Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Experimental Diet Day 3

Unfortunately, yesterday's glucose bounce-back was not a fluke. I measured 101 this morning. I didn't take any omeprazole yesterday morning so that probably isn't the cause, although I'm still curious about its effects.

One hypothesis is that the liver and possibly some other organs can make glucose out of non-carbohydrates - it's called gluconeogenesis. Once you stop taking in sugar, gluconeogenesis kicks in, but according to my wife the doctor it might not kick in right away. So the 75 reading after day 1 might have been before my gluconeogenesis got going. [EDIT: A different mechanism - breakdown of stored glycogen - happens in the liver far before gluconeogenesis. It would be this glycogen breakdown that would be responsible for short-term, overnight glucose production.]

But gluconeogenesis is a costly process and if you continue not to eat carbs, it eventually runs out of steam. Then your body gets energy from ketone bodies instead of glucose. That's the point when your blood glucose is supposed to drop and stay down. So it may take a few more days.

Another possible explanation is that I did eat a very small amount of carbs the night of Days 2 and 3. It wasn't much - three or four tortilla chips - but it could have thrown things off because it was so late.

I also learned that the experimental diet I'm eating is well known to medicine and is called the ketogenic diet. It's a treatment for epilepsy, but nobody really knows why it works.

The experimental diet is harder to stick to than I thought it would be. Slim Jims are kind of a guilty pleasure and I thought I'd enjoy them as a regular snack for a while, but I really don't want anything to do with them. I am definitely craving sugar. A guy retired from our lab today and they brought in one of those big, fancy sheet cakes with about an inch of frosting on it. I almost didn't go into the room, and when the tributes were over and the cake was cut, I had to leave.

The ethics of this diet are interesting.  I stated before that I was a kinda-sorta vegetarian for a few years because I wasn't convinced that it is OK to kill an animal for food when there is other food available. And I really didn't like factory farms - I still buy free-range chicken and grass-fed beef when I can get it. But what if not eating meat is harming my health or even shortening my life? If so, there's a tradeoff that must be made, that I never considered before.

I was also curious as to whether I'd feel any different on this diet. Objectively, two things happened (warning: bodily functions.) One is that the very regular schedule by which I, as Borat would put it, make dirt, is altered. You know when you're waiting for a train that is usually on time, but for some reason it skips a couple of stops? That's what is happening. The other thing is that when I pee, on my normal diet it foams up a lot. This is supposed to be due to proteins in the urine. It foams up markedly less now. Not sure what to make of that.

Journalist Borat Sagdiyev

I got a new package of test strips and lancets so I am ready for the hourly testing tomorrow. Tonight I will eat nothing after dinner so as not to interfere with my "fasting" glucose test tomorrow morning.

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