still be trying to process overnight. Adopt a wind-down nightly routine to minimise stress levels for quality sleep. Exercise regularly: aim to meet your step goal most days of the week, achieve 150 minutes of aerobic exercise, and strength train at least 2 days per week A final note from Lingo Sleep and glucose are closely impacted by each other, and the relationship between the two is complex. Lifestyle habits, food, and sleep can all affect your morning glucose levels. By using a continuous glucose monitor like the Lingo biosensor, you can better understand how these factors play into your glucose levels and take charge to retrain your metabolism.

 
Image for Balance your glucose and level-up your overnight oats

Balance your glucose and level-up your overnight oats

Overnight oats are an easy, tasty breakfast option that can be prepped in advance. However, as oats are rich in carbohydrates, adding in the right toppings or mixtures is critical to keeping your glucose steady. Traditional oats with flavoured oat milk, raisins, banana, and honey is tasty, but contains lots of carbohydrates and minimal protein. This sweet start to your day can spike your glucose, leaving you feeling low energy, hungry, and irritable hours later. Carbohydrates paired with protein and fats give a smoother post-meal glucose curve than carbohydrates alone. (1) Pair wisely with these tasty swaps: Swap the oat milk for whole milk or full-fat Greek yoghurt. These contain more protein and less sugars. If you’re vegan, opt for a fortified, unsweetened nut-based milk, and double check the ingredients to avoid ones with added sugars. To increase the protein content, add high-quality protein powder to your porridge or mix in milled flaxseed, chia seeds, and chopped nuts. Instead of raisins, dried fruit, and bananas, add berries, as these are lower in sugar. A tasty recipe Use a ratio of 1:1 for the oats and liquid. Mix the ingredients, cover, and leave in the fridge overnight. Divide the mixture into containers if you’re on the move, or portion into bowls for the following days. Having some in the fridge means you can always start your day with steady glucose. By making these swaps, your breakfast will be far more satiating and improve your energy and focus. A great way to start all you days.

 
Image for Choose your sauce wisely

Choose your sauce wisely

Sauces can make a meal delicious with loads of flavour. But proceed with caution. Depending on the sauce you choose, that flavour might be coming from sugars. That’s right- even the most savoury of sauces could include a lot of hidden sugars. These sugars impact not just the taste, but also your glucose. Choose sauces wisely Shop-bought soups, sauces, and bread products can often contain a surprising amount of added sugar, so it’s important to read and understand the food label. Most nutrition labels provide information on sugar per 100g. A product with 5g or less sugar per 100g is considered low sugar. (1) In addition to the amount of sugar, check the ingredients for added sugars (like high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and cane sugar) as well as sweeteners that can be listed under many names (erythritol or xylitol). (2) Watch out for “low fat” or “fat-free” sauces as they may have added sugars to make up for their reduced fat content. Make your own Making your own sauces does not have to be hard or time consuming. They are fresher, tastier, and can be more nutrient dense as you have control of what you put in them. You may still want to add sugar, but you can choose to use it sparingly. Opt for more natural sources like fruit puree, dates, honey, or maple syrup. Some easy-to-make sauces include tomato sauce, pesto, salsa, guacamole, and olive oil-based salad dressings. DIY tomato sauce The next time you need a tomato-based sauce, skip the ready-made stuff and make your own. Start with fresh or canned tomatoes, add in onions, garlic, peppers, herbs, and even red lentils to make it more nutritious and delicious. Once you find a recipe you like, make a big batch and freeze some to have on hand for an easy meal another time.

 

Latest Articles

Image for Simple solutions to manage hunger

Simple solutions to manage hunger

When working to maintain a healthy lifestyle, sometimes hunger can be hard to curb.  But with the right planning, you'll be in the driver's seat and back in control. Plan ahead One of the best ways to manage your hunger is to plan ahead. This means having high-protein, high-fibre snacks and meals readily available to combat hunger when it comes. When you are hungry and your glucose is low, you are more likely to want sugary, high-carb foods. Balance Your Meals For dinner, build the perfect glucose-friendly plate. What does that look like? It’s simple maths: a quarter protein, a quarter carbohydrate (whole grains or starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, beetroot and squash), and half non-starchy vegetables (like spinach, broccoli, asparagus and tomatoes). Make enough to have healthy leftovers the next day. Drink plenty of water Sometimes, when you feel hungry, you might just be thirsty. Drinking water can help you reduce your urge to snack on unhealthy foods. As a starting point, try to drink at least eight glasses of water per day. If you want to add some flavour to your water, you can infuse it with fruit or herbs, like lemon or mint. (1) Take Time Out  Check in with yourself and ask, “is this hunger or something else?”. In other words, are you stressed, bored, frustrated, or tired? If your hunger is tied to low energy levels and a dip in glucose, follow the Fundamentals and refuel. If your hunger is actually something else, try to change things up. Get up and go on a walk, read a book, or listen to some music until the feelings pass. This gives you space to think more clearly and make better decisions about your food choices.

 
Image for Boosting your metabolism: 5 ways from experts

Boosting your metabolism: 5 ways from experts

You are probably familiar with the term metabolism but might not understand 100% what it means. At its most basic definition, your metabolism encompasses all processes involved in how energy is used in the body. This includes the use and storage of glucose, which we’ll expand on later. Most people associate metabolism with how quickly the body burns calories, and it’s why many are interested in having a “fast metabolism.” However, this process actually refers to metabolic rate, which is the number of calories your body uses daily and is influenced by genetics, age, muscle mass, and activity level. Increasing metabolic rate, commonly referred to as “boosting metabolism,” means increasing the number of calories your body uses at rest. People can also experience a temporary rise in metabolic rate, such as when you continue to burn calories after harder effort workouts. Glucose plays a central role in metabolism; it’s a fuel source for immediate energy and is also able to be stored in muscles and liver for later use. How well the body can process, use, and store glucose is one marker of metabolic health. When your body uses glucose efficiently, this results in steadier glucose levels, which has been shown to positively impact your mood, energy levels, mental focus, sleep, and more. (1) You can improve this glucose efficiency by increasing your metabolic rate. For the purposes of this article, we’ll encompass metabolic rate when we explain how to speed up your metabolism. Put simply: a fast metabolism means you burn more calories, while a slow metabolism means your body requires fewer calories daily. And while exercise is an obvious way to burn calories, you can also boost your metabolism with a number of science-backed approaches. It’s important to note that while the below methods have been proven to increase metabolism, your individual metabolic rate still varies on personal factors unique to you. None of these are a quick fix for improving your metabolic health, which requires implementing several lifestyle habits. How to speed up metabolism 1. Eat enough protein Your diet plays an important role in your metabolism. Including 25-35 grams of high-quality protein at meals helps steady your glucose after a meal (2) and supports muscle tissue, which uses 80% of the glucose consumed from a meal. (3) Plus, protein is satiating, so you’ll feel fuller for longer after you eat an adequate amount. Some examples of high-quality protein include chicken, turkey, beef, fish, Greek yoghurt, and cottage cheese. For plant-based protein options, try tofu, edamame, tempeh, beans and lentils, or quinoa. Did you know that protein also has the highest metabolic effect of all the macronutrients? (4) That means protein burns more calories to digest and process than carbohydrates or fats. This is known as the thermic effect of food, and when it comes to protein, 25-30% of calories from protein are used for digestion and metabolism compared to 5-10% for carbs and 0-3% for fat. (5) Caffeine can also have a positive impact on metabolism by increasing fat oxidation and further increasing the thermic effect of a meal. (6) However, caffeine can raise your glucose, and in some individuals can cause negative side effects like increased heart rate, anxiety, or GI distress. 2. Strength train As mentioned, muscle is the top regulator of glucose. So building and maintaining lean body mass is one of the most effective ways to boost your metabolism. Muscle tissue is very metabolically active; more muscle equals more calories burned at rest and better glucose regulation. (7) The NHS recommends adults do muscle strengthening activities that work all the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) on at least 2 days a week. (8) Strength training improves metabolism by directly using glucose as fuel during the exercise as well as increasing glucose use from the blood for up to 2 days after. More specifically, a programme that utilises progressive overload — which gradually increases intensity or difficulty so the body adapts and gets stronger (e.g. upping the weights lifted or number of reps performed)— supports building and maintaining muscle mass, which increases metabolic rate. (9) Try functional movements that target multiple muscle groups, such as squat variations, lunges, and deadlifts. It’s best to use your own body weight, free weights, or exercise bands to achieve these compound movements, versus exercise machines that often only target one muscle group at a time. You can also add a weighted backpack when you go out for a brisk walk, a highly effective exercise known as rucking. (10,11) Additionally, try to break up long periods of sitting with “exercise snacks” – brief periods of increased movement such as bodyweight squats or calf raises. Turn on movement alerts on your wearable device or set reminders on your phone or computer. Hit your daily step goal; studies have shown 8,000 steps or more daily is associated with better health outcomes. (12) Staying active during your day can help keep your metabolism elevated. 3. Get quality sleep Adequate sleep is associated with better metabolic health. (13) Even a single night of getting less than 6 hours of sleep will worsen glucose control the next day and can lead you to eat more and reach for more high-calorie comfort foods. (14,15) Getting quality sleep is easier said than done, but here’s a simple way to increase Zzzs: crawl into bed a little earlier. Even if you don’t fall asleep right away, allowing yourself extended time in bed can increase total sleep time. It can also increase time spent in REM sleep, which is when metabolic rate is higher. (16) Read our full article on how to sleep better. 4. Reduce stress Excessive stress can affect metabolism in several ways, primarily through the release of hormones and changes in behaviour and eating habits. Stress activates the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which can break down muscle tissue for energy and lead to a slower metabolism over time. Stress can also cause changes in the appetite-regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin, making it difficult to choose glucose-friendly foods. This can also disrupt your energy balance and metabolism. It’s essential to manage stress effectively to minimise its negative impact on metabolism and your overall health. Some accessible ways to manage stress include exercise, yoga, meditation, talking to friends and family, keeping a gratitude journal, spending time outdoors in nature, and turning off notifications on your phone. 5. Stay hydrated and limit alcohol Maintaining proper hydration helps support a healthy metabolism, and one of the best ways to stay hydrated is to drink enough water. Adults should consume 2.7 litres of water for women and 3.7 litres of water for men daily as a general guideline, (17) although factors such as body size, activity level, and environmental temperature change the required amount unique to you. While alcohol is a liquid, it does not support hydration. In fact, it does the opposite. Plus, alcohol provides 7 calories per gram, not including carbohydrates that can naturally occur in beers, wines, and sugars added to mixers that can negatively impact your glucose. Since your body can’t effectively store alcohol, it prioritises metabolising alcohol at the cost of slowing the metabolism of carbs and fat. Benefits of increasing your metabolism Improving your metabolic health can make it easier to manage your weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. (18) Improved metabolic health has also been associated with an increase in energy, better mental focus, appetite regulation, and quality sleep. (1) Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you regulate your glucose and improve your overall metabolic well-being. A final note from Lingo While your metabolism is influenced by a number of factors such as your genetics, age, muscle mass, and activity level, you can take steps to benefit your overall metabolic health, including improving your metabolic rate. Start by implementing the suggestions outlined in this article to create healthier habits and boost your metabolism. You might also consider using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo to learn more about your metabolism and how you uniquely respond to different foods. Although diet plays a big role in your metabolic health, it’s just one component. It’s important to consider other factors including exercise and stress.

 
Image for Glucose and skin health

Glucose and skin health

Optimising your glucose may positively impact your skin health. Low glycaemic foods are foods that have less impact on your glucose. (1) Foods high in protein, fat, and fibre tend to have low glycaemic index value. Foods high in refined carbohydrates and sugar are high glycaemic foods, which can increase your glucose. What does this mean for you and your skin health? Making some simple swaps throughout the day can help decrease your glycaemic load and positively benefit your skin. (2) For example, swap white rice for brown rice, quinoa, or buckwheat. Have wholemeal or rye bread instead of white bread. Get omega-3 fatty acids into your diet with nuts and seeds (like flaxseeds, walnuts, and chia seeds) and fatty fish (like salmon, mackerel, and sardines) twice per week. When you want a snack, instead of reaching for sweet treats, build a snack platter with vegetables, grilled protein, nuts, cheese, olives, and hummus. After you make changes like these, monitor how your skin changes.

 
Image for Balanced meals lead to better sleep

Balanced meals lead to better sleep

You know that high-sugar snacks and meals impact your glucose, but did you know that these same choices and an unsteady plate also impact your sleep? Alternatively, meals that prioritise protein and fats with just a modest amount of complex carbohydrates (like whole grains, beans, and legumes) can help you sleep better. (1) And better sleep promotes better glucose management. In individuals with impaired glucose metabolism, the research points to a clear relationship between poor sleep leading to poor glucose management and poor glucose management leading to impaired sleep. (2) But with some simple changes, you can avoid the cycle. Eat a balanced lunch by filling ½ your plate with non-starchy vegetables, ¼ with proteins, and ¼ with complex carbohydrates. Vegetable soup with a chicken-salad sandwich on wholemeal bread would be a great choice. As you track your glucose, notice how changing the sources and amounts of carbohydrates impacts you. And if your glucose is high, fill up on chicken salad and soup, skipping the bread. Focus on the protein For your evening meal, increase the protein proportion and reduce the complex carbohydrates. An evening meal that’s high in protein and healthy fats with a modest portion of complex carbs like whole grains, beans, and legumes can steady your glucose and improve your sleep quality. (1) Tonight, try one of these delicious ideas: A salad starter and a main dish of salmon, mixed vegetables and lentils An omelette with ham and mushrooms plus a side salad with avocado and seeds Grilled chicken breast with quinoa, roasted peppers, courgettes, and tomatoes

 
Image for Exercise and your glucose

Exercise and your glucose

You have a lot of muscles, and they all need fuel. What is our body’s favourite type of fuel? Glucose. Glucose is found circulating in your blood or even stored as glycogen. When glucose is limited, your body adapts and breaks down fats for energy (or even proteins if it gets desperate). Exercising regularly helps burn glucose and improve overall glucose control, so try to add more movement to your daily routine.  Your body’s demand for fuel is only as intense as your workout. High-intensity exercise increases adrenaline (the fight-or-flight hormone), which signals to your body that it’s time to breakdown liver glycogen to glucose. This quick influx of fuel can spike your glucose, but this is the one time a spike is a good thing. When you track more intense workouts and see a spike, don’t be alarmed. Lingo won’t count those exercise-related spikes against your points, so jump back in and remember to track that more intense activity in the app.    Seeing a spike, but you haven’t had an intense workout? There are other reasons for spikes during a workout. When shifting to a lower carb diet, but not low enough to shift into ketosis and burn fat for fuel, the limited glycogen is quickly spent without the support of ketones, which accompany a properly-designed, high-fat approach. This prompts your body to turn to protein for fuel.  But, you can help prevent the breakdown of protein (and muscle) for fuel by making sure you have fuel in the tank a few hours before a workout. And after your workout, remember to recover with enough protein and carbs to build muscle and replenish your glucose supply during your post-workout recovery phase.   So, take this back into your daily life. Better prepare, perform, track, and recover. More power to you.  

 
Image for Why meal planning matters

Why meal planning matters

When you hear the words meal preparation, you may envision hours in the kitchen on what is supposed to be a relaxing Sunday afternoon. It doesn’t have to be daunting, and meal preparation has been associated with a quality diet. (1) Meal planning and prep can be broken down into a few easily managed categories. Map out a menu. Taking stock of what you have in the cupboards and what’s on sale at the supermarket, plan out meals for the week, paying close attention to the meals that fall in your Focus Area or eating occasions that tend to derail your steady state. Plan your grocery runs. Make a list to ensure you’ll pick up all the ingredients you need to make your meals for the next few days. In the days that follow, you’ll spend less time and potentially less money as you avoid last-minute supermarket runs. Make quick work of your weekday dinner prep by cleaning and chopping base vegetables like lettuces, onions, carrots, and celery ahead of time. You’ll save time throughout the week when these ingredients are ready to be added to your plate or recipe. Any extra that you don’t use throughout the week can be frozen or stored and used later. Pre-portion your snacks. Rather than reaching for the entire bag of almonds when you’re hungry, portion out your snacks. Portioning snacks can save you calories too. If you know your time is tight this week, prepare a meal that can be frozen and then removed from the freezer and put directly in the slow cooker, similar to slow cooker chicken fajitas recipe. Find aspects of meal preparation that you feel most comfortable with and fit your skill level and time constraints. You might make a week’s worth of dinner meals, a few side dishes, or simply stick to portioning out snacks. Whatever investment you make in meal planning will pay off with less hectic, more balanced meals in the days that follow.

 
Image for Turkey meatballs with herbed orzo and simple Greek salad

Turkey meatballs with herbed orzo and simple Greek salad

Craving Greek food but not sure what to eat to keep your glucose steady that's also satisfying and delicious? This recipe for turkey meatballs with herbed orzo and a simple Greek salad was developed by Lingo’s registered dietitians and it’s just what you need for a filling dinner the whole family will enjoy. The turkey meatballs pack a punch of flavor with feta cheese, panko (or oats), and fresh herbs. The best part of the meal just might be that one serving provides 33 grams of protein to help keep you fuller, longer. While the meatballs are perfectly accompanied by orzo, you can also replace some pasta with steamed vegetables for fewer carbs at your meal. We recommend serving this dinner recipe along with a simple Greek salad of chopped tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onion, and Greek dressing. The balance of protein, fats, fiber, and veggies add a solid pairing to the orzo to slow down digestion of the meal, leading towards steady energy without a big spike. This Lingo-approved recipe proves that you can still enjoy your favorite carbs like pasta while hitting your Lingo Count target and reaching your goals. Servings: 4 Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes Total time: 45 minutes Meatballs: 454g lean ground turkey 75g feta cheese 40g oats or panko 3 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano, divided 3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, divided 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint 2 Tbsp minced shallot 1 Tbsp minced garlic 1 ½ tsp salt, divided ½ tsp ground black pepper Orzo: 720ml water 227g orzo ¼ cup sliced red onion 3 Tbsp chopped sun dried tomatoes 1 Tbsp lemon zest Garnish: halved cherry tomatoes (optional) Recipe preparation Preheat oven to 175°C and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a large bowl, stir together turkey, feta, oats or breadcrumbs, 2 Tbsp each oregano and dill, next 3 ingredients, ½ tsp salt, and pepper. Divide mixture and shape into 12 meatballs. Place on prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion of meatball registers 75°C. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring water to boil over medium-high heat. Add orzo and remaining salt and cook for 6 minutes or just until tender; drain. Transfer orzo to a medium bowl, and stir in onion, lemon zest, sun dried tomatoes, and remaining 1 Tbsp each oregano and dill. Garnish with fresh tomatoes as desired. Serve with simple salad of chopped tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onion, and Greek dressing. Nutrients per serving 493 calories 33g protein 15g fat 55g carbohydrate 5g fibre Nutrition facts compiled using ESHA Genesis R&D Food Development and Labelling software, version 11.11.23. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or registered dietitian before starting any new diet or exercise regimen.  

 
Image for Low-sugar drinks: 5 options that avoid glucose spikes

Low-sugar drinks: 5 options that avoid glucose spikes

Staying hydrated is key for your overall health and for maintaining steady glucose levels. However, many of the popular drinks people reach for contain a lot of sugar that can spike your glucose. This can lead to fluctuations in mood and energy (1), cravings (2), and impact sleep (3). Fortunately, you can enjoy a range of refreshing and flavourful drinks that have little or no sugar and are unlikely to spike your glucose. 5 glucose-friendly drink options 1. Sparkling or plain water We know you’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating: drinking plain water is a great and accessible way to maintain hydration. Many people don’t drink enough water, and adults should aim for around three litres of water a day (4). You may need more depending on a number of factors, such as if you exercise or your environmental temperature is warm. If you find regular H2O boring, plain sparkling water and seltzer are just as hydrating and might be more enjoyable to drink, especially with meals. If you forget to drink enough water, try setting alerts on your phone or make a habit of carrying around a refillable water bottle to drink from throughout the day. Start early so that you’re not trying to play catch up in the evening before bed, which can disrupt your sleep if you have to get up at night to use the bathroom. Try habit stacking by placing a large glass of water on your nightstand to drink soon after you wake up or keeping a bottle of water in your car cupholder to finish on your commute home. After a few weeks, these choices are likely to become long-term habits. 2. Flavour-infused plain or sparkling water You can jazz up plain still or sparkling water with slices of orange, lemon, cucumber, or other fruits for a hint of natural flavour. Try adding sprigs of mint or rosemary, and have fun with the combination of fresh fruit and herbs to find flavours you enjoy. Sparkling water with slices of fresh ginger and lime make for a particularly zesty combination. Invest in a water infusion pitcher or just add fruit and herbs to a large bottle of water to keep in the fridge overnight. You can also infuse your plain water with powdered or liquid water enhancers on the market that contain little to no added sugar and aren’t likely to cause a spike. Popular hydration powders such as Pedialyte Powder Packs, or Pedialyte Electrolyte Water provide flavour and electrolytes for a tasty and hydrating option. 3. Zero-sugar carbonated beverages There are a number of carbonated beverages on the market that are made with little or no sugar and won’t cause a spike. Popular flavoured seltzers such as La Croix and Dash are made simply with carbonated water and natural flavours or fruit essence, which contain no sugar, calories, or non-nutritive sweeteners. Many popular carbonated drink brands have their own zero-sugar versions, although these are often made with non-nutritive sweeteners and other ingredients and should be consumed in moderation. Despite being sugar-free, these non-nutritive sweeteners yield varying glucose responses in people. By using a continuous glucose monitor such as Lingo, you can monitor your individual response to beverages like these to find what works best for you. It’s important to note that these beverages are still not a replacement for plain water and shouldn’t be consumed in excess. 4. Alcohol: Dry wines and plain liquor While alcoholic beverages aren’t hydrating (in fact, they do the opposite), you may still be looking to enjoy an alcoholic drink from time to time that won’t cause a spike. Although you may not avoid a spike entirely, we recommend a dry wine like pinot noir or brut sparkling or a mixed drink with a shot of pure liquor such as vodka or gin in plain seltzer with a slice of citrus for the lowest impact on your glucose levels. For optimal glucose control, it’s best to consume alcohol in moderation — alcohol interferes with your sleep (5), which can negatively impact your glucose (6). Plus, the more you drink, the more you lower your inhibitions, which may cause you to reach for sugar or carb-heavy snacks that can cause a spike. 5. Hot or cold herbal teas Herbal teas (without added sugar) are an excellent way to enjoy flavourful beverages without spiking glucose levels. It’s easy to make herbal teas at home, and you can enjoy them hot or iced. Try to avoid adding sugar and sweetened milks, and be mindful when ordering tea beverages out (especially iced tea variations) that they aren’t made with added sugar or simple syrups. Many of these teas have a natural sweetness on their own. Chamomile, rooibos, hibiscus, and liquorice teas are all great options. A note on coffee Drinking coffee is a morning ritual for many. The caffeine in coffee (and some caffeinated teas) may cause a glucose spike for some, and adding milk and sugar can exacerbate these spikes. However, over the long term, caffeinated black coffee has been shown to have favourable effects on glucose metabolism (7). Additionally, caffeine can have a diuretic effect, causing you to urinate more, and if consumed in excess may compromise your fluid balance. Dehydration can lead to greater glucose spikes and dips (8). If you’re a regular coffee drinker, try having a large glass of water before your cup of coffee and continue to drink water throughout the day. Drinks to avoid Many popular drinks are high in sugar and can spike glucose levels. Some obvious culprits include fruit juice, sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages, alcoholic cocktails, and sweet wines. When it comes to glucose regulation, sugar-free beverages are a better choice than beverages with added sugar, but it is best to monitor your own tolerance and drink them in moderation. Consuming too many non-nutritive sweeteners has been shown to affect the gut microbiome, which can negatively impact glucose levels (9). A good rule of thumb is to try to get at least half of your daily fluid requirements through water and the other half may be reached with more flavourful options like the ones outlined above. Be sure to check the nutrition label of any beverage you buy at the store and watch out for added sugars. When dining out, be mindful of sugar-sweetened beverages like fizzy drinks, lemonade, sweet tea, and mixed cocktails. A final note from Lingo Most of the time, water is the best choice to stay hydrated. However, supplementing plain water with some of the beverage choices above can help keep you hydrated while enjoying more flavourful options. We hope this list has provided some inspiration for drinks that aren’t boring and won't spike your glucose levels. And remember, how your glucose levels respond is unique to you. Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you work towards limiting glucose spikes without stopping you from enjoying your favourite drinks.

 
Image for Low-GI foods: Why they matter for glucose levels

Low-GI foods: Why they matter for glucose levels

All carbohydrates that you eat are eventually broken down into glucose to be used immediately by the cells or stored for later use. However, depending on the type of carbohydrate you eat, the time it takes for it to be digested and for the glucose to hit your blood stream can vary. This will have an impact on how slowly or quickly you notice a glucose spike. In this article, we’ll discuss different types of carbohydrates and their impact on your glucose (commonly referred to as blood sugar). What is the glycaemic index? The most common way that people look at slow-release carbs is by classifying foods as high glycaemic or low glycaemic. The glycaemic index (GI) ranks carbohydrates on a scale of 0-100 based on their potential to raise your blood sugar. Foods with a high GI (>70) are digested quickly and cause a rapid spike in blood sugar and insulin. Foods with a low GI (<55) are digested more slowly and result in a smaller increase in blood sugar and insulin. High glycaemic foods are often foods that have been highly processed, beverages with lots of added sugar, bakery items, and candy. High GI foods (≥70) Pretzels Cornflakes cereal Special K cereal White potatoes Sweet potatoes Sodas (Coca Cola, Pepsi) Beer Scones Pancakes Muffins Croissant White bread (GI 100) Skittles Swedish Fish Some fruits with more sugar (pineapple, watermelon) are also considered high glycaemic, although they also offer beneficial nutrients and fibre. Alternatively, low glycaemic foods are often whole foods such as non-starchy vegetables, low-sugar fruits, lean protein sources, whole grains, beans and legumes, dairy, and nuts and seeds. Low GI foods (≤55): Avocado Apples Berries Oranges Spinach Tomatoes Cucumbers Broccoli Courgette Mushrooms Steel cut oats Whole grain bread Quinoa Lentils Chickpeas and hummus Skim, low-fat, and full-fat milk Greek yoghurt Chicken, turkey, and other poultry Beef and pork Eggs Fish and shellfish All about slow-release carbs However, there is another category of slow-release carbs that is worthwhile to consider. Low glycaemic foods fall in several different food categories, but when it comes to starches (think: potatoes, beans, bread, rice, pasta, and cereals), we can further break these down into three main categories: Slowly digestible starch (SDS) Rapidly digestible starch (RDS) Resistant starch (RS) These categories represent the starches’ impact on glucose after they are consumed as well as the associated hormone response. It has been shown that foods with slowly digestible starch have a lower glycaemic index, independent of other nutrients in the food such as fat and fibre (1). While fat and fibre also lead to a lower glycaemic index, when eating foods that are pure carbohydrates (rice, pasta, bread), choosing those that have the greatest amount of slowly digestible starch can have a significant impact on blood glucose, insulin, and satiety. One study found that a breakfast containing slowly digestible starch reduced the glycaemic response not only after the meal, but also into the rest of the morning. This reduced response continued after lunch as well (2), something called the “second meal effect.” Why would eating a breakfast with slowly digestible starch reduce your blood glucose well after the meal has been consumed and even into the next meal? Research has shown that not only do slowly digestible starches slow the release of glucose into the blood stream and induce a lower secretion of insulin, but they also reduce the amount of glucose produced by the liver as well as stimulate a slower release of gut hormones that help to keep you full. (3, 4) Slowly digestible starch is highest in starchy foods that have undergone the least processing. This includes beans and legumes, cooked vegetables like potatoes, corn, peas, and squash, grains like stone-ground wheat, quinoa, brown rice, rolled or steel-cut oats, oat bran, and barley. When cooked fresh, these foods contain higher amounts of SDS than more processed versions like potato chips, breads made with enriched flours, white rice, and instant oats. What is resistant starch, exactly? Resistant starch is another form of starch and is also known as digestion-resistant starch. This is because it acts similar to soluble fibre as it moves through your digestive tract undigested and can feed your gut with good bacteria, improving your overall microbiome. Because it does not get digested, it also helps reduce the glycaemic response after a meal as well as the same “second meal effect” seen with SDS. Additionally, it has been proposed that resistant starch may help with weight management as it has a lower energy density and may help promote satiety. So where do you find resistant starch? Resistant starch has been categorized into 5 different types: Type 1: Called physically inaccessible starch because it is bound in the fibrous cells walls and is found in foods such as coarsely ground or whole-kernel grains (quinoa, whole grain barley), seeds (pumpkin, flax), and legumes (chickpeas, lima beans). Type 2: Found in unripe bananas (greener/not fully yellow bananas) and raw potatoes. Type 3: This type of starch is found in starchy foods once they are cooked and then cooled. The cooling process turns some of the digestible starches into resistant starches. Type 4: Chemically modified starch. Type 5: Formed when starch interacts with lipids. While this sounds complex, the easiest way to get resistant starch in your diet is to go for types 1-3 and opt for foods like cashews or less ripe or green bananas. Another simple and efficient way is to cook and cool certain starchy foods like rice and potatoes before eating them. Benefits of slow-release carbs and low GI foods Slow-release carbs are those with a low glycaemic index as well as those that contain high amounts of slow digestible carbs or resistant starch. They have a lower impact on blood sugar and insulin and may even help lower glucose throughout the day into the next meal. Additionally, slow-release carbs may improve satiety by helping you feel fuller after meals. A final note from Lingo There are many ways you can include slow-release carbs in your diet. If you’re wearing a Lingo biosensor, you can test your own response to the suggestions below. Choose whole grains: Opt for whole grains such as whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and rolled oats instead of refined grains. These have a lower GI and provide slow-release carbohydrates. Legumes and beans: Include lentils, chickpeas, black beans, or other legumes in your meals. They are rich in resistant starch and protein and can provide a sustained source of energy. Green vegetables: Load up on non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, peppers, and kale. They are low in overall carbs, rich in fibre and nutrients, and the carbs they do contain are slow digesting. Nuts and seeds: Snack on nuts and seeds like almonds, chia seeds, and pecans. Not only do they contain slow-release carbs, but they also have healthy fats and protein to help keep you fuller for longer. Cooling and reheating: Cook, cool, and reheat certain starchy foods such as rice, potatoes, and pasta. This will increase their resistant starch content, making them slower to digest and a more even glucose profile.

 
Image for Balance your glucose and level-up your overnight oats

Balance your glucose and level-up your overnight oats

Overnight oats are an easy, tasty breakfast option that can be prepped in advance. However, as oats are rich in carbohydrates, adding in the right toppings or mixtures is critical to keeping your glucose steady. Traditional oats with flavoured oat milk, raisins, banana, and honey is tasty, but contains lots of carbohydrates and minimal protein. This sweet start to your day can spike your glucose, leaving you feeling low energy, hungry, and irritable hours later. Carbohydrates paired with protein and fats give a smoother post-meal glucose curve than carbohydrates alone. (1) Pair wisely with these tasty swaps: Swap the oat milk for whole milk or full-fat Greek yoghurt. These contain more protein and less sugars. If you’re vegan, opt for a fortified, unsweetened nut-based milk, and double check the ingredients to avoid ones with added sugars. To increase the protein content, add high-quality protein powder to your porridge or mix in milled flaxseed, chia seeds, and chopped nuts. Instead of raisins, dried fruit, and bananas, add berries, as these are lower in sugar. A tasty recipe Use a ratio of 1:1 for the oats and liquid. Mix the ingredients, cover, and leave in the fridge overnight. Divide the mixture into containers if you’re on the move, or portion into bowls for the following days. Having some in the fridge means you can always start your day with steady glucose. By making these swaps, your breakfast will be far more satiating and improve your energy and focus. A great way to start all you days.

 
Image for Start your day off right with this bacon and eggs breakfast wrap recipe

Start your day off right with this bacon and eggs breakfast wrap recipe

Breakfast wraps are delicious and satisfying, so it’s no surprise they are a popular option when eating out for breakfast. However, if you make getting takeaway a habit, it can get in the way of your health goals. Many restaurant foods come with more calories, fewer essential nutrients, and leave you with little control over the ingredients that are used. Plus, you spend more money eating out than you would making your food at home. Fortunately, we’ve created this toasted breakfast wrap recipe that can easily be made at home in less than 30 minutes and uses only a handful of ingredients. Not only will this save you money on takeaway, but beginning your day with a protein-packed breakfast will start you off on the right foot and help keep your glucose steady. (1) This will set you up to feel more energized and reduce that mid-morning slump and cravings that you might experience if you eat something more carb-heavy or sugary like a pastry or sweet coffee drink. This recipe, developed by Lingo’s registered dietitians, leans into the Lingo Fundamentals: prioritize protein with the eggs; go with green with the spinach, bell peppers, and onions; don’t fear fat with the olive oil and bacon; and choose savoury over sweet with this balanced breakfast wrap instead of a cinnamon roll or croissant. The tortilla wrap is a lower-carb option compared to a bagel or French bread. This combination will help keep your glucose steady so you’ll stay satisfied and energized all morning. (2) If you want to jazz this breakfast wrap up a bit, opt for topping with salsa, fresh coriander, or avocado for more healthy fats. If you’re vegetarian, swap the bacon for black beans to get a little more protein and fiber. You could even sprinkle some of your favorite cheese inside for additional flavor. No matter how you customize this recipe, it’s a solid go-to to start your morning off right—and save time waiting in line at a café!—all for less than 500 calories. Servings: 1 Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes Total time: 25 minutes Ingredients 2 eggs 1 tortilla wrap (whole wheat or white) 1/4 red bell pepper, chopped 1 handful spinach 2 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped (for a vegetarian wrap, sub 56g (1/2 cup) black beans 15 mL (1 Tbps) olive oil Recipe preparation Crack eggs in a bowl and whisk together. Stir in bell pepper and onion, spinach and chopped bacon. In a pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sautee egg mixture until cooked. Remove from heat and wipe out remnants from pan. Place egg mixture on top of tortilla and roll. Place back in pan to toast. Nutrients per serving 490 calories 22g protein 32g fat 26g carbohydrate 2g fibre Nutrition facts compiled using ESHA Genesis R&D Food Development and Labelling software, version 11.11.23. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or registered dietitian before starting any new diet or exercise regimen. 

