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Should I Test My Blood Sugar At Home

Should I Test My Blood Glucose At Home?

When you find out you have Prediabetes, your thoughts immediately race to full-blown Type 2 Diabetes and pricking your finger dozens of times a day. I’m sure you’ve already asked yourself, "Should I Test My Blood Glucose At Home?" Read on to find out if you should...

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Before I answer the question “Should I Test My Blood Glucose At Home?” we need to know a few medical terms. And after that we’ll talk about home blood sugar testing.

And as a bonus to all of you who read my posts, I’ve included some Prediabetes Home Blood Sugar Testing Myth-Busting at the end of the post.

Now onto those medical terms! (Just a few, I promise.)

The two medical terms you need to become familiar with are:

Fasting Blood Sugar & Postprandial Blood Glucose

These are the most important blood sugar measurements you can take at home.

Fasting Blood Sugar (or Fasting Blood Glucose):


This is how much sugar (glucose) is in your blood when you wake up. Take this measurement immediately upon walking, before you eat or start your morning routine. 

Your goal is to be under 100 mg/dL or 5.6 mmol/l.

Postprandial Blood Glucose (or After Meal Blood Sugar):


This is how much sugar (glucose) is in your blood 2 hours after your meal. Take this measurement 2 hours from the start of eating.

Your goal is to be under 140 mg/dL or 7.8 mmol/l.

Quick Tip: Don’t get duped into super strict after-meal blood sugar testing numbers! (See the Prediabetes Blood Sugar Testing Myth-Busting at the end of my blog post.)

Ok, medical terms all taken care of!

So Should You Test Your Blood Sugar At Home?

Testing your blood sugar yourself helps you to see what is happening with your body. And personally I think you should test your blood sugar at home...but you don’t need to do it everyday.

There are some downsides of home blood sugar testing too, and I’ll talk about those in a minute.

Your Blood Sugar Fluctuates All Day Long

It is important to know your blood sugar levels are constantly changing during the day and that it’s impossible to try to keep your blood sugar at any one level (and totally unhealthy too).

For example:

1. While you are sleeping your liver releases glucose for energy so your blood sugar goes up.

2. After you eat your food gets digested so your blood sugar goes up again.

3. After exercise your blood sugar goes down and stays lower for many hours afterwards.

Reality Check! 

For most ladies, actually seeing their blood sugar numbers, at home, for real, is totally life changing!

A young lady shared with me how she ate some sugary cereal and then tested her blood sugar for a few hours afterwards.

She was horrified to see her blood sugar go to Type 2 Diabetic levels! Will she eat that sugary cereal again? I doubt it.

It's very enlightening to see how your blood sugar reacts to food, exercise, sickness, lack of sleep, alcohol, coffee, cigarette smoke, meds, female hormones, a heated argument, a scary movie, stress, relaxation, a headache and many other things that happen in your day.

And your blood sugar monitor is what helps to open your eyes to what's happening with your body.

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When Should You Test Your Blood Sugar?

For the first few weeks after you get your blood sugar monitor, you need to test your blood sugar a lot.

The 2 most important times to test are:

1. First thing in the morning (Fasting Blood Sugar)

2. After meals (After Meal Blood Sugar or Postprandial Blood Glucose)

Why do you need to test a lot at first? Because you need to get an idea of what your body is doing.

Then after a few weeks, you can back-off to periodic testing (see below for more details on that).

Prediabetes Blood Sugar Testing Guidelines

Fasting Blood Sugar: Your goal is to be under 100 mg/dL or 5.6 mmol/l.

You likely won’t be under the 100 mg/dL or 5.6 mmol/l right away, but don't worry...over time, with attention to your diet and exercise, this number will slowly creep down to healthy levels.

After a few weeks, you can test your Fasting Blood Sugar once a week.

After Meal Blood Sugar (2 hours after you started eating): Your goal is to be under 140 mg/dL or 7.8 mmol/l.

When you test your blood sugar, you’ll quickly see that eating certain foods send your blood sugar skyrocketing to the outer reaches of space (above 140 and into the 200’s).

You'll want to avoid these foods or eat less of them.

Some people experience huge blood sugar swings when they eat or drink certain foods.

Coffee is a great example. Alcohol is another great example. Many food items such oatmeal, potatoes, sugary foods, grains with gluten and dairy products either totally spike blood sugar or keep blood sugar stable for hours.

Your blood sugar monitor will help you know how YOUR body reacts to these foods.

After a few weeks, you can test periodically when you eat a new food or you eat something that is not common for you.

Testing from time to time will also help you see if your diet and exercise is on track.

