Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Experimental Diet: The End

I had to work late the last two days, so I didn't have time to write a post. But I finished the diet two days ago.

The one remaining question was whether 45 grams of sugar would give me a bigger blood glucose spike than 45 grams of whole wheat carbohydrates. These would both have to be my first meal of the day so as to have the same baseline.

If you look at my previous posts, I get about a 50-point spike in blood sugar an hour after my experimental diet breakfast of plain shredded wheat in milk (45 g complex carbs). On Monday, I just drank two big glasses of orange juice (45 g sugar) for breakfast.

After the juice I got the same 50-point spike, from 93 to 142 (close enough). That means as far as blood sugar is concerned, whole wheat complex carbs are the same as sugar, gram for gram. My guess is that the only reason whole wheat is "better" is that you're inclined to eat a lot less of it than if you ate something sugary.

I did one other measurement of interest. On Monday I experienced my usual drowsiness after lunch. Is it due to low blood sugar? Nope. I measured 124 while I was really drowsy. Maybe the drowsiness is because a lot of blood goes to my digestive tract after lunch; I really don't know. The feeling is similar to the "loopy" feelings I reported during my late-afternoon lows, but those are more likely to be because of blood sugar.

Wrapping up, the experimental diet reduced my waking blood glucose from 108 (averaged over three days) to 96 (averaged over nine days), more than a 10% drop. And there is a clear decreasing trend, so I could have taken it lower if I'd stuck to the diet.

I have three final plots. The first one is my daily waking values, which as we now know are nowhere near my daily lows. You can see the downward trend after I started the experimental diet as well as the oddball low value on the first day of the diet.

The next plot is all the measurements on a continuous time scale. I connected the points with a line if I didn't eat in between measurement; otherwise I just left them as isolated points. You can see the three days I measured after-breakfast spikes, as well as my afternoon lows in the 70s. Waking time is shaded yellow in this plot.

Finally, I plotted all the data versus time since waking. You can see the big breakfast spike, the smaller lunch spike, the smaller-still dinner spike and the fact that the overnight values are higher than the daily lows. Again, waking time is shaded yellow.

Will I change my diet based on this experiment? Yeah, I think I will. I am going to cut down on sugary snacks and desserts, cut down on starches (pasta, noodles and bread), and eat more protein, mainly ethically sourced meat. I'm also going to stop worrying about butterfat. My kids like whole milk, so that's what they're going to get. And I like ice cream, so I'll keep eating that (in moderation) and not mess around with "light" ice cream or frozen yogurt. In fact, regular ice cream should be better because the fat lowers the glycemic index compared to fake ice cream.

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