A CGM for weight loss provides real-time insights into how food and other lifestyle factors affect glucose levels.
In this article, we’ll explore how CGMs work, how they can be used for weight loss, and weight loss programs that offer this technology.
What is a CGM?
A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is a wearable medical device that measures the body’s glucose (or sugar) levels in real-time.
A tiny sensor is inserted under the skin, typically on the abdomen or upper arm. A transmitter then sends that data from the sensor to a receiver or smart phone.
This real-time data can help people with diabetes make informed decisions about diet, exercise, and medication.
Continuous monitoring of glucose can lead to better diabetes management and improved overall health.
The CGM has revolutionized diabetes management.
Individuals who wear CGMs have positive outcomes, including lower glucose, improved HgbA1c levels, and a decrease in complications related to diabetes.
How Can Tracking Your Glucose Help You Lose Weight?
Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology has traditionally been used by individuals with diabetes to monitor their glucose levels.
A CGM has the potential to support weight loss. Tracking glucose can be used to make adjustments to diet and lifestyle.
For example, choosing lower-carbohydrate foods or increasing physical activity will lower glucose and promote weight loss.
You can learn more about carbohydrates and a healthy weight here – “How do naked carbs make you gain weight?
CGM Benefits that Support Weight Loss
- Helps wearer identify “problem foods”
- Increases mindfulness – a large component of behavior change
- Allows users to monitor progress
- Provides accountability
- Offers access to registered dietitians and/or health coaches (when combined with an online weight loss program)
Ideal Blood Sugar Levels for Weight Loss
Below are the target blood sugar levels for achieving a healthier weight.
- Fasting: 70-100 mg/dL (glucose in the morning prior to eating)
- 2 hours after eating: Less than 180 mg/dL
- Before meals: 80-130 mg/dL
- Before bedtime: 80-180 mg/dL
The most popular CGM systems among people with diabetes are the Dexcom G6 and the FreeStyle Libre.
The Dexcom G6 is FDA-approved for adults and children with diabetes.
The device consists of a small, wearable sensor. It then transmits glucose readings to a receiver or smartphone app every 5 minutes.
The FreeStyle Libre is another FDA-approved CGM system that uses a small, wearable sensor to monitor glucose levels.
The sensor is placed on the back of the arm, and can be worn for up to 14 days.
The sensor communicates with a reader or smartphone app to provide real-time glucose data.
Both of the above CGM systems are widely used and have good reputations for accuracy, ease of use, and reliability.
How can I get a CGM for Weight Loss?
Some weight loss programs offer a CGM to help individuals understand how their diet and exercise habits affect their blood sugar levels.
You should consult your healthcare provider before using a CGM for any purpose, including weight loss.
Below are three weight loss programs that provide participants with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
Signos provides participants with a wearable Dexcom CGM and an AI-enhanced app.
The continuous glucose data makes personalized recommendations based on an individual’s glucose responses to food, exercise, sleep, and stress.
Signos provides a digital telehealth assessment, in-app access to a registered dietitian, and AI powered weight loss insight.
Overall, the Signos program takes a personalized approach to weight loss and focuses on making sustainable lifestyle changes.
The Levels program provides its’ users with a FreeStyle Libre CGM.
Levels also offers a 28-day nutrition plan that includes meal suggestions and personalized coaching from a registered dietitian.
Users can track their progress using the Levels app and receive daily feedback on their food choices and glucose levels.
The program aims to help users achieve sustainable weight loss by promoting healthy eating habits, and helping individuals better understand their body’s response to food.
Similar to the Levels program, Nutrisense provides a FreeStyle Libre CGM to track blood sugar levels.
It also offers personalized nutrition recommendations based on the body’s response to different foods.
Nutrisense also offers access to registered dietitians who educate and support users in reaching their weight loss goals.
Users can track their progress using the Nutrisense app, which allows them to log meals, track their glucose levels, and receive feedback on their food choices.
The Nutrisense program aims to help users develop healthy eating habits and learn more about their body’s response to different types of food.
Benefits of CGM Weight Loss Programs
- Offers easy access to dietitians and evidence-based nutritional content
- Provides continuous feedback that may motivate behavior change
- Helps users make more informed food choices
- Allows users to distinguish between head hunger and physical hunger
- Promotes awareness of fullness cues which promotes portion control
Drawbacks of CGM Weight Loss Programs
- Cost (average cost $300 per month)
- Time consuming
- Potential for disordered eating
- Device may be visible when worn on the arm
- CGM can disrupt sleep (alarms for low glucose, rolling over on the device)
- Involves a needle application (application involves a sensation similar to a pinch)
Whether you’re looking to lose a few pounds or make a significant lifestyle change, CGMs can be a valuable tool for optimizing your diet and improving your overall health and wellness.
You can use a CGM for weight loss to make more informed decisions about your diet and lifestyle.
The device allows you to monitor your progress, and access education and support.
For optimal results, use a CGM data in combination with other weight loss strategies, such as a healthy diet and regular exercise.
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Kathryn is a Registered Dietitian and a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She is also Certified through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Weight Management.