Starting my N=1 experiment.
  • mbuna13mbuna13
    Posts: 644
    Ok, I threw this under advanced just so I don't scare away anyone.

    As we all know we are all different and different foods effect us all in a slightly different way.
    The only REAL way for me to know how certain food effect me is to actually test them.

    I picked up a blood Glucose/Ketone meter and will be monitoring my morning fasting Glucose/Ketones for probably 30 days. (We will see how it goes).

    I will also be testing certain foods that might be considered safe but may be raising my blood glucose levels.

    I'm sure there will be some trial and error but the results should be interesting if nothing else. I will not bombard you with daily reading but if I find anything of interest I will try and keep you updated.

    Please keep in mind this is an N=1 experiment and whatever results I see may not be the same results anyone else sees. But this forum is about sharing.

    One of the things I plan on comparing is the ketostix (color range) to the blood ketone reading.

    Just looking at the first 2 days, but fasting Glucose is nice and low but then my Ketones are lower than I would like, but my understanding is that those on the lower carb side of SSOS have lower ketones in the morning until you start burning fat later in the day. I have not taking any evening ketone reading yet.

    Day 1  Glucose 78mg/dl  Ketones .9mmol/l
    Day2   Glocose 72mg/dl  Ketones .7mmol/l

    This morning's first experiment is my Bullet Proof Coffee with my normal morning vitamin mix.

    I have heard rumor that those that do IF (intermittent fasting) can still have BPC and still be considered fasting. Interesting concept.

    I suspect if anything my tasty little chewable vitamin C pill (mmm orange) may cause a spike.

    We shall see.
  • rsjorsjo
    Posts: 309
    ooh interesting - looking forward to seeing your results!  I've been contemplating doing the something similar - I have a blood glucose machine but not the ketone i suppose is the best bet?
  • mbuna13mbuna13
    Posts: 644

    Yes you can use Amazon. There are also some sites that will send you one for free. Just google "free glucose meter"

    I know of 2 that do both Glucose and Ketones.

    Precision Xtra
    Nova Max Plus

    I've heard good stuff on both. I think the precision may be a bit more accurate. I actually have both but am currently using the Nova Max as I was able to find the test strips for less but will continue to shop.

    I tried places like the diabetes wholesale website. But I hear places like Canadian online pharmacies are cheaper still.

  • mbuna13mbuna13
    Posts: 644
    Last week (6-22) I tested my Bullet Proof Coffee and my typical morning suppliments.

    There was a small rise in Blood Glucose Level (BGL) but nothing too alarming. It was up about 10 points from my fasting BGL but then stayed in that range for the next 2 hours. Also the meters can be off a few points. As my BGL stayed around 95 for 2 hours I think my fasting number may have just been a little low.

    Results: Bullet Proof Coffee did not significantly affect my Blood Glucose Level.

    This week (6-29) I tested the Quest Protein bar.
    These bars use Isomalto-Oligosaccharides (100% Natural Prebiotic Fiber) This is not suppose to affect your BGL. This bar also has Erythritol (a sugar alcohol)
    I ate the Strawberry Cheesecake flavor.  25 Carbs of which 17 are fiber and 6 are sugar alcohol.
    Subtracting fiber gives us 8 net carbs, but we are also suppose to be able to subtract sugar alcohols so that brings us to 2 net carbs.

    Unfortunately for me (remember this is an N=1 experiment and your miles may vary) the bar spiked my BGL by 49 points.

    I don't eat a lot of these bars but they are convenient to have on the go. But I guess I will have to find another on the go food.

    Results: Quest protein bar raised my BCL 49 points. For me, this is not a low net carb source.

  • tomlevine1tomlevine1
    Posts: 501
    Fascinating! Please keep us posted.

