2

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High Blood Sugar Mystery Post-exercise

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 08, 2010 at 4:09 PM

I've been eating paleo for about two years (before I knew it had a name!). Recently I started testing blood glucose levels (I'm not diabetic). Fasting levels are generally in the "normal" range (about 85 mg/dL). One hour post-eating, levels are about 100 to 110.

I decided to experiment by taking a reading after playing an indoor soccer game. Note that I play goalie, so my activity does not include running. More short bursts of motion. I imagine high cortisol levels (much like a prey item being hunted, which is why I like it, oddly...). Anyway, my level was 167 post-game. Almost diabetic levels! This on a day when I'd been intermittent-fasting (I always fast on game days). I thought the meter might be the suspect (actually Dr. Kurt Harris suggested this, I kind of wondered why there would only be one outlier, in all my tests). So I re-tested after another game. The result? 181 mg/dL!

So it appears my liver is dumping large amounts of sugar into my blood, possibly as part of a "fight or flight" norepinephrine or cortisol-mediated response.

Is this normal?

F1e5ff10797e0e35cda081a4221cb614

(346)

on January 24, 2012
at 04:34 PM

Thanks for the link gn. This post is probably more relevant in the context of this question: http://bit.ly/qSLDkd.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 09, 2010
at 02:45 AM

It could be very interesting if some of our other keto warriors out there would test their blood sugars post exercise to act as comparisons.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 09, 2010
at 02:43 AM

The relevent part here I think is the comment that insulin may help regulate liver release of glucose. For those on low carb, they probably have much less insulin circulating and this low insulin could potentially contribute to the liver releasing more glucose than it would if insulin levels were higher. THis could also contribute to the prob. I wonder if such problems might abate with continued keto adaptation? THis might be more of a prob with newbies, but I could be entirely wrong about that too.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 09, 2010
at 02:36 AM

Be sure to update us if you try it! This is interesting stuff. Seems like there is so much individual variation on these things, but then again, how many nondiabetics bother to test blood glucose post exercise? For all we know, this may be rather common.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 08, 2010
at 05:53 PM

Interesting. I, too, play many late night games. About 3 nights a week. Some games as late as 11 p.m. For those games I don't feast afterward very often. This pattern developed out of both my lifestyle and my superstitious nature. I had a lights-out great game after doing intermittent fasting and started doing it every time. The feast part comes quite naturally. About an hour or two post-game I just feel ready for a big, big meal. Wake up feeling lean. Actually, not just feeling. I can actually detect less body fat around my waist after a major post-soccer feast night.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 08, 2010
at 05:51 PM

Note that I only get about 5-9% of calories from carbs, so the idea is spot on.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 08, 2010
at 05:48 PM

Good hypothesis and suggestion for testing it. Thanks!

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on December 08, 2010
at 04:15 PM

I've been meaning to ask you. I play indoor soccer as well, about 4 times a week. I recently read that you only have coffee with cream before the game and feast after. How did you come to this idea? Sometimes I play late at night, like 10pm (ludicrous, I know). I do all my weight training in the fasted state, and love it. Thinking about giving this a go. I've been headed in this direction (tried eating longer and longer before my games, as I was feeling sluggish.

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5 Answers

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 26, 2011
at 08:34 AM

F1e5ff10797e0e35cda081a4221cb614

(346)

on January 24, 2012
at 04:34 PM

Thanks for the link gn. This post is probably more relevant in the context of this question: http://bit.ly/qSLDkd.

2
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on December 08, 2010
at 05:40 PM

The blood sugar will abate a little later when your insulin kicks in. Most of the info seems to be related to folks who are pre diabetic or Type II. I would consider seeing what happens to your blood sugar is upon wake up and then one hour after breakfast. If it spikes higher than 140...consider yourself perhaps a pre diabetic.

