Measuring My Blood Glucose
diet and weight loss | genome & microbiome | metabolism
I've been tracking my blood glucose though I'm not a person with diabetes. Here is what I've learned and the difference it has made in my life.
23andMe | Bayer USB Contour
There are two different types of diabetes. There’s type I, which you get in your childhood and is genetic, and there’s type II, which you get in your later years. I found out on 23andMe that I have a very high risk of getting diabetes type II. It’s 40%, which is quite a lot, I think. Also, that I have a 65% risk of getting obese, and I tend to overeat. Everybody who knows me knows that’s right. I love to eat, and I love to eat a lot, and that’s a chief problem because that leads to diabetes type II. If your body mass index is above 35, then your risk of getting diabetes is 70%. I don’t want that, so I started tracking.
I got one of those devices that cost around €40 in the pharmacies. I took measurements after getting up in the morning, before going to bed, before I eat something and afterwards, in order to find out how it influences my blood glucose. What you do is you prick your finger, and a little bit of blood comes out. You put it on one of those devices, and then you get your results. These are my results, and as you can see, for heaven’s sake, I’m totally healthy. There is no problem at all, it’s all in the green area and you can see very clearly that the sweet spot of my body is between four and five. In order to give you an idea about the numbers, the minimum I ever got was 3.2, and the highest I ever got was 7.5, If you have diabetes type II, you’re normally above seven and if you have diabetes type I you get over 10 or 11. 23andMe, estimated that my normal blood glucose would be around 5.1, and as you can see my average number is 4.4 to 5.0, so this is correct.
I asked myself, does time matter? Is it different depending on the time of the day? It turns out that it’s not really different. I mean, of course, in the morning, it’s a little bit lower, and during the day it’s higher, but that’s only because I do not eat in the morning; I do not eat breakfast. But, there was one result that was really surprising for me and that is coffee decreases my blood sugar drastically. I measured before drinking coffee and afterwards, and it went up like one or 0.5, which is quite a lot. It stays at this high level for almost exactly 2 hours, then falls down drastically, and I get really, really hungry.
The question is, if I have not eaten anything before, where does the blood sugar come from? Without carbohydrates, what is it? The best guess I found is that it’s the liver. The liver is the biggest storage for glucose in the body, and it looks like the liver is releasing all of the sugar into the blood. And when it’s absorbed by the muscles and the brain, then it’s out and there is nothing more to come, so the blood sugar level decreases. Furthermore, it seems that it’s not caffeine. It seems that it’s the antioxidants in the coffee, because with caffeine powder it doesn’t work. Science proves this theory. There’s this study in which they look at how much coffee people drink, and the risk of diabetes. It turns out that the more coffee that you drink, the lower the chances of getting diabetes type II, which is really cool because I love coffee. So that’s a really good way to minimize my risk.
Another learning I had is that after eating protein without any kind of carbohydrates, like scrambled egg, my blood sugar went down. I asked myself why that is. And I found out that in order to digest protein, the body produces and releases insulin. And insulin is the same hormone used to digest sugar. So once you eat protein, the body releases insulin and blood sugar goes down. This is why in the gym they tell you to combine all these proteins with carbohydrates, which makes total sense. There’s the proof.
Last year, I made a little experiment. I wanted to lose weight, so I started eating 700 calories a day with no carbohydrates. Not at all, not even a little bit. As you can see, my blood sugar was stable all the time. I have no clue where the sugar comes from. There must be some kind of process in the body to produce its own sugar. There is even a little peak. It’s a miracle to me because I didn’t eat anything. All I had was green salad, meat and fish. That’s all. 700 calories a day. But it was stable.
My weight went down. I lost 7 kg in less than three weeks, so it was quite successful, but there was no effect on my blood sugar. Neither was there an effect on my strength. When I went to the gym, I had the same strength like before. When I cycled to work, I was faster at work. A surprise, because the main energy source from my body was missing. The downside was that I was in a bad mood and I wanted to kill everybody because I was hungry all the time. But this was probably because of the 700 calories, I guess.
One of the learnings I get from it is that this paleo diet where you do not take in any carbohydrates (especially no bread, no wheat, no rice) really works. You can spend your whole life eating vegetables and meat. I learned that cinnamon lowers and stabilizes my blood sugar. If I was in danger of getting diabetes type II, eating a lot of cinnamon would really help because it keeps the spikes lower. I do not have to eat it as a powder, since there are capsules like this one. I can buy it in the pharmacy and it really works. It’s a nice way to get my blood sugar a little bit more stable.
In summary, my blood glucose is much less influenced by the amount of carbohydrates I consume than I thought. My physical power is the same without carbohydrates. My brainpower was not the same, I must mention.
Herbal supplements like cinnamon or coffee, even, really work. It’s a good way for me to control my blood sugar. 23andMe’s prediction was probably right, except for the one about the male pattern baldness. That was wrong. Way wrong.