How should I interpret and apply CGM data?

By Dr. Stephen Phinney and the Virta Team

The use of continuous glucose monitors (CGM) serves a variety of purposes and depends on the individual. They can be used to adjust medications, dietary intakes, etc. CGM has its most obvious application to people managing their diabetes with diet and medications. If one does not have diabetes, then CGM offers a detailed perspective on glucose responses to meals and exercise.

But it needs to be viewed in perspective to avoid ‘glucose neurosis.’ Two examples of this are:

  1. It is well known that the body’s early response to exercise is a rise in glucose, often above the 100 mg/dl upper limit of normal, and even in keto -adapted people. This leads to uncomfortable and unnecessary anxiety that could be avoided if the individual were educated in the normal glucose response to exercise.
  2. People using CGM often worry about ‘spikes’ in blood glucose within the normal range (e.g., from 75 to 95 mg/dl). These can occur for many reasons, (a meal containing a modest amount of carbohydrate, running to catch a bus, a near miss driving in traffic — caused by adrenaline), and they are by definition ‘normal’.

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