Sugar and Spice and Nothing Nice: Experiments on Glucose (in)Tolerance

As I’ve been thinking about what might be interesting to my current and future readers, I wanted to be sure that I was experimenting around something that was meaningful to you. I eventually came to the conclusion that I might not be the only one who cares about glucose control.

As a result, over the next 7 months (until the end of 2019), most, if not all, of my posts will focus on glucose control. For someone like me who is predisposed to diabetes because of genetics, my goal is to find the daily actions that I can take in order to manage glucose control moving forward. I want to learn a few actions that I can take every day to prevent my high glucose levels from leading to full-blown diabetes.

Why Glucose?

Depending on who you ask, insulin resistance is the disease of the modern world. Insulin resistance, and the more easily tracked symptom of high glucose levels, is deeply connected to the disease that everyone knows (Type 2 Diabetes)1. On top of that, research has been coming out that mismanaged glucose levels may be part of the cause (or a symptom depending on the research) of many other diseases, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease2 and Alzheimer’s disease3. Additionally, higher glucose levels are one of the indicators for metabolic syndrome.4

In addition to this, glucose is a much simpler outcome to measure than many Quantified Self metrics. Although many would argue that glucose is a lagging indicator and it would be better to measure fasting insulin, IGF-1, or some other metric, those are much harder (and much more costly) to measure in a daily setting.

Because of this level of complexity, I decided that glucose, specifically morning fasting glucose would be the best metric to track regularly. A morning spot check of fasting glucose (assuming you don’t have the dawn phenomenon or Somogyi syndrome) can provide a great deal of information about the previous day’s glucose control. A better tool for understanding glucose control is a continuous glucose monitor (as long as it’s calibrated properly). But since I’m not a diabetic and don’t have any doctor friends, getting a prescription in the U.S. is somewhat unlikely. I will still try to get one though because it would be nice to understand intraday changes without constantly poking myself.

The Experiments

I’ve laid out several ideas for experiments that I plan to do over the next few months. Some of them are more exciting to me than others. As I complete and post the experiments, I will update this page with links to the posts.

  • Following my DayTwo diet recommendations
  • Ketogenic diet vs. the Standard American Diet (with intermittent fasting for both)
  • Paleo Sweeteners and the Carb Tolerance Test
  • Robb Wolf’s Carb Tolerance Test
  • Get all the tests: HOMA-IR, hs-CRP, Fasting Insulin
  • Are there any food sensitivities that can affect my glucose levels?
  • HbA1c vs. 3-month morning fasting glucose (do they match up?)
  • Home HbA1c tests vs. in-lab values
  • Sleep and glucose: does it have any effect (for me)?
  • Now vs. Then: Glucose over the years
  • Oxaloacetate supplementation for glucose management
  • Natural supplements for glucose management: Cinnamon, Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon
  • Strength Training, Cardio, and HIIT: Does exercise affect the following morning’s glucose?
  • Meditation and glucose

If you have any other glucose-related experiments that you would like me to complete before the end of 2019, please let me know.

  1. There’s a bunch of stuff on glucose, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes onset. This article from the NIH is probably one of the more simple explanations of the relationship. 

  2. There’s an article about the relationship between NAFLD here and here. In fact in the first article, it says: “Insulin resistance is pivotal for the progression of NAFLD.” 

  3. Some people have even been known to call Alzheimer’s disease “Type 3 Disease”. Here’s a great summary of the relationship between insulin resistance and AD. 

  4. A single fasting glucose level over 100 mg/dL is one of the 5 indicators. According to Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic, having 3 of the 5 indicators is enough for diagnosis of metabolic syndrome.