 
Image for Cheesy prawn spaghetti squash ‘pasta’ dish

Cheesy prawn spaghetti squash ‘pasta’ dish

When you’re eating to steady your glucose and lessen the carbohydrate load of a meal, you might think you have to totally stay away from pasta. After all, pasta (especially the big serving sizes at restaurants) is packed with carbs in the form of refined grains, which usually leads to a glucose spike. This tends to be followed by a crash and subsequent energy slump, plus cravings for more simple carbs. Luckily, Lingo’s registered dietitians developed this recipe for prawn spaghetti squash that tastes just like a cheesy, delicious seafood pasta dish but with fewer carbs. In addition to the base of spaghetti squash, which is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, this recipe adds a sprinkling of peas and broccoli for additional fibre and micronutrients. While less than 400 calories per serving, this recipe definitely doesn’t lack flavor thanks to the mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and Italian seasonings. You get a balance of protein from the prawns, fat from the olive oil and cheese, and fibre from the veggies. This 40g carb dish is rich in fibre and protein, resulting in a hearty dinner that will leave you feeling satisfied but without the big spike that tends to follow traditional pasta dishes. Servings: 4 Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes Total time: 45 minutes Ingredients 1 spaghetti squash (1130-1360g) 454g shrimp or prawns, thawed and drained if frozen 1 Tbsp olive oil 225g Tenderstem broccoli (aka broccolini), chopped 20g fresh peas 4 garlic cloves, minced ¼ tsp crushed red pepper 2 Tbsp water 105g mozzarella cheese, divided 20g grated parmesan cheese, divided ¾ tsp Italian seasoning ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp ground pepper Recipe preparation Preheat oven to 230°C Carefully cut spaghetti squash lengthwise. Place cut-side down in microwave safe-dish with 2 tablespoons of water. Microwave on high until flesh is tender, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, place cut-side down on rimmed baking sheet and bake at 200°C until squash is tender, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add prawns and cook until opaque. Add broccoli, garlic, and red pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add water and cook, stirring, until broccoli is tender, 3-5 minutes more. Add fresh peas to the skillet, combine with other ingredients and transfer to a large bowl. Use a fork to scrape the squash from the shells into the bowl. Place the shells in a grill safe baking pan or baking sheet. Stir 85g mozzarella, 2 tablespoons parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper into the squash mixture. Divide between shells and top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan. Bake on lower rack in oven for 10 minutes then move to upper rack and grill until cheese starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Nutrients per serving 395 calories 32g protein 12g fat 40g carbohydrate 10g fibre Nutrition facts compiled using ESHA Genesis R&D Food Development and Labelling software, version 11.11.23. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or registered dietitia before starting any new diet or exercise regimen.  

 
Image for Keep your glucose stable throughout the day

Keep your glucose stable throughout the day

To keep your glucose on track, start by building a balanced breakfast. Porridge with peanut butter and milled flaxseed, or eggs and avocado on whole grain toast, are a great option.  If you fancy a smoothie, add some chia seeds, flax seeds, or psyllium husk. They’re great sources of fibre and will help regulate your glucose. Or try some plain Greek yoghurt. It provides protein and carbohydrates. Add in nuts, seeds, and berries for a glucose-friendly breakfast, snack, or dessert. On top of that, the probiotics in the Greek yoghurt will also contribute to your gut health. (1) Check your schedule for the day and set specific times for snacks and meals. Ride the momentum and plan a healthy evening meal. Include a source of protein (like chicken, salmon, prawns, tofu, or tempeh), a portion of complex carbohydrates (like brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, or sweet potato), some non-starchy vegetables (like aubergine, broccoli, cauliflower, or courgette), and a source of healthy fats (like avocado, olive oil, or tahini). Then season your creation with your favourite spices and enjoy.

 
Image for The glucose and wellbeing connection

The glucose and wellbeing connection

Steady glucose levels go well beyond lessening fatigue and giving you a better understanding of your hunger signals. While these effects may be felt soon after managing your glucose, the impact of living a steady lifestyle reaches far beyond one moment in time. Long-term benefits of glucose management are wide reaching, ranging from maintaining a healthy weight, to improved metabolic health, and even improved skin appearance. Conversely, unmanaged glucose levels tend to do the opposite. (1)(2)(3)(4) Lingo’s goal is to help you stay steady and find foods and habits that work with your metabolism and move you towards your goals. The simple step of tracking glucose can inspire changes, helping you reduce glucose spikes after meals and move towards a goal of a healthy weight and improved metabolic health. Simple lifestyle changes coupled with following the fundamentals, like including protein, fat, and fibre on your plate and enjoying these before high carbohydrate foods, can be a key step to take to reach a healthy weight. (1) When brain fog consistently wrecks your day, flattening your glucose curve may help. Steady energy and a balanced diet can lead to improved mood. This is because the roller coaster ride that follows a diet high in simple sugars and refined carbohydrates tends to spike your glucose. This spike most often leads to a sharp crash with energy, mood, and mental clarity not far behind. (2) Lastly, if skin appearance is paramount, following a balanced diet of protein, healthy fats, and fibrous carbohydrates can help. This approach can lead to fewer skin breakouts compared to individuals whose diets contain high amounts of simple carbohydrates. (3)(4) With all the compelling reasons to stay steady, hitting your Points target just might be more important than ever. So whichever reason, or reasons speaks to you, lean on Lingo to help move you towards steady and wellbeing.

 
Image for A day in the life with Lingo

A day in the life with Lingo

Year-to-year. Month-to-month. Day-to-day. Your daily Lingo journey is designed to help you meet your needs and move towards your health goals. Along the way, you’ll learn from personalized recommendations to take steps towards reducing your glucose spikes. Morning As you start your day, check in on your progress with your Daily Briefing, see your glucose status for the morning, and view your daily Points target to start the day strong. You’ll naturally accrue Points across your day from meals, snacks, and even stress. The more spikes, the more Points you accrue. Your goal is to stay below or at your daily target, which updates on a weekly basis based on your progress. Mid-morning If mid-morning hunger hits, check in with your Lingo graph to see if your hunger could be related to a post-breakfast spike and crash. You can check in on your graph and log key activities any time of day, so stay on it and adjust your meal planning. Remember to set aside time for activity too. Daily activity is vital to wellbeing, so commit to moving more every day. Add more steps after every meal, set aside time for exercise and move towards improved glucose control and metabolism. (1) Afternoon Fight off post-lunch glucose crashes by choosing savoury, not sweet foods, opting for satiating, high-protein, and low-carbohydrate choices instead of sugar packed options. The former helps keep you full and won’t derail your progress. Evening For your last meal of the day, build your perfect dinner plate: ½ colorful vegetables, ¼ high-quality proteins, and ¼ whole grains, root veggies, or other starches. Resist over-indulging with dessert or alcohol. Research has found that meals high in protein and healthy fats, with moderate complex carbs can improve sleep quality. (2) Before you close the kitchen for the evening, log your meal and add in a few steps, sit ups, or dance moves to help you burn off some energy. Check in with Lingo. How did you do?

 
Image for Experimenting with Lingo

Experimenting with Lingo

Lingo is about keeping things personal. It’s about helping you better understand your body’s unique response to foods, drinks, exercise, and lifestyle shifts. You’ll gather behind the scenes insights and soon feel ready to handle whatever life throws at you. To get things started, it’s best to explore the impact that food and lifestyle habits have on your glucose levels. Exploring the different causes and effects will lead you to uncover the best choices for you, ones that help your glucose stay steady. Lean on Lingo and learn more about your response to different foods, navigating your points budget, and making the best choices for you and your body.     Your biggest daily point source, unsurprisingly, is food. Your points reflect both the amount of glucose you’re exposed to and how you metabolise it. You might be surprised by your body’s response to similar types of food, your usual foods, and other food related situations. How do you solve the mystery of the increasing or decreasing glucose? Experimenting and observing. Within 90 minutes of eating, your glucose levels start to rise. The bigger the rise, the greater impact that particular food has on your glucose levels.  This gives you a good idea of where your starting point is and which foods cause hidden glucose spikes.  You’ll also start to correlate your emotions, mood, energy levels, cravings, and restfulness with your glucose stability. But don’t worry if you forget to check your levels. Throughout the day we’ll send you updates, tips, and articles to keep you in the know of what’s happening on the inside. Frequent fluctuations or changes in your glucose levels can make you feel depleted, so our goal is to help you stay steady.    Here are few experiments to get you started:  Eat the same meal on two separate occasions. Observe the impact on your glucose when you walk for 20 minutes before or after one of the meals, versus when you relax on the sofa. Enjoy a higher carb meal (like a plate of pasta) but add in non-starchy vegetables and protein, eating these foods first. Check in with your hunger level and your glucose points, compared to the carb meal alone. Track your water intake one day. The next day add a few more glasses of water. Note the difference. We’ll explore how hydration can effect your glucose later.

 
Image for Say no to nightcaps for better glucose and sleep

Say no to nightcaps for better glucose and sleep

A drink in the evening after a long day might make you feel relaxed, but behind the scenes, the effects vary between individuals and don’t typically result in a good night’s rest. Even a small amount of alcohol can reduce your sleep quality. (1) Alcohol dehydrates your body, and many drinks contain carbohydrates. Both these factors make it harder for your body to stabilise your glucose. The carbohydrates in the drink can spike your glucose, leading to a rapid drop in energy levels. This can cause restless and disrupted sleep, which means you’ll feel less refreshed the next day. Increased glucose can also cause more frequent urination during the night, which can further disrupt your sleep. Good sleep helps glucose control Better sleep means less cortisol (a stress hormone) in your body during the night. And lower cortisol helps your body stay steady while you sleep. Sleep is vital to recharging your mind and body. A healthier combination If you do have alcohol in the evening, have some unsalted nuts and water with your beverage. The protein and healthy fats in the nuts support steady glucose, and the water works to keep you hydrated.

 
Image for Why you’re always feeling hungry: 9 reasons from a nutritionist

Why you’re always feeling hungry: 9 reasons from a nutritionist

Sometimes, it can feel difficult to interpret why you feel hungry all the time, especially if hunger strikes soon after you’ve eaten. This can be particularly frustrating when you’re making a conscious effort to choose healthier foods or manage your weight. If this all sounds familiar, know that you’re not alone There are many possible reasons that could be causing you to have an increased appetite or seemingly insatiable hunger. What you eat and drink may be the main culprit because of the effect they have on your glucose. Although stress, sleep, exercise, and other lifestyle factors can also contribute to feeling hungry more often. Types of hunger Physical hunger is straightforward: hunger cues arise, and when you eat, the feeling resolves. Hunger is commonly signalled by a growling stomach, but may also feel like low energy, inability to focus, light-headedness, or dizziness. This type of hunger is initiated by a physiological need for energy, which increases the hormone ghrelin in the bloodstream, a messenger that signals you feel hungry and need to eat. In simple terms, your body is nearing “E” and the light switches on to notify you to refuel. But humans are complex and live in dynamic environments where you may not “feel” hungry or realise that your body is signalling hunger and needs food. Likewise, you eat for reasons other than physical hunger. Hedonic hunger, on the other hand, is the term used for hunger without a caloric need. (1) This may arise from habits, boredom, or your environment. This is often the reason for feeling hungry frequently. Connection between glucose and hunger Glucose and hunger are tightly intertwined. When glucose levels dip, this is one of the main reasons for true physical hunger. However, a glucose spike, followed by a drop, can cue the same feeling of hunger when you don’t need the calories. Meals or snacks that are carb-heavy or sugar-laden can rapidly raise your glucose levels in your blood, followed by a large surge in insulin, which often causes a huge glucose crash. Rapid glucose swings (or low glucose) may leave you experiencing the tell-tale signs of a crash: fatigue, irritability, and, you guessed it, hunger — even after eating a big meal. 9 reasons why you feel hungry all the time 1. You're not eating enough If your goal is to lose weight, don’t slash your calorie intake too low, or undereat during weekdays to then overeat on weekends during planned “cheat days.” If you’re experimenting with ways to steady your glucose, you may be tempted to cut out carbs and sugar, but decreasing calories too far without consuming enough healthy fats and protein can not only leave you feeling hungry, but also hinder your progress. While you might experience hunger when eating in an intentional calorie deficit, you may need to experiment with your meals and snacks to find what keeps you satisfied while staying on track. Gradual weight loss is feasible through a small calorie reduction of 20%, or around 500 calories a day, although this will depend on the person. Make sure you fill up with protein, healthy fats, and fibrous vegetables to help with satiety. 2. You're active Working out increases your need for energy. Certain types of exercise like higher-intensity workouts or harder efforts can blunt your appetite for a short period of time immediately afterwards, but then come back with a vengeance. This is simply your muscles asking for more fuel. If you exercise regularly, you may notice that you need to eat more at meals or eat more frequently than others around you who aren’t as active, and this is normal. To ensure you're recovering and refueling after workouts, consume a balance of protein, fats, complex carbs, and rehydrate with fluids. 3. You're missing the mark on protein Protein is satiating, meaning you’ll feel more satisfied for longer after eating more of this important macronutrient. If you feel hungry soon after meals, crave sweets in the afternoon, or need dessert after dinner, you may not be eating enough protein. Prioritise protein with all meals and snacks, aiming for at least 30 grams of protein at meals and at least 15 grams of protein at snacks, up to a daily goal of 1.5-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight. This would be 105-140 grams of protein daily for a 70 kg individual. In the morning, break the fast with 30 grams of protein at your first meal, and observe if your hunger stays at bay (and steadies your glucose). 4. You're not getting enough sleep Research shows that people eat more following periods of sleeping less. (2) Staying up late may result in snacking to try to stay awake, and short sleep durations of less than 6 hours can leave you feeling hungrier than if you got enough shuteye. Inadequate sleep has been shown to alter the appetite regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin. (3) 5. You're fearing fat Like protein, fat is extremely satiating. There is no need to fear healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, nut butters, and plant oils such as olive and coconut oil (refined vegetable oils like those in high-calorie snack foods should be limited). Adding healthy fats to your diet will keep you fuller for longer, help to steady glucose, and curb hunger. Mix almond butter into morning oatmeal, dress a salad with olive oil and lemon juice, snack on olives and cheese, or add mixed nuts and seeds to Greek yoghurt. 6. You're forgetting fibre Fibre is filling because it slows digestion, causing food to remain in your stomach for longer. Since fibre isn’t digested but is passed through your GI tract, it fills you up for fewer calories and delays the rise in glucose from your meal. Low-fibre carbohydrates (such as candies, cakes, biscuits, chips, pretzels, desserts) are typically high in simple sugars, which causes rapid rises in glucose. Not getting enough fibre or eating lower fibre foods that are high in sugars and cause a crash could be why you feel hungry. Some fibre-rich foods include raspberries, almonds, avocado, chia seeds, and beans. 7. You're stressed out Stress causes a rise in the stress hormone cortisol, which elevates glucose. This can leave you feeling hungry and reaching for sugary and high-carb comfort foods. While these foods may resolve physical hunger, it doesn’t curb feeling stressed. Sure, you may feel happy after eating certain foods, but this can be short-lived as it’s just appeasing the reward centres in your brain, especially if you reach for ultra-processed foods with a lot of sugar and carbs. (4) Plus, eating sugar-laden processed foods spikes your glucose, leading to a crash and perpetuating the cravings for more high-carb comfort foods. Instead, plan for three stress-reducing tactics you can implement when you’re stressed out and craving comfort food. For example, breathing exercises, taking a 10-minute walk outside, or writing down five things you’re grateful for. 8. Your environment isn't helpful The power of suggestion is strong. Studies show you eat more of what is in front of you, which can either help or hinder your nutrition. (5) How is your environment set up? Try clearing your kitchen countertops of snacks and treats and leave only a fruit bowl. In your fridge and cupboards, make the healthy choice the easy choice by placing cut vegetables, nuts and seeds, low-sugar yoghurt, lean jerky, and other healthy foods front and centre. 9. Your menstrual cycle Women of reproductive age may notice differences in hunger levels throughout their normal menstrual cycle. Specifically, in the luteal phase (second half of cycle around days 14-28), hormones are naturally higher, which can influence hunger and cravings for sweet, carbohydrate-rich foods. (6) Females of perimenopausal age may also notice differences in appetite regulation, due to changing levels of estrogen. (7) Prioritise protein and fill up on healthy fats to work with your physiology instead of against it. Managing feeling hungry all the time If you feel like you’re hungry all the time, check the above list and see if any of the reasons apply to you. The best way to satisfy hunger is to eat, and different meals and snacks will have a unique impact on your hunger. It’s best to test out several different food combos to see which choices curb your hunger the best and leave you truly satisfied and satiated. A balanced approach that combines plenty of vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats will keep you fuller and steady your glucose. Devices like the Lingo biosensor can also help you assess your feelings of hunger and make the best choices for your unique physiology. Lingo is a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that connects to your smartphone and pairs with a coaching app to help you establish healthy habits. Lingo gives you a window into your glucose responses to the foods you eat and can help you make the best choices for not only your hunger, but also your overall metabolic health with real time coaching. A final note from Lingo Decoding your feelings of hunger isn’t always so straightforward and requires understanding your body's cues, assessing your lifestyle habits, and recognising the impact your choices have. Even if you’re building healthier habits or trying to lose weight, you don’t need to remain hungry. Instead, focus on eating enough protein, fibre, and healthy fats, managing stress, and building additional healthy habits that work for you. Systems like Lingo, which use a continuous glucose monitor, can also give you a window into your glucose levels to help you understand why you might be experiencing frequent hunger.

 
Image for Reducing fatigue and mood swings with Lingo

Reducing fatigue and mood swings with Lingo

Steady glucose. Steady life. When our diets are packed with simple sugars rather than proteins, vegetables, and fats, our glucose tends to quickly rise and crash, again and again. These intense fluctuations take our energy levels and mood on a wild rollercoaster ride. While many different factors affect our mood and energy levels, Lingo empowers you to find balance and embark on your journey to be your healthiest, best self. A good place to start is by looking closely at what happens to your glucose levels roughly one to one and a half hours after eating a high-sugar meal or snack. Watch as your glucose climbs, then crashes. Note how you feel when your glucose falls rapidly. Are you tired and hungry? Irritable or feeling low? Equally, notice what happens to your glucose after you’ve had a balanced meal or even when you’ve had a balanced meal before that sugary scoop of your favorite ice cream. Notice that your mood improves when your glucose stays steadier? You’re not alone. Research has found that individuals who eat a diet that is high in sugar (the same kind known to lead to glucose highs and lows) are more likely to experience mood disturbances and fatigue compared to those who eat a diet with less simple sugars and carbs.(1) Your glucose rollercoaster will be a much smoother ride when you use personalised insights from Lingo to change your habits, manage your meals and snacks, and work towards your best self yet.

 
Image for Choose your sauce wisely

Choose your sauce wisely

Sauces can make a meal delicious with loads of flavour. But proceed with caution. Depending on the sauce you choose, that flavour might be coming from sugars. That’s right- even the most savoury of sauces could include a lot of hidden sugars. These sugars impact not just the taste, but also your glucose. Choose sauces wisely Shop-bought soups, sauces, and bread products can often contain a surprising amount of added sugar, so it’s important to read and understand the food label. Most nutrition labels provide information on sugar per 100g. A product with 5g or less sugar per 100g is considered low sugar. (1) In addition to the amount of sugar, check the ingredients for added sugars (like high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and cane sugar) as well as sweeteners that can be listed under many names (erythritol or xylitol). (2) Watch out for “low fat” or “fat-free” sauces as they may have added sugars to make up for their reduced fat content. Make your own Making your own sauces does not have to be hard or time consuming. They are fresher, tastier, and can be more nutrient dense as you have control of what you put in them. You may still want to add sugar, but you can choose to use it sparingly. Opt for more natural sources like fruit puree, dates, honey, or maple syrup. Some easy-to-make sauces include tomato sauce, pesto, salsa, guacamole, and olive oil-based salad dressings. DIY tomato sauce The next time you need a tomato-based sauce, skip the ready-made stuff and make your own. Start with fresh or canned tomatoes, add in onions, garlic, peppers, herbs, and even red lentils to make it more nutritious and delicious. Once you find a recipe you like, make a big batch and freeze some to have on hand for an easy meal another time.

 
Image for Are high or low morning glucose levels normal?

Are high or low morning glucose levels normal?

When you think of sleep, you may think of complete rest and that the systems in your body shut down. However, sleep is a complex process that involves various stages and functions including glucose and energy metabolism, all controlled by the circadian rhythm. (1) Observing higher or lower glucose levels in the morning can be related to circadian rhythm or lifestyle habits and food choices surrounding sleep. The connection between sleep and glucose levels Glucose and sleep have a significant impact on each other. (2) High spikes and low crashes from the day can disrupt sleep, just as a poor night’s sleep worsens your ability to process glucose the following day. High blood sugar in the morning, even if you don’t have diabetes, may reflect what you ate at your evening meal, if you had any alcohol, are stressed, or the quality and duration of your sleep. What causes higher glucose levels in the morning? A large, late meal within 2-3 hours or less of trying to fall asleep Alcohol, especially sugary mixed drinks, within 2-3 hours of bed Stress Short sleep duration Poor sleep quality In the above scenarios, normal physiological processes that occur at night are disturbed as the body is working hard to metabolise a late meal, large amount of carbs or alcohol, or unable to fully rest due to stress. In approximately 50% of people with diabetes, the “dawn phenomenon” is a high blood sugar level in the early morning, generally between the hours of 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. (3) This rise is caused by insulin’s inability to properly act on the release of stored and new glucose from the liver into the blood. While commonly observed in individuals with diabetes, the use of CGMs have revealed that the dawn phenomenon can be experienced by individuals without diabetes, too. What causes lower glucose levels in the morning? Alternatively, if you eat a lower-carb diet or don't eat many carbs in your evening meal, you may notice lower glucose levels in the morning. Alcohol late at night can also cause delayed overnight lows, which might show up after you fall asleep. Why does sleep spike or lower my glucose levels? It’s not sleep per se, but usually meals or activities that take place before you go to sleep that are still being processed overnight. When you use a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo, you may notice your glucose starts to rise in the morning before you even wake up. This is normal and can be attributed to the metabolic processes governed by circadian rhythm, which is the internal clock in the body. When it’s time to wake up, your body temperature begins to rise, along with cortisol and glucose levels. These are all standard functions that tell your body it’s time to wake up. What should my glucose levels be in the morning? After an overnight fast, typical glucose levels in healthy individuals are less than 99 mg/dL (milligrams per decilitre) or 5.5 mmol/L (millimoles per litre), with more optimal levels landing in a tighter range, between 70-90 mg/dL (3.9-5.0 mmol/L). If your morning glucose level is above 99 mg/dL (5.5 mmol/L), it could be a totally normal, temporary response that is related to your meal and drink choices the night before, your total sleep time or sleep quality, or other lifestyle factors like stress. Using a product like Lingo enables you to have insight into how different behaviours impact your glucose. If your morning glucose is consistently elevated higher than the healthy range or changes significantly from what’s typical for you, talk to your doctor about what that may mean for you. What can I do to manage my morning glucose levels? Lifestyle habits you can implement that may improve sleep quality and manage morning glucose levels include: Close the kitchen and finish eating 2-3 hours prior to bedtime. Avoid alcohol, especially soon before going to sleep. Walk for 20 minutes after eating dinner. While some studies show high glycaemic foods may help you fall asleep, (4) avoid large, high-carb meals that your body may still be trying to process overnight. Adopt a wind-down nightly routine to minimise stress levels for quality sleep. Exercise regularly: aim to meet your step goal most days of the week, achieve 150 minutes of aerobic exercise, and strength train at least 2 days per week A final note from Lingo Sleep and glucose are closely impacted by each other, and the relationship between the two is complex. Lifestyle habits, food, and sleep can all affect your morning glucose levels. By using a continuous glucose monitor like the Lingo biosensor, you can better understand how these factors play into your glucose levels and take charge to retrain your metabolism.

 
Image for How to stay steady and snack on the road

How to stay steady and snack on the road

Travelling can make it hard to stick to a healthy diet. Away from your normal routine, and well-stocked kitchen, it’s easy to reach for convenient foods. These choices are often packed with empty calories – few vitamins and minerals but rich in added sugars and fillers. What they lack in nutrition, they tend to make up for with processed and simple carbohydrates that can lead to glucose spikes. These types of snacks fill you up temporarily but soon lead to an energy dip that depletes your energy and leaves you craving more starchy foods. (1) Snack Ideas Plan ahead to help you stay on track. Opt for protein-rich, travel-ready snacks like hard boiled eggs, beef jerky, mixed nuts, protein bars, and shakes. A snack of 30 almonds and 30 grams of cheese can help quiet your hunger without leading to a spike and crash. Make your own trail mix with pecans, walnuts, cashews, and pumpkin seeds. Add some dark chocolate (over 80% cacao) and toasted coconut to sweeten the mix without throwing you off target. Keep this in a container in a dark, dry place and divide into small portions that are travel-ready. Give these snacks a test next time you need to hit the road.

 
Image for Don’t be afraid to dine out. Here’s how to navigate it

Don’t be afraid to dine out. Here’s how to navigate it

Dining out is a great way to enjoy food and connect with your friends and loved ones. But it can be easy to get off track, overeat, and consume high-sugar foods. These culprits spike your glucose, leaving you feeling low-energy, hungry, and irritable. (1) And these fluctuations can even affect your sleep quality, especially if you’ve been out later in the evening. Set yourself up for success and check the menu before you dine out. Plan for steady by exploring in advance what healthy options are available and thinking through what you’ll order. When choosing your meal, keep your glucose steady by picking a protein-forward main course like chicken, salmon, or tofu. Instead of starchy sides (like mashed potatoes, chips, or white rice), opt for salad, vegetables, or low-glycaemic carbohydrates (like brown rice or quinoa). These will impact your glucose less. Avoid sauces and condiments that are high in sugar. (2) And monitor your alcohol intake. It can fluctuate your glucose, dehydrate you, and disturb your sleep patterns. When it comes to dessert, skip it, share it, or go savoury to keep your glucose steady. (3) Make it less about restrictions and more about making healthy choices.

 
Image for Easy protein-packed cinnamon blueberry overnight oats recipe

Easy protein-packed cinnamon blueberry overnight oats recipe

One of Lingo’s Fundamentals is to choose savoury over sweet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy sweet foods from time to time, especially for breakfast. If you’re someone who craves a pastry or sugary coffee in the morning, you may be familiar with how these choices can spike your glucose followed by a crash, leading to that mid-morning energy slump and cravings for more sweets. Luckily, Lingo’s registered dietitians created this delicious cinnamon blueberry overnight oats recipe that will satisfy your sweet tooth without leading to a spike. This recipe is made with whey protein powder for an extra boost of protein to start your day off right. Prioritising protein (another one of Lingo’s Fundamentals) will help steady your glucose and keep you satisfied all morning while helping to avoid the dreaded mid-morning crash. (1) The sweetness comes from the blueberries (you can use fresh or frozen), which also provides some fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants. The generous amount of cinnamon, a spice known to help with glucose management (2), complements the blueberries nicely. If you’re vegan, you can swap out the whey protein powder for your favourite plant-based protein powder. The best part about this recipe? You make it the night before so it’s ready for you first thing in the morning or to take with you on the go if you’re in a hurry. With just five ingredients, these overnight oats are as easy as putting everything together in a jar and stirring. Mix up your typical oatmeal and opt for these protein-forward overnight oats to stay steady and satisfied all morning long. Servings: 1 Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 0 minutes Total time: 10 minutes Ingredients 45g oats 180ml milk (If animal milk is not your preferred choice, use a low-sugar plant-based milk) 1 scoop 100% whey protein powder (or plant-based protein powder) 2g (1 tsp) cinnamon powder 95g fresh or frozen blueberries Recipe preparation Stir all of the ingredients together. Pour into a container. Place in refrigerator overnight. Nutrients per serving 390 calories 28g protein 7g fat 59g carbohydrate 8g fibre Note: nutrients calculated using 1% fat milk Nutrition facts compiled using ESHA Genesis R&D Food Development and Labelling software, version 11.11.23. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or registered dietitian before starting any new diet or exercise regimen. 

 
Image for Eat more greens for a healthy gut

Eat more greens for a healthy gut

Did you know that we have trillions of bacteria living in our guts? In fact, we have more bacteria in our guts than we have cells in our bodies. The amount (and type) of bacteria, also known as gut microbiota, can affect everything from your mood to your digestion. Probiotic ‘friendly’ bacteria helps keep your gut healthy by preventing the growth of unfriendly bacteria, which have been linked to health problems, including food allergies and inflammatory bowel disease.  Gut bacteria also play a key role in your digestive health and immune system. In addition, research suggests there may be a link between gut microbiota and body weight, as well as factors that impact long term glucose-related health.(1) Help your good gut bacteria thrive The balance of bacteria in your gut can be easily disrupted by things like stress, poor diet, illness, and drugs (like antibiotics). Eating more produce, ranging from fruit to green vegetables (like leeks and asparagus) encourages the growth of good gut bacteria and better health outcomes (2). These vegetables (and other foods like bananas, onions, and artichokes) contain a type of fibre called prebiotic fibre, which helps probiotic bacteria thrive.  Green vegetables are also a good source of dietary fibre, which keeps the digestive system healthy by preventing constipation. Bacteria in the colon digest fibre by producing short-chain fatty acids (sometimes called postbiotics), which helps keep the cells in the colon healthy and stimulates the growth of good bacteria. Emerging research suggests postbiotics may also help with control of glucose. (2) So, just one more reason to eat your greens.

 
Image for Tangy buffalo chicken salad sandwich

Tangy buffalo chicken salad sandwich

Chicken salad is a classic recipe typically made with chicken breast, mayo, and a variety of seasonings, and best enjoyed as a sandwich on toasted bread and a bed of lettuce. We’ve taken the standard chicken salad recipe and given it a spicy twist with some tangy buffalo sauce. This buffalo chicken salad sandwich recipe, created by Lingo’s registered dietitians, is hearty and delicious and clocks in at a whopping 45 grams of protein per serving. We recommend enjoying this sandwich on toasted, fibre-rich whole wheat bread, but if white bread or buns are the only option available, the protein from the chicken salad and the fibrous veggie toppers are a nice counterbalance to the carbs in the bread. These nutrients help slow digestion, helping you move towards steady glucose and fewer Lingo Counts in the hours after your meal. This sandwich is satisfying enough on its own, but if you’re hankering for a side, we recommend cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, or a few stalks of celery. And while the recipe calls for tomato and lettuce for the sandwich, you can leave these out altogether and add some of your other favorite toppings such as sliced cucumber, coleslaw, pickles, or onions. Skip the deli sandwich for lunch and jazz up your traditional chicken salad sandwich with this zesty lunchtime recipe. The balance of protein, fats, and carbs will keep you steady and satisfied all afternoon. Servings: 6 Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 25 minutes Total time: 40 minutes Chicken salad sandwich filling: 907g boneless, skinless, cooked chicken breast 1 tsp dried parsley 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp onion powder ½ tsp salt ½ tsp black pepper 237ml chicken broth or bone broth 1 Tbsp avocado oil 73g mayo 3 Tbsp buffalo sauce 4 scallions ¼ tsp black pepper 1/8 tsp smoked paprika For sandwich: 1 medium avocado Lettuce Tomato slices Whole wheat bread Recipe preparation In a small bowl, combine parsley, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Toss the chicken breasts in the spice mixture. Heat 1 Tbsp of avocado oil in a pot over medium heat. Once hot, add chicken breasts and sear for 3 minutes on each side.* Place 1 cup of broth in pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and tender enough to shred.* Remove the chicken from the pot and shred. Add a small amount of cooking liquid to the chicken to retain moisture. Let chicken cool and place in the fridge until cold. In a bowl, combine mayo, buffalo sauce, scallions, pepper, and paprika. Fold mayo mixture into the cold shredded chicken and season with salt to taste. *Alternative to steps 2-3, pressure cook chicken on high for 10 minutes, then let pressure naturally release for 15 minutes. Nutrients per serving 556 calories 45g protein 26g fat 35g carbohydrate 7g fibre Nutrition facts compiled using ESHA Genesis R&D Food Development and Labelling software, version 11.11.23. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or registered dietitian before starting any new diet or exercise regimen.

 
Image for How food sequencing affects your glucose

How food sequencing affects your glucose

Managing your glucose is about more than just the food you eat. A growing body of research shows that eating foods in a specific order – known as ‘food sequencing’ – can also affect your glucose. For example, studies show that eating vegetables before carbohydrates can result in lower levels of glucose and insulin compared to eating carbohydrates first. (1) The fibre in vegetables slows the rate that food leaves the stomach, thereby impacting the rate at which glucose is absorbed and mitigating glucose spikes. (1),(2) Other studies have shown that eating proteins and fats before carbohydrates has a similar effect. And managing your glucose isn’t the only benefit of starting your meals with a salad. Foods that leave the stomach more slowly can help you feel fuller, reduce your energy intake from the rest of the meal, and help you manage your weight. (3) Of course, there are even more benefits to going green. Green vegetables are a good source of fibre, and some non-starchy vegetables (like asparagus and leeks) also contain prebiotic fibre that encourage the growth of good gut bacteria.

 
Image for A day of eating with Lingo

A day of eating with Lingo

Your needs change over time; even day-to-day, So, it can be helpful to have an idea of what a day in the life with Lingo might look like. Morning Start your day out on the right foot with a serving of our cheesy egg scramble and a light walk. Getting a few steps in before or after breakfast can help you balance your glucose response (1) Mid-Morning Don’t wait to eat until you’re starving. A simple snack, like one handful of pistachios (40 grams), can keep you full until lunch time. Afternoon Keep up the good work with one of our tuna and avocado salad wraps. This recipe is filled with hearty fats and vegetables to keep you full, flatten your glucose curve, and give you energy. Not only that, but the omega-3 fatty acids in the tuna and avocado fuel heart and brain health. (2) Evening End the day with our chicken stir fry with Pak Choy, broccoli, and brown rice. It will fill you up and has the right mix of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to help your body recover. Research also suggests that a meal high in protein, healthy fats, and moderate complex carbohydrates (like whole grains and pulses) may improve your sleep quality. (3) In addition to balanced meals and snacks like the ones above, you may need more nutrients after your workout – especially if you have a few hours to go before your next meal. A protein shake like the Ensure High Protein Shake is a great option for muscle recovery. Calorie needs vary among individuals, so speak with your physician or dietitian to determine how much food you should include in your day.

