4

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Paradoxical blood sugar test results (in a young healthy non-diabetic)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 21, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Okay, so a little bit of background:

I am 21y/o f who is not diabetic (although a doctor suggested I might have hypoglycemia in childhood). I check my blood glucose every morning because I need to test my equipment, approximately an hour after a bowl of oatmeal and almond milk, and I always check in at 3.8-4 mmol/l.

Since going paleo, I have of course stopped with the oatmeal. After a typical breakfast of buttered eggs and collard greens, my blood sugar clocks in at 4.5-5, more than a full point higher from a meal that contains really very few carbs.

I have been recently experimenting with the idea of waiting until I'm actually hungry to have my first meal of the day. This morning, I checked my blood sugar in a fasted state (would have been 14 hours since my dinner the night before) and my bgl was 6.1!

How can it be that the fewer carbs I consume, the higher my blood sugar? This seems to contradict everything I know about metabolism. Thoughts?

5b8cf203186c3cb7810f5046e0532be8

(166)

on June 28, 2012
at 10:30 AM

I don't think the blood sugar content is the problem on itself, but I think that the burning of glucose is the problem. The burning of glucose releases free radicals that do the damage and cause all body inflammation.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on March 23, 2012
at 11:14 PM

I am on the same boat Jen, thanks for directing me over here. I am 22, so hopefully its nothing serious, but you're never too young :(. I also find it weird that the less carbs I eat the worse my blood sugar gets, especially when fasting.

0d3873eb2dd0447baf06139e75c10252

(600)

on March 22, 2012
at 11:44 PM

Thanks those links were helpful too!

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 22, 2012
at 04:13 PM

My counsel was based on traditional medicine, not Paleo guidelines. It is true that in the Paleo community it hasn't been settled whether any spike is healthy or not. I also lean towards Jaminet's position here.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 22, 2012
at 02:03 PM

Jen, if you go this answer you'll see more links to places on Paleohacks where this is discussed. http://paleohacks.com/questions/14320/fasting-blood-glucose-increase-while-intermittent-fasting/14330#14330 You should be able to find the answers to the questions in your comment to Dave S. (My answer to you would be the same as Dave S's, by the way; but if you follow the links in what I gave you you'll find even more info I think.)

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 22, 2012
at 01:49 PM

Jen, if you go this answer you'll see more links to places on Paleohacks where this is discussed. http://paleohacks.com/questions/14320/fasting-blood-glucose-increase-while-intermittent-fasting/14330#14330 You should be able to find the answers to the questions in your comment to Dave S. (My answer to you would be the same as Dave S's, by the way; but if you follow the links in what I gave you you'll find even more info I think.)

0d3873eb2dd0447baf06139e75c10252

(600)

on March 21, 2012
at 11:58 PM

This test was done all at the same time of day, the same length of time after eating. I have only tested my bgl after breakfast (or fasting this morning) because that's when I do my equipment check. I suppose I could check at other times throughout the day for curiosity's sake. I don't think I have intolerance to any foods except for sugar alcohols or processed junk...whole foods, even neolithic ones, don't really seem to bother me except for setting off carb cravings.

0d3873eb2dd0447baf06139e75c10252

(600)

on March 21, 2012
at 08:24 PM

Hmm, that's interesting. I didn't think about the cortisol possibility. I also had a cup of coffee, that might have induced a synergistic effect. I'm not concerned exactly- 6.1 is still within the healthy normal range- but I am confused. I do eat about 100-150 carbs per day, but I try to keep them all low GI. What's the point of eating low GI foods if they spike my bgl even more than carb heavy options? I know oatmeal is a low-ish GI food, but the thing I'm looking at here is the general trend which is the reverse of what I would expect.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 21, 2012
at 07:10 PM

Biology is a complicated and wonderful thing!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 21, 2012
at 07:08 PM

Well, there is some disagreement over whether the spiking of glucose postprandially is problematic or not (Taubes/Rosedale/Eades vs Guyenet/Jaminet/Harris). I couldn't say whether it is a problem or not, but I wouldn't counsel someone as though it's settled. And I'm probably leaning toward Jaminet on this in spite of my love for Taubes/Eades.

