Glucose

Get to know everything about managing your glucose, from how your body handles foods and exercise to keeping your levels steady.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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’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 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 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 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 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 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 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 

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.