 
Image for Feel full and stay full with protein

Feel full and stay full with protein

Do you get hungry in between meals? You might not be getting enough protein in your diet. Including 15-30 grams of protein in your meals and snacks is an easy way to stay fuller for longer since protein is digested slower and improves satiety. These simple steps can also help reduce the glucose spikes often created by a carbohydrate-rich meal. Meals that lack protein while being rich in carbohydrates, are likely to spike your glucose levels, leading to decreased energy and food cravings. (1),(2) Also, including protein in your post-workout snacks helps to stop muscle breakdown and jumpstart recovery. (3) Try out some of these suggestions to start boosting your protein intake without compromising on flavour. Porridge Oats with jam are high in carbohydrates and very low in protein. You may feel hungry shortly after eating this. Try oats with almond butter, some milled flaxseed, a scoop of high-quality protein powder and a couple of dollops of full-fat Greek yogurt. This has more protein, which makes it more filling. Your meals You can boost a bowl of pasta by adding a source of protein (like salmon, chicken, or tofu) to reduce the meal’s impact on your glucose and keep you fuller, longer. Alternatively, add white fish, shellfish, turkey, eggs, or tempeh to hit your protein intake targets.

 
Image for Stuck in a food rut? Try something new

Stuck in a food rut? Try something new

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with your meals. We find something we like and we stick with it leaving most of us to repeat the same meals and snacks again and again. Even when we’re presented with a mountain of fresh green vegetables we still reach for our old favourites. We’re creatures of habit. Variety is key to a healthy, balanced diet. No single vegetable can give you all the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals your body needs. So, try out green vegetables you wouldn’t normally choose. All green vegetables supply us with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. They are also high in fibre, which can help prevent glucose spikes. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts also contain a phytochemical compound called sulforaphane, which studies show may help protect against certain types of cancers. (1) Experiment with the leaves you put in your salads. Watercress and spinach are nutrient dense choices, rich in vitamin C and the B vitamin folate. (2) Why not get around to trying kale? It’s a good source of calcium and iron. You can add it to salads, curries, and smoothies. You can even bake kale chips. Kale chips: Rinse kale and remove the thick stems. Cut leaves into bite sized pieces then wash and thoroughly dry the kale. Drizzle with olive oil (you can massage the oil into the leaves), sea salt, and some of your favourite spices (chilli, paprika, etc). Spread out on a baking sheet, without the leaves touching one another, and bake at 150 degrees Celsius for 20–30 minutes.

 
Image for Restaurant-quality salmon niçoise salad recipe

Restaurant-quality salmon niçoise salad recipe

Salmon niçoise salad sounds like something fancy you’d order at a restaurant, but it’s actually pretty easy to make yourself at home. Made with hearty ingredients and a simple homemade dressing, this salad is a balanced option for lunch that will leave you feeling satisfied and energized while avoiding that dreaded afternoon slump. This salmon niçoise salad, developed by Lingo’s registered dietitians, is made with hard-cooked eggs and smoked salmon (or canned tuna) for a healthy dose of protein (33 grams), which adheres to one of Lingo’s Fundamentals for glucose management: prioritise protein. The eggs also add some healthy fats along with the Kalamata olives, and the lettuce, green beans, and asparagus provide a base of healthy, fiber-rich greens that also provide necessary micronutrients. This salad takes about 30 minutes to make, but you can save time by washing, chopping, and prepping the ingredients ahead of time or making the dressing beforehand. The recipe is for 4 servings, so if you don’t plan on sharing with others and want leftovers, leave the dressing off until you’re ready to eat it. That way, you can store the salad and the dressing separately, and enjoy it the next day, too. No matter how you decide to prep this salad, it’s a filling recipe packed with protein, healthy fats, and greens to help keep your glucose steady and power you through the rest of your day. Servings: 4 Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: n/a Total time: 30 minutes For Dressing 154g sour cream 2 Tbsp lemon juice 2 Tbsp water 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill Salt and pepper For Salad 454g cooked small red potatoes - boiled, air fried, or roasted 227g cooked green beans or asparagus - boiled, air fried, or roaster 321g lettuce greens mix 4 hard-cooked large eggs, halved 454 sliced smoked salmon (optional: 454g canned tuna) 65g Kalamata olives, halved Recipe preparation Combine sour cream, lemon juice, 2 Tbsp water, dill, ¼ tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper in a small bowl. Toss salad greens and sour cream mixture together in large bowl, divide dressed greens and remaining ingredients evenly among 4 salad bowls. Nutrients per serving 442 calories 33g protein 22g fat 30g carbohydrate 6g fibre Nutrition facts compiled using ESHA Genesis R&D Food Development and Labelling software, version 11.11.23. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or registered dietitian before starting any new diet or exercise regimen.   

 
Image for Nourishing snacks to keep you steady

Nourishing snacks to keep you steady

What’s your schedule look like? Keeping your glucose stable throughout the day requires thoughtful planning.  When trying to keep your glucose in check, snacks can make things tricky. Many snacks on the market are packed with refined sugars and highly-processed ingredients. They are full of the ingredients we don’t want and lack the nutrition we do want.  But you can make snacking a part of your balanced, glucose-friendly diet with some of these healthy, but tasty, choices. Banana-Coconut Bites: these bites are perfect for when you need something more grab-and-go. All you need is: one banana, two tablespoons of shredded coconut, and one teaspoon of cinnamon. Mash the banana in a bowl until creamy, then mix in the coconut and cinnamon. Drop mixture by spoonful onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten slightly. Bake at 180° Celsius for 20 minutes, and enjoy. Veggies & Houmous: vegetables like carrots, celery, cucumbers, and bell peppers are the perfect snack. They are full of fibre and low in calories. They also pair perfectly with hummus which adds flavour and is packed with protein and healthy fats to fill you up without weighing you down. Fruit & Nuts: fruits like apples, oranges, pears, and berries are packed with vitamins and minerals. Pair them with a handful of nuts and you have yourself a nutritious, simple snack. Nuts deliver an added crunch while providing healthy fats and protein to keep you satisfied until your next meal. (1) Get moving: movement is great for many reasons, but one of its biggest benefits is its ability to lower your glucose curve. Set aside some exercise time each day. Even just 15 minutes of walking after lunch can have a positive impact on your glucose. (2)

 
Image for Start your day the right way. How breakfast affects your glucose

Start your day the right way. How breakfast affects your glucose

Whether it’s getting your morning started with a workout, morning meditation, or taking your morning coffee on a nice walk, starting your day on the right foot is a wonderful feeling. Building your perfect morning also needs to include a good breakfast. A good breakfast can set the tone for your day and really make the difference. A proper breakfast should provide you with a few things: Protein. Whether it’s from animal or plant sources, protein is the building block of your body’s cells and helps reduce hunger. Because protein alone doesn’t impact our glucose and is slower to digest, it can help flatten your post-meal glucose spikes. Eggs, nuts, Greek yoghurt, tofu, and grilled meat are some great examples of protein sources that can easily fit into your breakfast. Fibre. Fibre also does its part to keep you full. It slows the digestion of sugar, keeping your glucose steady. It doesn’t stop there. Fibre also does double duty as it’s beneficial for your gut health. Sauteed vegetables in scrambled eggs, or nuts and seeds on top of yoghurt are all great sources of fibre. Even whole fruits (when combined with protein, fat, and other fibre sources) can fit into a great breakfast. Healthy fats. Fat doesn’t instantly mean bad. Healthy fats keep you full while helping to absorb important fat-soluble vitamins, and provide unsaturated fatty acids like omega-3 fatty acids (which benefits your heart and brain health) Check out our recipes section for a few breakfast ideas and try some out. Follow The Fundamentals and remember, combining protein, fibre, and fats with your carbs helps to keep you full and minimise your glucose spikes. Making more informed choices in the morning can lead to a day you can really feel good about.

 
Image for How to get the most from your greens

How to get the most from your greens

Green vegetables are important sources of key vitamins. Especially vitamins C and B. However, these vital nutrients in are easily lost during storage, preparation, and cooking. If you want to get the most from your greens, you need to treat them right. Proper storage Minimise the nutritional losses that occur during storage by only buying what you need. If you can’t shop regularly, grab a mix of fresh and frozen vegetables. It’s often believed that frozen veggies are nutritionally inferior to fresh ones, but it’s not true. In fact, some studies show that frozen produce can contain higher levels of some nutrients (like vitamin C) compared to fresh vegetables. (1),(2) Cooking Vitamins can also be lost when cooking your vegetables. Methods like steaming, stir-frying, or microwaving help preserve vitamins. In addition to helping preserve your nutrients via cooking, you can add some fat to your plate and further help your body make the most of the nutrients, like phytochemicals, that you consume. Phytochemicals, are compounds produced by plants to help them self-protect in their natural environment, and these compounds offer human health benefits as well. And two phytochemicals, beta carotene and lycopene, found in vegetables are absorbed more easily by the body if they are served with a fat. So serve your salads with an oil-based dressing, or drizzle olive oil over your cooked vegetables. (3)

 
Image for Find better balance by adding fibre-rich vegetables to your plate

Find better balance by adding fibre-rich vegetables to your plate

Adding fibre-rich vegetables to your diet keeps you feeling fuller for longer, improves your digestion, and helps you control your glucose. (1) Luckily, incorporating more fibre into your diet is simple. Here are some easy, delicious ideas to get you started. Breakfast Start your day off right by making sure your breakfast includes some vegetables. Add spinach or kale to your scrambled eggs, or add a boost of fibre to your protein smoothie by blending in kale, cucumber, and avocado. Lunch Fill your salad with colour. Top the bed of lettuce with a variety of colourful vegetables like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and carrots. Throw nuts and seeds on top for additional fibre and texture. In a rush? Grab a bag of pre-cut vegetables or a pre-made salad. And make sure your snacks are balanced. Carrots and cucumber with houmous, celery with almond butter, or roasted brussels sprouts with a sprinkle of sea salt are all tasty, healthy options that will keep your glucose steady. Dinner Roast a tray of mixed vegetables (like broccoli, cauliflower, and cubed courgette), and add a protein source (like grilled chicken or tofu) to balance your meal. Be a meal prep pro and cook additional servings and then store the extras in a container for lunch the next day. Get creative with your combinations and have fun experimenting with different flavours and textures. Your body will thank you.

 
Image for Add fibre to fill up and help manage your glucose

Add fibre to fill up and help manage your glucose

The latest UK data shows that fewer than 1 in 10 adults meet the daily recommended fibre intake of 30g. (1) Vegetables, pulses, nuts, seeds, whole fruits, and whole grains are excellent sources of fibre. So make sure you include them in every meal. How fibre helps Including fibre-rich foods in a meal not only makes it more satisfying (2) it also helps stabilise your glucose. (3) As your body is unable to absorb and break down fibre, it doesn’t cause a glucose spike. A review in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that including fibre-rich foods was linked with improved glucose control in adults with varying health conditions. The review also showed that increasing your daily fibre intake to 35g helps improve the risk factors for heart disease, such as cholesterol levels and bodyweight. (3) Five ways to add fibre Use more pulses: three heaped tablespoons of beans or chickpeas provides at least 4.5g of fibre. Add them to your salads and sauces or have them as a side dish. Opt for wholegrain and seeded bread. A slice of wholegrain bread with avocado provides about 4g of fibre. Adding a tablespoon of flax or chia seeds to your salad (or on your soup, salad, or porridge) provides about 3-5g of fibre. For a fibre-rich snack, a handful of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit adds about 4g. A banana or an apple will each add 2g. Check the nutrition labels for foods ‘high in fibre’ (6g per 100g) or a ‘source of fibre’ (3g or more per 100g) While you’re busy adding fibre, remember to fill up on fluids too. Fibre draws water into the bowel, so drinking plenty of fluids will allow the fibre to do its job properly.

 
Image for How to find those hidden added sugars

How to find those hidden added sugars

The National Health Service recommends no more than 30 grams of free (better known as added) sugars per day for adults. When you think of sugar in foods, cakes, biscuits, and other sweets come to mind. But those aren’t the only sources of sugar. Hidden sugar is common in packaged foods and goes by many names. Regardless of the name, they could all cause a glucose spike.(1) But there’s good news. Even food labels with hidden sugars give us hints to lead us to them. Here are a few of them: Many countries are making it easier to identify high-sugar foods with coloured indicators. In the United Kingdom, packaged foods with over 22 grams of sugars per 100 grams are clearly marked and highlighted red. Foods with under 5 grams of sugars per 100 grams are highlighted green. And finally, foods with 5-22 grams of sugars per 100 grams are highlighted orange. Sticking mostly to foods in the green category help you avoid those hidden sugars without having to search up and down the food label.(1) Look for the words syrup and sugar. Examples include brown rice syrup, corn syrup, and cane sugar. Sugar may also be labeled with the ending “-ose”, like glucose, dextrose, fructose, galactose, sucrose, or maltose. Other names include: molasses, honey, agave, cane juice, barley malt, and potato starch. It’s important to remember that just because foods contain these words, doesn’t mean they’re always bad choices. You can still occasionally enjoy these foods, in the proper portions listed on the food label. Consuming them after you have foods like vegetables, protein, and healthy fats can help decrease their impact on your glucose.

 
Image for How hydration balances glucose

How hydration balances glucose

Staying hydrated can help keep your glucose steady throughout the day and sidestep health concerns commonly linked to dehydration and glucose imbalances. (1) Regularly drinking enough water helps your body process carbohydrates more effectively, which helps regulate your glucose. When you’re dehydrated, it can cause your glucose to spike. (2) The amount of fluid you need each day depends on a variety of factors like your age, your activity levels, the weather, and your diet. The recommended daily water intake varies but a good starting point is to aim for 6-8 glasses, roughly 1.4-1.8 litres. (3) Ways to ensure you stay hydrated:   Start your day with a glass of water as soon as you wake up then have another glass with your coffee or tea. This helps you front-load your daily fluid intake. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water. This is your body signalling that you are already dehydrated. Carry a reusable bottle with you wherever you go. This will help you to stay hydrated throughout the day. Set reminders on your phone to drink enough water. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Many are high in water content, helping to keep you feeling full and hydrated. Avoid or decrease caffeinated drinks. Excess coffee, tea, and energy drinks all contain caffeine, which can have negative effects on your glucose. (2) Drink herbal teas or fruit-infused water. They have less sugar than fizzy drinks or juices, making them steady alternatives. 

 
Image for Cracking the food labels code

Cracking the food labels code

Your days are busy. Our days are busy. Most people’s days are busy. You don’t always have time to prepare all your food from scratch every day. Some recipes also may require ingredients you don’t use very often or are overly difficult to find. On the other hand, when you reach for the more convenient, packaged foods, they aren’t always the dictionary definition of health. However, Lingo can help you navigate those aisles with ease. Making simple swaps is a good place to start. Look for alternatives to your favourite sauces, dressings, and packaged foods. Reach for options with less sugar to lower the impact these common ingredients have on your daily glucose. To avoid spending extra time in the supermarket reviewing labels, here are a few simple things to remember: If sugar is in the first few ingredients, the food is more likely to spike your glucose. And sugar goes by many names: corn syrup, fruit concentrate, honey, agave, maple syrup and dextrose. You can find a full list or hidden sugar names here. Look for foods that have high levels of protein and fiber on the Nutrition Facts. These help your glucose stay steady. The United Kingdom’s National Health Service categorises foods with less than 5 grams of sugar per 100 grams as a low-sugar food, and a food with over 22 grams of free sugar per 100 grams as a high-sugar food. All this doesn’t mean you have to avoid your favourite gelato or biscuits. Even if you buy a high-sugar food , you can always use the tips Lingo gives you to reduce the spike those foods are more likely to cause. Also remember to have a balanced meal beforehand with plenty of fibrous vegetables, protein, and healthy fats. Use your muscles before or after the meal, and review the portion sizes on the label and stick to them. Finally, slow down. Enjoy your food. Lingo’s goal is to show you how to appreciate the foods you love while reducing the impact on your glucose and maximising the impact on your health.

 
Image for How to sleep better: Tips for falling asleep and getting a good night’s rest

How to sleep better: Tips for falling asleep and getting a good night’s rest

It's no secret that a good night's sleep is vital for your overall health and wellbeing. The impact of sleep extends beyond simply feeling refreshed; our shuteye influences our energy levels, physical health, mood, and daily activities. Although there is no one-size-fits-all advice, there are things you can do to help improve your sleep. And, since everyone has different biological factors and lifestyles, it’s best to try a few different strategies. Although it’s a common misconception that getting more hours of sleep per night means you’re getting better sleep, that’s not always the case. The quality of sleep is paramount, and your habits throughout the day and in the evenings can have a major impact on the quality of sleep you’ll get. You may have heard of the term “sleep hygiene.” This term was coined in the early 1970s and is used to refer to a sleep routine or sleep habits that are conducive to promoting good quality sleep and daytime alertness (1). This guide is intended to empower you to try several different sleep hygiene methods to improve your sleep naturally as you build healthier routines and habits that work for you. Why getting a good night’s sleep is important Sleep can make a huge difference to your overall health and wellbeing, making it one of the most important things to optimise in any health journey. Think about a time when you were sleep deprived – it's likely you didn’t feel like exercising, didn’t make the healthiest food choices, and had trouble concentrating and staying focused. Effects of lack of sleep When you don’t get enough quality sleep, it can disrupt your body’s ability to regulate glucose and increase your chance of glucose spikes and dips (2).  Dysregulated glucose can lead to fluctuations in mood and energy (3), cravings for starchy foods, and an increased risk of overeating (4). These foods then further disrupt your glucose. And so, the cycle continues. Poor sleep can also result in a reduced ability to fend off illness (5). While these are the short-term effects of sleep deprivation, a lack of sleep can also have a long-term impact on your health and wellbeing. Long-term consequences of sleep disruption in otherwise healthy individuals include hypertension (high blood pressure), cardiovascular disease, weight-related issues, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer (10, 11). Poor sleep has also been tied to an increased risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease (12). 8 ways to improve your sleep Here are our tips to set yourself up for a successful night of sleep. 1. Wind down your caffeine intake Your meal or snack choices can have a significant impact on your sleep. You might be aware that you should avoid stimulants such as coffee, some teas, and dark chocolate before bed as the caffeine can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Everyone metabolises caffeine differently. One person may be fine with their third coffee later in the day, while another may not be OK with even one coffee in the morning. To ensure a peaceful night’s rest, try cutting out caffeine at least six hours before bed and switching to decaffeinated coffee or herbal teas in the afternoon and evening. 2. Learn how different meal choices affect you Your meal choices throughout the day, and particularly around dinner time, can lead to dysregulated glucose beyond typical glucose spikes. This can make it harder to fall asleep and also disturb sleep quality (5, 6). Prioritise protein, fats, and fibrous vegetables as you reduce the amount of carbs on your plate. This helps to maintain steady glucose levels. Personalised coaching, such as that provided through Lingo, can help guide you towards making better meal choices, help motivate you, and help keep you on track with this crucial element of your sleep health. 3. Create a relaxing sleep environment Make your bedroom a calm, comfortable space that promotes restful sleep. Consider things like comfortable bedding, blackout curtains or an eye mask, or a white noise machine to help create your perfect sleep environment. These seemingly small touches can make a big difference. Avoid unnecessary clutter, as this can create a chaotic environment, which is not conducive to relaxation. Try to avoid working in your bedroom, as your brain starts associating the space with productivity and stress rather than relaxation and rest. 4. Limit screens before bed The blue light emitted by screens can suppress production of the sleep hormone melatonin and interfere with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. So, it’s best to avoid using electronic devices for at least an hour before bed, or switch to audio-only content like podcasts (but make sure the topic is relaxing!). If you’re used to replying to emails or studying in the evening, this might require setting a hard deadline. If your schedule doesn't allow for that much time between screen and sleep, consider installing a blue light filter for your screen and/or investing in blue light-blocking glasses. An additional issue with screens is that the content you’re viewing can be very stimulating, thereby increasing brain activity even if you feel relaxed and comforted at the time. Try to avoid watching TV and movies, playing video games, and scrolling through social media right before bed. Instead, pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read or listen to music or a podcast. 5. Avoid alcohol later in your day It’s a common misconception that alcohol helps you sleep. However, while alcohol might help you fall asleep quicker, imbibing leads to a more restless and disrupted sleep, creating a greater likelihood of waking up during the night. Alcohol before bed can drive a reduction in REM sleep, the phase of sleep that is crucial for dreaming, memory consolidation, and emotional regulation. Look to replace your evening cocktail or glass of wine with one of the following: Herbal teas: chamomile, valerian root, and lemon balm are all known for their natural calming properties. Golden milk (turmeric latte): blend milk with turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and a touch of honey for a comforting drink with anti-inflammatory properties. 6. Practice relaxation techniques While prioritising sleep is important all the time, it’s essential when you’re feeling overwhelmed. When you’re overly stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol, also known as the “fight or flight” hormone. Too much cortisol can not only affect your glucose, but also disrupt your sleep patterns. High cortisol levels have been linked to insomnia, waking up during the night, and less sleep time overall (8). Although it may be hard to get the quality sleep you need when you’re stressed, take time to relax and wind down before bed. You’ll feel better the next day. Techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help to ease your mind and reduce your stress levels before bed. A simple breath technique involves inhaling slowly for a count of four and exhaling smoothly for a count of four. 7. Write down your thoughts If you feel anxious or worried about the next day, take a few minutes to jot down your thoughts or worries on a notepad next to your bed. You may even find it useful to write down your top three priorities for the next day. This can help you clear your mind and unwind. It can also be comforting to make note of three things you are grateful for. This practice can help shift your stress and help you feel ready for sleep. 8. Follow a bedtime routine (sleep hygiene) A consistent bedtime routine can signal to your body that it's time to wind down and get ready for sleep. This can include things like taking a warm bath, reading a book, or some light stretching. It’s also a good idea to wake up around the same time every day and get exposure to natural sunlight within the first couple hours of waking up to set your circadian rhythm. Use these tips as inspiration to create a regular routine that can significantly improve your sleep quality. Even making one or two adjustments can have a positive impact on both your sleep and your glucose. A final note from Lingo Quality sleep is paramount for overall health and wellbeing. The relationship between sleep and glucose is powerful, and when disrupted, has a wide array of health consequences. It’s beneficial to work towards better sleep to support your mood, energy, immune health, and more (10). Achieving better sleep requires a personalised approach, and Lingo is here to support you at every step.

 
Image for What is a glucose spike? Definition, causes and management

What is a glucose spike? Definition, causes and management

Glucose spikes: definition, causes and management After you eat, your body breaks down the food or drink to be used for energy or stored for later use. Of the three macronutrients — carbohydrates, protein, and fat — carbohydrates are the quickest to digest. (1,2) Carbohydrates are converted into glucose, which is one of your body’s main sources of energy. Glucose circulates via the bloodstream to get into cells where it’s used for energy. Any glucose not being used as an immediate source of fuel is shuttled to the liver, muscles, or fat cells and stored for later use. Sometimes the amount of glucose circulating in your body surpasses what is needed for energy. When glucose becomes too concentrated in the blood, this is referred to as a glucose spike or a blood sugar spike. Some degree of rise in glucose is completely normal, but consistent spikes and the crashes that often follow can negatively impact your health and long-term well-being. Even if you don’t have diabetes or pre-diabetes, these constant ups and downs can take a toll, with research suggesting an increased risk for developing insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular issues (3,4). Glucose spikes can also be caused by lifestyle factors such as stress or follow a poor night’s sleep. They can also occur during intense exercise, but in this case, a spike is a good thing. You can take steps to limit or avoid glucose spikes and temper them once they start. Better glucose management can benefit your health in a number of ways, including how you feel, your energy levels, hunger and cravings, sleep, mental focus, and more. Here, we break down what a glucose spike is, what causes it, what they feel like, and how to avoid them in the future. Once you get a better understanding of how glucose works in your body, you can take steps to make healthier choices that will improve your well-being. What is a glucose spike? A glucose spike, also known as a blood sugar spike, is a sharp, marked rise in the amount of glucose in your blood, typically followed by a comparable decline, also known as a crash. While it is normal for your glucose to rise and fall many times throughout the day, a true spike is different. Spikes occur for a myriad of reasons, most commonly after eating an influx of carbs and/or sugar (more on that later) but can also arise due to physiological and psychological stress, intense exercise, dehydration, caffeine intake, certain medications, and other factors. When you have access to monitor your glucose levels with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) like Lingo, you can see your glucose value throughout the day. Metabolically healthy individuals should strive to stay within 70-140mg/dL (3.9-7.8 mmol/L) and those with tighter glucose control will strive to stay within the range of 70-100mg/dL (3.9-5.6mmol/L). Most healthy individuals stay within the wider range most of the time. It’s typical to be out of the 70-140 mg/dl (3.9-7.8mmol/L) range for just 30 minutes to 2 hours a day. (7) Sharp upticks above your average glucose value or above the recommended range are commonly defined as spikes. These excursions look like steep mountains on your Lingo glucose graph. Your goal is to stay within the range of 70-140mg/dL (3.9-7.8mmol/L) most of the time and minimise the occurrence and severity of spikes. With Lingo, coaching prompts, your Lingo Count, and Lingo glucose graph can help you understand when you’re spiking so you can begin to discover the why behind your spikes and make changes to stay steady. What causes a glucose spike? A glucose spike typically happens after eating something particularly carb-heavy, especially if the carbohydrates are mostly simple carbs (e.g. white bread, pasta, bagel) and sugar. A glucose spike can also occur if you eat carbohydrates by themselves; pairing a carb with a source of protein or fat can help limit the glucose impact and reduce the risk of a spike. High-intensity exercise can also cause a glucose spike because it increases adrenaline (the fight-or-flight hormone), which signals to your body that it’s time to break down liver glycogen to glucose. This quick influx of fuel can spike your glucose, but as mentioned, a spike is a good thing in this instance. In the same way that exercise spikes your heart rate temporarily but provides benefit in the long run, a temporary blood glucose rise with exercise is an example of hormesis, which is a short-term stress that enables long-term adaptation. Other lifestyle factors may influence glucose, such as stress and poor sleep. Like with intense exercise, an increase in stress triggers the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which can raise your glucose as your body needs quick energy to enter into fight-or-flight mode. Not getting enough sleep can disrupt your body’s ability to use glucose, causing future health concerns. (5) Over time this may lead to metabolic issues like prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, a disorder in which your body becomes resistant to insulin and loses its ability to properly remove glucose from the blood into your cells to use for energy. What does a glucose spike feel like? While a glucose spike may feel differently for each person, some common symptoms include tiredness, thirst, and hunger. Alternatively, some people may be asymptomatic and not notice when they are spiking. As your glucose rises, your body releases insulin to manage the extra glucose. As insulin circulates, your glucose rapidly lowers, often leading to a sharp crash. When this happens, your body typically craves more simple carbohydrates and sugar for a quick energy boost, and if you answer the craving, the spike-crash cycle continues. (6) Another major sign of a glucose spike followed by a crash is the feeling of being “hangry” (hungry + angry) in which you may feel irritable while also feeling hungry. This feeling often stems from a drop in glucose that signals an increase in ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone. This triggers a cascade of other hormones including the stress hormone cortisol, which explains why you feel irritable or impulsive in addition to physical hunger pangs. While hanger caused by low glucose can happen when you undereat or go too long in between meals, it can also happen in high glycaemic diets in which your glucose levels are constantly spiking and crashing. After you eat something with a lot of carbs and notice symptoms of a spike, incorporating movement may help temper the spike. A brisk 10-minute walk after eating may be all you need to prevent or lessen a glucose spike. Other quick bursts of exercise can also help, such as 10 minutes of bodyweight squats, jumping jacks, lunges, and calf raises. It’s a good idea to drink plenty of water and opt for something with more protein at your next meal. What is the impact of glucose spikes? In the short term, glucose spikes can cause hunger, cravings, feelings of fatigue, impact mood, and interfere with your sleep. While you’re likely to notice these effects as they're happening, there is impact behind the scenes, too. Glucose spikes can significantly impact the health of blood vessels and cells, with chronic spikes setting the stage for metabolic dysfunction. Elevated glucose increases your risk for developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, causes inflammation, and impacts your blood vessels, which can lead to cardiovascular issues like heart disease. (3,4) This is why it’s important to limit the number and size of glucose spikes that occur. Wearing a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you learn about your glucose and track your spikes. Lingo provides real time data and coaching to help you understand how your habits impact your glucose and metabolic health. With Lingo, you’ll learn to limit the size and frequency spikes and make changes to improve your overall metabolic well-being, which can lead to more energy, better sleep, less hunger and cravings, and increased focus. How to avoid a glucose spike There are many ways to avoid a glucose spike naturally, and the best method is to be thoughtful with your food choices. Limit foods that are common sources of spikes such as refined carbohydrates, sugars, and sugary beverages, and instead opt for more complex carbohydrates that have fibre such as vegetables, fresh fruit, brown rice, quinoa, and whole grain bread. Even better, pair your carbohydrates with a source of protein and/or fat for a macronutrient-balanced option. Other lifestyle habits that can help keep your glucose steady include getting quality sleep, staying physically active, drinking plenty of water, managing stress, and limiting alcohol. A final note from Lingo While glucose spikes are normal and occur in healthy individuals, there are plenty of health benefits to managing your glucose and reducing the size and frequency of spikes. Maintaining steady glucose can help improve your metabolic health and give you more energy, better sleep, reduce hunger and cravings, and boost mental focus. Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand your habits and patterns and work towards limiting glucose spikes. Lingo is not a medical device and not designed to treat or diagnose any disease or illness. If you have medical questions or concerns regarding your glucose, please contact your doctor.

8 minutes 
Image for What are ultra-processed foods? Common food examples

What are ultra-processed foods? Common food examples

Much of the modern diet we eat includes processed foods. Although it’s common advice to avoid processed foods in favour of whole, natural foods, it’s important to note that not all processed foods are created equal and that some processed foods can have a place in a healthy diet. We often turn to processed foods for a number of reasons, whether out of convenience, cost, and a long shelf life, or just personal preference. Many of the foods we buy at the supermarket have undergone some level of processing, and it’s a good idea to be aware of what goes into the food you eat. Here, we break down the differences among the types of processed foods, why you should limit ultra-processed foods, and how to make the best choices for yourself the next time you hit the supermarket. What are ultra-processed foods? Put simply, processed food has been altered from its natural state. For example, an apple picked off a tree is a whole food found in its natural state. When a food company takes apples and mashes them with sugar, water, and other additives to make store-bought applesauce, that's a processed food. “Processed food” is a broad term that encompasses the various changes food undergoes before it reaches store shelves, and there are distinctions between processed and ultra-processed foods. It’s useful to understand the degree of processing when making food choices and to understand the health implications of consuming too much ultra-processed food. One way to evaluate the level of processing of food is with the NOVA system, which classifies foods according to the extent and purpose of their processing (1) This system was developed by researchers at the University of São Paulo in 2009 and is widely used by health professionals and public health organisations. The NOVA system takes into account the extent and purpose of food processing rather than solely focussing on the nutritional content. We’ll be using the NOVA system to help explain the differences among processed foods: NOVA1: Natural or minimally processed foods These foods are in their natural state, or foods that have undergone basic processing, such as removing inedible elements, freezing, grinding, pasteurising, or filtering to make them edible or safe, but do not have any added ingredients. These are foods you would prepare and cook at home: raw and frozen fruit and vegetables, fish, meat, milk, and eggs. NOVA2: Culinary ingredients NOVA2 foods are single-ingredient foods derived from NOVA1 foods but processed slightly to be used in cooking. These foods are typically used to season or cook with, and you wouldn’t normally consume these foods on their own. Some examples include honey, olive oil, butter (from milk), flour (from wheat), vinegars, salt, and spices. NOVA3: Processed foods These foods are made up of a few ingredients – a combination of groups 1 and 2. They have been modified, typically by adding salt, oil, or sugar, to make them taste better or last longer. These include cheese, fresh bread, jam, tinned vegetables and fish, and smoked and cured meats. NOVA4: Ultra-processed foods These are made with substances that have been extracted from food or created in a lab. NOVA4 ultra-processed foods contain many ingredients, few or none of which come from group 1 foods, and are never or rarely used in kitchens. Manufactured to be convenient and ready to eat with a long shelf life, these foods are high in additives, colours and preservatives, dense in energy, but low in nutrients. (2) These food products tend to feature a long ingredient list and often include unfamiliar additives and substances. Examples of ultra-processed foods Breakfast cereals Carbonated soft drinks Packaged snacks like crisps, snack bars, sweets, chocolate Instant noodles Oven pizzas Ice cream Ready meals Margarines and other dairy spreads Packaged desserts Condiments There will be versions of some foods that fall under NOVA3 rather than NOVA4, for instance natural Greek yoghurt versus fruit yoghurts with sweeteners and colourings; natural meats versus processed meat slices; or fresh bread from natural ingredients versus industrialised bread products with preservatives. What’s the problem with ultra-processed foods? When foods undergo processing, not only does it alter the physical form, but the nutritional profile can also change. This sometimes translates to fewer nutrients and more additives, giving your body less of what it needs to thrive. As ultra-processed foods are often high in salt, sugar, and other additives to enhance the flavour, colour, or texture of foods, they can be detrimental to your health for many reasons. (2) To start, these additives are designed to make the food hyper-palatable, which increases the risk of overeating (3). In fact, one study showed that people who consumed ultra-processed foods ate on average 500 more calories a day compared to those who ate primarily unprocessed foods. (8) And eating ultra-processed foods in excess over a long period of time can lead to weight management concerns and associated health issues, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. (4) Ultra-processed foods are often energy dense but low in important nutrients, especially fibre. (6) If someone’s diet is made up of mostly ultra-processed foods, they may be lacking the vitamins and minerals they need for healthy bodily function. Undereating fibre in particular can result in a lower consumption of prebiotics and fewer bowel movements, which can further contribute to bloating and poor gut health. (4) In addition, dietary fibre helps keep glucose levels balanced and can help to lower your risk of heart disease. (5) Unfortunately, most people under-consume fibre. Studies across several countries have shown that increases in ultra-processed foods are linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, gastrointestinal disorders, and cancer. (2) Moreover, ultra-processed foods are often digested more quickly, which can lead to more rapid glucose spikes, especially when eaten in excess. Not only can a glucose spike followed by a crash leave you feeling sluggish, hungry, and irritable, frequent glucose spikes have been linked to health complications including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. (9, 10) In general, the less processing that a food undergoes, the better. Although many ultra-processed foods contain unhealthy fats, sugars, and artificial additives, there are other options with fewer ingredients, more balanced macronutrients, and enriched with vitamins and minerals. Not all processed foods (including ultra-processed foods) need to be eliminated entirely. They can have a place in a well-rounded diet if consumed in moderation, especially since these foods are often a convenient and cost-effective option. Ultimately, understanding the nutritional content of ultra-processed foods and how they affect you is important in deciding whether they are a good choice for you and your goals. Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo provides insight into how these foods impact your glucose, or blood sugar, and what effects this has on you both in the short- and long-term. How can I avoid ultra-processed foods? As mentioned, you don’t need to avoid ultra-processed foods entirely; sometimes they are the only option available or are helpful when you’re short on time. However, swapping ultra-processed foods for more nutritious whole foods is a better choice for your overall health. We often turn to ultra-processed foods out of convenience, but planning ahead can keep you prepared and help you make more nutritious choices. Weekly planning and batch cooking can transform homemade meals into easy-to-grab and healthy options. Prepare your weekly meals and shopping list in advance and make a plan for when you hit the grocery store to steer clear of the aisles containing ultra-processed foods. This will not only streamline your choices, but also help you stick to whole foods that will benefit your overall health. Making snacks at home will decrease your need to buy packaged foods and help keep your glucose levels steady. Cut up a large batch of vegetables crudités and keep them in the fridge for a few days for when you need them. Craving crisps? Try roasting chickpeas with olive oil, sea salt, and paprika for a nutritious option. When you do need to buy a quick snack, check the ingredient list. Prioritise foods with shorter ingredient lists and foods in their natural state, and watch out for added sugars like dextrose, fructose, maltose, or sucrose that can spike your blood sugar. In general, awareness is key when it comes to understanding ultra-processed foods and how your body responds to different foods. Lingo gives you real time insights into how your glucose levels respond to your food choices and lifestyle factors. Replacements for common ultra-processed foods that are low in refined fats, salt, and sugar, and can help keep your glucose steady: Swap white pasta with a store-bought tomato sauce for zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash with a homemade tomato sauce and a source of protein (like tuna, chicken, or tofu). Substitute sugary soda drinks with sparkling water infused with fresh slices of cucumber, lemon, or berries. Instead of eating a frozen ready-to-eat meal, make a quick vegetable stir-fry with a fresh protein source (like salmon, chicken, or pork), a complex carbohydrate like quinoa (which you can batch cook in advance), and a quick homemade sauce of low-sodium soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and lime. A final word from Lingo Processed foods have become a staple in most diets due to their convenience, long shelf life, and palatability. However, it’s important to differentiate between processed and ultra-processed foods to see how they can fit into a healthy diet. Ultra-processed foods, which are industrially formulated with multiple ingredients, often lack nutritional value while being energy dense. When eaten in excess, these foods can lead to health complications. Having a plan is key: map out meals in advance, batch cook, and prepare homemade snacks to avoid the convenience of ultra-processed foods. By reading labels and using systems like Lingo, which use a continuous glucose monitor, you can gain insight into how certain foods impact your glucose levels, helping you make the best choices for you and your overall health.