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4 Answers

6
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 21, 2012
at 07:01 PM

The less carbs you eat, the more you are relying on burning fat (fat oxidation). This will result in an increase in free fatty acids (FFA) in the blood. An increase in FFA results in peripheral insulin resistance (ie. in your muscles). This is a normal response to spare glucose for the brain, but it can also lead to higher fasting glucose levels.

Peter at Hyperlipid notes that on a very high fat diet (80% fat or higher), his FBG is a bit higher than normal. He doesn't think it is a problem.

Also, when your liver glycogen levels fall (typical when starting a low carb diet), adrenaline and cortisol are released to bump up blood sugar and replenish glycogen from protein through gluconeogenesis. Cortisol is usually higher upon waking, but may be moreso for low carbers that haven't fully adapted.

Paleo doesn't have to be low carb - you can add some paleo carbs back in if you want.

Peter's post on this: http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2008/08/physiological-insulin-resistance.html

0d3873eb2dd0447baf06139e75c10252

(600)

on March 21, 2012
at 08:24 PM

Hmm, that's interesting. I didn't think about the cortisol possibility. I also had a cup of coffee, that might have induced a synergistic effect. I'm not concerned exactly- 6.1 is still within the healthy normal range- but I am confused. I do eat about 100-150 carbs per day, but I try to keep them all low GI. What's the point of eating low GI foods if they spike my bgl even more than carb heavy options? I know oatmeal is a low-ish GI food, but the thing I'm looking at here is the general trend which is the reverse of what I would expect.

5b8cf203186c3cb7810f5046e0532be8

(166)

on June 28, 2012
at 10:30 AM

I don't think the blood sugar content is the problem on itself, but I think that the burning of glucose is the problem. The burning of glucose releases free radicals that do the damage and cause all body inflammation.

0
Ff1dbd6cecad1e69a8234fb2c2c5c5ed

(1409)

on March 22, 2012
at 10:17 AM

Happened to me. I went from a "healthy" 84 on SAD to well over 100 on low-carb (fasting values). It crept up slowly over months and I actually avoided a lab draw for fear of being labeled diabetic. Now I am more than twice your age, so this may make a difference.

As far as I can tell, my fbg is slowly heading down again, mid-nineties these days, but I do not test every day. I put it down to my liver recovering and not working overtime any more. I still wonder if I will see 84 again.

0
13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on March 21, 2012
at 10:10 PM

you might react very differently to that same meal at a different time of day or the amount of exercise you had the day before could also play a role. Another variable is the presence (if ay) of food intolerances.

what is your BG like after other meals in the day?

0d3873eb2dd0447baf06139e75c10252

(600)

on March 21, 2012
at 11:58 PM

This test was done all at the same time of day, the same length of time after eating. I have only tested my bgl after breakfast (or fasting this morning) because that's when I do my equipment check. I suppose I could check at other times throughout the day for curiosity's sake. I don't think I have intolerance to any foods except for sugar alcohols or processed junk...whole foods, even neolithic ones, don't really seem to bother me except for setting off carb cravings.

0
De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 21, 2012
at 06:55 PM

Glucose can also be created from protein (gluconeogenesis). I wouldn't worry about the spike as long as your a1c test is normal, as in a person with a healthy metabolism glucose should only be created as needed. What we want to avoid is the environmentally induced unavoidable spikes caused by carbs. If you are really worried about it, then you can ask your doctor to order a glucose stress test. I don't know how to interpret that tests but I know that the healthy range for a fasting glucose test is different than a healthy glucose response.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 21, 2012
at 07:08 PM

Well, there is some disagreement over whether the spiking of glucose postprandially is problematic or not (Taubes/Rosedale/Eades vs Guyenet/Jaminet/Harris). I couldn't say whether it is a problem or not, but I wouldn't counsel someone as though it's settled. And I'm probably leaning toward Jaminet on this in spite of my love for Taubes/Eades.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 22, 2012
at 04:13 PM

My counsel was based on traditional medicine, not Paleo guidelines. It is true that in the Paleo community it hasn't been settled whether any spike is healthy or not. I also lean towards Jaminet's position here.

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