Home News The Rising Trend of Non-Diabetics Using Continuous Glucose Monitors

The Rising Trend of Non-Diabetics Using Continuous Glucose Monitors

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Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) usage trend

Justin Richard, a 52-year-old Toronto-based TikToker, known as @insulinresistant1, showcases the impacts of his dietary choices on his blood sugar levels using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). From chocolate bars to broccoli, Richard employs an array of foods to demonstrate how dietary variations can influence blood glucose fluctuations. His experiments, however, come with a twist—Richard doesn’t have diabetes.

CGMs have traditionally been used by individuals with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels. However, Richard, among others, has popularized their use as wellness tools in the non-diabetic population, especially on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. There, hashtags like #insulinresistant and #continuousglucosemonitor garner billions and millions of views respectively, fueling a trending wellness movement.

Richard explains his use of CGM as a tool to “optimize his health” and prevent chronic illnesses, driven by his family history of Type 2 diabetes. He likens the device to a “coach” guiding his dietary choices, with the intent to encourage awareness about individual blood sugar responses to foods.

Since their inception in the late 1990s by medical giants like Medtronic, Dexcom, and Abbott, CGMs have revolutionized diabetes management. Their importance is widely acknowledged, particularly for Type 1 diabetes patients, in preventing diabetic ketoacidosis. But for non-diabetics, evidence to support their use in improving overall health is scant.

Dr. Idrees Mughal, aka Dr. Idz, a UK-trained medical doctor and TikToker with over 1.7 million followers, critiques the use of CGMs by non-diabetics. He describes this trend as a “feature of disordered eating” and emphasizes that healthy bodies are designed to regulate glucose spikes. He warns about the potential risks of information overload, anxiety, and misinterpretation caused by constant monitoring of blood glucose levels.

Despite these concerns, CGMs continue to gain traction. Their increasing popularity is partly driven by new brands like Nutrisense, Veri, and Signos, which market their products as tools for weight loss or “metabolism hacks.” The catch, however, lies in the devices’ lofty prices, which, depending on the manufacturer, must be replaced every seven to 14 days. With Nutrisense’s monthly subscription starting at $225 and Signos’ wearable and monitoring app costing up to $449 per month, access to these devices can be prohibitive.

This pricing challenge also affects diabetic populations, who may struggle with insurance coverage for CGMs, especially individuals from communities of color under Medicaid, as noted by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Experts caution that there isn’t enough guidance on CGMs’ use for non-diabetics. The ADA only recommends their use for managing insulin-reliant diabetes. Dr. Idz reinforces this view, citing research that there’s no evidence that controlling blood sugar spikes contributes to overall health. In fact, he suggests that low average blood glucose levels might increase mortality risks.

Dr. Robert Shmerling from Harvard Health Publishing also points out the lack of published studies suggesting a direct link between monitoring blood glucose levels and improved health. He expresses concern that demand for CGMs is being driven more by consumers and marketers rather than doctors or researchers.

Despite these cautionary notes, the CGM craze among health and fitness enthusiasts shows no signs of slowing down.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) usage trend

Who is using continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) apart from diabetic individuals?

A growing number of non-diabetic individuals, influenced by social media trends and health influencers like TikToker Justin Richard, are starting to use CGMs to track their blood sugar levels in real-time as part of their wellness regimen.

Why are non-diabetic individuals using CGMs?

Many non-diabetic individuals use CGMs to understand how different foods impact their blood glucose levels, hoping to optimize their diets, improve their health, and potentially prevent future illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes.

What is the concern about non-diabetic individuals using CGMs?

Medical professionals voice concerns about information overload, false alarms, unnecessary anxiety, and misinterpretation of data. There is currently little to no research supporting the idea that monitoring blood glucose levels improves overall health in non-diabetic individuals. Some even label it as a form of disordered eating.

Do CGMs provide benefits for non-diabetic individuals?

While some users and companies argue that CGMs can offer insights into metabolic health and diet effects, the scientific community generally agrees that there’s insufficient research to support these claims.

Are CGMs affordable for non-diabetic individuals?

CGMs can be quite expensive, especially for those who do not have a medical need and therefore cannot use insurance to cover the cost. Monthly subscriptions can range from $40 to upwards of $449, depending on the provider and the plan.

Can CGM use potentially lead to health issues?

There is a potential for psychological distress, including heightened anxiety around food intake due to the constant monitoring of blood sugar levels. However, the physical risks of using a CGM are generally minimal.

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Mindful_eater July 18, 2023 - 7:16 pm

Seems a bit extreme to me. But, hey if it works for some people, who am i to judge?

RealMandy July 18, 2023 - 9:37 pm

im a type 1 diabetic, and it’s hard enough for me to get my insurance to cover my CGM. This just seems unfair.

TinaFit July 19, 2023 - 2:25 am

Hmm…I’d love to see more research before I’d give it a try.

LucyD July 19, 2023 - 7:16 am

Is this a joke? people without diabetes using CGMs?? Seems like an unnecessary trend.

HealthNut33 July 19, 2023 - 9:43 am

i’ve been using CGM for a month now, I think it’s really helpful in understanding how different foods impact my body… not just for diabetics i guess.

TechGuru77 July 19, 2023 - 10:55 am

its interesting to see how tech is changing the way we approach health and wellness…even if it’s a bit controversial.

LindaBee July 19, 2023 - 11:22 am

crazy expensive though…maybe when the prices come down I’d consider it.

JasperH July 19, 2023 - 11:50 am

You’ve got to be kidding me! another thing to make us feel guilty about what we eat…no thank you!

Trevor1998 July 19, 2023 - 12:39 pm

Wow, never thought of using a CGM that way! Might actually give it a try, you know.

DrHealthPro July 19, 2023 - 12:42 pm

monitoring blood glucose for non-diabetics might not be medically necessary, but I can see why it’s appealing for those trying to optimize their health.


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