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Diabetes---Adult-Type-II/Rise-in-blood-sugar-after-exercise---why/show/787

You just experienced a confusing but very commonCommon coldphenomenon. Exercise does burn energy, and eventually exercise lowers blood glucose. However, even though it is said that exercise "acts like insulin" and enhances insulin's effect to lower blood glucose, exercise is not insulin. Exercise can only lower glucose when there is enough insulin available in the bloodstream to regulate the liver.

When you begin exercising, your liver produces and releases glucose into the bloodstream, to help meet the increased demand for fuel during your activity. In fact, some people are surprised to complete a strenuous activity only to find that their glucose remained the same before and after the activity. This is of course what the non-diabetic experiences: the glucose remains very constant during and after exercise, because while the liver has released extra glucose, the non-diabetic also has enough insulin to regulate how much glucose the liver releases.

In a way, your liver "has a mind of its own" and continues to produce glucose while you exercise. If you don't have enough insulin available to help the glucose get into the cells, and to regulate how much glucose the liver releases, then the net effect is that your blood glucose will be higher after exercise. Some people with diabetes will notice a significantly higher glucose rise after more strenuous activity and/or competitive sports; this is because epinephrine (adrenaline) is a hormone released during exercise, stress, excitement, or illness, and its effect is to cause the liver to release even more glucose to supply the body with the needed energy

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070406092235AAJhZLR

Exercise usually helps lower your blood sugar. This is because insulin is more effective during exercise. Regular exercise increases the number of insulin receptors on your cells. The receptors are the places where insulin attaches to cells so sugar can pass into the cells. Having more receptors makes the body more sensitive to insulin. As a result, insulin works more efficiently. This is how you are controlling your Diabetes with exercise (and diet) alone. Sometimes blood sugars go up with exercise. Especially after strenous exercise. This may happen because you are excited and are releasing a hormone called adrenaline. This is a normal response in people with or without diabetes. The adrenaline causes sugar to be released from stores in the muscle and liver and raises the blood sugar for awhile. This usually happens in the first hour of exercise.

Wait a little longer (20-30 mins) to test. You should should notice a significant difference. Since you are not on meds I will not caution you about going too low after exercise (it has happened to me)

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 09, 2010
at 02:43 AM

The relevent part here I think is the comment that insulin may help regulate liver release of glucose. For those on low carb, they probably have much less insulin circulating and this low insulin could potentially contribute to the liver releasing more glucose than it would if insulin levels were higher. THis could also contribute to the prob. I wonder if such problems might abate with continued keto adaptation? THis might be more of a prob with newbies, but I could be entirely wrong about that too.

1
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on June 26, 2011
at 12:34 PM

Short bursts of exercise don't really raise cortisol. It stays nearly the same doing bench presses and actually lowers a little when doing jump squats. I imagine it would be the same with other short burst style activities.

1
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 08, 2010
at 05:17 PM

Do you eat very lowcarb? If so, that might have something to do with it. If you eat lowcarb, then most of the cells in the body tend to resist the intake of glucose in order to preserve it for those few tissues that actually require it. The end result is that very little glucose is needed because very little glucose is used. Seems to me, if you eat very low carb regularly, abd then exercise heavily, and your liver dumps a bunch of glucose into the blood stream for use by the muscles, then that glucose may have a tendency to accumulate quickly since most tissues are not running on glucose. If this is the case, you might want to experiment with eating a bit more carb daily in order to reactivate some of your carb metabolism and see if that helps with the post exercise glucose spikes.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 09, 2010
at 02:36 AM

Be sure to update us if you try it! This is interesting stuff. Seems like there is so much individual variation on these things, but then again, how many nondiabetics bother to test blood glucose post exercise? For all we know, this may be rather common.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 08, 2010
at 05:48 PM

Good hypothesis and suggestion for testing it. Thanks!

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 08, 2010
at 05:51 PM

Note that I only get about 5-9% of calories from carbs, so the idea is spot on.

0
8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c

(2581)

on December 09, 2010
at 03:30 AM

The only explanation I can come up with is, your glycogen stores are being used and converted to glucose during exercise and fasting.

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