Thursday, April 28, 2016

Experimental Diet Day 4: Big Data

Today I took a blood sugar reading when I woke up, and every hour afterward. (Well, almost every hour. I was at work and things got in the way.) Fasting (morning) sugar was 97 mg/dl, trending down but still significantly higher than the Day 1 teaser of 75.

8-hour fasting values (taken first thing in the morning before eating)

On the next reading, an hour after breakfast, I had a big spike to 149, which is certainly in the normal range but higher than I expected. One thing I didn't mention about this diet is that I still eat cereal for breakfast because otherwise my bowels would grind to a halt. But instead of my usual Frosted Mini-Wheats, I've switched to plain shredded wheat. It is 40 grams of carbs. The nutrition label shows zero sugar and I can believe it; the stuff tastes like cardboard. There's a little sugar naturally present in the milk I had to add to choke down the shredded wheat.

The train arrived on schedule this morning (refer to previous post for meaning).

The after-breakfast spike decayed steadily to about 80 within 3.5 hours, which is interesting because it's significantly lower than my "fasting" value of 97. After lunch, I got hardly any bounce at all - it peaked at 86 after two hours and then decayed to 70 over the next three hours. There were only 7 grams of carbs and 3 of sugar in my lunch (roast beef and green beans), so I guess it makes sense that there wouldn't be a big spike like with breakfast.

When I hit 70 at about 5 pm, I felt a little loopy and had to eat an apple because I needed to drive home from work without passing out. 70 is 27 points below my "fasting" value of just this morning! That was certainly unexpected. One explanation for the high "fasting" value is that your liver wakes up before you do, and starts pumping out stored glucose to get you ready to wake up. So tonight I'm going to wake up and take a reading at 3 a.m. because that should be the absolute low point, before the liver has started to rev up.

Hourly blood glucose readings with meals labeled at time and by total carbohydrate content

From this I conclude that my blood sugar depends on more than just carbohydrate intake. Something else is regulating the level, and it takes a big dose of carbs (like my 46 gram cereal breakfast) to overwhelm it. And even then, the effect is short-lived. Probably the most interesting thing is that the 47 g of carbs (including some sugar from the apple) had a much smaller effect in the late afternoon than did the cereal in the morning. 46 g of carbs in the morning gave me a 54-point jump, but 47 g of carbs including the apple sugar only gave me an 23-point jump in the late afternoon. Probably the cereal was just adding to the liver's generation of glucose from glycogen that was stored the day before. But those glycogen stores have got to be getting pretty low at this point. The readings at 3 am and 7:30 am tomorrow should be interesting.

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