    ...Interesting how the Quest bar affected your blood glucose.  Do you believe that your blood spike was the result of the sugar alcohol in the bar, do you believe it was the result of the fiber, or 'other'?
  • Yes, keep us posted. Do they have an insulin meter yet? How long after you eat do you test?
  • mbuna13mbuna13
    Posts: 644
    @tomlevine1, that is the same question I had. The bar has the fiber and sugar alcohols in it. :(

    Of the 25g of carbohydrates listed the fiber, sweeteners break down as follows

    Isomalto-Oligosaccharide (IMO)  17g
    Erythritol 6g
    Then Sugars 2g (which I'm guessing is the Lo Han Guo and the Stevia)

    Since the majority of the carbs are from the fiber (IMO) I'm guessing this is the culprit. But I will have to test Erythritol by itself.

    Strangely my DH tested a bar and really didn't get the spike that I did. That is why it is important for each person to find out for themselves.

    @debrawallin I don't think they have a home insulin meter yet. I know there are urine test that you can send to a lab.

    For my test I was testing every 15 minutes for 2 hours. So the starting number on the chart is my fasting reading (chow on bar) then every 15 minutes.

    Now that I have done a few test I can test at 1 hour and 2 hours after eating to get an idea. Though for me my highest spike was at 45 minutes. So if testing other products I will probably test at 45min and then at 1:45.

    There was a group of diabetics that all tested the Quest Bars (I think it was like 12 of them). 1/2 had pretty much the same spike as me.

    Now some of their results are not perfect as some had to inject insulin before eating the bar. But I have seen plenty of other post where folks have tested the bar and had a spike.

    But as my DH and I saw, the only REAL way to know if they affect YOU is to do the test.
  • This is really interesting...but I'm a little bit (err a lot) confused haha! 

    What is the ideal increase in blood glucose levels after eating? I've read that an elevated glucose level above 140mg 2 hours after eating is not good but I haven't found any literature that explains what normal fluctuations should look like. 

    I'm assuming normal varies from person to person but does it also vary depending on your goals? Are the spikes your talking about negative because they affect your fat loss efforts?  

    In the case of the Quest bar, your blood glucose level increase by 49mg but then within an hour dropped to around your fasting glucose level. So is that ok? 

    Eek sorry for all the dumb questions...I'm a BGL newbie! :) 

  • MooseGeorgeMooseGeorge
    Posts: 579

    I too have similar questions.  And I suspect the answer varies a bit by individual.  For me it looks like if I eat SANE, low glycemic, food, my glucose raises around 20 points.  If I heat high glycemic food it raises at least 40.

    Normal ranges for fasting blood glucose are 70-100 mg/dL.  100-125 and you likely have metabolic syndrome.  Over 125 and you might have diabetes.  Note:  That is FASTING levels, mbuna shouldn't panic with a 149 after eating.  :)

    On another side note, apparently folks on ketogenic diets will run 5-10 points higher on their fasting glucose levels.  So if you are on such a diet don't panic when your numbers are a bit higher.

    As to increasing by 49 and then dropping in an hour, yes this is cause for concern.  We want to eat foods with low glycemic indices (or non-Aggressive in SANE speak).  When our blood sugar raises our bodies start producing insulin to keep up.  The increased insulin causes us to begin to develop insulin resistance.  So by eating low glycemic food we avoid the whole insulin cycle in the first place.

    Unfortunately, as we are discovering, the glycemic indices that we can retrieve from the nutrional data charts only apply to most people, not all of us. 
  • mbuna13mbuna13
    Posts: 644
    @SmithEatingSane, excellent question.

    I did also run my numbers for a "SANE" meal.

    3 eggs with cheese, an avocado and a touch of grass fed butter and some sour cream.

     I got raise similar to @MooseGeorge which was 19 points.

    My fasting blood glucose is about 85. (Which is actually better now than a few months ago 109)
  • Thanks @mbuna13 and @MooseGeorge! Very helpful! 

    Follow up question - after you eat a SANE meal, should your glucose level rise slowly and then stay elevated for a certain period of time? If it rose by 20mg but then dropped back down to your fasting level quickly, would that constitute a spike even though it didn't increase by all that much? 

