Apple is one of several tech firms racing to create the first-ever blood-glucose monitor that doesn’t require you to prick the skin and draw blood, widely considered the “game changer” of health monitoring. Our correspondent spent a week with the next best thing: a minimally invasive Dexcom subdermal implant about the width of a human hair that allowed him to see his blood sugar in real time. Here are three things he learned from living his life with up-to-the-minute access to his blood sugar.
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1) A bad breakfast is worse than no breakfast
Admittedly, I’m not usually a breakfast eater. I normally have just coffee, and I’m good to go until the early afternoon. But to test-run the Dexcom, I decided to try a typical breakfast of a bagel and orange juice. My normal blood sugar is in the 70s (healthy), and after the meal it rocketed up to 160 (prediabetic territory) in an hour. On the mornings I ate lighter stuff, like fruit, I still saw a substantial sugary spike.
2) My mood fluctuated with my sugar
Even when I drank a Naked Green Machine smoothie—something supposedly healthy—my blood glucose jumped to 130 within an hour, and I immediately got a headache. Most people think of soda as Enemy No. 1 when it comes to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. But my monitor didn’t lie, and neither did my headache. I could see in real time why I felt shitty.
3) Exercise is the wonder drug for cheat meals
Working out may be good for controlling blood sugar, but the way it affects your blood sugar when you eat terrible foods like pizza or a burger and fries is life altering. Each day that I ate badly but intensely exercised, I still couldn’t get my blood sugar to the highs it reached on days I ate junk but didn’t work out. In other words, the device showed that working out allows you to cheat a little with your diet.