My 28 Days Wearing Levels, a Continuous Glucose Monitor
I recently had the opportunity to get my hands on a Levels device – a new wearable device called a Continuous Glucose Monitor which apparently has an 800,000 person waitlist. (Thank you to the Levels team for offering it to me!) CGMs were once reserved and recommended only for people with diabetes but the team at Levels is now making them available to the general population. I wore the Levels device for 28 days and I really learned a lot about my body and my metabolic health.
The device itself is a round tab with a tiny flexible needle that you don’t feel at all. It sticks to the back of your upper arm and monitors your glucose levels 24 hours a day without the use of a finger prick blood test. You scan the device with your phone to view charts of your data on the Levels app. You take photos of everything you’re eating and the app gives a score to all of your meals. You ideally want your glucose to remain within a tight range (ideally 70-110 mg/dL) and you want to minimize or completely eliminate any spikes above 140 mg/dL.
The device was not cheap but, in my opinion, was absolutely worth the money and effort. The cost of Levels is ~$400 for the first month and $199 per month if you’d like to continue. How can you get one? Levels has given this link to Kelly LeVeque allowing people to jump the line (I’ve already ordered one for my mom).
Here is a little bit about what I learned. Please note that, of course, this is only my experience which I share only to give you a sense for what type of information you’d be able to gather wearing the device.
First - on days that I exercised for at least 45 minutes, my glucose variability was 12 mg/dL lower than days that I didn’t exercise. Wow.
Second - on days when I slept for more than 7.5 hours, my glucose variability was 5 mg/dL lower on average.
Here is a short list of foods that resulted in glucose spikes and those foods or meals that kept me within the target range.
Foods that resulted in expected glucose spikes:
- Dang Rice Crisps – these are my favorite go-to snack food but I’m going to have to cut these out! My Dangs indulgences resulted in my largest spikes over the course of the month – up to 155 mg/dL(!).
- Oat milk lattes
- Anything with rice in it!
Foods that resulted in unexpected glucose spikes:
- Sakara salad with farro and beets
- Sakara Thai burger
- Veggies roasted in extra virgin olive oil – I must have included too many sweet potatoes!)
Some foods/meals that kept my glucose levels within the target range
- My morning smoothie (spinach, protein powder, blueberries, avocado, almond butter and nut milk) kept my levels squarely within range!
- Prolon Fast Bars (also a go-to breakfast for me)
- Eggs with kale, onion and cheese
- Roasted salmon, rice and roasted veggies
- Tacos with grass-fed beef, Siete tortillas and avocado
- Coconut yogurt (I like Cocojune) with sunflower butter and pistachios
- Kosterina EVOO Dark Chocolate Bars (I was very happy this indulgence didn’t spike my glucose!)
- Am also thrilled to report that a slice of Kosterina Olive Cake did not spike my glucose either! We are big supporters of indulging and enjoying life so we try to make those indulgences as healthy as possible.
Here is what a good day looks like:
And here is what a day with spikes looks like:
You can read a lot more about the Levels device and metabolic health on the Levels Blog here. I also found this article by Dr. Peter Attia extremely helpful: Are continuous glucose monitors a waste of time for people without diabetes?
At first wearing the device was just providing me with information but over time, that information became very actionable and made me much more thoughtful about how I was treating my body with food and exercise. I’d love to hear about your experiences with CGMs if you have tried them.
Peace, love, EVOO and good metabolic health,