    One more....I'd imagine that many nutrient dense non-starchy vegetables might cause a rise in glucose levels that is higher than 20mg. Should those foods be combined with other foods that might offset the spike? Does eating protein, fat and NSV all together have that effect? 

    Last one, I promise...what is fiber's role in all this? I thought that fiber was supposed to regulate blood sugar levels and didn't require insulin to digest but @mbuna13 suggests that this might be culprit that caused her blood sugar to spike after eating the Quest Bar. So then does fiber affect some people differently? 

    Ah so many questions! :) 
  • MooseGeorgeMooseGeorge
    Posts: 579
    I don't believe a 5 minute 20 mg rise is considered a spike.  Likewise a 6 hour 50 mg rise is still a spike.  The term spike comes from the way the glucose versus time graph looks like a spike (actually more like a steep mountain).  But a more mathematically rigorous definition might be something like "A rapid increase in glucose level significantly higher than what is seen when we eat low glycemic foods."  (Yeah I just made that up!).  The idea is your looking for a big and fast increase, causing a rapid increase in insulin.

    I would not expect non-starchy vegetables to cause spikes.  There are 2 types of carbohydrates, starch and fiber (sugar is a starch).  We don't like starch because it has a VERY high glycemic index.  We don't care about fiber because our bodies don't digest it.  I believe fiber helps "regulate" blood levels simply because when you're eating fiber you don't have as much room for the bad foods.  (As Jonathan says:  Eat so much non-starchy vegetables you don't have room for anything else.) 

    Fat and proteins will also raise your glucose levels, but starch increases MUCH more than the other food types.  Again, it's not so much that fat or protein (or even fiber) offset the spike from starch, it's that eating the other foods leaves less room for the starch.
  • mbuna13mbuna13
    Posts: 644
    Nice response @MooseGeorge. The only thing I can add is there are different forms of fiber out there. I'm guessing fiber like flax or chia seeds would not cause me to spike. But Isomalto-Oligosaccharide (IMO) is a mixture of short-chain carbohydrates which has a
    digestion-resistant property. IMO is found naturally in some foods, as
    well as manufactured commercially. The raw material used for
    manufacturing IMO is starch, which is enzymatically converted into a mixture of isomaltooligosaccharide

    It, so it seems, also has some of the same side effects of some sugar alcohols. Generally, all the digestion-resistant oligosaccharides have more or
    less adverse effects when consumed in amounts greater than permissible
    levels. IMO also have certain side effects when consumed in excess
    amounts. The maximum permissible dose of IMO that does not cause gastric
    disturbance is estimated at 1.5 g/kg body weight, which is higher than
    for any other sugar substitute. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended the intake level for IMO at 30 g/day.
    This level is expected to be well tolerated with no or least side
    effects. In case of higher dosage (e.g., greater than 40 g/day), there
    is a possibility of gastrointestinal symptoms like flatulence, bloating, and soft stool or in some cases diarrhea.

    This can be found under the brand name Vitafiber.

    It is suppose to be non digestible and not effect blood sugar.

    Now as the Quest bar also had 6g sugar alcohol and stevia and Lo Han Guo the spike might have come from one of those.

    More testing planned but I can usually on test on weekend mornings where I have 2 hours free and a fasting glucose level as a baseline.

  • ChrisChris
    Posts: 142
    Super interesting experiments, @mbuna13. Did you read of a similar one in The Four Hour Body? (You've already provided much more detail than that book, so kudos!)

    Basic question about your motivation. You're thinking the lower fasting serum glucose, the better? And that 130 postprandial is a problem? Why so?
  • Thanks @mbuna13 and @MooseGeorge for your very detailed responses! I really appreciate your patience with all my questions :) 

  • mbuna13mbuna13
    Posts: 644

    I started testing for the basic understanding of which foods/substances were spiking my glucose. ie acting like sugar in my system.