 
Image for How to avoid a glucose (blood sugar) spike

How to avoid a glucose (blood sugar) spike

You may be familiar with blood sugar spikes, or glucose spikes, and how they’ve made you feel. If you’ve eaten something carb-heavy without any protein or healthy fats, such as a pastry or bowl of pretzels, you may have experienced the tell-tale signs of a glucose spike followed by a crash: irritability, sluggishness, hunger, thirst, cravings, and brain fog. While these symptoms are unpleasant in the moment, you may not be aware of the further health implications of frequent glucose spikes, both in the short-term and long-term. Fortunately, you can avoid or lessen glucose spikes thanks to various lifestyle habits. We’ve outlined 8 ways to mitigate glucose spikes both in the moment and habits to build for long-term well-being. Please note that these tips are for otherwise metabolically healthy individuals and not intended for those with diabetes or other metabolic conditions that require medical interventions. If you’re concerned about your glucose levels, please speak with your doctor. What is a glucose spike? After you eat, your body gets to work breaking down the food and drink to be used for energy or stored for later use. Carbohydrates specifically are broken down into glucose, which is circulated in your bloodstream. When the amount of glucose in the blood rises to a level that is higher than what is needed for energy, this is called a glucose spike or blood sugar spike. While it is normal for your glucose to rise and fall many times throughout the day, a true spike is different. It's a sharp, marked rise in the amount of glucose in your blood, typically followed by a comparable decline, also known as a crash. Spikes most often occur after eating a large amount of carbohydrates and/or sugar, but can also be caused by stress, intense exercise, poor sleep, caffeine intake, certain medications, and other factors. Read our full guide on "What is a glucose spike?" Why you should avoid glucose spikes Glucose spikes are normal and can occur even in healthy individuals. However, when these glucose spikes happen frequently and consistently, it can lead to negative health complications. While you may be familiar with the unpleasant effects of a glucose spike followed by a crash — hunger, thirst, irritability, brain fog, increased cravings — you may not be aware of the long-term health implications of consistent glucose spikes. Frequent glucose spikes can significantly impact the health of blood vessels and cells. When these spikes become chronic, it can set the stage for future metabolic dysfunction. Elevated glucose increases your risk for developing insulin resistance, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes. They can also cause inflammation and impact your blood vessels, which can lead to other health issues such as heart disease. (1,2) In the short term, maintaining steady glucose levels can help you feel satiated, energised, and focused. Limiting the number and size of glucose spikes that occur can help improve your overall well-being. Wearing a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you learn about your glucose patterns and track your spikes. Lingo provides real time insights to help you understand how your habits impact your glucose and metabolic health. With Lingo, you’ll learn to limit the size and frequency spikes and make changes to improve your overall metabolic well-being, which can lead to more energy, better sleep, less hunger and cravings, and increased focus. How to avoid glucose spikes There are many ways to manage your glucose naturally in otherwise metabolically healthy individuals. Some of these include: Limiting foods that cause spikes such as refined carbohydrates, sugars, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Pairing a carb with a protein: Instead of eating “naked carbs” (that is, carbohydrates by themselves), create a balanced meal or snack with a carbohydrate, protein, and healthy fat, such as an apple with peanut butter or toast topped with eggs and avocado. When possible, try and eat the protein on your plate before digging into the carbs, or at a minimum, eat them together. Getting regular exercise: Getting in about 30 minutes of movement daily can help manage your glucose. If you can’t commit to 30 minutes at a time, try incorporating “exercise snacks” throughout the day — just three 10-minute walks or bursts of exercise after each meal add up. Eating more veggies and fibre: Leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, and bell peppers contain fibre (a type of carbohydrate), which slows digestion and helps you feel fuller, longer. These veggies also pack important nutrients and phytochemicals. Other types of fibre such as that found in oats, peas, beans, barley, carrots, and citrus fruits can help slow the absorption of sugar to help improve blood glucose. (3) Managing your stress: Increased stress can also spike your glucose, so managing stress is key. Try incorporating a stress-reducing activity into your day like yoga, meditation, journaling, or listening to calming music. In particular, mindfulness meditation has been proven to reduce stress levels (4) and you can find guided meditations online or in an app — try starting with a few minutes a day to see how that impacts your stress levels. Drinking enough water: Staying hydrated is crucial for overall well-being, including for metabolism and glucose control. As a general baseline guidance, it’s recommended for women to drink at least 2.7 litres of water a day, while men should aim for 3.7 litres. (5) These needs may vary depending on individual factors such as activity, body size, environmental temperature, and more. Limiting alcohol: Carb-heavy and sugary alcoholic beverages, such as beer, cocktails, and dessert wines can spike your glucose, so be sure to opt for something with less sugar like a shot of liquor mixed with seltzer water and a slice of citrus or a dry wine like pinot noir, pinot grigio, or brut sparkling. Plus, drinking alcohol too soon before going to bed can interfere with your sleep, which also has a negative impact on glucose. And the more you drink, the more you lower your inhibitions, which may lead you to reach for sugary and carb-heavy snacks that can cause a spike. Focus on sleep: Getting a good night’s sleep as well as going to bed at an earlier time can help lessen glucose spikes in the morning. Research shows that no matter what you may eat at breakfast, a poor night's sleep leads to more elevated glucose following breakfast when compared to a night of good sleep. Create a nighttime routine that helps you wind down before bed and follow our tips to get a better sleep at night. (6) A final note from Lingo While you’re unlikely to avoid glucose spikes entirely, you can take steps to prevent or lessen spikes with a number of lifestyle habits and healthy choices. There are short-term and long-term health benefits to maintaining steady glucose, including improving your metabolic health and overall well-being. As mentioned, using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand your habits and patterns and work towards limiting glucose spikes. Lingo is not a medical device and not designed to treat or diagnose any disease or illness. If you have medical questions or concerns regarding your glucose, please contact your doctor.

 
Image for Guide: What are normal glucose (blood sugar) levels?

Guide: What are normal glucose (blood sugar) levels?

Your glucose levels (also known as blood sugar levels) play an important role in your overall health and well-being, impacting your energy levels, sleep patterns, hunger and cravings, and more. For example, if you’ve ever felt low energy or sudden hunger or cravings after a big meal, it’s likely related to your glucose patterns; the crash that often follows a meal directly influences hunger and appetite and the flux in glucose impacts energy. Maintaining steady glucose levels can have an impact on your health today and influence future health risk. (1) Although every person is different, there are standard glucose levels established for healthy individuals without diabetes. These are sometimes referred to as “normal” or typical, and values outside of this range can be concerning. Consistently low values, known as hypoglycemia, bring about unpleasant symptoms and consistently high levels may fall into the pre-diabetes or diabetes range. Knowing your glucose levels and monitoring how your body processes glucose can give you a window into your overall metabolic health and well-being and help prevent more serious chronic conditions. Here, we break down what you need to know about glucose, why your levels matter, how to track your glucose, and what is considered a “normal” or typical range. What is glucose and do your glucose levels matter? Glucose is one of your body’s main sources of energy. It’s essential for healthy cell function, and it’s the main source of fuel for your brain. Glucose comes from the food we eat; more specifically, carbohydrates are converted into glucose, which then circulates through the bloodstream to be used immediately for energy or stored for later. As glucose moves through your bloodstream, your pancreas releases the hormone insulin to help utilise the glucose for energy. Any glucose that's not used as an immediate source of energy is shuttled to the liver, muscles, or fat cells and stored for later use. Glucose is necessary, but it is possible to have too much of it, especially if your body can’t use insulin properly. If glucose levels are chronically high, this is known as hyperglycemia, or commonly referred to as high blood sugar. This persistent hyperglycemia can lead to developing pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. In addition to concerns associated with high glucose, continual glucose spikes and crashes can leave you with feelings of low energy, low focus, constant cravings, unsteady moods and poor-quality sleep. In the long term, this glucose roller coaster can lead to health complications, with research suggesting an increased risk for developing insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular issues. (1) Glucose levels are primarily impacted by the food you eat, especially if you eat a high-carb diet and a lot of sugar. Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, pastries, and white flour, have been stripped of their bran, fibre, and nutrients. These choices typically cause a glucose spike that’s more significant than non-refined and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs include peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables and aren't as likely to spike your glucose as simple carbs. Fruit is naturally high in fructose, a simple sugar, and can be the culprit behind a spike, but most fruits contain healthy fibre and other beneficial nutrients. With a bit of planning, you can enjoy fruit and stay steady. It’s not just what you eat that can impact your glucose levels, but also how you eat. Eating “naked carbs” — that is, carbs by themselves — can cause more of a glucose spike than eating carbs paired with a source of protein and/or fat. So, instead of a slice of toast and jam, opt for toast with smoked salmon and avocado. Another way to lessen a spike is to eat your carbs after you enjoy the vegetables, fat, and protein on your plate; eat the chicken and broccoli before moving onto the risotto. Glucose levels are also impacted by lifestyle factors such as stress, quality of sleep, and exercise. High-intensity exercise in particular can cause a glucose spike because it increases adrenaline (the fight-or-flight hormone), which signals to your body that it’s time to break down stored liver glycogen into glucose. This quick influx of fuel can spike your glucose, but in this case, a spike is a good thing. Tracking glucose levels Even if you're otherwise healthy, it’s important to know your glucose levels. Consistent ups and downs or persistent hyperglycemia could signal a risk for a bigger metabolic condition down the road. Thanks to advancements in technology, there are now several ways you can track your glucose levels at home. One of the easiest and least invasive ways is through continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), which track your glucose in real time. The Lingo biosensor, like most CGMs, use interstitial fluid rather than blood. The device includes a tiny filament the size of an eyelash, adheres to your arm, and is worn for up to 14 days before it’s swapped out for another one. The advantage of using a CGM like Lingo is that it connects to your smartphone, allowing you to track your glucose in real time. You’ll see the continuous data and gather insights, which allows you to assess how your habits impact your health. Lingo also offers real time coaching to guide you as you make choices and build new habits to help retrain your metabolism. Normal glucose levels Glucose trends are unique, and even the same individual can have a glucose pattern that varies from day to day due to a variety of factors such as diet, exercise, sleep, and stress. There is a glucose range that is considered "normal” or typical for metabolically healthy people. This range is 70-140 mg/dL (milligrams per decilitre) or 3.9-7.8 mmol/L (millimoles per litre). You may notice levels at the lower end of this range while fasting (meaning not having eaten anything in the last few hours), and up to 140mg/dL (7.8mmol/L) after eating. Those without metabolic dysfunction stay within this range most of the time. While sharp upticks above the average glucose value indicate a spike, most healthy individuals still stay around the 140mg/dL (7.8mmol/L) level even during a spike and return down to normal levels within a few hours. In individuals with pre-diabetes and diabetes, typical glucose ranges from 70-180 mg/dL (3.9-10.0mmol/L) with lower levels often seen while fasting, and up to 180mg/dL (10.0mmol/L) after eating. A lab value draw resulting in fasting glucose level of 126 mg/dL (7.0mmol) or higher may indicate diabetes, and people with diabetes will often have a spike over 200 mg/dL (11.1mmol/L) after they eat. It’s important to note that just because you see a spike over 200mg/dL (11.1mmol/L) doesn’t necessarily mean you have diabetes or are metabolically unhealthy, especially if your glucose returns down to more “normal” levels. If you have questions about your glucose values, be sure to check in with your health care team. As we learn more about glucose levels and spikes with CGM data, it’s becoming apparent that spikes happen more often than was previously understood. Even in generally healthy individuals, these glucose spikes can play a big role in your general well-being. Alternatively, there is such a thing as having glucose levels that are too low, also known as hypoglycemia. This is rare but occurs when your fasting glucose is less than 70 mg/dL (3.9mmol/L). Symptoms of hypoglycemia include hunger or nausea, fatigue, confusion and/or inability to focus, irritability or anxiety, dizziness, shakiness, or lightheadedness. If you wear a CGM like Lingo, your goal should be to stay within the 70-140mg/dL (3.9-7.8mmol/L) range and minimise the number of spikes and severity of spikes that occur. With Lingo, we take your glucose data and convert it to a simple target called a Lingo Count. Your Lingo Count and accompanying glucose graph indicate when you are spiking so you can better understand your individual response to food and other lifestyle factors. Lingo can help you create habits that will keep your glucose steady and benefit your overall well-being. A final note from Lingo Having insight into your glucose levels can help you understand your metabolic health and unique responses to food. What you eat and how your body breaks it down can impact your sleep, energy levels, focus, hunger, cravings, and more. Maintaining glucose within the “normal” range is also crucial for long-term health; higher blood sugar levels can indicate a bigger metabolic condition and lead to chronic issues such as insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, diabetes, or heart disease. (2) Tracking your glucose with a CGM gives you a window into your metabolic health with real-time data and can help you optimise your nutrition and lifestyle choices. With Lingo, you’ll get personalised coaching to help you create healthy habits and make the best choices to reduce spikes and improve your overall well-being.

 
Image for What is good nutrition? Advice from our experts for eating well

What is good nutrition? Advice from our experts for eating well

The food choices you make play an important role in your long-term health. (1) If you’re looking to improve your quality of life in the future, take small steps to improve your eating habits today. For example, if your glucose (commonly referred to as blood sugar) is constantly spiking and crashing — usually thanks to food choices such as eating a lot of refined carbohydrates or sugar — it can lead to health complications down the road. Research suggests that years of dysregulated glucose, or consistently riding this glucose rollercoaster, can impact heart health as we age. (2) And it’s not just heart health; managing your glucose can also help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your metabolic health, and more. The short-term benefits of keeping your glucose levels steady include helping you manage cravings, achieving better energy, improving mood and sleep. (3)(4)(5) One of the best ways to manage your glucose and reap the health benefits, both in the short term and in the long run, is to dial in your nutrition (although exercise has profound benefits, too). Luckily, we have several tips below to help you balance your plate, make healthier food choices, and manage your glucose. How to build a balanced plate While some nutrition is common sense (you know a bowl of steamed broccoli is healthier for you than a bowl of jellybeans), you also don’t have to overcomplicate building a balanced plate for steady glucose. A good formula to follow is the rule of three: Fill ½ of your plate with non-starchy vegetables (e.g. asparagus, Brussels sprouts, peppers), ¼ with complex carbohydrates (e.g. sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa), and the remaining ¼ with high-quality protein (e.g. steak, chicken, fish). Include healthy fat (e.g. avocado, nuts, seeds, or a drizzle of olive oil) across these three sections. This helps ensure that you’re pairing carbs with protein and high-fibre veggies, which will not only improve satiety but also help slow down the rate that your body absorbs glucose, lessening a spike. (6) More specifically, we’ve outlined the best choices to make in each of these sections and why they’re good for your glucose and overall metabolic health: Non-starchy vegetables: These are vegetables that grow above ground – peppers, broccoli, spinach, green beans, cabbage, cauliflower, courgettes/zucchini, lettuces. They provide vitamins and minerals as well as fibre, which can slow down digestion and reduce glucose spikes. (7) Moreover, adding diverse sources of fibre to your diet effectively diversifies your gut microbiome — your body’s complex community of microorganisms that call your digestive tract home. (8) Having a healthy gut microbiome may also positively impact glucose control both now and later. (9) High-quality protein: Chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, beef, tofu, or legumes (like lentils or chickpeas), nuts, and Greek yoghurt are all great choices. Protein is essential to a healthy immune system, muscle health, and keeps you fuller, longer, helping to fend off hunger (6) throughout the day and in those evening hours when you’re tempted to reach for a bedtime snack. Complex carbohydrates: Whole grain bread, pulses, wild rice, quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, couscous, whole grain pasta, or amaranth are all good options. These complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly than their refined counterparts (sugar, white bread) (10) and provide a steady source of energy. (11) Include healthy fats: Avocado, a tablespoon of nuts or seeds, or a drizzle of olive oil or rapeseed oil offer not only nutrients, but also extra flavour and satiety. Plus, fats help slow down digestion and steady your glucose. Add these flavourful fats throughout your meal, especially to veggies. High-quality oils and healthy fats help your body absorb vitamins A, E, and K, which are naturally occurring in vegetables. (12) No naked carbs: Part of building a balanced plate is making sure you don’t eat carbs by themselves, what we call “naked carbs.” When eating your carbs, make sure you eat them alongside or after a source of high-quality protein to help prevent a spike. (13) Pairing carbs with protein, fat, and fibre helps keep your glucose steady. For example, a piece of toast by itself can lead to a glucose spike, but topping with avocado and eggs can help balance the carbs and keep you steady. More tips from our experts for eating well It’s important to eat foods you genuinely enjoy and not deprive yourself. Not allowing yourself to eat your favourite comfort foods in moderation often leads to a binge later on. Plus, if you restrict your food choices and calories too much, this can actually backfire and create further health complications such as nutrient deficiencies, low energy, fatigue, muscle depletion, and slowing down your metabolism. (14) We have outlined several tangible tips for eating well that you can implement today. While it may take a bit to establish a habit, practising the tips below will set you up for success when it comes to eating healthfully and making better choices. Eat slowly. Pay attention to the speed you’re eating your food. The more time you take to chew and enjoy your food, the better you’ll signal to your body when you’re satisfied. People who eat more slowly consume less than those eating more quickly. (15) The order in which you eat your food matters. When you sit down to eat your meal, focus on eating your veggies first, then protein. Finish with your serving of carbs.​ The fibre in vegetables, as well as proteins and fats slow the rate that food leaves the stomach, thereby impacting the rate at which glucose is absorbed and mitigating glucose spikes. (13) Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated is essential to support a health metabolism. The recommended daily water for adults is 2.7 litres for women and 3.7 litres for men. (16) Plan ahead. Meal prep, batch cook, and plan your menu for the week to stay on track. Make sure you have shelf-stable, high-protein and high-fibre snacks within reach for when hunger strikes (nuts, jerky sticks, and dried edamame are all good options). Having healthy snacks throughout the day will also help stabilise your glucose and hunger so you don’t overeat. If you’re craving a sweet treat, enjoy it after or alongside a serving of protein; eat that dark chocolate square with some roasted almonds. Eat mindfully. You tend to eat more when your attention is on something else, like the television, your phone, or work. This is particularly true when what you’re eating is highly processed and high in sugar. (17) When you sit down to eat, put all distractions away and focus on your plate. Pay attention to how your food tastes, the texture, and really enjoy your meal. Limit ultraprocessed foods and simple carbs. Ultraprocessed foods, such as breakfast cereal, instant noodles, pretzels, crisps, and packaged biscuits are designed to be highly palatable with minimal nutrients. This means they are often eaten in excess, don’t provide the same satiety and nutrients as whole foods, and can lead to weight gain and glucose spikes. (17) While ultraprocessed foods can be convenient in a pinch, focus on eating whole foods (fruits, vegetables, high-quality protein, whole grains) as often as possible. More specifically, sugar and simple carbohydrates (such as white bread, pasta, candy, and baked goods) can spike your glucose, leading to a likely crash and leaving you tired and sluggish. Work to limit your simple carb intake and opt for fibrous and complex carbohydrates (like whole grains, wild rice, fruits, and vegetables) instead. Skip the see-food diet. Store most of your food out of sight, especially your favourite comfort and snack foods. Keep countertops clear (save for a small fruit bowl) and put healthy foods and snacks in the front of your refrigerator. Clear containers of chopped raw veggies to snack on (like carrot or celery sticks) and high-protein options should be within eyesight, while high-carb comfort food should be stored in the back. Know your body. Gaining insight into how your body responds to certain foods and the impact it has on your glucose can inspire changes. With a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) like Lingo’s biosensor, you’ll learn how to reduce glucose spikes after meals by making sensible nutrition choices that will support metabolic health and promote a healthy weight. A final note from Lingo Making healthier food choices doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and you shouldn’t restrict your favourite foods. Instead, focus on making small, sustainable changes and pay attention to how you balance your plate at meals. By prioritising high-quality protein, loading up on fibrous veggies, adding in healthy fats, not eating naked carbs, and limiting ultraprocessed sugar-laden foods, you’ll be well on your way to eating for better overall health and well-being. With a CGM like Lingo, you’ll gain personalised insights into how your glucose levels are impacted by the food you eat, and work to make healthier choices for you and your long-term well-being.

 
Image for How does stress affect your glucose (blood sugar) levels?

How does stress affect your glucose (blood sugar) levels?

While what you eat plays a big role in your glucose (blood sugar) levels, managing your glucose isn’t just about your diet. One of the most overlooked factors is stress, and stress (especially chronic stress) can have a persistent negative impact on your glucose levels. (1) Reducing your stress levels might be easier said than done, but managing stress is important for your overall long-term well-being. Ignoring stress can get you stuck in a cycle of glucose spikes and crashes, which can negatively impact your health. (3) In this article, we’ll review common sources of stress and how stress, especially chronic stress, can lead to health complications down the road — including managing glucose. We’ll also review approachable and accessible ways to reduce stress so you’ll be prepared the next time you feel overwhelmed. Common sources of stress While the below isn’t an exhaustive list, some common stressors include: Poor diet Inflammatory foods Lack of sleep Finances Relationships Family Responsibilities Local and world news Do any of the stressors on the list feel relatable? If so, you’re not alone. Stress is interwoven with everyday life, especially as we juggle packed schedules, important responsibilities, relationships, bills, and more. It’s common to not only feel overwhelmed, but also feel like you don't have the time or attention to effectively manage the stress in your life. While you can’t magically get rid of all stressors, it’s important to identify what’s causing you stress and find ways to reduce and manage what is in your control. As mentioned, stress directly impacts glucose and your long-term health. (1)(4) How stress affects your body You’re probably familiar with what it feels like when you’re super stressed: you might feel anxious, have butterflies in your stomach, get a headache, feel irritable or impatient, or get fatigued. It’s not just in your head; there’s a physiological explanation for why you feel this way. Here’s what’s going on metabolically: when you’re stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol, which raises your glucose. (5) In fact, stress affects all systems of the body including cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, muscular, and reproductive systems. (4) Your body’s natural response to a stressful situation is activation of your “fight or flight” response, which causes immediate physiological changes like increased blood pressure, heart rate, and glucose. When your glucose dips after this initial rise, the fluctuation can leave you irritable, lethargic, and craving sweet foods. A positive example of this is exercise, which is stress on the body for a defined period. Once your workout is over, blood pressure, heart rate, and glucose lower as your body returns to homeostasis. In turn, desired adaptations occur over time as your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems get stronger. The problem with repetitive or chronic stress (more commonly from the list above, although exercise overtraining can be a cause too) is that your stress response is constantly activated and becomes less effective while creating a harmful metabolic environment. When this happens, stress hormones are omnipresent causing increased baseline glucose levels; insulin doesn’t work as well, so more of it is needed even for small amounts of glucose. In turn, glucose spikes and crashes are larger, more frequent, and unpredictable. (6) This chaotic metabolic state is damaging over the long term and can lead to diseases including diabetes and heart disease. (1)(2) How to manage and reduce stress Knowing what stresses you out is the first step. While you may not be able to avoid that stressor entirely, try to find a way to lessen its impact. You’re unlikely to eliminate all the stress in your life, but start with what you can control and watch the impact reducing or managing stress has on your glucose. Give yourself space: If you’re working on a task that is particularly stressful, take short breaks and step away to give yourself the space and time to mitigate stress. Get regular exercise: Although we mentioned that exercise is one type of physiological stressor, it is “good” stress. And research shows that people who exercise regularly handle acute stressors better than those who don’t. (7) Meditation or breathing exercises: Meditation practices have been shown to lower stress hormones; (8) try finding a five-minute guided meditation on YouTube or in an app. Even simple breathing exercises can make a difference. Research shows that diaphragmatic breathing exercises specifically improve cortisol levels and people report less stress. (9) Find what relaxes you: Doing relaxing activities can lower your cortisol. (10) A luxurious bath, reading, listening to a podcast, going to yoga, getting a massage, cooking — anything that you find relaxing and helps you unwind can help lower those stress hormones. Aim for quality sleep: When you’re super stressed, getting good sleep is easier said than done; high cortisol levels have been linked to insomnia, waking up during the night, and less sleep time overall (11). But quality sleep is essential when you’re feeling overwhelmed to help temper those stress hormones. Try adopting a wind-down routine before bed and incorporate breathing techniques and/or meditation before bed to get into a restful state. Spend time outdoors: Spending 2 hours weekly in nature (city greenspaces count, too) has been shown to improve stress levels. (12) Go for a quick walk or bike ride outside and try and spend a few minutes in the sunshine (with SPF!). Pay attention to the scenery and environment, like beautiful flowers or birds chirping. Strengthen social connections: Having a strong social network of friends and loved ones has been shown to help improve overall quality of life. (13) Call up a friend, meet for coffee, or go for a walk with a neighbour — taking the time to chat and connect might be all you need to relieve stress. Tracking your glucose levels: Tracking your glucose levels can not only help you understand how different foods uniquely impact you, but also the effect of stressors on your glucose levels. Tracking your glucose can be done using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and a system like Lingo, which provides unique insights into your glucose patterns. A final note from Lingo Reducing stress can seem like a difficult task, particularly when it feels omnipresent throughout many aspects of your life. However, the effects of stress on your body can be damaging in the long-term, so it’s important to consider ways to help manage your stress levels. Once you pinpoint the biggest stressors in your life and identify what is within your control, set aside some time to destress. By prioritising stress management, you’ll be one step closer to living a happier, healthier life.

 
Image for 18 Wellness New Year’s Resolution Ideas for 2024

18 Wellness New Year’s Resolution Ideas for 2024

With the start of a new year around the corner, many people gear up to set their New Year’s resolutions. Not surprisingly, “lose weight” and “get in shape” tend to be at the top of people’s lists each year; a poll from Forbes in October 2023 (1) found that 48% of respondents reported “improved fitness” as their resolution, and 34% reported “lose weight.” While improving your health is an admirable goal to tackle, putting New Year’s resolutions in these vague terms often doesn’t set you up for success. Getting in shape, losing weight, prioritising your health, improving your wellness — these all require a multi-pronged approach that involves setting habits, lifestyle changes, and being consistent. The decision to improve your well-being is the first step, but it’s important to take any New Year’s resolution and put it into the context of goal setting. To achieve your goals, it’s a good idea to map out the actions you’ll need to take. Instead of just promising yourself that you’ll improve your health and well-being in 2024, plan to take concrete steps in the right direction. Below, we’ve outlined some New Year’s resolutions that will benefit your overall well-being as well as tangible tips you can incorporate. Remember: progress is better than perfection, and establishing gradual habits and being consistent will help you achieve your goals. New Year's Resolution Ideas for Wellness and Well-being 1. Move more Whether you are an avid exerciser or just starting to think about getting more activity in your day, setting a goal to move more can be a great way to improve your health (2). Since many adults have desk jobs, they often spend most of their day sitting and not moving much, even if they are regular exercisers. In fact, it’s the movement that you do outside of a formal workout that really adds up to benefit your overall health. (3,4) Finding time to move throughout the day may also help lift your mood and can help keep your glucose steady, which is key for metabolic health and long-term well-being. (5) Studies have shown that even short breaks taken throughout the day to stand up or go on a brief walk can help to keep glucose steady, especially following meals (6). Action ideas: Set a timer on your phone to stand up for at least 5 minutes every hour. Take short, 5-minute walking breaks between meetings. Plan a 10–20-minute walk after lunch. Walk with your partner, family, or friend after dinner — or take the dog for a solo stroll. Take some of your meetings on the phone while walking (outdoors or on a treadmill). Aim to increase your step count by 2,000 – 3,000 per day (7) 2. Choose more whole foods As life gets busy, it can be easy to grab convenience processed foods that are pre-packaged and shelf stable. However, these ultra-processed foods can negatively impact our health and well-being. Not only are they low in nutrients, but they are designed to be highly palatable so that you’ll eat more of them. (8) These processed foods are high in sugar, calories, and other additives that make it tough to stop eating them and recognise our fullness cues, which leads to glucose spikes that affect our mood, energy, and sleep (9). Setting a goal to reduce the amount of ultraprocessed foods you eat can be a great way to prioritise your health for the New Year. Think of ultraprocessed foods as those found in boxes and bags, often have a long shelf life, and usually made with a lot of ingredients, including unfamiliar additives. Some examples are breakfast cereals, pretzels, crisps, sodas, instant noodles, oven pizzas, ready meals, and packaged desserts. Action ideas: Make a grocery list before heading to the store and stick to foods on the perimeter (most ultra-processed foods are found in the centre aisles). Plan a day of the week to meal prep so you always have quick options on hand. Batch cook proteins, vegetables, and whole grains ahead of time to quickly throw together meals. Swap refined grains for whole grains: buy whole-grain bread over white and add items like quinoa and rolled-oats to your diet. Try a new vegetable each week: Find a recipe and try something new to add more variety to your meals. Once you find something you like, you can add it to your regular routine. 3. Reduce stress While setting a goal to “reduce stress” may seem vague, studies have shown that increased stress can impact the way we eat, setting us up for other metabolic and health-related issues. (10) Chronic stress also negatively impacts your well-being in other ways such as interfering with sleep, concentration, and mental health. (11-13) Finding small ways to reduce stress can have a big impact on your overall well-being and may even help keep your glucose steady, which can have a huge impact on things like energy, mood, and cravings. (8) While you can’t erase all stress from your life and there are some things beyond your control, taking some time to unwind and destress each day can lead to major improvements. (14) Action ideas: Set aside 10 minutes to meditate. Look for guided meditations online or with an app. If meditating isn’t for you, try breathing exercises. Research shows that diaphragmatic breathing exercises specifically improve cortisol levels and people report less stress. (15) Spend 20-30 minutes outdoors. Research shows that spending 2 hours weekly in nature (city greenspaces count, too) can improve stress levels. (16) Whether you go for a walk, bike ride, or just sit in the sun (with SPF!), tune in to your environment and appreciate your surroundings. Try a yoga practice, whether a flow at home or a class in a studio. Cultivate gratitude. Each day, write down a few things that you are grateful for. Studies show that people who practice gratitude feel happier and have stronger relationships. (17) 4. Improve sleep quality Sleep is a crucial aspect to our health and well-being, yet it’s the one thing many people sacrifice if they are busy or overwhelmed. It has been shown that getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night is related to a wide range of health complications such diabetes, heart disease, anxiety and depression, and obesity. (18) Setting a goal to prioritise sleep can be a great way to improve your physical and mental health and has also been shown to be a major factor in glucose stability. (19) Although achieving quality sleep may be easier said than done, you can set yourself up for a restful night with these tips. Action Ideas: Set a reminder on your phone a couple hours before bedtime to start winding down: turn down lights, avoid screens, and take a bath or read a book to help prepare your body for sleep. Finish your last meal at least 2-3 hours before bedtime to give your food time to digest before you lay down. Limit alcohol before bed and swap for a calming beverage like herbal teas or golden milk. Set a bedtime to allow 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and crawl into bed earlier to fall asleep earlier. (20) Check out our guide to sleep better for more ideas. A final note from Lingo As we approach 2024, it’s a perfect time to reflect and set goals for the year to come. Envisioning your future self is a great way to identify the areas you want to focus on. While going into the new year with optimism is a great starting point, it is also important to identify the actions you will take to make that future self a reality. Even though you don’t have to announce your goals to the world, it’s important to have something to keep you personally accountable for what you set out to achieve. Tracking your progress can be a great way to do this, and Lingo’s biosensor can help you track your glucose patterns and encourage healthy choices towards improving your metabolic health and overall well-being.

