Monday, January 14, 2008

Diet Update

I can't get over how low my blood sugars have been!

Here's my story in a nut shell...

Last summer, on a fluke, I tested my postprandial (after-eating) blood glucose (BG). It was around 140 mg/dl. I had only had some melon about 2 hours previously. I thought the reading was high. I tested it subsequently, and found both my fasting BG in the morning, and a number of after-meal tests were high ... in the range of Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG) and Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT).

I immediately embraced an Atkins' low-carb diet. I was eating maybe 60 grams of carbohydrate a day. My blood sugars came down. I had some good side effects and some bad side effects. But as long as my sugars were under control I was happy.

Next came two severe diagnoses of cancer in people close to me. I researched dietary risk factors and found that animal protein was often implicated. I decided to stop eating animal protein. This made eating a low-carb diet challenging especially since I don't eat processed wheat and soy proteins.

I slowly introduced carbohydrates back into my diet. What I didn't reintroduce was any product made from flour, and any product with added sugar. My diet consisted of whole grains (whole oat groats, whole hulled barley, whole quinoa, whole brown rice, whole wild rice), beans and legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits (even my weakness - dried fruits!), and some oils (olive, peanut, coconut).

With that diet I have been experiencing the lowest blood sugars (and blood pressures) I've seen to date, lower than what I achieved with a low-carb diet.1 I'm now eating a high-carbohydrate diet. But, curiously, I'm not getting blood sugar peaks or valleys. I'm not experiencing hunger after I eat and I have more energy than when I was eating a low-carbohydrate diet.

I certainly did not expect this after reading the low-carb literature. Maybe I'm an exception to the rule. And maybe tomorrow I'll wake up with a 150 fasting. Who knows? But for now, a whole-foods, plant-based diet is working great for me!
1 One reason for this may be the effect of fermentable carbohydrates which I talked about here.

The photo is not of me. I'm the other gender. It's a photo of Edward Batha, who also experimented with an animal-protein-free diet, although not for the reasons I did. I don't pass as a vegan because I'm still very fond of honey. My sheepskin slippers are another giveaway.

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