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There are a number of variables that can influence blood sugar levels after meals when living with type 1 diabetes. One of the most crucial components that will influence how blood sugars levels will behave after a meal is prebolusing. Depending on the circumstances, fast-acting mealtime insulin can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes to begin working. Injecting insulin 10-20 minutes before a meal or prebolusing can significantly lower post-meal blood sugars compared to when insulin is given at the start of a meal or immediately after. However, there are times where taking insulin ahead of time is just not feasible so what do you do? Keep reading to find out!
Dehydration can negatively impact insulin sensitivity. By simply having a glass of water before a meal can support your hydration status and insulin sensitivity while helping you slow down and give yourself a bit of extra time between your bolus and when you sit down to eat.
When utilized with intention and strategy, movement can be a powerful tool in combating post-meal blood sugar levels. Movement can be a supportive tool by increasing insulin sensitivity by getting insulin to act quicker. Whether movement is completed before or after meals, it can increase the rate of insulin absorption to reduce post-meal blood sugars.
A powerful way to reduce post-meal blood sugar spikes is through food pairing. When you add foods like protein, fat and fiber to your plate, they can slow down the rate of digestion and reduce how quickly blood sugar levels rise. If you are in a situation where prebolusing isn’t feasible, consider what foods you can add to your plate that will slow down digestion and rate of glucose absorption.
Depending on the situation, you may need to get a bit creative with your bolus strategies. For example when visiting a restaurant, you have no idea how quickly your food will be served or how much you are going to eat which can make dosing your insulin a bit complex. You don’t want to prebolus the full dose of your meal and run the risk of your meal being delayed or not eating everything on your plate. But, you also don’t want to not prebolus at all and have your blood sugars go sky high. So, you can get creative by dosing for a portion of your meal upfront through split bolusing or extended bolusing and if pumping, you can also set a temporary increased basal rate. This bolus strategy allows you to have some insulin working in your system at the time of the meal rather than none at all which can help reduce post-meal blood sugar levels.
Whether you try one of these strategies or a few, there are plenty of strategies that can be used to reduce post-meal blood sugars outside of prebolusing. For a more in depth discussion about these variables, check out Episode 39: Beating the Spike without the Pre-bolus, available now on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.