 
Image for Food Combining for Glucose Levels: Does It Work?

Food Combining for Glucose Levels: Does It Work?

Managing your glucose is about more than just the food you eat. Food combining, or food sequencing, can be a great way to manage glucose spikes and another tool to use, especially when you are eating a meal that is higher in calories and carbohydrates than normal. A growing body of research shows that eating foods in a specific order — known as “food sequencing” — or combining certain foods together, can have an impact on your glucose after the meal.  What is food combining? A previous approach to food sequencing was called “food combining,” which came from the book Health via Food by William Hay in the 1920s and put strict rules around what types of foods should be eaten together and which ones should never be combined. (1) For example, it stated that protein should never be paired with carbohydrates and sweet fruits should be eaten on an empty stomach. However, this outdated approach has no scientific data to support these guidelines, especially when it comes to stabilising glucose. More current research shows that a new approach to food combining called “food sequencing” or “food order theory" can affect our glucose as well as our overall health and mood. This approach focuses on the order in which we eat our food and/or how we compose our meals. So, what is the optimal combination or sequence of foods? Ideally, to sequence your food in an optimal way, you will eat your meals in the following order: Protein and non-starchy vegetables Carbohydrates last It is important to leave any carbohydrate-heavy foods until later in the meal, including starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas, and corn. However, some meals may not be broken down into these specific components. What if the foods are cooked into one dish such as a salad or casserole? In this case, you may think of “food combining” over “sequencing.” The most important thing is to ensure you have some protein and non-starchy vegetables in the meal, and it is not just carbohydrates on their own. For example, a salad with greens, salmon, and quinoa instead of noodles with marinara. What effect does food combining have on glucose levels? Studies have shown that eating vegetables and protein first before you eat carbohydrates can lead to lower levels of both insulin and glucose following the meal (2). Because fibre, protein, and fats take longer to digest, they can slow the rate at which the carbohydrates (aka glucose) get absorbed, therefore mitigating post-meal spikes (2,3). Additionally, because food ends up leaving the stomach more slowly with this approach, it can help you feel fuller following the meal and help reduce the amount you eat during the meal itself. This, in turn, may help you manage your weight (3,4). Ways to try food sequencing or food combining If you are preparing a meal at home, make sure it contains protein and non-starchy vegetables along with whatever carb you may want to include. For example, if you’re planning on eating rice, cook a protein like steak or chicken. Make a simple green salad with olive oil and vinegar to start the meal with before you eat the rice. Want a quick meal you can throw together and pack for lunch? Prepare a large salad that includes greens, protein, and an olive-oil based dressing. You can throw in quinoa or roasted sweet potatoes as the carb. Even when eaten all together, the protein, greens, and fat from the dressing will slow down digestion and mitigate any post-meal glucose spikes. Eating out? Make sure to skip the breadbasket or chips and salsa before your meal. Carbs alone are more likely to cause a glucose spike than when eaten with or after protein and vegetables. If you really want the bread, save it to eat along your main course (that ideally contains both protein and vegetables) or even wait to savour it at the end of the meal. Looking for some vegetarian options? Add beans as a great source of both protein and fibre to any dish and follow the same principles as above. When eating carbs like pasta, rice, starchy vegetables, or fruit, try combining them with vegetables, healthy fats, and protein to help slow down digestion. Pair an apple with peanut butter or add tofu to pasta, rice, or roasted sweet potatoes. A final note from Lingo Food sequencing (or food combining) does not need to be complicated. The “rules” for this science-backed approach are simple: eat protein and vegetables before you eat carbs. If the meal is combined, make sure there is a source of protein, healthy fat, and/or vegetables along with carbs and not just carbs alone. Following these tips can help mitigate glucose spikes, keep your hunger in check, and lead to steady glucose and steady energy throughout the day.

 
Image for Does drinking water lower glucose (blood sugar) levels?

Does drinking water lower glucose (blood sugar) levels?

An important part of managing glucose levels and reducing glucose spikes is to ensure you’re drinking enough water every day. While drinking water alone will not lower your glucose, it will help you avoid dehydration, which can raise glucose (blood sugar) levels. Staying hydrated can help keep your glucose steady throughout the day and sidestep health concerns commonly linked to dehydration. Data shows adults who drink more than 1 litre of water daily had lower instances of high blood sugar compared to those drinking less than 1 litre a day. (1)  Can water lower your glucose levels? There is a strong link between hydration and glucose levels. Water is an essential part of metabolism and helps your body process carbohydrates properly, which helps keep glucose steady. When you are dehydrated, your blood volume is less. This causes your blood to become more concentrated, which results in higher glucose levels. (2) Therefore, drinking enough water can help keep glucose levels steady by supporting digestion and metabolic processes as well as your cardiovascular and renal systems that work 24/7 processing and eliminating metabolic waste. (2) How much water do I need to drink to lower my glucose levels? The amount of fluid you need each day depends on a variety of factors like your age, your activity levels, the weather, and your diet. The recommended daily water intake varies but a good starting point is to aim for 6-8 glasses, roughly 1.4-1.8 litres from beverages, with total intake around 2-3 litres when accounting for the water content in foods like fruits, vegetables, and soups. (3)  Stay on top of your hydration by drinking early and often throughout the day. Many lifestyle factors can dampen your thirst, so you may need to be proactive and not wait until you feel thirsty to hydrate yourself. By the time you physically feel thirsty, that’s often a sign that your body is already mildly dehydrated, especially if you’re experiencing symptoms like a headache, fatigue, or dizziness. Tips to stay hydrated for steady glucose: To remind yourself to drink regularly, you may benefit from setting reminders on your phone throughout the day to drink enough water. Start your day with a glass of water as soon as you wake up then have another glass with your coffee or tea. This helps you front-load your daily fluid intake. Carry a reusable bottle with you wherever you go. This will help you to stay hydrated throughout the day.  If you struggle to drink plain water, you can hydrate with other no- and low sugar drinks, like flavoured water, sparkling water, zero-sugar carbonated beverages, herbal teas, or fruit-infused water. Be mindful when consuming drinks with caffeine or alcohol. While they contribute towards fluid intake, coffee, tea, and energy drinks all contain caffeine, which can have negative effects on glucose in some people. (4) Alcohol can raise, lower, or have a neutral effect on your glucose levels depending on what it’s consumed with. (5) Besides drinks, remember to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Most are high in water content, helping to keep you feeling full and hydrated. How fast does drinking water lower your glucose levels? Drinking water will not automatically lower your glucose levels, which is why remaining consistently hydrated (and avoiding dehydration) is important to prevent glucose spikes. If you notice you are experiencing a glucose spike, it’s a good idea to drink extra water and continue to hydrate yourself, but it’s not likely to directly reduce your glucose. A final note from Lingo Staying hydrated is an essential way to support healthy metabolism and steady glucose. Drinking consistently throughout the day is key. You should aim to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water, roughly 1.4-1.8 litres. Besides water, drinks with no or low sugar are the best beverage options for steady glucose. Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand your habits and patterns and work towards limiting glucose spikes.   Lingo is not a medical device and not designed to treat or diagnose any disease or illness. If you have medical questions or concerns regarding your glucose, please contact your doctor.

 
Image for Tired after eating? Here are the possible causes and tips to avoid tiredness

Tired after eating? Here are the possible causes and tips to avoid tiredness

Feeling sleepy after eating has a scientific name: postprandial somnolence, better known as a food coma. (1) One cause of getting tired post-meal is sudden changes in glucose as your body works to digest your food. Your glucose may be higher or lower after you eat, depending on a number of factors, which can cause after-meal drowsiness. Below, we explain what’s going on in your body and how you can avoid that tired feeling after eating. What are the causes of tiredness after eating? To understand why you may feel tired after eating, let’s break down the process of food digestion. When you eat, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose. This glucose is absorbed from your gut into the bloodstream, where it can be shuttled into your cells (with the help of insulin) and metabolised for energy. (2) This is the normal process every time you eat carbohydrates, and the rise in concentration of glucose in your blood depends on the amount and type of carbohydrate you’ve consumed. If the carbohydrates you eat result in a large glucose spike, you may feel tired soon after. The sleepiness is partially due to an increase in compounds called cytokines that are released after eating foods that are high in carbohydrates (1), making you feel tired. If this sounds familiar, the first thing to check is your diet. Meals consisting of typical “Western” diet foods (think foods high in carbohydrates and fat, like processed meat, fast food, and soft drinks) have been shown to cause sleepiness after eating. (1) Certain drinks are also linked to tiredness. Alcohol causes sleepiness due to its effect on neurotransmitters in the brain. (3) You may also feel sleepy after imbibing because alcohol blocks the liver from making new glucose, making you more susceptible to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Normally, the liver makes glucose between meals and as you sleep. Alcohol disrupts this process. (4) There may also be other causes of sleepiness after eating, including skipping breakfast. While you may wake up not feeling hungry for that first meal, skipping breakfast and waiting a few hours to eat lunch may make you feel sleepier because your body’s blood flow has to work harder to digest it later in the day. (6) Other causes of sleepiness after eating include already being sleep deprived and having low blood pressure (called postprandial hypotension). (6) Specific nutrients in food like tryptophan (an essential amino acid) (7) and foods that increase melatonin production (a hormone that helps regulate the circadian rhythm) may also make you feel sleepier after eating. (8) Tips for avoiding tiredness after eating Trying to avoid feeling sleepy after eating? Here are a few things to keep in mind: Foods to eat and avoid : The same study that found Western diets led to sleepiness after meals found that diets rich in vegetables and healthy fats (like olive oil and dairy) resulted in less post-meal sleepiness. (1) Additional foods to consume to avoid feeling tired after eating include fruits, whole grains, and lean protein. Go for a walk after eating: Rather than lying down on the couch after you eat, get your body moving. Taking a walk after a meal improves glucose metabolism, preventing you from feeling tired. (9) Avoid eating too late: Timing your meals is important for promoting quality sleep when you do need it. Aim to have your last meal two to three hours before bed for optimal sleep. (10) Stay hydrated: Hydration is essential for all metabolic processes, including using glucose. You may notice higher glucose levels when you’re dehydrated as the blood becomes more concentrated. (11) To avoid it, you should aim to drink 2.7 litres daily (for women), 3.7 litres daily (for men). (12) Are there any ways to track my body’s glucose response to food?  Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand your habits and patterns and work towards limiting glucose spikes.   A final note from Lingo Sleepiness after eating is a common phenomenon known as postprandial somnolence. One of the main causes of getting tired after eating is due to the types of foods you choose to eat. Eating large amounts of carbohydrates causes glucose to spike and create an inflammatory response. Instead, eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fat can help you avoid feeling tired after eating. Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand your habits and patterns and work towards limiting glucose spikes.   Lingo is not a medical device and not designed to treat or diagnose any disease or illness. If you have medical questions or concerns regarding your glucose, please contact your doctor.

 
Image for What is glucose? How it works and why it matters

What is glucose? How it works and why it matters

You may be familiar with how glucose, also known as blood sugar, rises and falls in the body, especially after you eat. For instance, if you haven’t eaten in a while and feel hungry, fatigued, and irritable, you may blame this on having “low blood sugar.” While there is truth to this, glucose and how it is processed and circulates in the body has a significant impact on your energy, mood, cravings, sleep, metabolic health, and overall well-being. Even if you don’t have diabetes, pre-diabetes, or other metabolic dysfunction, it’s important to understand glucose and how it functions in the body. Below, we explain what glucose is, where it comes from, and how it is used in our body on a daily basis. What exactly is glucose? Glucose is a sugar and is the simplest form of carbohydrate in the body. It’s technically known as a monosaccharide, or a simple sugar, meaning its chemical structure is one sugar molecule. There are other monosaccharides such as fructose and galactose, and there are sources of glucose that contain more than one sugar molecule. These range from the disaccharides such as lactose (a milk sugar) and sucrose (a common source of glucose found in table sugar and other sweeteners) to the more complex forms known as starches (polysaccharides). Any carbohydrate you eat, whether it’s the more complex brown rice, potatoes, bananas, or the simple sugar in your coffee, eventually gets broken down into glucose. This glucose circulates in your bloodstream and provides your cells with energy. Glucose is essential for proper functioning of the body and is also tightly regulated by the hormones insulin and glucagon. Too much glucose in the bloodstream will cause a release of insulin to drive glucose into the cells to be used for energy or to be stored for later use. Too little glucose in the bloodstream will signal glucagon to release stored glucose to bring blood sugar back into the normal range. (1) Where does glucose come from? The primary source of glucose in our diets is carbohydrates. As mentioned above, the carbohydrates you eat are broken down into glucose in the blood. When we discuss how carbs get broken down into glucose, there are three main types of carbohydrates that are important to understand: Sugars such as glucose, fructose (from fruit), sucrose (from plants), and lactose (from dairy). Complex carbohydrates such as vegetables and whole grains (bran, amaranth, oats, quinoa) and starches such as rice, potatoes, and refined wheat flour. Fibres, which are non-digestible forms of carbohydrates that can help feed healthy bacteria in our gut, keep our digestive system working properly, and reduce blood sugar spikes after meals. Fibre is found within complex carbs such as vegetables, seeds, beans and legumes, whole grains, and fruit. (2) All carbohydrates are broken down into varying amounts of glucose, but the speed at which the glucose enters the bloodstream can vary depending on the type of carbohydrate you eat. Simple carbohydrates such as table sugar, candy, and soda contain either one or two sugars and are rapidly converted to glucose to be used for energy, causing a rapid rise in both blood sugar and insulin. (4) Some additional examples of simple carbohydrates include: High fructose corn syrup Fruit juice Sports drinks Honey Additionally, foods that have been heavily processed or have added sugars also act like simple carbohydrates in the body. These are foods like: Packaged crackers and pretzels White pasta Enriched flours Refined breakfast cereals Cookies Complex carbohydrates Examples of complex carbohydrates include: Vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, leafy greens, spinach, cucumbers, squash, peppers) Fruit (berries, apples, pears) Legumes (lentils and beans) Unrefined whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, barley etc.) Fruits such as berries, avocado, and passion fruit have more fibre than fruits with a higher water content such as cantaloupe, watermelon, and peaches. You may notice the impact on your glucose levels differ depending on the fruit that you eat. If you’re wondering what happens if you include very little carbohydrates in your diet, know that you will still have glucose circulating in your system. This is because glucose can also be made from products of fat and protein metabolism through a process called gluconeogenesis. Even though glucose is an essential nutrient for life, it is not an essential dietary nutrient, given that our body can make its own through the process of gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis typically occurs when our body is in need of glucose, such as during periods of prolonged fasting, vigorous exercise, or other activities that reduce our body's availability of glucose. This process is also driven by the hormones glucagon and insulin. (3) What is glucose used for? Glucose is a source of energy in the body — not just for humans, but also for every known organism in the world (yes, even plants!). When our bodies acquire glucose, whether through eating carbohydrates or generating it through the breakdown of glycogen or via gluconeogenesis, this glucose travels through the blood to supply energy to various tissues. Our cells break down glucose in a series of biochemical reactions that eventually release ATP. ATP is needed for every energy-requiring process in the body, such as keeping our heart beating, breathing, and muscle contraction, and we would not survive without it. (1) While there are many types of glucose transporters in the body, depending on the location and tissue type, the two main hormones that regulate glucose are insulin and glucagon. After a meal, especially a meal containing carbohydrates, our body releases insulin to move glucose into the cells to generate ATP (aka energy). The more carbohydrates are consumed, the more insulin is required to move glucose into the cells and keep the glucose in our blood in a tightly regulated, healthy range. Once the cells have enough energy, the excess glucose is stored as glycogen in our liver and muscles. Once those stores are full, glucose will be converted to fat and stored for later use. When we are fasting, such as when we are asleep at night, glucagon is released to liberate stored glycogen or prompt gluconeogenesis, all with the goal of maintaining a healthy amount of glucose in our bloodstream. When glucose in our blood drops too low, it can cause symptoms such as fatigue, shakiness, confusion, and sweating — this is our body trying to tell us it does not have enough energy. On the other hand, when the glucose in our blood is too high, it can cause increased thirst and increased urination, as our body is trying to get rid of the extra glucose. Frequent glucose spikes can impact your sleep, energy, mood, focus, and more. If this happens chronically or stays elevated for too long, it can cause damage to our vessels resulting in inflammation, poor wound healing, and other complications such as damage to the kidneys and heart. (1)(5) Insulin and glucagon work together to tightly regulate glucose. Insulin tends to be higher after you eat a meal, while glucagon is higher when you are fasting (like when you’re asleep). If insulin remains consistently high, it becomes hard for the body to utilise energy from our glucose stores because glucagon is being chronically suppressed. A final note from Lingo Glucose is essential for life. It is used to create energy that is required to keep us alive. The carbohydrates we eat are broken down into glucose to be used for energy. However, our body can also produce its own glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis. Carbohydrates include simple sugars (candy, soda, juice) and complex carbohydrates (vegetables, fruits, and legumes). It is important to understand how glucose works in the body, especially since managing glucose has been associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases (6)(7) as well as positively impacting aspects of our everyday life like our mood, energy levels, mental focus, sleep, and more (5). Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can give you real-time insights into your own glucose and seeing this data on has been shown to improve glucose control in just over a week. (8)

7 minutes 
Image for Mood boosting foods: Try these 10 foods for good mood & energy

Mood boosting foods: Try these 10 foods for good mood & energy

Increasingly, more research is emerging that supports the mental health benefits of eating a healthy diet, specifically low glycaemic index (GI) diets that are rich in vegetables, fibre, protein, and healthy fats. (1) Conversely, high GI diets are linked to increased risk of mental health disorders, depression, and psychological distress. (2) General mood has been shown to be improved on a high protein, low GI diet when compared to a high GI diet, (3) attributed to the superior diet quality of the low GI diet pattern. For example, in a 2019 study, adults following a low GI diet ate more veggies (around 24 grams of fibre per day), nearly 100 grams of protein per day, and 40% of their calories from fats, and had lower scores for depressive symptoms, mood disturbance, and fatigue. (3) What are the common characteristics of these foods? First, they are low glycaemic index, meaning they have a minimal impact on raising glucose after a meal. Additionally, foods in the diets studied were rich in magnesium, B vitamins, and omega-3 fats, which are key nutrients for the nervous system that affects mood. (2) Further, high fibre foods like vegetables support a healthy gut microbiome, which has implications on mood via a connection called the gut-brain axis. (4) 10 mood-boosting foods: 1. Salmon Fatty fish like salmon not only contain high levels of protein (20 grams of protein per 100-gram portion), salmon is also rich in omega-3 fats, which play a role in brain processes related to the origin of anxiety and depression (5) Lingo tip: Did you know you can cook salmon directly from frozen? Try pan-frying, baking, air frying, or grilling filets directly from the freezer. Just rinse under water, then cook. Finish with seasoning. 2. Blueberries Berries are bursting with anthocyanins, a compound that helps the body overcome stress. (6) Blueberries in particular have been shown to help adults make decisions more quickly and accurately, supporting sharp brain function. (7) The same study also found the single serving of wild blueberries improved glucose and insulin responses to a meal. Plus, blueberries have been shown to increase positive mood in young adults. (8) Lingo tip: Keep frozen berries on hand for smoothies. Or add fresh blueberries to a green salad for a sweet flavour burst. 3. Raspberries These brightly pigmented berries contain several essential micronutrients, dietary fibres, and polyphenolic components, specifically ellagitannins and anthocyanins. They are among the highest whole food sources of dietary fibre, providing 6.5 grams of fibre per 100 gram weight. (9) Lingo tip: Add raspberries to Greek yoghurt for a high-protein snack. 4. Walnuts Walnuts have the ability to improve mood. (10) They contain a number of potentially neuroprotective compounds like vitamin E, folate, melatonin, several antioxidative polyphenols and significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Lingo tip: Keep walnuts on hand for an easy snack – in your desk drawer, purse or book bag, or in your car. 5. Coffee Cognitive benefits from coffee are typically attributed to caffeine, but there are many compounds in coffee that likely have a synergistic effect on mood, including the amino acid L-theanine and chlorogenic acids. Benefits are seen around 100 mg caffeine per day, which is the amount of caffeine in 240 mL (about one cup) of brewed coffee (moderation is up to 400 mg per day). (11) Lingo tip: Glucose responses to caffeine vary by individual, and black coffee generally is the most glucose friendly. If you don't take your coffee black coffee, stick to adding in unsweetened milk and limit added sugars. 6-8. Spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts Folate, the B vitamin in these greens, supports the body making the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which are all strongly linked to mental health. (1) What’s more, around 90% of your body's serotonin is made in the gut, (12) which is affected by dietary factors like fibre. In fact, high vegetable intakes (>8 portions per day) is associated with higher positive affect, lower negative affect, and greater eudaemonic well-being. (1) Lingo tip: See how many meals you can add greens to: toss a handful of spinach into scrambled eggs at breakfast, dip broccoli in hummus for a filling snack, have a side of roasted brussels sprouts with your dinner. 9. Fermented foods Microbes found in fermented foods, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species, may influence brain health via direct and indirect pathways. (13) Lingo tip: While Greek yoghurt is an excellent source of protein and calcium, the beneficial bacteria amounts vary by brand. Look for kefir, a drinkable style high-protein yoghurt, sauerkraut, or kimchi as other ways to add fermented foods into your day. 10. *Dark* chocolate The mood and cognition-enhancing effects of cocoa and chocolate are linked to its flavanols, methylxanthines, salsolinol, and orosensory properties. (14) Dark chocolate (85% or greater cacao) acts as a prebiotic, feeding the healthy bacteria of the gut, which may improve negative emotional states via the gut-brain axis. (15) Lingo tip: Combine mixed nuts with mini dark chocolate chips for a sweet treat. A final note from Lingo Mood and well-being are influenced by a variety of factors; diet is just one of them. And eating a low-glycaemic diet and staying steady can contribute to your overall health and well-being. Using a CGM like Lingo is a tool to understand the relationship between your health and glucose. Tracking your food, exercise, and stress in the app can help you visualise the impact these have on your glucose. Mood is another metric to observe as it relates to the big picture of your health.

 
Image for What’s new at Lingo: January 2024 product update

What’s new at Lingo: January 2024 product update

Lingo empowers you to build habits so you can live your healthiest life. But what makes for a “healthy life” is different and personal for everyone. And achieving that goal takes time and dedication. Lingo is built to be your partner on that journey. With Lingo, you’ll better understand how your metabolism works – what foods make you spike (and don’t) and how your body responds to exercise. Lingo recommends and helps you build habits that will lead to healthy change. It’s all about empowering you to take control of your health. In July 2023, Lingo launched the “Preview” version in the UK. This helped gather feedback and ideas from a loyal group of early members. Since then, the team has been hard at work to incorporate the valuable input and improve the Lingo experience. We’re excited to share the enhancements that are part of today’s product update. Let’s dive into the new ways that Lingo helps you start to understand and retrain your metabolism. Learn new habits that can help improve your metabolic health Lingo challenges are your chance to embrace small, impactful habits and discover your unique glucose responses. These challenges help you build new routines that, when continued, can have a positive impact on your metabolic health. Receive a recommended list of challenges based on your glucose patterns from the previous week. Pick one of the challenges, which is designed to help you experiment with new habits. Commit to a challenge for 3-7 days, track your progress, and advance towards your health goals. When you complete a challenge, you’ll earn a badge. If you aren’t successful, you can give it another shot. See deeper insights on your real-time glucose graph The “Now” tab gives you a simple, at-a-glance view of your current glucose levels. A rich graph shows your glucose fluctuations in real-time so you can explore your spikes and better understand how your habits affect your metabolic health. Get feedback based on your glucose patterns to see how you’re progressing towards your goals Review the snapshot of your day to discover which habits work and which still need work. Get a more detailed breakdown of your progress. View your Lingo Count by category of event (like food and drink or exercise) and time of day, so you can make informed changes as you manage your Lingo Count. Track your progress in new ways The new “You” tab is designed to make the data you build up over time – including glucose patterns, food, and exercise – available in one place. Through various data visualisations, over different time periods, you can easily track the progress you’re making on your metabolic health journey. If you prefer a simple weekly snapshot, you can find that here, too. See how you’ve been progressing toward your goals on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Track your completed challenges and view your badge collection. Access your weekly snapshots that provide a summary of everything you’ve accomplished. Make changes to your profile, such as your health goals and product preferences. Shake to share your feedback It’s still early days for Lingo. The app will get better over time and with each new version. If you have ideas, suggestions, problems, or questions for the team building Lingo – share them by shaking your phone. How can I get started? If you’re a current Lingo member, visit the App Store to update Lingo and access all of these new features. New to Lingo? Start your Lingo journey today and take the first step to improve your metabolic health.

 
Image for Balanced vegan diet: How can you get the nutrients you need?

Balanced vegan diet: How can you get the nutrients you need?

The start of the year is a new chance to revisit your overall nutrition. This year, you may be curious about Veganuary—a 31-day vegan diet challenge throughout the month of January that encourages participants to stick with the diet year-round. Veganuary is also a non-profit organisation that started in England and Wales in 2014 to support and encourage people to eat a plant-based diet. Plant-based diets have continued to increase in popularity in recent years. From 2014 to 2018, there was a 600% increase in Americans subscribing to a vegan diet. (1) The British Nutrition Foundation reports that 2-3% of the UK population follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, with interest in reducing meat consumption on the rise. In 2017, 28% of people in the UK reported an interest in reducing their meat consumption, compared to 34% in 2018. (2) While “vegan” and “plant-based” are often used interchangeably, there are some distinctions. A plant-based diet is any dietary pattern that includes a low amount of animal food and high amounts of foods from plants, like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains. A vegan diet is a type of plant-based diet that is free from any animal products (e.g. no meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, or other foods derived from animals). For the purposes of this article, we will be using both terms to refer to the avoidance of animal-derived products in the diet. Whether you’re aiming to focus more on plants to get most of your nutrients or deciding to cut animal products completely, it is important to identify the best sources of protein, carbohydrate, and fat that fit into a plant-based diet. You may set out with the intention to better your health, but without careful planning, cutting out animal-based foods can leave you filling up on carbohydrates and ultra-processed foods, which aren’t best for your energy levels (due to blood sugar spikes and crashes), or your overall health. Below, we break down why people may choose to eat a vegan diet and what a healthy, balanced vegan diet truly looks like. Why people choose to eat a vegan diet There are many reasons people may be interested in trying a vegan diet, a major one being for the desired health benefits. Plant-based eating has been linked to lower BMI (body mass index), weight loss, lower cholesterol, lower risk of diabetes, intestinal diseases, heart disease, cataracts, certain cancers, and more. (3)(4) Adopting a vegan diet is also a lifestyle for many people who choose it for ethical reasons, including animal cruelty and environmental considerations. Many of the health benefits of plant-based diets are linked to the higher fibre content compared to animal-based diets. Since vegan diets are based around complex carbohydrates, vegetables, and fruits, plant-based eaters tend to get closer to the 30 grams of fibre that is recommended daily. (5) Picturing a vegan diet may bring to mind brightly colored vegetables, fruits, and other healthy plant foods. However, many foods are technically vegan that aren’t health promoting (think: sugary soda, biscuits, greasy chips). So while the goal for many of eating a vegan diet is to eat more plants and plant-based foods, it can unintentionally lead to eating an unbalanced diet that is lower in protein and higher in carbohydrates, specifically refined and ultra-processed foods (UPFs). A 2021 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that vegans consumed the most UPFs of any plant-based diet. (6) Eating a diet high in UPFs has excessive amounts of added sugar, unhealthy fats, salt, and low in micronutrients and fibre. This can wreak havoc on your glucose, energy levels, and overall health. In other words, vegan diets are not automatically healthy. (7) A high consumption of vegan-friendly foods like sugary drinks, refined grains, potatoes, desserts, and fruit juices has been associated with a higher risk of chronic disease and overall mortality. (4) In contrast, a balanced vegan diet can be health promoting. One of the ways is through better blood glucose levels due to increased fibre intake. A 2023 study found that diabetic participants on an animal-based diet had a six times greater risk of having uncontrolled blood glucose levels compared to those who adopted a vegetarian or vegan diet. (8) If you’re interested in eliminating animal products, it’s important to limit added sugars and get enough protein from plant-based sources to steady glucose. Eating protein, especially pairing a source of carbs with a protein, is key to helping balance blood sugar. Eating a vegan diet comes with extra challenges, especially attaining proper nutrition from vegan foods. Trying a vegan diet this year? Keep reading to learn how to get the nutrients you need with a balanced vegan diet. Sources of nutrients for vegans Since vegan diets are free from any animal products or byproducts and often plant-based, it’s important to understand which vegan foods fit into each macronutrient (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) category for balanced vegan nutrition. Here are the best sources of vegan nutrition for each macronutrient: Protein sources: Beans, peas, and lentils; nuts, seeds, and soy products (such as tofu and tempeh). Carb sources: Whole grains (quinoa, barley, oats), whole-grain bread and pasta, brown rice, potatoes, and other starchy vegetables. Fat sources: Plant oils (canola, olive oil, coconut), avocado, nuts and nut butters, and seeds It’s important to note that many meat alternatives on the market that are designed to replace animal-based foods like burgers and sausages are often not a healthier option. These foods can be low in protein and high in salt, oil, and sugar. If searching for a meat alternative, look for whole soy-based products like tofu and tempeh that have few additives. Healthy vegan nutrition should revolve around the rule of three: Fill ½ of your plate with non-starchy vegetables (e.g. asparagus, Brussels sprouts, peppers), ¼ with high-quality protein (e.g. tofu), and the remaining ¼ with complex carbohydrates (e.g. sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa). Don’t forget to include healthy fats (e.g. avocado, nuts, seeds, or a drizzle of olive oil) as well. Vegan nutrition advice If you follow a vegan diet, it’s crucial that you eat a balanced diet that satisfies macronutrient and micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) needs, as vegans are more prone to nutritional deficiencies that can lead to future health problems like anemia, stroke, cognitive impairment, decreased bone health, and more. (9) Nutritional deficiencies are common among people who follow an unbalanced vegan diet, like those who eat an abundance of ultra-processed foods. Common micronutrient deficiencies include vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, selenium, iodine, iron, zinc, riboflavin, and omega-3 fatty acids. (7) Additionally, because plant-based sources of protein are not as easily utilized by the body and have a different mix of amino acids compared to animal sources, it’s important to ensure you are getting enough protein from a variety of sources to ensure you get all of the amino acids your body needs. (10) Soy (tofu, tempeh, edamame), quinoa, and buckwheat are complete proteins that provide all nine essential amino acids, and other plant-based foods that aren’t complete proteins but provide a good number of amino acids include beans, spirulina, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and flax seeds. To eat a balanced vegan diet, some of the recommendations from the National Health Service include: (11) Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Have some fortified dairy alternatives, such as soya drinks and yoghurts (choose lower-sugar options). Eat some beans, pulses, and other proteins. Eat nuts and seeds rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as walnuts) every day. Have fortified foods or supplements containing nutrients that are more difficult to get through a vegan diet, including vitamin D, vitamin B12, iodine, selenium, calcium and iron. Drink plenty of fluids (the NHS recommends 6 to 8 cups or glasses a day). While these are broad recommendations for people following a vegan diet, Lingo recommends that you tailor your own vegan diet to include foods that allow you to keep your glucose levels steady. This may mean: Base meals on a quality source of protein (like tofu or tempeh) and make sure to include protein at every meal. Tailor carb portions based on your own blood sugar response and choose whole grain carbs whenever possible. Eat fruits and vegetables that don’t cause your blood sugar to spike rapidly. Vegans should also still focus on limiting ultra-processed foods that are high in added sugars, simple carbohydrates, unhealthy fat, and sodium. Although many foods may be vegan-friendly, it does not mean they are nutritionally sound. To adhere to a balanced diet for good nutrition, follow the rule of three as outlined above to balance non-starchy vegetables, protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. A final note from Lingo Since many people are looking to eat healthier and increase their consumption of fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods, a plant-based diet might be something to explore. Plant-based diets have grown in popularity in recent years, and some studies point to health benefits such as improved BMI, lower cholesterol, and reduced risk of heart disease. (11) However, if a balanced vegan diet is not followed, it can create nutritional challenges. Nutritional deficiencies can be common for vegans, but can be avoided with fortified foods and supplements such as B12 and vitamin D. (9) Although eating a vegan diet higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein may lead to glucose spikes, using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand your habits and patterns and work towards eating a more balanced diet to limit glucose spikes.   Lingo is not a medical device and not designed to treat or diagnose any disease or illness. If you have medical questions or concerns regarding your glucose, please contact your doctor.

8 minutes 
Image for Glycaemic load vs. glycaemic index: Which is better for glucose control?

Glycaemic load vs. glycaemic index: Which is better for glucose control?