Keep a Home Blood Sugar Testing Journal

When you test your blood sugar at home, what down WHAT and WHEN you tested. If the test is 2 hours after a meal, write down what you ate.

Keeping a home blood sugar testing journal:

1. Helps to keep you in reality when you try to convince yourself that maybe you don’t have blood sugar issues… (hey, it will happen, don’t fret about it)

2. Helps you remember what foods might not be for you (or at least not as much).

Prediabetes Tip:

If your blood sugar rises to unhealthy levels after eating (more than140 mg/dL / 7.8 mmol/L), eat more complex carbohydrates and fibery foods.

Fiber slows down digestion and helps to avoid severe blood sugar increases.

It also helps is you never eat carbohydrates alone.

It also helps to eat raw veggies, a reasonable amount of protein, and fat!

The Dark Side of Testing Your Blood Sugar At Home

It's human nature that whenever we get a new machine that measures stuff, we quickly get the notion that we must measure non-stop.

Suddenly, if we don’t measure for a few hours, we become nervous, agitated, and we might even freak out!

OMG! What is my blood sugar doing right now, I must know!

News Flash! You can survive a meal, or a plane ride, a day hike out with friends, a movie date with your lover, or a few days at your mother-in-law’s without testing your blood sugar.

If your blood sugar monitor is at home and you are not – you will be ok!

If you start to feel obsessed or in a panic about the whole thing, that's your cue to stop testing for a few days or a week or longer! (In other words, step back and get some perspective.)

Now, before I sign off, let’s do a little Prediabetes Home Blood Sugar Testing Myth-Busting.

Prediabetes Home Blood Sugar Testing Myth


TRUTH or MYTH:

"Any blood sugar reading over 140 mg/dL / 7.8 mmol/l does damage to your blood vessels and heart. To prevent this from happening, keep your 2-hour after-meal blood glucose to under 120 mg/dL / 6.7 mmol/l."

(This is a myth.)​

Where Does This Myth Come From?

This myth comes from rogue Diabetes websites, run by laypeople, that reject the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) and International Diabetes Federation as credible sources of Diabetes management guidance.

These websites cite a few poorly designed studies, and will have you believing you must severely restrict carbohydrates – or else heart damage and Type 2 Diabetes is imminent.

This is simply not accurate.

This is the truth of the matter:

1. There is no universally accepted peer reviewed research to support these restrictive after-meal blood sugar testing numbers.

2. There is no universally accepted peer reviewed research regarding the notion that heart damage happens with any blood sugar testing number over 140.

3. No diabetes associations or medical associations promote these restrictive blood sugar testing numbers.

A common approach to achieving these restrictive after-meal blood sugar testing numbers is to eat a very low carbohydrate diet. And in most cases a low carb high fat diet (LCHF).

You need to know there are a number of downsides to eating very small amounts of carbohydrates:

1. You must eat excessive and unhealthy amounts of protein to meet your daily calorie needs.

2. You must eat excessive and unhealthy amounts of fat to meet your daily calorie needs.

3. You must adopt intense, unsustainable food restrictions.

An on top of that, eating in this manner can lead to:

  • Brain inflammation
  • Unsustainable sudden weight loss (which means you gain it back)
  • Mineral and nutrient deficiencies
  • Increase in stress hormones
  • Low thyroid (hypothyroidism)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Headaches
  • Very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Nausea
  • Bad breath
  • Brain fog
  • Slower metabolism
  • Increased cholesterol
  • Kidney stones
  • And problems with your gut bacteria (gut dysbiosis).

But most disturbing...


Over time, very low carb diets also tend to increase how resistant you are to insulin and promote carbohydrate intolerance (the very things you don’t want)…

Do yourself a favor and trust the standards set by doctors and scientists who have dedicated their professions to managing diabetes, and leave out of your Prediabetes recovery plan rogue diabetes websites that promote unvalidated claims.

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So, YES!

You should test your blood sugars at home, a lot at first, then periodically and then when something new happens.

If you get freaked out about this whole testing thing – stop doing it for awhile.

And that’s the answer to “Should I Test My Blood Glucose At Home?”

Did you know your blood sugar goes up in reaction to a lot of other things and not just food? You can learn all about that here in my blog post: What Makes Blood Sugar Go High?

All blood sugar testing measurement guidelines provided on this blog post are directives of American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, International Diabetes Federation and the Joslin Diabetes Center.

About the Author Joan Pasay

As a Nutrition & Lifestyle Therapist I felt compelled to start Power In The Group. Why? To guide and support women like you with Prediabetes or Insulin Resistance so you can regain and nourish your health...without all the confusion. Together we can enjoy the richest quality of life for ourselves, with our families, and within our society...wanna come along?

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