The glycaemic load (GL) and glycaemic index (GI) are two different tools that give you insight into how carb-rich foods affect your glucose levels, also known as your blood sugar levels. GI and GL can help you make informed food choices towards steady, healthier glucose levels. And healthier blood glucose levels translates to more energy, improved mood, and less hunger, among other benefits. (1) Glycaemic load vs. glycaemic index: How they’re measured The glycaemic index ranks carb-containing foods by their ability to raise glucose on a scale of 1-100, with 100 indicating that the food spikes your blood sugar the most. Glycaemic index values are broken down into three ranges based on their numeric scores High GI: 70 to 100 Medium GI: 56 to 69 Low GI: 55 and below The GI is calculated by measuring how quickly certain carb-containing foods spike glucose levels in people without diabetes. Each food is given a numeric score based on the time it takes for blood sugar to rise after eating a portion of the food that contains 50 grams of carbs. The lower the GI of a food, the more steadily the food releases glucose into your bloodstream, providing sustained energy. The numeric GI ranking of each food is compared to glucose (pure sugar), the most quick-digesting carb that scores 100 on the GI scale. (2) Low GI foods produce less fluctuation in blood glucose and insulin levels than high GI foods because their digestion and absorption is slowed by their fibre content, or because the sugars present (e.g. fructose, lactose) are inherently less glycaemic. In addition to your glucose staying steady, research shows health benefits when low GI foods replace high GI foods in a balanced diet. (3) The glycaemic load, on the other hand, can give you a more practical measure of how a certain food impacts your glucose levels. The GL goes beyond the standardised measure of a 50-gram carb serving of a single food. It takes into account both how fast blood glucose is raised as well as how much glucose (aka carbohydrates) the food actually contains. (4) For example, watermelon has a high GI of 72, however a 1-cup serving of watermelon only has ~11 grams of carbohydrates, giving it a lower GL. To calculate the glycaemic load, you’ll take the GI of a food (the numeric score), multiply it by the amount of carbs (in grams) in a portion of food, and then divide that number by 100. (5) Here’s an example of how that works out: If whole-wheat bread has a GI of 45 and one slice has 20 grams of carbs, you’ll multiply 45 by 20 and then divide that number by 100. The result is 9. That means whole-wheat bread has a low glycaemic load. Low glycaemic load: 0 to 10 Medium glycaemic load: 11 to 19 High glycaemic load: 20 and above Glycaemic load vs. glycaemic index: Which is better? The GL improves on the glycaemic index since it considers both the quality (GI) of the carbohydrate as well as that quantity of the carbohydrates in a serving of the food. This can give you more insight into how much your glucose may increase, whereas the GI just tells you how fast a food raises your glucose without taking into account how much of that food you will actually consume. And the amount of glucose you eat coupled with how fast it creates a glucose spike (aka the GL) is a more accurate picture of how a food affects your overall glucose levels than merely how quickly a food’s sugars are absorbed (aka the GI). Let’s look at the whole-wheat bread example again. While whole-wheat bread has both a low GI and low GL, not all foods follow the same trajectory. Take boiled white spaghetti: It is low-glycaemic, scoring a 46 on the GI scale. However, one serving of cooked spaghetti contains 43 grams of carbohydrates, giving it a glycaemic load of 20, which is considered high. And the longer you boil it, the higher its glycaemic index rises because cooking it for longer reduces the amount of digesting your body must do, which means your glucose will rise faster after eating it. (6) Refined-grain products like white pasta will often have a high GL, but you can easily swap them for higher-fibre counterparts to lower the GL and help lessen that glucose spike. For reference, whole-wheat spaghetti, which is made of whole-grain flour rather than refined white flour, has a low GI (40) and low GL (10) while regular spaghetti has a low GI (55) but medium GL (13); so whole-wheat spaghetti would be a smart swap. Pairing your whole-grain pasta with a source of protein and fat (such as chicken cooked in a bit of olive oil) can further help lower how fast and how high your glucose rises. (6) What are the downsides? The glycaemic index is skewed because it doesn't take into account the realistic serving size of a food and exactly how many carbohydrates it contains. This can be a bit misleading because while a certain food can raise your blood sugar quickly, if a typical serving of that food does not contain a high amount of carbohydrates, then it may not spike your glucose into an unhealthy range. (4) While the glycaemic load is a more useful measure of how carb foods affect your glucose, this tool isn’t perfect, either. The GL still takes into account how one specific food affects your glucose, so if you’re not eating that food on its own, it’ll be more difficult to figure out your meal or snack’s glycaemic load. For example, pairing a piece of bread with cheese will produce a lower GL than eating a plain piece of bread. And combining pasta with chicken and Parmesan will also put less of a burden on your blood sugar than eating pasta alone. That’s because foods with protein and fats (like chicken and cheese) can help slow down the digestion of the carbs you’re eating along with them, which means more steady glucose levels and more sustained energy. (6) The best way to measure how foods and meals affect your glucose levels is by using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), like Lingo. A CGM can monitor your glucose throughout the day and give you insights into how what you eat and drink influences your glucose. Using this info, you can tailor your diet plan for steadier glucose levels and improve your overall well-being. A final note from Lingo Both the glycaemic load and glycaemic index paint a picture of how food affects your blood glucose levels, but the glycaemic load is a more practical measure. Unlike the GI, the GL takes into account how many carbohydrates a serving size of a specific food contains. The GI only tells you how fast a carb-containing food raises your glucose levels, without factoring in what a typical serving size of that food is. What both measures don’t tell you is how much these foods, when paired with sources of fat or protein (which don’t spike glucose), affect your glucose levels. And that’s where a CGM like Lingo can help. To create meals with a lower glycaemic load, replace high-GI foods with lower-GI foods and pair your carbs with a source of protein and/or fat. If you're eating a high-GI food (which is OK in moderation), watch portion sizes and eat it after a mixed-macro meal that has protein, veggies, and healthy fat for healthier glucose levels.

6 minutes 
Image for What is the Glycaemic Index (GI)? An essential guide

What is the Glycaemic Index (GI)? An essential guide

Out of the three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat), carbs impact your blood glucose the most. But not all carbs are created equal. Certain carb-containing foods can send your blood sugar levels soaring and then quickly crashing down, while others can trigger a slower glucose release that provides you with sustained energy. The handy tool known as the glycaemic index can help you figure out how your favourite carb-rich foods might affect your glucose levels. What is the glycaemic index? The glycaemic index is a measure of how foods that contain carbohydrates affect your glucose levels. (1) Carbohydrates have the highest impact on your glucose, and understanding how foods that contain carbs (like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) can affect your glucose can help you optimise your diet plan. How is the glycaemic index calculated? The glycaemic index uses a scale of 1 to 100 and categorises foods into three groups: High GI, medium GI, and low GI. (2) Here’s a breakdown of how they are scored: High GI: 70 to 100 Medium GI: 56 to 69 Low GI: 55 and below High GI foods tend to spike your glucose the most. They contain quick-digesting carbs (or simple sugars) that the body breaks down fast, often causing a blood sugar spike and sometimes followed by a crash. Low GI foods digest more slowly, releasing glucose into the bloodstream over a longer period of time. And steadier glucose levels means better blood sugar control. To get to these number ranges, scientists calculated the GI value of “test foods” by testing how quickly certain carb-rich foods affect glucose levels in people without diabetes. (1) They achieved this by measuring glucose levels of at least 10 healthy people before eating the test food and then continued testing their glucose over the next two hours after eating a serving of the test food that contains 50 grams of carbs. After plotting all these points on a graph, the researchers found the area under the curve (AUC), a measure of how glucose values change based on the food consumed. The second part of this process occurred at a later time and involved having the same 10 people eat 50 grams of the sugar (glucose — referred to as the “reference food”). The researchers then recorded the participants’ glucose response over the next two hours after eating the sugar. Then, they divided each person’s glucose AUC for the test food by the glucose AUC for the reference food. To land the final GI value for the test food, they averaged out all 10 participants’ GI values. While the glycaemic index is pretty accurate, it’s not foolproof. The way a certain food affects your blood sugar can be different from the next person’s. And many other factors can also affect the GI of a food, including its ripeness (if it’s a fruit or vegetable), the way it’s prepared or cooked, what you eat along with it, how much of it you eat, and more. Effect of high GI foods on your glucose levels High GI foods usually send glucose levels soaring and often are followed by a crash — especially if they are consumed on their own, compared to a mixed meal. High GI foods tend to contain rapidly digested carbs with little to no fibre, which causes your bloodstream to become saturated with glucose. Some examples of foods that are high glycaemic include: White bread (about 3.5 slices) White rice (a little over a cup) White pasta (a little over a cup) Pretzels (about 2 ounces) White potatoes (1.5 potatoes) Sodas (16 ounces) Sugary cereals (about 1.5 cups) Sugary baked goods (¾ of a large muffin or 1.5 scones) Candy (2 ounces of hard candy) While these foods all have a GI value of 70 or higher, not everyone may have the same glycaemic response to them. Different factors can influence your glycaemic response, such as your genetics, the food’s serving size, and whether you paired the food with something else like a protein or fat. For example, eating a piece of plain white bread will produce a higher glucose response than eating a slice of white bread with a piece of cheese because the protein and fats in the cheese can help slow down digestion and blunt a glucose spike. Testing your glycaemic response Since each person’s glycaemic response is individualised, using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) like Lingo is the best way to measure your body's unique response. A CGM gives you insights into how what you eat and drink throughout the day affects your glucose, so you can better tailor your diet to prioritise foods and food combinations that won’t spike your glucose too drastically. Glycaemic index in your diet Understanding the glycaemic index of foods and using a CGM can help you gain better control over your glucose levels. Low-GI foods are usually whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, as well as dairy, proteins, nuts, and seeds. High-GI foods tend to be more processed, refined, or full of sugar. Therefore, prioritising low-GI foods in your diet can help you gain better glucose control as well as help you lose weight and maintain that weight loss over time. It can also help you become more mindful of your food choices, especially as you continue to learn how certain foods affect your glucose levels. However, the GI isn’t without its shortcomings. As mentioned, the GI of a food doesn’t paint the entire picture. The way a food affects your glucose levels is dependent on many factors, one of them being the food’s serving size. That’s where glycaemic load comes into play. While the glycaemic index relies on a standardised 50-gram-carbohydrate serving for every food, the glycaemic load is based on a specific food's standard serving size. (2) And since different foods have different serving sizes, the glycaemic load tends to be a more accurate measure of how carb-containing foods affect glucose levels. For example, watermelon has a high GI but a low glycaemic load because 1 cup of watermelon has only 12 grams of carbs, so you’d have to eat a little more than 4 cups to hit 50 grams of carbs (which is the standardised measurement for GI). A final note from Lingo The glycaemic index is a handy tool for measuring how carb-containing foods affect your glucose levels. A diet rich in low GI foods — such as whole grains, high-fibre fruits, vegetables, and legumes — can help you better manage your glucose levels, helping prevent spikes that can lead to weight gain and other health issues over time. Since everyone’s glucose response is different, using a CGM like Lingo can help you monitor how certain foods affect your personal glucose levels.

5 minutes 
Image for CES 2024 highlights: Lingo recognised as ‘Best In Show’ by Wareable

CES 2024 highlights: Lingo recognised as ‘Best In Show’ by Wareable

Coming off an invigorating and exciting showing at CES 2024, we were thrilled to learn that Lingo was named Best in Show – Best Wearable by Wareable, a leading technology publication covering the latest in wearable tech, smart home devices, and health tech. We’re honoured to be named alongside some other innovators in the wearable space. Excitement for Lingo at CES has been building since Abbott CEO Robert Ford unveiled Lingo two years ago. The CES 2024 show is where Lingo was showcased for the first time since launching in the UK, and people were excited to see first-hand how the biosensor and coaching app can help improve their health. Visitors to the Abbott booth featuring Lingo were eager to see and learn more. They were intrigued by the value proposition of Lingo’s continuous glucose monitor (CGM) for people living without diabetes, and the real-time glucose level insights and coaching to be gained from the app. We were excited to showcase our product in action and inform people on how Lingo is a personalised experience that empowers people to make better health and lifestyle changes to improve their overall health. Lingo makes staying on top of your glucose and improving your metabolic health easy and accessible with the gamified Lingo Count system, and many people were eager to know when Lingo would be available in the US. It was invigorating hearing interested CES-goers ask thoughtful questions and tell us that Lingo is something they're excited to try. Having so many people share their excitement for the potential global impact Lingo can have on preventative healthcare — that feeling is priceless. At Abbott, we are committed to helping people live life to the fullest. As part of that mission, Lingo will equip people with the tools to understand their unique metabolic responses to food and activity. Using personalised data and coaching from Lingo, people will experience better sleep, mood, focus, energy, and more. Thank you to everyone who stopped by the Abbott CES booth, shared their personal health journey, and brought enthusiasm and excitement in learning more about Lingo. We are excited to get Lingo in the hands — and onto the arms — of people around the world to help them live healthier, better lives.

 
Image for Boosting your energy levels with glucose management

Boosting your energy levels with glucose management

Do you often find yourself feeling low on energy, even if you’ve gotten enough sleep the night before? There could be several reasons why you feel sluggish, and you are probably looking for ways to get an energy boost. If you want to improve your energy, start by investigating your diet. What you eat has a direct impact on your energy levels. Especially if you are eating simple carbohydrates that spike your blood glucose. During an energy slump, it can be tempting to reach for a sugary snack for an energy boost since simple carbohydrates can provide quick energy. While it will give you a very short-lived burst of increased energy due to a fast rise in your blood glucose levels, the spike will not last long, and may leave you feeling drained of energy after your blood glucose levels dip again. What you want is sustained energy and balanced glucose. For this you should fuel yourself with a balanced meal with enough protein, healthy fats, and fibre to keep you full for at least three hours. If you find yourself getting hungry or experiencing cravings soon after eating, you might want to assess your previous meal — it’s likely you didn’t eat enough or your macronutrients weren’t balanced for sustained energy and steady glucose. Feeling tired right now? Try these steps When you’re feeling tired or sluggish, you’re probably looking for a quick way to boost your energy levels. One surefire way to get an energy pick-me-up is to engage in a quick burst of physical activity. Bonus points if you do this outside in natural sunlight. These “exercise snacks,” such as climbing stairs, going for a brisk walk, or jumping jacks and air squats for about a few minutes at a time give you an energy boost by getting your heart rate up, which brings fresh blood and oxygen to your cells. These short, yet highly effective sessions have been shown to reduce the negative impact of sitting on cardiometabolic health. (1) If you spend most of your day in front of screens, taking a screen break may also give you some energy. Take a few minutes away from all screens and engage your mind with another activity like journaling or just let yourself daydream and get lost in your thoughts. (2) Another way to take an energising break? Try breathing exercises. These may help you feel more awake and alert. For a quick energy boost, stand up and take a deep breath while simultaneously raising your arms over your head slowly. Exhale as you lower your arms, working through this three times. (3) Finally, watch a funny video or joke around with a friend. The act of laughing can give you energy because it increases heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen consumption, helping you feel more alert. Additionally, laughing can help reduce stress hormones, which may have the additional benefit of helping to maintain steady glucose. (4) Adding these small actions into your day can help you feel more energetic if you start to feel tired, especially if you got a full night’s sleep the night before. If lack of sleep is the source of your energy slump, you could try to take a quick nap of less than 30 minutes (5) and should focus on getting a full 7-9 hours each night. 8 tips for better daily energy levels Looking for ways to improve energy levels? Maintaining stable energy levels is possible with these eight tips. Tip #1: Stay hydrated. A common sign of dehydration is low energy levels, also known as lethargy or sleepiness. Take frequent breaks to get up and refill a reuseable water bottle frequently throughout your day. A glass of water can perk up your energy levels and contribute to hydration in between meals. Tip #2: Get your body moving. Research shows adults who regularly engage in moderate-intensity exercise have meaningful improvements in fatigue, energy levels, and feelings of vitality. (6) According to the NHS Physical Activity Guidelines, adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. This can be easily achieved with 30 minutes of a moderate-intensity activity like tennis or brisk walking five days a week, or 25 minutes of a higher-intensity activity, like HIIT, three days a week. Additionally, adults should also do two or more days of muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity. (7) Tip #3: Eat a protein-packed breakfast Energy slumps can happen after a sugary or high-carbohydrate breakfast like toast with jam or cereal. For sustained energy and balanced glucose, it’s a good idea to choose a protein-packed breakfast with at least 25-30 grams of protein to steady glucose levels and set the day up for success. Adding in fibre and fats can also help you feel full and give you more sustained energy. (8) For a more protein-packed breakfast, consider eating eggs, beans, protein powder, or unsweetened Greek yoghurt. Tip #4: Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is an obvious cause of feeling tired. Not getting adequate sleep also impacts glucose levels and has been found to lead to insulin resistance after just one night of sleep deprivation (less than 7 hours of sleep). (9) Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep, according to the NHS. If you are having trouble achieving quality sleep, check out our tips for getting better sleep. Additionally, short naps less than 30 minutes have been shown to boost energy and can be a quick way to give your body a refresh when you are feeling sluggish. (5) Tip #5: Don’t skip meals. Whether you’re busy with work or tend to skip meals out of habit, it might be making you more tired. Skipping meals can cause low blood glucose levels followed by spikes when you finally fuel your body, which causes your energy levels to rollercoaster. However, it’s important to listen to your body; some people find success with intermittent fasting (IF) where they eat within an 8- or 10-hour window and often skip breakfast. Just be sure to break your fast with a meal that's high in protein and healthy fats for stable glucose and energy levels. Tip #6: Limit alcohol. Alcohol has sedative properties that can make you tired. Additionally, it has been found to disrupt your sleep cycles and decrease sleep quality. (10) Alcohol is also linked to an increased risk of insomnia, which increases daytime sleepiness. Plus, some types of alcoholic drinks like sugary cocktails and high-carb beers can spike your glucose, which can leave you feeling sluggish after. Tip #7: Avoid overeating. Indulging in a large meal (one that is especially high in carbohydrates) can spike your blood sugar, which may lead to a crash and cause you to feel tired. Besides impacting energy levels, overeating has also been shown to lead to an increased risk of diabetes and obesity. (11) Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues to make sure you are eating enough to be satiated and have balanced energy levels, but not eating too much to leave you feeling tired. Tip #8: Reduce stress. Stress, especially chronic stress, can zap your body of energy. An increase in the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol can cause dysfunction and disruptions in energy availability in the body, leaving you feeling drained. (12) Engaging in stress-reducing activities like meditation, muscle relaxation, or breathing exercises can help. (3) A final note from Lingo One key way to stop feeling tired and increase your energy levels is by managing your blood glucose levels, especially if lack of sleep isn’t the culprit. Experiencing blood sugar spikes and crashes can lead to increased fatigue. To boost your energy naturally, maintain a balanced diet, get in regular exercise, stay properly hydrated, and prioritize sleep. Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand your habits and patterns and work towards creating habits that will give you more sustained energy. Lingo is not a medical device and not designed to treat or diagnose any disease or illness. If you have medical questions or concerns regarding your glucose, please contact your doctor.

 
Image for Trying to avoid feeling tired at work? Our tips on staying awake

Trying to avoid feeling tired at work? Our tips on staying awake

‘Fess up. At some point in your adult life, you probably feared falling asleep at work, imagined what it would be like to have a job where you could take a nap, or simply felt too tired to focus. For one reason or another, some days, you simply feel tired and must find ways to avoid falling asleep at your desk. Those factors might make you think about reaching for a sugary pick-me-up or another cup of coffee or tea. It's time to break the cycle of a quick sugar fix followed by extreme highs and lows in your glucose levels or relying too heavily on caffeine. These short-term solutions won’t give you the sustained energy you’re looking for. You can experience better energy at work through not only what you eat but also how you manage your lifestyle. Read our tips below on how you can avoid feeling tired at work. Why staying awake at work can be difficult There could be a few reasons why you’re dragging during the day. Here are some potential causes of why you feel sleepy at your desk: Poor sleep: How well you sleep (quality) matters in addition to how much you sleep. Even if you think you got a full eight hours, if you have a condition like sleep apnoea or woke up repeatedly through the night, it can leave you feeling tired the next day. Also, eating a carb-heavy meal close to bed can negatively affect your sleep and subsequent energy levels the next day. (1) Allow a few hours between your last meal and when you plan to fall asleep. . Not getting enough sleep: If you didn’t get into bed at a time that allowed you to get the NHS’s recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, it could be why you’re falling asleep at your desk. Your breakfast wasn’t satisfying. You may have skipped a morning meal, which can leave you feeling zapped of energy. Or your breakfast could have been lacking enough protein to keep you satiated or had too much sugar or simple carbs. When you eat primarily simple carbs with little to no protein in the morning, such as buttered toast with marmalade or a bowl of cereal, this often causes a glucose spike. This can lead to a crash, which leaves you feeling sluggish and hungry soon after. You’re not properly hydrated. Lethargy is a common sign of dehydration. Without enough fluids, blood volume shrinks and your heart has to work harder to pump oxygen-saturated blood all over the body. (2) You likely won’t notice that it’s working harder, but that additional effort makes you feel sluggish and tired. You’re stressed. Both acute (short-term) and chronic (ongoing) stress can cause you to feel tired throughout the day and interfere with a good night’s sleep, perpetuating the problem. Sure, worries alone can cause you to toss and turn, which could impact sleep and make you feel tired. But mental fatigue can cause feelings of overwhelm which leave you feeling drained and unmotivated throughout the day. It’s different from physical fatigue which is usually gone once you’ve gotten rest. Stress sends your body into flight-or-fight mode which ramps up your heart rate, can cause faster breathing, result in a rush of energy, and increase muscle tension due to a rush of the stress hormone cortisol. When cortisol stops surging, you’re more likely to feel tired and depleted. Stress can also lead to a glucose spike, and a subsequent crash can drain your energy. (3) Practical tips: Staying awake at work Avoiding falling asleep at work is crucial for job performance and overall safety. Plus, maintaining steady energy throughout the day can benefit your health and well-being. Here’s how to stay awake at work: Start the day with a balanced meal: Individuals following a low-glycaemic diet have reported feeling significantly less fatigue than those following a high-glycaemic diet. (4). Choosing a high protein, low glycaemic breakfast will start your day off on the right foot for steady energy. Opt for something with at least 30 grams of protein and some healthy fats and fibre, such as an egg omelette with veggies and a side of lean sausage, Greek yoghurt with berries, or a whey protein shake. If you’re reading this after eating an unbalanced breakfast, you can still turn things around. A smart lunch choice can help improve your energy levels and mood so you don’t get sleepy and grumpy around your colleagues in the afternoon. (4) Try a tuna and avocado wrap, grilled chicken salad with an oil-based dressing, a buffalo chicken salad sandwich, or a salmon and veggie bowl to keep you full, steady your glucose, and give you energy. Snack wisely: It’s important to keep some healthy snacks on hand so you won’t be tempted to grab a sugary, carb-heavy convenience snack when the need to nosh hits during an energy slump. Try eating about a handful of pistachios (40 grams), a hardboiled egg with raw vegetables, oats with almond butter, a scoop of high-quality protein powder, or some full-fat Greek yoghurt. Manage your stress: Unmanaged stress can cause glucose spikes and crashes. If you’re feeling stressed at work, take a short break (block off some time on your calendar if you can) to sip some chamomile tea, do some stretches, or call a friend. Deep breathing exercises might also help relieve stress and boost energy. (5) Retool your environment: Exposure to sunlight in the morning can kick-start your circadian rhythm, helping you feel more awake and energised. (6) On days when it’s challenging to get natural sunlight, find ways to set up your workspace to avoid falling asleep at desk. You might want to try using a light therapy lamp or light box to help you feel more awake and help with mood on cloudy days. Ensuring your office is well-lit and has good air circulation and isn’t too warm or too cold can ward off feelings of sleepiness at work. Bring in the green: Surrounding your workspace with a little bit of nature such as nice-smelling fresh-cut flowers or living indoor plants can help perk you up. (7) Get regular exercise: Routine physical activity helps support steady glucose (and steady energy) by improving insulin sensitivity. (8) The NHS recommends doing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week (30 minutes, five days a week) or racking up 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise each week (25 minutes, three days a week). Going for a 10-minute walk on your work break can help keep glucose steady and energy levels high by stimulating circulation of fresh oxygenated blood and nutrients to your muscles and brain —all of which will help you avoid falling asleep at work. Stay hydrated: When the body is dehydrated, you’re likely to feel tired. To stay properly hydrated, plan to drink about three litres of water each day. You can also opt for other no- or low-sugar beverages that are hydrating, such as sparkling water and caffeine-free herbal tea. A good rule of thumb is to get at least half of your daily hydration from plain water. Establish good sleep patterns: Getting seven to nine hours of high-quality sleep sets you up for having more energy the next day so you are more likely to exercise, make better food choices, and can concentrate better. (9) Practice good sleep hygiene tips like turning lights low, stopping screen time one to two hours before bed, and taking a warm bath or shower to wind down. Good sleep also helps your body regulate glucose. (10) A final note from Lingo To feel more awake during the day and decrease your risk of falling asleep at work, manage energy levels through a balanced diet that keeps glucose levels steady. It’s also important to try to get regular exercise and increase your movement throughout the day to feel energised. Finally, start a proper sleep hygiene routine to help you wind down for bed and prioritise getting around eight hours of sleep a night.

 
Image for What does protein do and what are its health benefits?

What does protein do and what are its health benefits?

Protein is the macronutrient (macro, for short) that gets the most hype — and for good reason. While it’s best known for helping you build muscle, this macro can do way more than aid your efforts in the gym. Research shows that protein benefits your entire body, from boosting your metabolism to supporting bone and heart health. Below, read on about the health benefits of protein and how to get more of this superstar macronutrient in your diet. What does protein do? Protein is made up of amino acids. These building blocks are vital for your body to carry out important functions. (1) While your body can make some amino acids on its own, there are nine you can only get from food. These are called essential or indispensable amino acids. Foods that contain all nine essential amino acids are known as “complete proteins” and include any animal-based sources of foods such as eggs, chicken, beef, and yoghurt. Few plant-based foods, like soy, tofu, tempeh, and quinoa contain all 9 essential amino acids making them great plant-based protein options. Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are vital for your body to carry out important functions, such as helping you build and maintain lean muscle, balance blood sugar, and manage your weight, among other benefits. The current Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) for protein — eating 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram (kg) of bodyweight each day — is not nearly enough for optimal health and well-being. The RNI set by the UK government is the absolute minimum adults should consume to prevent muscle atrophy and other negative health complications associated with a lack of protein intake. Although exact protein needs may vary from person to person, Lingo’s Director of Medical Affairs and Clinical Research Jim McCarter, MD, PhD, recommends eating about 1.5 g of protein per kg of desired bodyweight — twice the current RNI. If your goal weight is 68 kg, that means eating 102 g of protein each day. Aim for at least 30 grams of protein at meals and 15-30 grams of protein for snacks. It’s important to note that this is a general guideline and not a substitute for medical advice. For more personalised nutritional guidance, please visit a registered dietitian or other qualified health care professional. What are the health benefits of protein? Building muscle mass Protein is essential to building muscle tissue. Eating enough protein in conjunction with resistance training, also known as strength training (such as lifting weights), is shown to increase muscle mass and strength. (2) Eating enough protein can also help you maintain that lean muscle mass, especially if you’re cutting calories to lose weight. (2) More muscle mass means more calories burned at rest, improved blood sugar control, reduced risk of injury and disease, and more. Fewer cravings If you’ve ever felt hungry after eating a bagel with cream cheese or a bowl of pasta, you’ve likely surmised that carb-heavy meals aren’t enough to keep you full. Out of all three macronutrients, protein is the most satiating. That means eating more protein can help ward off cravings and help you feel fuller for longer. (3) Including a source of protein in every meal and noshing on high-protein snacks — such as edamame, yoghurt, or jerky —can help keep you satisfied throughout the day. More balanced blood sugar levels Protein helps regulate your blood sugar (also known as blood glucose). Pairing carbs with a source of protein can help blunt a glucose spike that can leave you feeling sluggish and hangry (hungry + angry). (4) So next time you’re craving some pasta, make sure to pair it with meatballs or grilled chicken. Or if you’re ordering a bagel for breakfast, pile it high with lox or an omelette. Eating a high-protein breakfast can help keep glucose levels steady throughout the whole day. (5) Burning calories The thermic effect of food (or TEF, for short) refers to the energy, or calories, your body burns by digesting and absorbing food. Protein has the highest thermic effect of all macronutrients. So that means your body burns more calories digesting and processing protein than it does carbs or fat. In fact, 30 percent of the calories consumed from protein are burned off. (6) The higher the TEF, the more of a boost to your metabolism you’ll see. Because protein burns more calories than other macros, eating more protein may aid in weight loss by helping you take in fewer calories, and weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you consume. (6) Supports bone health Eating enough protein – including protein from animal sources – can support your skeleton. Research reviews have shown that a high-protein diet can support bone health by helping with calcium absorption (calcium is another nutrient your bones require to stay strong) as well as helping secrete growth hormones and maintain muscle mass. (7) Eating enough protein is especially important as you age because the ageing process is associated with a decline in bone density, as well as decreases in muscle mass and strength after your 30s. (8) Helps lower blood pressure Hypertension, or high blood pressure (BP), puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, which are the leading causes of death globally. Taking measures to lower your BP if it’s high includes lifestyle factors like your diet and specifically eating enough protein. Research shows that a protein-rich diet is linked to lowering both systolic blood pressure (the top number of your BP reading) by 1.4 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by 3.5 mmHg in people with hypertension. (9) Helps lower cholesterol Swapping some of the carbs in your diet for protein may have favourable effects on your cholesterol levels. In fact, eating a healthy protein-rich diet is associated with lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is your “bad” cholesterol, as well as decreasing triglycerides. (10) Having high LDL and triglyceride levels are linked to a higher risk of heart disease. A final note from Lingo Eating enough protein is essential for so many processes in your body, including building and maintaining lean muscle, controlling cravings and appetite, balancing blood glucose levels, revving your metabolism, and supporting bone and heart health. Not only do you need to eat enough protein, but it’s also recommended to diversify your sources. Including a mix of different proteins — such as beans, tofu, dairy, animal meats and poultry, seafood, legumes, and whole grains — can help you get all your amino acids to support your whole-body health.

5 minutes 
Image for How much protein should you eat in a day?

How much protein should you eat in a day?

Protein is a macronutrient (aka “macro") essential for total-body health. While we often associate this nutrient with building muscle, protein is essential for regulating numerous physiological functions in the body such as supporting bone health and carrying oxygen in your blood. That’s why it’s so important to meet your protein goals every day. Getting enough protein is especially important for active people, those wanting to improve their metabolic health, and everyone as we age. Protein intake is essential to build and maintain muscle mass, and increased dietary protein intake earlier in life may help mitigate muscle loss from ageing. While the exact amount of protein you need per day depends on your age, weight, activity level, and other factors, there are some general protein guidelines that work for most adults to support optimal health and well-being. Here, find out how much protein you need per day to stay healthy, and why the recommended daily amount is usually not enough. Why do we need protein? Proteins are molecules made up of amino acids that are essential for the human body’s structure and function. These amino acids help build DNA synthesis, muscle repair, bone support, muscle contractions, and cell signalling — all functions that keep us alive and healthy. (1) Protein also helps support our immunity. For example, antibodies are blood proteins that help us fight off infections. (2) The proteins keratin, collagen, and elastin help support our hair, skin, and nails. Most of the protein in our bodies is found in the muscles, skin, and blood. Eating protein foods supplies our body with the amino acids needed to carry out important functions and to support our health. What is the recommended protein intake for adults? Given all the vital health benefits of protein, it’s important to get enough of this macronutrient in the daily diet. Not only that, but protein also provides us with energy: Each gram of protein contains 4 calories. The recommended intake for protein depends on certain factors such as your weight, age, activity level, life stage (such as pregnancy), and other goals, like losing body fat and building muscle. The Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI), or daily recommended amount of protein set by the government, is 0.75 grams of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight. With these guidelines, adult women need at least 45 grams of protein per day while adult men need at minimum 55 grams of protein each day. (3) However, it’s important to note that the RNI is the absolute minimum recommended amount of protein people should consume daily to support life functions and to prevent nutrient deficiencies. In reality, the most up-to-date scientific evidence on dietary protein shows that daily protein intake should be much higher than the RNI for optimal health and well-being. Lingo’s Director of Medical Affairs and Clinical Research Jim McCarter, MD, PhD, recommends adults eat about 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of desired bodyweight. If your ideal bodyweight is 68 kg (about 150 lbs), that means 102 g of protein per day. To reach this amount, aim for at least 30 g of protein at each meal and 15-30 g of protein with snacks. To hit this protein target, a typical day of eating could look like (highlighting protein foods only): Breakfast: Scramble with two whole eggs + 126 g liquid egg whites (26 grams protein) Snack: 57 g beef jerky (19 grams protein) Lunch: 114 g ground turkey (30 grams protein) Dinner: 114 g salmon (30 grams protein) Daily total: 105 grams of protein Is more protein better? As mentioned, eating more protein than the RNI of 0.75 grams per kilogram of bodyweight is recommended for most adults. Eating more protein can help you build and maintain lean muscle and aid in weight loss. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient compared to carbs and fats, and it helps curb cravings and keep you fuller for longer, partly by helping stabilise blood glucose levels. (4) You can get protein from both plant and animal sources. Some healthy protein-rich foods include red meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs, seafood, soy (including tofu and tempeh), beans and legumes, and nuts and seeds. Animal-based protein sources are particularly useful as they contain high amounts of the amino acid leucine, which acts as a metabolic switch to turn on muscle building. You may have heard concerns over a high-protein diet causing kidney damage; however, recent research shows this to be untrue. (5) Ultimately, if you’re concerned about your protein intake and kidney health, it’s best to speak to a doctor. It’s also important to note that 1.5 g of protein per kg of bodyweight is a general recommendation and not a substitute for medical advice. For personalised guidance, consult with a registered dietitian or other qualified health care professional. What if I eat too little protein? Protein deficiency is very rare, and most people generally don’t have trouble meeting the RNI on protein. However, some groups of people, such as older adults, people with disabilities, and those that over restrict calories, are more at risk of a protein deficiency. (6) Not eating enough protein — i.e. less than the RNI of 0.75 grams per kilogram of bodyweight — can result in health issues. If you regularly don’t eat enough protein, it could cause muscle loss, feeling weak or trouble thinking, a weakened immune system (getting sick often), brittle hair and nails, muscle weakness, and stress fractures. (7) A final note from Lingo Protein deficiency in developed countries is very rare. Most people meet the minimum recommendation by NHS for 0.75 g per kg of bodyweight per day. Those at risk of not getting even this minimum amount of protein are older adults, people with disabilities, and those that over restrict calories. (6) Not eating the minimum amount of protein could cause muscle loss, feeling weak or trouble thinking, a weakened immune system (getting sick often), brittle hair and nails, muscle weakness, and stress fractures. (7) If your protein intake is somewhere around the government recommended minimum, while that may be enough to avoid deficiency, it's not optimal. If you find yourself hungry soon after you've eaten, have unsteady energy levels, or never seem to be making much progress in the gym, try aiming for 1.5 g/kg per day and see how you feel. Consuming enough protein helps improve your body composition as it aids in building and maintaining lean muscle and supporting body fat loss by promoting satiety and curbing hunger. Protein also balances your glucose levels by slowing down the absorption of carbs and helping with appetite control and more stable energy levels. To get more protein in your day, try centring meals around high-protein foods such as lean meat, poultry, seafood, and tofu, and opt for snacks such as Greek yoghurt, edamame, nuts and seeds, and jerky.

6 minutes 
Image for 10 marathon tips from a performance nutritionist

10 marathon tips from a performance nutritionist

Running a marathon is a feat that less than 1% of people attempt in their lifetime. Whether your goal is just to make it across the finish line or put up a new personal best, we’ve got some tips to help you. The average marathon runner crosses the finish line between 4:30 and 5:00 hours, but the body can only store around 90 minutes of carbohydrates to fuel hard-working muscles. Whilst running, your body burns a mixture of fats and carbohydrates with pace and fitness influencing the exact blend of fuel. And, because marathons are a longer duration, some protein will be oxidised, too. You can put in work during training to train your body to burn fat at higher intensities (become more fit and spare glycogen), but to finish strong, you need to implement a fuelling plan. Prepare your gut by practising this plan, including both nutrition and hydration, well ahead of time to increase the chances of a successful race. 10 tips from a performance nutritionist Don’t break the cardinal rule of sports nutrition: never try anything new on race day As a runner, you may also be an adventurous foodie, but race week is not a time to try all the food samples at the race expo nor new foods you encounter while exploring the city hosting the race. Likewise, race day is not the time to try out a new breakfast or anything new on-course in terms of your nutrition or hydration. Instead, stick to foods that worked well and provided steady energy and gut comfort during training. Ideally, going into the race, you should know how your body will respond to your tried-and-true pre-run meal as well as any fuel you plan to take during the race. A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) like Lingo can be used in training to help you avoid dips in energy and instead add enough fuel to make high performance a reality. Check on course nutrition Water is provided at many points along the course, and most races also provide sports drinks, electrolyte beverages, and carbohydrate-rich gels. Research what products your race will provide and if you plan on utilising on-course products, make sure you try them first during your long training runs to see if they work for you. A CGM like Lingo can be used to assess how nutrition products are impacting your energy during your run and if you need to add more or less to maintain glucose (energy) levels and pace. Remember to have a backup plan if the on-course products don’t work for you or are not available (or you run past them by accident). Practice your hydration plan The buildup to spring races often calls for training in cooler weather, so as race day approaches, be sure to keep an eye on the forecast. You can’t control what the weather will be, but you can be prepared to dial up or down your fluids and electrolytes. A 2018 study on London Marathon runners found a ~3% detriment to finish time for every 5 °C increase in temperature above 12 °C. (1) This means in warmer temps, you may be on course for longer. Bring a bottle and plan to refill on course, the few extra seconds it will take are worth it. Drink early and often while being cautious not to overhydrate. Replace the electrolytes you are losing in sweat by relying on electrolyte powders (like Abbott’s Pedialyte Sport Powder Packs) during training and racing, simply adding to your water bottle. Set alerts on your watch or phone every 15-20 minutes to take a few sips. Drinking to thirst may work for some, and others may need to rely on programmed drinking. Train your gut Muscles powering your run typically rely on glucose. Trained individuals that consume carbohydrates in their daily diet can store around 90 minutes of fuel before needing to eat or drink during a run. But you’ll want to start replacing burnt fuel well before you hit the 90-minute mark. Practice fuelling during training runs by consuming 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour (some athletes need more and can work up to 90+ grams per hour). (2) Experiment with nutrition and hydration products that you like, can tolerate, and can carry. CGM data can be useful to see how products steady or spike your glucose and if your glucose increases to a level where you are able to maintain pace and performance. Alternatively, if you’re used to fasted training or strictly follow a ketogenic diet and are more metabolically flexible, generalised carbohydrate recommendations may far surpass your needs and tolerance. When adding in fuel, you may opt for a product with slow-release carbohydrates or even sources of fat when needed. Again, CGMs can help guide you providing insights that connect energy levels and performance with glucose trends. Strength train to get fast and avoid injury Running a marathon means training will consist of mostly, well, running. But no training plan is complete without strength training, which can help make you a faster runner and reduce risk of injuries. (3) Additionally, strength training promotes metabolic adaptations in skeletal muscle, (4) helping to improve how efficiently your body uses glucose and fats for fuel. Not only is this advantageous to your running performance, but healthy skeletal muscle is also at the foundation of optimising metabolic health. (5) Rest and recovery Arguably the most difficult part of a training plan is allowing your body to rest so that it can become stronger. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and runners may need more. (6) Sleep ensures physical restoration and also supports optimal metabolic function during the day. (7) Recovery nutrition timing In addition to sleep, nutrient timing plays a critical role in recovery. Within an hour (preferably sooner) of finishing a workout or race, be sure to prioritise refuelling and rehydration. Replace fluid losses by drinking water and electrolytes (mixed into water or from salty foods and potassium from fruits and vegetables) and replenish energy stores with a snack or small meal that includes high-quality carbohydrates (berries and low-sugar granola to accompany Greek yoghurt, or whole grain pancakes to accompany eggs). Last but not least, be sure to prioritise protein. This hard-working nutrient helps keep glucose steady as you recover and is critical for stopping muscle breakdown and jumpstarting muscle repair and growth. Be sure to add in at least 30 grams of protein soon after your sweat session is complete. Dress rehearsal At least one long run during your training should be a full dress rehearsal, beginning the evening before the long run with a dinner that mimics what you’ll be eating before the race. Practice this tried-and-true dinner, allowing plenty of time (2-3 hours) to digest before falling asleep. Eating increases glucose, metabolic rate, heart rate, and body temp, but the opposite scenario needs to be happening to slide into quality sleep. The morning of the long run, wake up and eat the same foods, quantities, and timing that you plan to implement on race day. Because your glucose will rise and then fall following your meal, avoid consuming foods in the 30-90 minutes before setting out. You can either back up the clock and fuel early before the race or fuel as you run, utilising sports drinks, gels, and whatever fuel source you prefer. After fuelling, begin your run at race start time and test planned nutrition and hydration. Skip the night-before pasta dinner – unless it’s just to socialise You’ll need to top off your dinner place with carbohydrates to complement your pre-race carb load, but it’s best to stick to familiar foods at this important meal. Restaurant food portions can be much larger than you’re used to, sending your glucose spiking and disrupting an important night of sleep. Pre-race “carb loading” has merit, and you can simplify this process by continuing to eat your typical balanced meals the week (days) leading up to your race, making sure there’s high-quality carbs at every meal and snack. While your training tapers, these nutrients that would have been used to fuel your runs will be stored instead. Recovery nutrition at the finish line You’ve strategically fuelled across training and throughout the entire race, but just as you cross the finish line, you’ve got one more stop before the celebration begins. Take a moment for nutritional recovery. Your body is primed to utilise nutrients during the post-race window so take advantage of increased blood flow to muscles. Pack a protein shake in your drop bag at the finish line or ask your supportive fan crew to bring one along. Replenish, recover, and rehydrate with protein and fluids at the finish, then make your way to enjoy a celebratory meal. Bonus tip: Trust your training and HAVE FUN! A final note from Lingo The right nutrition is arguably one of the most important tools in your marathon training kit. And with Lingo, you can peek behind the curtain and know if the fuel you’re using is the right choice for you and your performance goals. Experiment with different sources of energy and lean on Lingo to learn if your nutrition plan is keeping your glucose steady and adequate to fuel your performance. Map out what works; the types, amounts, and timing of nutrients and fluids taken during your run and in the recovery hours. Soon, you’ll have mapped out a failsafe plan for race day.

8 minutes 
Image for Menopause and weight gain: What you need to know

Menopause and weight gain: What you need to know

As we age, we may notice it's harder to maintain our weight or even experience unwanted weight gain, despite no major differences in our eating or lifestyle habits. For women, these changes tend to start during menopause (typically in your 40s or 50s). While menopause is a natural change that happens to all women, this increase in weight can be frustrating. The good news is, while you can’t avoid menopause, there are things you can do to mitigate the symptoms, including unwanted weight gain. We’ll explore when and why these changes happen, potential health risks, and ways you can take action to minimise weight gain and improve your metabolic health during this life stage. When does weight gain start during menopause?  While menopause is defined as the point in time 12 months after a women’s last period, (1) the hormonal changes and associated symptoms start to take place well before. Perimenopause, the transition stage when your ovaries gradually stop working before full-on menopause, typically starts with the onset of menstrual irregularities. Women typically reach perimenopause in their mid to late 40s, (2,3) and this is often when women start to notice weight changes. While these shifts do stabilise with time, perimenopause lasts on average about seven years, but can be up to 14 years for some women. (4) Why am I gaining weight during menopause?   While weight gain during this time is most often correlated with overall ageing versus menopause per se, one of the predominant features of the menopause transition is a change in overall body composition. A decrease in oestrogen often causes increased fat mass and redistribution of fat to the abdomen. (3) Additionally, changes to the gut microbiome and metabolism (especially glucose metabolism) and lifestyle factors such as exercising less, poor sleep quality, and social factors may also contribute to weight gain at this stage in life. (5) Research confirms that post-menopausal females consume more sugar, report poorer sleep overall, and tend to be more sedentary, all of which can be attributed to the decline in oestrogen and can play a significant role in weight gain during this time. (6) The hormonal shift and accompanying loss of lean mass and redistribution of fat to the abdomen can disrupt metabolism, further exacerbating the other causes of weight gain that are observed. More abdominal fat has been associated with increases in cholesterol and triglycerides as well as disruptions in carbohydrate metabolism, (6) meaning our body has a harder time maintaining steady glucose, especially when eating foods rich in carbohydrates. This is due to increased insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia (higher-than-normal levels of insulin in the blood), which we will discuss in more detail below. Studies have also shown that contrary to common opinion, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has not been shown to cause weight gain and in some women may help reduce the accumulation of abdominal fat that occurs when oestrogen starts to decline. (3) The use of HRT has been shown to mediate some of the side effects of lower oestrogen, including less visceral fat and reduced blood biomarkers such as fasting blood sugar, insulin, and inflammation. (6) Every woman is unique, and you should discuss the pros and cons of HRT with your doctor. Are there any health risks associated with weight gain during menopause?  Weight gain and changes to overall body composition can have a significant impact on metabolism. Disruptions in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism increase risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, most likely related to hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, and visceral obesity. (6) This means that the way our bodies process the food we eat changes, which can have an impact on our weight and body composition. Emerging research highlights the value of monitoring these risk factors throughout the menopause transition. CGM data has unveiled that post-menopausal females had significantly higher fasting blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), and markers of inflammation as well as higher overall sugar intakes, and poorer sleep compared with pre-menopausal females. Also, post-meal spikes, glucose variability, and time in range were worse post-menopause vs pre-menopause. (6)    How can I minimise weight gain during menopause?  The good news is, while you may not be able to stop menopause from happening, there are many lifestyle interventions that you can utilise to minimise the weight gain during this phase of life, including: Nutrition Adjusting your nutrition can have a positive impact on overall weight and body composition. One of the most important things you can do heading into menopause is to prioritise protein, which is one of Lingo’s Fundamentals. Not only is it harder for our bodies to properly metabolise carbohydrates as we get older, but we also need more protein to stimulate muscle growth, (7) which is a key component of regulating the body composition changes that occur during menopause and maintaining healthy muscle as we age. Additionally, eating more protein can help to keep you full after meals. This means you’re less likely to crave carbs, sugar, and calorie-rich foods that make weight management harder. Aim for at least 1.5 g of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight. If your goal weight is 68 kg (about 150 lbs), that means at least 102 g of protein per day. Try to get at least 30 g per meal to maximise muscle maintenance and growth. Here’s what 30 g protein looks like: 113 g cooked chicken breast 3-egg omelet with a couple slices of Canadian bacon 270 g cottage cheese 160 g cooked firm tofu Another nutrition staple is to eat more non-starchy veggies, especially leafy greens. This is in line with another Lingo Fundamental: go with green. Research shows a more favourable microbiome profile may help reduce inflammation and visceral fat as well as fasting and postprandial glucose, which can also help mitigate weight gain and body composition changes during this time. (6) Incorporate a vegetable at every meal, whether it’s a salad, roasted veggies, mixed into a dish, or eaten raw. Including more plants in your diet overall is a great way to improve your microbiome. Fibre is also important. In addition to veggies, beans, legumes, and whole grains all contain healthy fibre. These fibre-rich options help blunt the rise in glucose from carbs and high fibre foods tend to be more filling for fewer calories. Choose these options over highly processed foods or simple carbohydrates like sugary treats and pretzels. Exercise While we all know that exercise can be a good strategy for weight management, strength training in particular during the menopause transition is extra beneficial. Not only does this type of exercise help maintain and build muscle (which is a key component to healthy ageing), but it also helps your body use the protein you eat more effectively. (8) Having more muscle also means you burn more calories at rest, making it easier to maintain your weight. Additionally, maintaining muscle during this period can help preserve your overall metabolic health by increasing insulin sensitivity, meaning you are better equipped to handle the changes to metabolism that occur. (10) Aim to strength train at least two days a week focusing on free weights, resistance bands, bodyweight exercises, or machines. Gradually increase the intensity or difficulty of each session, which will help you maintain the muscle you have as well as stimulate new muscle growth. Other lifestyle habits Focusing on quality sleep and reducing stress are great ways to support steady glucose, which has been shown to play a positive role in weight loss and weight maintenance. (9) Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night and find ways to reduce daily stress. Check out our tips for better sleep, and try stress-reducing exercises like deep breathing, yoga, taking a hot bath, journaling, or whatever you find to help calm your nervous system. It is recommended that lifestyle changes, such as physical activity and dietary adjustments be the first choice to combat any metabolic changes seen during menopause, including weight gain and body composition changes, (6) however some may benefit from pharmaceutical interventions as well such as HRT or weight loss-specific medications. It is important to discuss these options with your provider to find a combination of strategies that will work best for you. A final note from Lingo     Menopause can feel daunting, especially as you start to notice changes that feel out of your control. Knowing what is going on in your body, as well as taking proactive strategies to address these changes, is the first step. Using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) like Lingo can give you insights into what is going on in your own metabolism and help you navigate these changes effectively. With Lingo’s real-time coaching, you can make the adjustments needed and address the metabolic changes that occur. Additionally, having a support system is key. While a seemingly universal phase of a women’s life, menopause is not talked about as openly as it should be. Finding others who are going through similar life changes can be a great way to gain support and accountability during this major life transition.

 
Image for What is a metabolic workout? Metabolic conditioning explained

What is a metabolic workout? Metabolic conditioning explained

What is metabolic conditioning? Metabolic conditioning, or “metcon” for short, is a term to describe a workout style that is highly effective in improving how efficiently the body’s energy systems use fuel. A metcon can be performed with minimal equipment (e.g. kettlebell) or no equipment (e.g. burpees), and typically involves repetitive short bursts of very intense effort with little rest in between. Read more to find out more about metcon and some sample workouts below. What are the benefits of metcon workouts? While all exercise is good for your health (1), metcons offer several metabolic benefits, including (2): Maximises calorie burn Increases insulin sensitivity Improves glucose regulation Builds muscle in less time than traditional strength training Improves the efficiency of energy systems Increases aerobic capacity Promotes reduction of body fat Improves athletic performance (speed, power, agility) Individuals reap significant metabolic benefits with a minimal time commitment. (3) Metcon workouts are short but intense and effective, making them time efficient. This can be particularly appealing to those with busy schedules. The science behind why metcons are so beneficial metabolically is that they engage all three energy systems the body uses to convert fuels (i.e. fat and glucose) into energy, and over time the body becomes better at using and storing these fuels. This translates to greater fitness, improved glucose levels, and better insulin sensitivity. (4) The body uses metabolic fuels to power everything from a leisurely walk to physically demanding workouts. The differences between the energy systems are the type of fuel used, and how quickly they can convert fuel into energy. Immediate energy system (phosphagen or creatine phosphate system) uses phosphocreatine to provide energy for short burst high intensity activities lasting up to 10 seconds, like 100m sprint or lifting a very heavy weight for one repetition. Intermediate energy system (glycolytic or anaerobic glycolysis) uses glucose for quick energy needed to fuel activities lasting around 30 seconds to 3 minutes, like 400m sprint or repetitive weightlifting. Long-lasting energy system (aerobic or oxidative system) uses fat (primarily), glucose, and can use protein to provide energy for low to moderate intensity activities lasting longer than 3 minutes, like long-distance running, cycling, and swimming. In your body, all metabolic pathways contribute to producing energy. It’s never fixed and is always changing, depending on type and intensity of exercise. During lower-intensity activities that primarily recruit muscle fibres that have high oxidative capacity (like walking, and any activity where you can hold a conversation), the long-lasting energy system dominates, so a greater percentage of fat is used for energy production. Glucose only contributes a small amount to the energy needs of low-intensity exercise. As the intensity of exercise increases, more muscles are recruited that can react quickly but rely on glucose, so a greater percentage of glucose is used for energy production. Have you ever run a 10k race at a leisurely pace (oxidative system), then sprinted through the finish line (phosphagen and glycolytic systems)? These are your energy systems at work. Metabolic conditioning uses a range of intensities requiring all energy systems, and over time improves the efficiency of these systems. It also combines strength training with cardiovascular exercise, improving muscular strength, endurance, and function. (5) How is metabolic conditioning related to the concept of metabolic flexibility? Metabolic flexibility is all about how effectively your body can switch between the different energy systems that burn fat and carbohydrates for fuel. This involves transitioning between fasting and feeding states, leading to changes in fuel availability. It allows the body to use whatever fuel is available, whether from dietary fat, stored fat, glucose, or glycogen (stored glucose). Being metabolically flexible is associated with a range of health benefits, including sustained energy, fewer blood sugar fluctuations, reduced cravings, enhanced fat burning, cardiovascular health, and reduced risk of metabolic disorders. (6) 5 metabolic workouts you can try: Exercise movements are typically compound movements, which means multiple large muscle groups are involved. Think about a deadlift or kettlebell swing, which recruits not only leg muscles but back and core, compared to a bicep curl, which isolates a single muscle. The intensity and time spent doing the exercises are more important than the type of exercise performed, so try a variety and find your favourites. Examples of metcon workouts: Always begin with a dynamic warm-up of around 5-10 minutes, for example, alternating between jumping jacks, high knees, bodyweight squats, and push-ups. Circuit training or Rounds for Time (RFT): Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest. Complete the entire circuit 3 times and a 1-minute rest in between: box jumps, kettlebell swings, burpees, dumbbell thruster, rowing machine (or cardio of choice). As many rounds as possible (AMRAP): Set a timer for 20 minutes, and perform the following exercises continuously for 20 minutes, completing as many rounds as possible: 10 kettlebell deadlifts, 15 air squats, 20 push-ups, 30 double-under jump rope (60 single-unders). Tabata: Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat each exercise for 8 rounds (4 minutes), and then move to the next exercise. Mountain climbers, plank, bicycle crunches, burpees. Every minute on the minute (EMOM): Perform the set of exercises at the start of every minute, and once you complete the required repetitions, you rest for the remainder of the minute. Start the next exercise at the beginning of the following minute. Even minutes: 10 dumbbell cleans. Odd minutes: 25 walking lunges A final note from Lingo Metcon workouts can be a beneficial addition to your fitness routine and offer many health benefits, including building muscle, improving glucose regulation, and increasing insulin sensitivity. It’s important to note that while metcons offer numerous benefits, they should be approached with caution, especially for beginners. Proper form, dynamic warm up, and recovery are crucial to prevent injuries. The information in this article is for educational purposes only. Please consult your doctor before beginning an exercise routine.

 
Image for What should I know about glucose and PCOS?

What should I know about glucose and PCOS?

What is PCOS? Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common diagnosis that affects nearly one out of every ten women. (1) It’s a group of symptoms related to having a higher-than-normal level of androgens (male hormones) thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. (2) Women are at higher risk for PCOS if they have a mom or sister with PCOS, or if they have obesity. (2) Any discussion regarding a diagnosis is only between you and your medical provider. Here is some general information on what the science says about PCOS and glucose. How are insulin resistance and PCOS connected? The main symptom of PCOS is menstrual cycle irregularities such as cycles lasting longer than 28 days, many days of bleeding, and anovulation (not releasing an egg during the menstrual cycle), but it’s more than just a period problem. Other symptoms of PCOS result from problems with insulin, the hormone that moves glucose from the bloodstream into cells to be used for energy. When cells become resistant to insulin, the glucose level in the blood rises, which causes the body to produce more insulin to act on glucose. Too much insulin drives up the production of androgens, causing symptoms of PCOS. (2) Women can experience excess facial and body hair, acne, hair loss, weight gain, and infertility. It is estimated that between 50-80% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance, independent of BMI and body fat distribution. (3) Having insulin resistance increases risk for gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. (3) A hallmark feature of insulin resistance is impaired glucose levels. (4) How glucose management can benefit women with PCOS Diet plays a crucial role in managing PCOS, because controlling carbohydrate intake can improve insulin sensitivity and help manage symptoms, ultimately leading to better quality of life and chronic disease risk reduction. (5) Research shows high -glycaemic index (GI) and high-glycaemic load (GL) diets are linked to higher BMI, waist circumference, insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, cardiovascular problems, and other metabolic abnormalities in women with PCOS. (6) Conversely, research suggests adopting a long-term low-carbohydrate diet can be beneficial for women with PCOS by improving insulin resistance, promoting weight loss, supporting normal hormone levels, and enhancing fertility. (7) Lifestyle Tips for PCOS Eat low-carb: You don’t have to cut out carbs completely. Reducing carbs to less than 45% of total calories (or around 130 grams per day) can help manage symptoms and reduce disease risk (5). A sample day of ~130 grams of carbs may look like: Breakfast: Eggs with 60 g slice sourdough toast (30 g) Lunch: Chicken salad with 55 g roasted chickpeas (30 g carbs) Snack/post workout: Greek yoghurt mixed with protein powder and half a banana (30 g carbs) Dinner: Stir-fry veggies and beef with 100 g brown rice (30 g carbs) Steady glucose: Managing glucose helps insulin work properly. Keep levels steady after meals by: Prioritising protein: Build each meal around 30 g of protein. Eggs, chicken, beef, fish, tofu, and tempeh are good options. Go with green: Deeply coloured vegetables like leafy greens, bell peppers, and berries (yes, a fruit) provide filling fibre as well as inflammation-fighting antioxidants. Savoury not sweet: Reach for foods that are high in protein and fat and low in added sugars and carbs whenever you can. A simple swap: top a piece of toast with smoked salmon instead of honey or jam. Fuel with healthy fats: Fats from plant oil, nuts, seeds, eggs, fatty fish are all great options to add flavour without spiking glucose Exercise: Both aerobic exercise and resistance training can improve insulin sensitivity and androgen levels in women with PCOS. (8) Here are some exact protocols from studies that yielded results: Cycling for 30 min three days per week at 60–70% VO2max (moderate intensity where you’re breathing a bit harder, but still able to carry on a conversation) decreased fasting insulin after just 3 months. Walking, cycling, or any other aerobic exercise at a self-selected pace (where heart rate is ≥120 beats/min) for 30 min at least three days per week decreased androgens in 4 months. Any exercise routine of choice that burns 14-23 kcal/kg/week (this is about 150-250 calories burned daily for an 80 kg individual) showed promising trend towards improved insulin response after 8 months. A final note from Lingo While there is no cure for PCOS, managing symptoms is attainable through intentional nutrition and exercise strategies. Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) like Lingo are not medical devices nor used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. However, CGMs are a tool that can be used to help provide insights into how your lifestyle choices are impacting your glucose, which can be of great value for women managing PCOS.

 
Image for Why is losing weight after 40 harder? Advice from a Lingo Dietitian

Why is losing weight after 40 harder? Advice from a Lingo Dietitian

Why is it that after about age 40, it seems those extra pounds start creeping on and it’s harder to shed extra weight? In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons it may be harder to maintain a healthy weight after 40 and effective strategies to either maintain your weight or lose weight and improve body composition. How hormones impact your weight As we get older, for both men and women, hormones levels such as testosterone and oestrogen gradually start to shift. For women, this tends to be more of a dramatic shift. Many women report that it can be hard to not only lose weight but maintain the weight they stayed at for years. This change in body composition and weight is typically associated with menopause when there is a dramatic shift in hormones. However, menopause does not happen overnight. It is typically a gradual shift from perimenopause, which is when women first start to see irregularity in their menstrual cycles and may experience other symptoms such as sleep disturbances, to menopause, which is 12 months after a women’s last period (1). Weight loss or even weight maintenance can feel harder during these years, which is typically around age 40 to 55 and lasts on average around 7 years, but can last as long as 14 years for some women. (2,3) A change in hormones does not just happen to women as they age, but for men as well. While the side effects may not be as dramatic, the gradual decrease in testosterone can also make it more challenging for men to maintain muscle or lose weight. (3,4) Why you may struggle to lose weight One impact of the shift in hormones as you age is a natural decline in lean body mass (aka muscle). It has been shown that the ageing body needs more stimulus to maintain and build muscle than it does at a younger age. (5) What does this mean? There are two main components to building and maintaining muscle: Using the muscle (e.g. strength training) Eating enough protein to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Does the chicken come before the egg? As people get older, they tend to be less active. Is this decrease in activity because of muscle loss? Or is the muscle loss because we decreased activity? Likely both. Hormone shifts can contribute to the loss of lean mass, and the decrease in activity also creates less stimuli for the body to maintain the muscle it has, much less build any new muscle. The way our body metabolises protein can change also as we get older. Studies have shown that muscle protein synthesis (MPS), or how much protein our body needs to stimulate muscle growth, increases as we age. (6) To put it simply, you need more protein to stimulate muscle growth than you did when you were 20. Because of these changes, not only does it seem like it’s harder to maintain or lose weight, but you also may notice that your overall body composition is changing. If nothing is done to mitigate this, you can start to lose muscle mass while putting on fat mass. On top of the physiological changes that happen with age, many adults over 40 may experience lifestyle shifts that can impact weight management. Taking care of children, a stressful job, or other life changes can impact things like sleep, eating habits and activity compared to when you were younger. Studies show that poor sleep can impact your metabolic health and promote weight gain. (7) Additionally, chronic stress can impact weight management by disrupting the body’s hunger and fullness signals and a change in eating habits that induce weight gain. (8,9) So we've covered the major reasons why your weight may change as you get older, or why it may be harder to lose weight after 40, but what can you actually do about it? The good news is, there are several strategies that you can use to effectively lose weight no matter if you are in your 40s, 50s, or older. Tips to manage weight after 40 Prioritise protein Eating enough high-quality protein is one of the most important things you can focus on as you get older. Protein will help you maintain lean muscle mass, which burns more calories at rest than fat, meaning you can eat more and maintain your weight. It also helps to keep you full, meaning you are less likely to crave the carb-heavy, sugary, and calorie-rich foods that make weight management harder. Remember that you’ll need more protein for it to trigger all these beneficial effects. Aim for 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of your ideal body weight daily, with at least 30 g per meal to maximise muscle protein synthesis. Some high-quality protein sources include salmon, shrimp, chicken, beef, eggs, whey protein powder, cottage cheese, and tofu. Strength train In combination with eating enough protein, strength training is the other major contributor to maintaining and/or losing weight as you age. Lean muscle mass requires more calories to maintain than fat, meaning you can eat more calories (especially calories from protein) and still maintain your weight. Strength training helps your body use the protein you eat more effectively (5) and can also help preserve metabolic health by increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering blood pressure. Stabilise glucose Eating nutrient dense foods that promote stable glucose will help to ensure you are curbing the glucose spikes and crashes that can stimulate hunger and cravings throughout the day. Using your Lingo CGM can help to identify the foods that help you minimise glucose spikes and maintain your energy throughout the day. Check out more information on how to avoid glucose spikes here. Try time restricted eating Sleep and stress can impact your circadian alignment, which may increase your risk for weight gain and metabolic consequences with age. One way to combat this is a type of intermittent fasting called Time Restricted Eating (TRE). TRE means restricting your food intake to specific periods of the day to synchronize your body's internal clock with your external environment. Set a specific time frame, usually lasting about 8-12 hours, in which you will only eat within that period. For example, you may eat breakfast at 9-10 a.m. and dinner around 5-7 p.m. with lunch and/or snacks in between, but limit any other food outside of that window, especially 2-3 hours before bed. TRE has been found to help with weight loss and improve metabolic health such as improved insulin sensitivity and blood pressure. (10, 11) Cut out or decrease alcohol intake When trying to lose weight, alcohol ends up being empty calories that your body must burn before it can metabolise fat or carbs. What does this mean? You may end up storing the food you are eating because your body can’t store alcohol and puts fat and carb metabolism on the back burner. Additionally, depending on the type of alcohol you consume, it can impact your glucose by increasing or decreasing it, which subjects you to the effects of the glucose roller coaster. This can impact hunger, fullness, and your ability to maintain stable glucose. Lastly, alcohol may lower your inhibitions making it harder to choose glucose-friendly food choices. (16) When trying to lose weight, it may be best to limit or cut out alcohol altogether. Limit ultra-processed foods and focus on whole foods Along with stabilising your glucose, focusing on whole foods and limiting ultra-processed foods can help you manage your weight as you get older. It has been shown that people eat an average of 500 more calories per day when the food is highly processed vs. minimally processed. (12) Not only are you missing out on important nutrients when you eat highly processed food, but this can lead to weight gain in as little as two weeks when compared to eating a diet of unprocessed foods. (12) Focusing on food quality is one of the best things you can do. (13) Keep your ultra-processed food consumption to a minimum, and aim for your diet to consist of primarily whole foods such as: - Fresh or frozen meat and seafood - Vegetables, especially non-starchy veggies and leafy greens - Unprocessed carbohydrates such as beans, legumes, and whole grains - Dairy like milk, yoghurt, and cheese - Healthy plant-based fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds Get quality sleep Poor sleep can impact not only weight, but also your glucose, metabolic health and overall mood and energy. (14) The NHS recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults. Having trouble getting quality sleep? Check out our tips for improving sleep and getting a good night’s rest. Manage stress Finding ways to relieve stress can not only help you manage your weight but can also lead to other benefits like reduced blood pressure and more steady glucose. (15) Identify ways you can destress, which may be different for everyone. Find something that works for you: breathing exercises, yoga, walking in nature, journaling, practising gratitude, or taking a warm bath or shower are all things you can implement to reduce daily stress. A final note from Lingo While getting older means your hormones and lifestyle may change, you can still work with them to reach your body composition goals. By focusing on the foods you eat, working to maintain and/or build muscle, and looking at your overall lifestyle including sleep and stress, you can still lose weight in your 40s and beyond.

8 minutes 
Image for Does metabolism actually slow down as we age? Here’s what research says

Does metabolism actually slow down as we age? Here’s what research says

Your metabolism refers to all the biochemical reactions occurring in the body. One of these key reactions is converting food and drinks into energy. Your body uses this energy for vital functions such as breathing, brain power, digestion, repairing muscle, and so much more. (1) The rate at which it works to burn calories to keep your body going is known as metabolic rate. Metabolic rate is unique to every person, and is determined by genetics, age, muscle mass, and activity level. Increasing your metabolic rate is commonly referred to as “boosting metabolism,” meaning there is an increase in the number of calories your body needs while resting and moving. Having a fast metabolism means your body burns more calories. On the flip side, a slower metabolism means your body needs fewer calories and does not convert food into energy as efficiently. A common question about metabolism is: Does metabolism slow down with age? The answer is yes, your metabolism slows — but not as drastically as you may think. Keep reading to learn more about why metabolism slows with age, why it matters, and how a slower metabolism impacts your overall health. Does metabolism slow down with age? Here’s what research says Yes, research has proved that metabolism does slow down with age. While people may assume it’s a gradual decline after young adulthood, your metabolism doesn’t significantly slow down until later in life. From the age of about 20 to 60, your metabolic rate actually remains pretty consistent. A 2021 study published in Science found that metabolic rate starts to decrease after age 60, by about 0.7 percent each year. (2) A slow metabolism is often blamed for weight gain later in life. While science does confirm this is a factor for weight gain, there may be other reasons for gaining weight as you age, including decreased activity, loss of muscle mass, diet changes, and how we respond to the food we’re eating. (2,3) Why your metabolism slows down with age There are multiple reasons why your metabolism slows with age, which may lead to weight gain. As you get older, you lose more muscle mass. Studies have found that muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after age 30, and after 60, the rate of decline goes even higher. (2) This impacts metabolism because muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than body fat. (3) Additionally, other hormonal changes, such as declining testosterone and estrogen may also play a role in decreasing muscle mass as we age. (3) As you age, you may also become less active, which can lead to weight gain. Not only do you burn fewer calories with less movement, but less movement can also contribute to the loss of muscle, which further decreases energy expenditure. (4) Another cause: as you age, the number of calories your body needs start to decline. (2) However, many factors may contribute to altered nutrition choices, including eating alone, difficulty cooking or feeding yourself, decreased appetite, or decreased access to healthy food. (4,5) Maintaining balanced glucose levels can also play a role in maintaining a healthy metabolism and weight. Some of the changes in muscle mass seen with ageing may be the result of insulin resistance as insulin plays a big role in the way our body digests and uses protein, along with its effects on glucose. (3) Additionally, steady glucose levels have been shown to positively impact your mood, energy levels, mental focus, sleep, and more. (6) Using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) like Lingo can help you gain insights into your unique glucose responses and achieve improved metabolic health as you age. What is the impact of a slower metabolism? A slowing metabolism may lead to weight gain. However, there are ways you can combat this. Since muscle mass and hormonal changes (including insulin resistance) are some of the main drivers of metabolic changes as you age, both nutrition and physical activity are of the utmost importance: Prioritise protein: Start with a healthy diet that focuses on protein consumption. Older adults struggle to eat adequate protein and they need more protein to support healthy muscles. (3, 4) Doing so will benefit your glucose levels, insulin sensitivity, and support muscle tissue. (7, 8) Aim to eat 25-35 grams of high-quality protein at each meal. Stay active: Specifically, older adults should focus on strength training. The NHS recommends adults do 75 minutes of muscle strengthening activities at least 2 days a week, and 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise. (9, 10) If time or energy is limited, focusing on strength training and balance exercises will give you the most benefit. (11) Maintain steady glucose: As we age, the ability of your muscle cells and other tissues to respond to insulin is impaired. (3) Focusing on foods that keep glucose levels steady (and in turn, do not require large amounts of insulin) can help, like low-GI foods. Additionally, evidence shows that protein is better metabolized in older adults when consumed without carbohydrates. (3) Aim for meals with a quality source of protein, non-starchy veggies, and when eating carbs, make sure they are complex carbs like starchy vegetables or whole grains. A final note from Lingo While metabolism does slow down as you age, it’s often much later in life than many people expect. A slowing metabolism may be a factor for weight gain as you get older, but other factors like decreased activity, changes in appetite, loss of muscle mass, and dietary changes can also contribute. Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand your habits and patterns and work towards limiting glucose (and insulin) spikes, which can help mitigate the metabolic changes seen with ageing.   Lingo is not a medical device and not designed to treat or diagnose any disease or illness. If you have medical questions or concerns regarding your glucose, please contact your doctor.

5 minutes 
Image for Ask a Nutritionist: I have PCOS, what foods should I eat and avoid?

Ask a Nutritionist: I have PCOS, what foods should I eat and avoid?

Question: I was recently diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and have learned that lifestyle factors are important to manage symptoms, especially diet. I’ve seen some conflicting information on what I should avoid (do I need to give up gluten, dairy, and sugar forever?) and what foods to eat (is dietary fat good or bad?). Can you please provide insight? — Amanda P. Answer: Dear Amanda, PCOS is an endocrine (hormone) disorder that affects around 10% of women. (2) Among women with PCOS, it’s estimated that between 50-80% have insulin resistance. (1) Insulin is a hormone that acts on glucose in the body. Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don't respond well to insulin and can't easily take up glucose from your blood. As a result, your pancreas makes more insulin to help glucose enter your cells. (3) Insulin resistance can result in inflammation, blood vessel damage, high glucose levels (hyperglycaemia), and more than half of women with PCOS develop type 2 diabetes by age 40. (4) While there is no treatment for PCOS, you’re right in that lifestyle can have a major impact on insulin resistance and other symptoms of PCOS. According to clinical studies in women with PCOS, making diet changes brought positive results in terms of clinical appearance of the syndrome, specifically weight loss and body composition, as well as improving insulin resistance and lowering testosterone (a hormone that’s elevated in women with PCOS). (5) So, you’re already ahead of the game in reevaluating your diet with PCOS. Making intentional food choices, especially when it comes to carbs, can help manage symptoms caused by insulin resistance. I know there’s a lot of conflicting information out there, and there’s still so much that’s misunderstood about PCOS. However, after combing through the research, I’ve outlined my best tips on how to navigate your food choices with PCOS. Foods to eat with PCOS Prioritise protein: In a long-term study in women with PCOS, significant improvements were observed when sugar and starchy carbohydrates in the diet were replaced with vegetables, fruits, nuts, and a daily protein intake of 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Protein sources focused on meat, eggs, fish, and dairy products due to the higher carb content of plant-based proteins like beans and legumes. After just 6 months, the women experienced significant decreases in glucose, body weight, and body fat. (6) Put it into practice: Ensure all your meals and snacks are built around plenty of protein. Especially your first meal of the day, when you break the overnight fast. Starting your day with a protein-rich breakfast like eggs, Greek yoghurt, or a high-protein smoothie that won’t cause a huge glucose (or insulin) rush will set you up to feel your best. Aim for at least 30 grams of protein per meal. Fuel with healthy fats: Foods like walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, olive oil, and fatty fish are beneficial in multiple ways. Not only do they not cause a glucose spike, but they also contain anti-inflammatory compounds, which work to reduce the dietary factors that activate pro-inflammatory pathways in the body. (7) In a study where women with PCOS were provided a Mediterranean-inspired low glycaemic load anti-inflammatory diet (including 40 g of flaxseeds a day), after 12 weeks they had significant improvements in body composition, hormones and menstrual cycles, blood pressure, glucose homeostasis, dyslipidemia, and markers of heart disease risk. (7) Put it into practice: Add a source of healthy fats to every meal. Top salads with walnuts or chia seeds, make your own salad dressing with olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar, or add salmon or tuna to your lunches. Low-glycaemic carbs: Green leafy vegetables, berries, and whole grains are nutrient- and fibre-rich options that provide some carbohydrates, but with less of a spike, allowing insulin to work more effectively. Carbs like pasta, rice, or potatoes can be cooked, cooled, and reheated to create resistant starch that will have less impact on glucose and insulin, (8) and should also be eaten last as part of a balanced meal with vegetables, protein, and healthy fats. Put it into practice: Start your meals with non-starchy veggies and protein and save the carbs for last. Cook rice at the beginning of the week and cool it before reheating for lunches or dinners throughout the week. Swap berries and cream for cake or cookies when reaching for something sweet. Foods to avoid with PCOS It’s important to note that you don’t need to give up any type of food forever (unless you’re allergic!). A healthy eating plan should include some of your favourite treats in moderation, so you don’t feel deprived and aren’t tempted to overeat down the road. That said, there are some foods that can exacerbate PCOS symptoms and are best to eat less often: Carbs disguised as protein: Breaded and fried foods like fish sticks or chicken tenders have less protein than you think and are laden with carbs and fats not great for glucose or PCOS. Fried foods should be reduced as they can contribute to inflammation, and fried meats in particular have been shown to impair glucose homeostasis. (9) Put it into practice: Swap breaded meats for grilled meats and look for words like roasted, grilled, baked, steamed, or broiled on menus when eating out (avoid: crispy, crunchy, or battered). Ultra-processed foods high in fat and sugar: Women with PCOS may be more susceptible to the psychologically rewarding intake of ultra-processed foods, increasing the risk to consume them in addictive-like ways and lead to weight gain, inflammation, and metabolic issues like altered glucose control. (10) Put it into practice: Pick whole foods that are minimally processed over ultra-processed foods. For example, instead of chips or crisps for a snack, try an apple with almond butter or roasted and salted edamame beans. Sugary beverages and high-glycaemic carbs: Foods with free sugars like soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, bakery goods like cakes, cookies and candies, and high-glycaemic carbs like breakfast cereals, oat milk, and white bread provide a large glycaemic load, which further perpetuates insulin resistance. (11) Limiting sugar, refined carbohydrates, and high-glycaemic carbs can help manage insulin levels effectively. (11) Put it into practice: Limit these foods as much as possible, and if eating them occasionally, consume with or after a balanced meal centred around protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. While there is some discussion online about whether or not women with POCS should avoid gluten and dairy specifically, there isn’t research to support this claim. However, you may choose to avoid these food groups if you notice they cause you unpleasant symptoms such as GI distress. It’s best to speak with a qualified health care provider, such as a registered dietitian nutritionist or doctor, to discuss a more personalised nutrition plan. While there is no treatment for PCOS, symptoms can be managed by following the guidance provided here on dietary choices, including foods to eat and those to limit. Keep in mind that this article is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for medical advice. Additionally, using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) like Lingo can add valuable insights into how your dietary and lifestyle choices are impacting your glucose levels, which are closely related to insulin. It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider about your individual needs. - Andrea Givens, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist

6 minutes 
Image for Guide to metabolic age: What is it and can it actually be improved?

Guide to metabolic age: What is it and can it actually be improved?

What is metabolic age and what does it mean? Metabolic age is not a medical term, rather a wellness concept that compares your basal metabolic rate (BMR) to the average BMR in your chronological age group. Recall that BMR is the number of calories your body requires daily at rest (think: the number of calories you burn just lying on the couch). Remember that you need energy (calories) for all types of bodily functions, including breathing, thinking, circulating blood, and so much more. A higher BMR, commonly referred to as having a “fast metabolism,” is associated with a lower (healthier) metabolic age, and vice versa. A driving factor behind a higher BMR is muscle mass — the more muscle you have, the more calories and glucose your body burns, and the higher your metabolic rate is. Generally, increasing metabolic rate improves glucose regulation, which is one component of metabolic health. So metabolic age, even though it is not a medical term, can give insight into your metabolic health. In fact, metabolic age was created with the aim of identifying those at risk for developing metabolic syndrome. (1) The basis for this metric is that adults lose muscle mass as they age, to the tune of 3-8% decrease per decade after the age of 30, and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60. (2) Loss of muscle mass leads to a decrease in metabolic rate, which is unfavourable in part because muscle is the primary organ that processes glucose. With less muscle, your body has less machinery to handle the breakdown of carbs from your diet into glucose. That is why higher muscle mass and faster metabolic rate equate to a lower (better) metabolic age. This article explains the concepts surrounding metabolic age, how to improve metabolic age (which ultimately means improving your metabolic health), and specifically how efficient your metabolism is. It all comes back to healthy glucose management. How to determine your metabolic age There isn’t a specific metabolic age test. Websites may claim to give you your metabolic age by inputting some personal information into an online calculator, but there is no universal test for metabolic age. Calculating metabolic age takes two steps. The first is to determine your BMR (we explain how below). The second step is to compare your BMR to others in your age group. The exact equation that results in a metabolic age in years is proprietary (unknown). How to calculate metabolic age: Metabolic age = your BMR:BMR of population. While determining your own BMR is a straightforward equation using your age, height, and weight (see below), databases that compile BMR by age are not publicly available. Companies that make bioimpedance scales can provide a metabolic age in their metrics because they compare your data to others in their database. To calculate your BMR: Men: (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) - (5 × age in years) + 5. Women: (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) - (5 × age in years) - 161. Can you lower your metabolic age? Yes, increasing your BMR will decrease (improve) your metabolic age. A study that took metabolic age of individuals from a bioimpedance scale found that a metabolic age over 45.5 years, or a metabolic age more than 11.5 years older than the person’s chronological age, were indicators of high-risk for metabolic syndrome, (1) which includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, too much body fat around the waist, and irregular cholesterol levels. This would suggest that lowering metabolic age is one way to lower risk for metabolic syndrome and improve metabolic health. What are some steps I can take to improve my metabolic age? Strength train: A regular exercise routine improves muscle mass and the machinery in muscle that regulates glucose metabolism, all of which will increase your BMR, and subsequently improve your metabolic age. Aim to perform resistance exercises on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms). Track body composition over time: If you don’t know your metabolic age, tracking your muscle mass is the next best thing. A simple bodyweight scale only tells you your body mass (your resistance against gravity). It's more useful to know what your mass is composed of; specifically, how much muscle do you have on your frame? Some home scales may estimate this through bioimpedance, or you can have a body composition assessment done at a wellness clinic (such as with an InBody scan). Other methods to estimate muscle mass include skinfold thickness by a trained anthropometrist, ultrasound, air or water displacement, or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), which is primarily used to assess bone density, but can also read out muscle mass. While all methods vary in accuracy, what is most important is to pick one method and stick with it, that way you can clearly see changes over time. Walk after meals: Consistently moving throughout the day keeps your metabolic rate up. Plus, moving specifically after meals steadies glucose. If you’re just sitting after you eat, glucose surges in your bloodstream and insulin is needed to move it into cells. Since there isn’t a huge need for energy at rest, glucose can be stored as fat. Instead of being sedentary after a meal, take a brisk walk. More glucose will be moved into cells with less insulin, and more glucose will be metabolized for energy, which keeps your metabolic rate up. Include protein with meals and snacks: Protein has the highest metabolic effect of all the macros. This means around 30% of the calories from protein are used for the digestion, absorption, and metabolism of what you’ve eaten, compared to only 5-10% for carbs and 0-3% for fat. (3) Your body has a daily need for amino acids, so be sure to have high-quality proteins like eggs, Greek yogurt, turkey, beef, chicken, cottage cheese, tofu, or protein powder with your all your meals to keep your metabolic fire burning. A final note from Lingo While you can’t reverse the true ageing process, you can improve your metabolism to be a bit healthier than the average person your age. This means increasing your metabolic rate and improving how well your body uses glucose. A product like Lingo, a biowearable that provides personalised glucose data and real-time coaching, can help you along your journey.

6 minutes 
Image for How much sleep is enough for good health? What the research says

How much sleep is enough for good health? What the research says

Sleep is one of the most important pillars of overall health. Failing to get enough sleep has been linked to an increased risk for many health problems, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and stroke, worse mental health, and more. (1) Additionally, poor sleep can have immediate effects on your metabolism, leading to higher glucose levels. In turn, higher glucose can lead to worse sleep, creating a vicious cycle. (2, 3) If you struggle to sleep, you may be wondering: How much sleep do adults actually need? Achieving quality sleep will improve your overall health, including managing your glucose and metabolism. Keep reading to learn about how much sleep is enough for good health. How much sleep is recommended for adults? The consensus by leading sleep experts is that adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night, and these recommendations don’t change much as you age. (4) However, sleeping more than 9 hours a night may be helpful for certain individuals such as young adults, people who are recovering from sleep deprivation, and people dealing with sickness. (5) If you are struggling to get quality sleep, check out our tips on how to sleep better. Have you noticed that you may feel more “awake” after getting less sleep? This happens sometimes when you’re sleep deprived. Your brain is working overtime to compensate for the sleep you missed by pumping cortisol (the stress hormone) into your body to keep you more awake. Over time, this can lead to emotion regulation issues, decreased cognition, and increased inflammation. (6, 7) Cortisol also increases glucose. (8) Does it matter when I sleep? When you sleep also has an impact on the quality of your sleep. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule has been found to help regulate your circadian rhythm, which is your body’s “internal clock” that helps you get sleepy at night and feel more alert and awake during the day. (9) Night owls often experience poor sleep quality. Going to sleep before midnight helps regulate your circadian rhythm, whereas individuals who go to sleep after midnight have been found to have a higher risk of psychological disorders, diabetes, and an overall shorter lifespan. (10) However, squeezing in extra sleep with daytime naps may benefit your overall health, if you’re intentional about it and they’re short. Research has found that naps lasting between 15-30 minutes are the most beneficial and can help increase alertness without affecting your ability to fall asleep at bedtime. (11) Daytime naps can also help maintain brain health as you age. Habitual naps have been linked to larger total brain volume and better cognitive performance. (11, 12) Naps that are an hour or longer have been studied to have several negative effects on health. That’s because naps lasting longer than an hour cause your body to go into the deepest level of sleep, called slow-wave sleep. Waking from this can cause something called “sleep inertia” and disrupt your alertness and wakefulness once your nap ends. (13) One study found that older adults who regularly napped for an hour or longer were 40% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than participants who did not nap (or napped for less than an hour each day). (14) Nappers have also been studied to have an increased risk for high blood pressure and stroke compared to non-nappers. (15) How sleep impacts your metabolism Sleep plays a huge role in your metabolism. (16) A lack of sleep causes an increase in insulin resistance, which impacts hunger and feelings of fullness. (17) It’s also been linked to craving junk foods that are high in carbs and sugar (18) and can make it harder to lose weight. Insufficient sleep has also been shown to lead to poorer glucose control the following day (2) and poor glucose control can lead to poor sleep. (3) While long-term consequences could mean metabolic issues down the road, like type 2 diabetes, the lack of glucose control will also have short-term implications for things outside of sleep like your memory, focus, and mood. (19) In addition to its impact on metabolism, sleep affects practically every part of your body, including your heart health, circulatory system, immune system, respiratory system, memory, cognitive abilities, and more. (9) A final note from Lingo Sleep is one of the most important factors for good physical and mental health. Adults should aim to sleep 7 to 9 hours each night for the most health benefits. Catching up on sleep with naps that are 30 minutes or less may benefit health, while naps longer than 1 hour may have negative health effects. Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand your habits and patterns and work towards limiting glucose spikes, which may also improve your sleep.   Lingo is not a medical device and not designed to treat or diagnose any disease or illness. If you have medical questions or concerns regarding your glucose, please contact your doctor.

4 minutes 
Image for What are exercise snacks? Why you should add these to your routine

What are exercise snacks? Why you should add these to your routine

If the idea of long workouts seems intimidating or impossible to fit into your busy schedule, try increasing your daily movement with exercise snacks. Based on the concept of “snacking,” exercise snacks encourage physical activity in shorter, higher intensity workouts that typically last about a minute. (1) Exercise snacking has been shown to benefit overall health and wellness. What are exercise snacks? Exercise snacks are short bouts of vigorous physical activity, typically lasting about a minute or less, that are performed periodically throughout the day. (1) These “snacks” are feasible and time-efficient way to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and reduce the negative impact of sedentary behavior on cardiometabolic health. (1) The goal is to break up sedentary time and get your heart pumping and muscles working which elicit some of the beneficial effects of exercise on your metabolism. Doing these exercise snacks from time to time during the day can help your glucose control, improve heart health, and increase your energy levels. (1,2) How are exercise snacks different from other forms of exercise? The main difference between exercise snacks and other exercise is not the movement itself — it’s the amount of time you engage in them and the intensity in which you do them. Traditional exercise may be thought of as something like a 15-minute jog or 20 minutes of continuous movement that is done at a consistent effort or potentially bouts of higher effort intermixed with bouts of lower effort, while an exercise snack typically last less than a minute to a max of just a few minutes and is performed at a higher intensity. (1) Besides the length and intensity of each exercise snack, another difference between exercise snacks and regular exercise is the overall time frame exercise snacks are completed in. Exercise snacks are not consecutive exercises. Rather than working out for a full 20-30 minutes, exercise snacks allow you to break up your day with a few separate bursts of movement that can be spaced out hours apart from each other. Exercise snacks may also be referred to as “intermittent physical activity.” What are the health benefits of exercise snacks? Incorporating exercise snacks into your routine may offer some health benefits, including: Improving heart health and disease risk: as few as two or three short bouts of just 3–4 min vigorous movement per day, such as very fast walking or stairclimbing was associated with substantially lower all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality risk. (3, 4) Glucose control: Evidence suggests that a high volume of uninterrupted sedentary time is an independent risk factor for cardiometabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes. (5) Exercise snacks are useful in reducing disease risk because they can lower glucose after meals by shuttling glucose into muscles to be metabolized for energy. Movements that target the legs and lower body seem to be the most effective as these are typically the largest muscles in the body. Think: brisk walking, stairclimbing, air squats. Improved energy levels, mood, and cognitive performance: A 2016 study in 30 sedentary individuals found that exercise snacks improved both mood and energy levels. They also found a slight decrease in appetite before lunch when compared to those that were instructed to sit all day. (2) Additionally, a small study found that exercise snacks, done by taking the stairs vs the elevator, improved divergent (aka creative) thinking by 61% compared to those who just took the elevator. (7) Maintaining muscle mass: A 2022 study found that exercise snacks performed after meals helped maintain muscle mass and quality (how dense, strong, and efficient your muscles are). The research found that just 2 minutes of walking or bodyweight sit-to-stand squats allowed the body to use more amino acids from meals to build muscle proteins. (8) How can I incorporate exercise snacks into my routine? It’s useful to break up long periods of sitting with short bouts of movement. Take a short brisk walk, or do a few rounds of resistance exercises like squats, knee raises, or calf raises. This can help your glucose levels and prevent the damage that sitting all day can do. (3, 4, 6) Try this: Set your alarm for each hour and get moving for a minute. Do jumping jacks, burpees, lunges, or anything that gets your body moving. When watching TV, do a few jumping jacks during commercial breaks. Waiting for the kettle to boil? Dance around to your favorite tune or do a few push-ups. Fit in some squats or lunges while brushing your teeth. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. A final note from Lingo Exercise snacks are short, intense sessions of movement lasting less than a minute to just a few minutes, done throughout the day. Some ways to incorporate exercise snacking include walking, climbing stairs, or performing bodyweight movements like squats, lunges, and push-ups, spread out throughout the day. Exercise snacking has been shown to improve long-term health risk, glucose control, mood and energy levels, cognitive performance and help to maintain muscle mass. Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand how incorporating exercise snacks into your daily routine can help limit glucose spikes and improve your overall quality of life. (9)   Lingo is not a medical device and not designed to treat or diagnose any disease or illness. If you have medical questions or concerns regarding your glucose, please contact your doctor.

5 minutes 
Image for What is the connection between sleep and weight loss?

What is the connection between sleep and weight loss?

Ever since you were a kid, you’ve probably heard how important sleep is. This wasn’t just your parents being a buzzkill — quality sleep supports physical and mental health and impacts your energy, mood, focus, metabolic health, and more. (1) Additionally, good sleep habits are connected to weight management. (2) If you’re looking to lose weight and curious how important sleep is, keep reading to discover why good sleep is a key piece of the puzzle and how it supports your metabolic health. Does sleeping help you lose weight? Sleep doesn’t cause weight loss per se, but it is a critical part of successful weight loss efforts. The optimal amount of sleep for adults varies from person to person, but in general, science says sleeping 7-9 hours per night is needed to support good health. (3) It’s clear that disrupted sleep patterns contribute to increased calorie intake, poorer food choices, and undesirable changes in metabolism and the hormones that regulate it. (2) Metabolic syndrome and obesity are also associated with disrupted sleep patterns; research shows adults who consistently sleep less than 6 hours per night weigh more and have a higher body mass index (BMI). (4) The underlying connection between sleep and weight loss centers around metabolism. Below, we explain the science and provide tips for optimizing sleep for your health goals. The sleep-metabolism-weight connection Circadian rhythm is your “internal clock” that regulates your sleep-wake cycle, but did you know it also affects many physiological processes including glucose and fat metabolism? (5) During the daytime when the sun is up and you’re awake, your metabolic rate is churning and kicks into high gear after each meal, which raises body temperature slightly. Conversely at night in order to sleep, your body temperature lowers, and since you’re in a post-absorptive state (meaning you haven’t eaten in a while), your metabolism isn’t revved up. If any part of this pattern is disrupted, such as staying awake for extended periods, sleeping less than 7 hours, being awake late into the night or overnight (e.g. shift work), or consuming food during nighttime hours, your circadian alignment will be thrown off. Your metabolism isn’t geared towards processing food efficiently at night when it should be sleeping. Eating late at night, especially sugary or carb-rich foods this time of night when cells are more insulin resistant, causes higher and more variable glucose levels, and storage of calories as fat. (6) Without adequate down time, normal restorative processes are disrupted, which over time can wreak havoc on your metabolic health and weight loss goals. How sleep can support weight loss Adequate sleep allows proper functioning of your appetite hormones. Short sleep duration increases ghrelin (hunger hormone) and decreases leptin (satiety hormone), (7) not the combo you need when you’re awake longer and have more opportunity to eat. Studies show it’s not vegetables and protein that you’ll reach for when you haven’t slept enough, but rather ultra-processed, calorie-dense foods. (8) A good night’s sleep promotes daytime energy levels, making you more likely to be energized to work out. Exercise helps with weight loss as it increases the number of calories you burn in a day, helping to create a negative energy balance and gradual weight loss over time. Strength training specifically helps build muscle, which burns more calories at rest. Sleep stages are important for rest and recovery from exercise, allowing your body to get stronger and improve body composition: build muscle and burn fat. The body’s natural production and secretion of growth hormone, which is responsible for supporting healthy muscle and burning fat, occurs just after sleep onset and continues to rise during the first 4 hours of sleep. This becomes blunted without enough sleep. (9) Even if over time your total body weight on the scale doesn’t change much, eating right, strength training, and adequate sleep can help you lean out and have favorable changes to your body composition. Sleep tips for your weight loss journey Aim to spend more time in bed than you hope to sleep. Not everyone dozes off as soon as their head hits the pillow. This means if you got into bed at 11 p.m. and woke up at 6 a.m., you probably weren’t asleep the full 7 hours. Consider keeping a sleep journal or using an app or wearable device that can paint a slightly more accurate picture of your actual sleep time. Documentation can help keep sleep time a priority and top of mind. Consistency is key. Social jetlag refers to sleep and wake times varying more than 2 hours day to day and is associated with greater weight gain over time. (10) In reality, you will stay up later some nights, but try not to make varying sleep and wake times greater than 2 hours a habit. Consistent mealtimes can help anchor this habit and provide stable energy and physiological cues that it’s time to be awake, eat, or rest and sleep. The body thrives on routine. Awake at night? Go low carb. Research suggests that shift workers who follow a low-carb, ketogenic diet may protect themselves against some of the adverse consequences of consuming calories at suboptimal circadian phases. (11) Restricting carbohydrate intake can help create a calorie deficit for weight loss, as well as reduce fasting and postprandial glucose, both of which are linked to numerous chronic diseases. Schedule an early dinnertime. Eating too close to bedtime, especially if it’s a particularly large or high-carb meal, can inhibit processes that help your body get to sleep and stay asleep. Early time-restricted eating, for example only eating meals between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., is a proven method to successfully reduce daily calorie intake to facilitate gradual weight loss over time. (12) Give yourself a caffeine curfew. If you need a pick-me-up in the afternoon, instead of reaching for coffee or an energy drink, try having a snack with protein and healthy fats. This choice not only supports stable glucose levels and sustained energy, but also promotes satiety, potentially aiding in portion control during dinner and helping you stay within your daily calorie budget. Limit alcohol. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram (in addition to calories in mixers), lowers inhibitions, and disrupts sleep quality — all things that can derail your weight loss goals. While you may have experienced that alcohol helps you fall asleep, it tanks sleep quality and reduces time in each sleep stage. Effects carry over to the next day when you’re feeling hungover and tend to reach for ultra-processed foods, which are high in added sugars, salt, and fat. All of this can derail your weight loss plan. A final note from Lingo When you’re putting in the extra effort with your nutrition and exercise to lose weight and keep it off, make sure you’re not overlooking sleep. Reaching your weight loss goals takes a holistic approach that considers many lifestyle factors including nutrition, exercise, stress, and sleep. Insights into your metabolism with a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help keep your diet and sleep habits on track.

6 minutes 
Image for What Is the effect of exercise on your glucose levels?

What Is the effect of exercise on your glucose levels?

Regular exercise has extensive, science-backed benefits on your metabolic health. Exercise elicits structural, functional, and metabolic adaptations to the body that improve heart health, insulin sensitivity, and glucose (blood sugar) control. Routine physical activity also promotes the efficient use of fuel in the muscle, decreases inflammation, and helps manage blood fat levels. (1) Since exercise directly improves metabolic health, including improving glucose control, you’d probably expect that your glucose levels would be lower during physical activity. However, certain types of exercise can actually increase glucose temporarily. This short-term rise is completely normal and not a cause for concern. In this article, we’ll explain what happens metabolically in your body during exercise, why it’s normal for your glucose levels to change, and which exercises can cause a temporary spike in glucose. Let’s dive in. Glucose levels during exercise It’s normal for your glucose levels to change during exercise. Muscle contractions use glucose for energy, and exercising muscles can take up and use glucose without the need for insulin. When you start exercising, hormone levels typically increase in the blood, triggering the release of glucose into the blood stream for available use by the muscles. The type and intensity of the exercise will determine the net effect on glucose, in addition to if you consume carbohydrates before or during exercise. Your individual fitness level can also play a role in how your glucose levels change during exercise. If you’re newer to exercising, almost any movement that gets your heart rate up may raise glucose. This is because exercise creates stress (the good kind) which temporarily raises stress hormones like cortisol, and muscle’s main fuel source: glucose. As your fitness level improves or if you have years of training experience under your belt, you’ll see glucose rise with higher intensity exercise, such as high-intensity interval training, a hard effort run, or heavy weightlifting. However, not all exercise will spike glucose. Lower intensity exercise, such as walking or hatha style yoga, can actually lower glucose or flatten a glucose spike. Will I experience glucose spikes during both low-intensity and high-intensity exercise? Walking and other low- to moderate-intensity exercise that you can do while carrying on a conversation are more likely to lower blood glucose levels. Think: a leisurely bike ride, rowing at a slow pace, or using an elliptical machine. Relative to higher intensity exercise, low and moderate intensity types of exercises don’t have as high of an energy demand but do help your muscles absorb more glucose, which is why we recommend walking after a meal. During higher-intensity workouts, such as HIIT, heavy weightlifting, sprints, or competitive sports, your body requires more fuel and uses glucose as the fastest source of energy. Stress hormones including adrenaline are activated and stimulate your liver to release glucose. This increase in blood glucose may last for an hour or so after exercise. It will eventually return to normal levels with the help of insulin working to lower blood glucose levels and restore glycogen in muscles. Glucose levels after exercise What is the science behind your increased glucose levels after hard activity? After exercise, the body is still working hard to restore normal metabolic function. During this time, your body continues to use glucose as a source of energy, and muscles continue to be more sensitive to insulin. (3) This is commonly called the afterburn effect and is scientifically known as oxygen debt. You may then experience overall lower glucose levels in the 24-72 hours after your workout as your body remains more sensitive to insulin. This is why regular exercise can lower your fasting blood sugar level, a measure of long-term glucose control and metabolic health. (5) Tips: improving your glucose levels with exercise How can exercise/movement improve my glucose? The UK Chief Medical Officer report recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or a mixture of both each week. It also recommends muscle-strengthening activities two days per week and to reduce extended periods of sitting. (4) Following this guidance can improve your glucose by increasing insulin sensitivity and building and maintaining muscle, which is the primary user of glucose. Does it matter what time of day I exercise? Whatever time you can fit in exercise is the best time. While some research shows afternoon or evening exercise may be more effective than morning exercise to improve glucose control, other studies have found that morning training could provide additional benefits compared with evening exercise as it relates to changes in burning calories and appetite regulation. (6) Does it matter whether I exercise before or after eating? Again, whatever time you can fit in exercise is the best time. Incorporating walking soon after meals will promote steady glucose. If you have a hard workout planned, you may need a little more time to digest food before you get your heart rate up. Is there anything I can use to measure my glucose levels? Continuous glucose monitors (CGM) like the Lingo biosensor provide real-time glucose insights so you can see how different types of exercise impact your glucose. Lingo will help you understand why it’s still beneficial when your glucose elevates during certain activities and coach you to set healthy habits around exercise. For active adults and competitive athletes, CGMs offer unique insights to optimise their fuel tank prior to exercise, ensure steady energy levels during exercise, and guide proper refuelling afterwards. A final note from Lingo Low- to moderate-intensity exercise (e.g. walking) lowers glucose, and higher intensity exercise (e.g. HIIT) temporarily raises glucose. All exercise is beneficial for metabolic health because it improves insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation over the long term. Furthermore, exercise reduces stress, which has a positive impact on glucose. Overall, people who exercise regularly have a higher quality of life and better health outcomes. (7)

6 minutes 
Image for Why wear a continuous glucose monitor if you don’t have diabetes?

Why wear a continuous glucose monitor if you don’t have diabetes?

Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) are wearable, minimally invasive devices that measure glucose levels for days at a time. Historically, these devices have been used by people with diabetes to help monitor and manage their glucose (blood sugar) levels. Since CGMs have revolutionised the management of diabetes, health practitioners have started to utilise CGMs to better understand the glucose response and wider metabolic health of individuals without diabetes. Data from CGMs allows users to know their glucose in near real time as well as view glucose fluctuations over time. A 2023 paper co-authored by Abbott’s medical research team and published in the scientific journal Metabolism found that CGMs like Lingo can be used to improve the metabolic health of people who do not live with diabetes. The research found that managing glucose spikes and keeping blood sugar in a stable, healthy range can have a positive impact on metabolic health. Health benefits of CGMs and limiting glucose spikes Compelling published research shows that using a CGM and limiting glucose spikes, both in the short term and over time, have a number of health benefits for people who don’t have diabetes, including: Being proactive about future health: While both average and fasting glucose levels are important markers for health, glucose extremes and post-meal spikes might matter more. These specific metrics are risk factors for chronic health conditions such as insulin resistance, metabolic disease, and heart disease. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) Managing weight: With insights from a CGM, individuals had better success adhering to low-glycaemic and low-carb diets, (6) both of which are effective approaches for weight loss — even without intentional calorie restriction. (6, 7, 8, 9) While using a CGM, you can know your glucose in real time, learn how you uniquely respond to foods and habits, and make dietary changes that support steady glucose and lead to improvements in metabolic health and weight. (6, 10) Identifying cravings vs. true hunger: If you just ate but feel hungrier than before, it could be due to a glucose crash. These crashes, which often follow glucose spikes, will convince you that you need to refuel ASAP. (11, 12) Research shows that using a CGM can identify which eating pattern will keep you on track for having steady energy, such as a low-glycaemic diet. CGMs can also help you differentiate cravings from true hunger, all of which can help with weight loss efforts. (6, 13) Improving sleep: Low-glycaemic diets that nourish steady glucose have been shown to improve both sleep quality and length of sleep. (14, 15) And better sleep supports steady glucose the following day, (16) empowering you to make better choices and continue to stay steady. Using a CGM can highlight food choices that minimise glucose spikes, helping to keep you on track and better understand your glucose patterns while you sleep. (6, 10, 17, 18) Bettering your mood: Research shows that a high-protein, low-glycaemic diet, which helps stabilise glucose, improves mood and can even lessen symptoms of depression. (19, 20) Using a CGM like Lingo can help you understand your individual glucose responses to food and encourage adherence to a low-glycaemic diet, which may provide mental health benefits. (20) A final note from Lingo Published research has shown that there are a number of benefits of limiting glucose spikes, which can be monitored by using a CGM, even if you don’t have diabetes. A CGM like Lingo provides personalised insights into your unique glucose response to food, activity, and other lifestyle choices. With Lingo, you can quickly see the impact of your habits displayed on your glucose graph and know if your glucose is steady, spiking, or crashing. Using this data can help you make healthier choices for your overall well-being.

4 minutes 

Metabolic change is possible

Sign up and receive scientifically proven tips, strategies, and insights to supercharge your metabolism.
Email me personalised regular news, content and exclusive offers. I will receive an email from Lingo to confirm my email address. I consent to the use of my personal data for marketing purposes. Please refer to the Lingo Privacy Notice regarding your rights and for additional details.