    I have given up starches and sugars but have heard that other foods can still cause spikes.

    If I am eating a food (that I think is healthy) and it spikes my glucose then I will be getting more insulin into my system than I want.
    As MooseGeorge stated "Normal ranges for fasting blood glucose are 70-100 mg/dL.  100-125 and
    you likely have metabolic syndrome.  Over 125 and you might have
    So yeah a lower fasting glucose the better.
    A blood test at the doctor showed my fasting glucose at 109 and it was circled by my doc in red as high. Not tragically high but above the normal range.

    So many product (especially sugar substituent) claim to have no impact on your glucose level. Many fibers claim that they are not absorbed in the large intestine so should not impact blood glucose.

    As for the 130 postprandial being a problem, I am not 100% sure yet. But when I tested a "regular" meal and I only got a increase of 19, I would think that a increase of 49 is at least worth looking into.

    Probably the best test, which I am not quite sure I want to do, would be to ingest some real sugar and measure from there. This is what the doctors do for a true glucose tolerance test. But of course you have to drink a bottle of that OMG way too sweet solution with 50g of sugar. Can't I just eat some Twinkies? I mean maybe a true sugar spike is 100 points so the 49 increase is really not bad.
    The idea of 50g of sugar on purpose to me seems like taking a person who has given up alcohol, then having them drink a 5th (750ml) of vodka just to see if it really makes them feel as krappy as they remember.

    So as for motivation, since I am trying to avoid sugar I also want to avoid food that acts like sugar in my system. This will probably take some time to narrow down all the culprits.

  • ChrisChris
    Posts: 142
    I totally understand why you want to lower your fasting blood sugar, but wonder why you care about your postprandial. Are they related?

    I thought fiber was (inEfficiently) converted by gut bacteria into things we can digest, including medium-chain triglycerides, which would eventually raise blood sugar a bit (despite a story that MCTs cannot be stored as fat). So I'd extrapolate to guessing that all food raises blood sugar. I'm super interested to hear your continuing research results!

    Your "acting like sugar" reminds me: "keto" adherents (among others) claim "excess" protein raises serum glucose via gluconeogenesis. (The SSoS detailed this GNC but didn't mention it might raise blood sugar.) So one hypothesis is it's the protein in your protein bar that "spiked" your blood sugar. Again, though, I'm not sure 131 is a problem; arguable a primary purpose of eating is to raise your blood sugar. But maybe you're saying the lower the glucose reading, everything else being equal, the less your insulin levels, which I think we can all agree is good. So... godspeed!
  • MooseGeorgeMooseGeorge
    Posts: 579

    The reason we are measuring postprandial is we are interested in how much a given food raises our glucose level.

    Metabolic syndrome is a fancy name for insulin resistance.  My understanding is that we develop metabolic syndrome by having multiple episodes of highly elevated insulin levels.  We create insulin in response to elevated blood glucose levels.  So we try to avoid elevated blood glucose levels as a mechanism for avoiding metabolic syndrome.  And we try to avoid elevated blood glucose levels by not eating foods that increase our blood glucose levels a lot.  So we measure our postprandial blood glucose levels for different foods so we can figure out which foods raise our blood glucose a lot, and which raise it only a little.  In @mbuna13 's case a normal meal of eggs, cheese and avocados raises her glucose level by 19 mg.  This makes the 49 mgs from the Quest bar seem excessive.

    Jonathan sums this up quite nicely in SSoS by saying eat non-Aggressive foods.  The 'A' in SANE.
  • mbuna13mbuna13
    Posts: 644
    Chris said:

    So one hypothesis is it's the protein in your protein bar that "spiked" your blood sugar. 

    Good hypothesis and this was brought up by the CEO of Quest. The group of 12 folks that tested the bar

    were also asked to test JUST the whey protein.
    Here are their results

    Only 9 tested the whey

    As you see none of them showed a spike and in fact 4 when down on the 1 hr test and 7 when down on the 2 hour test.

    I have not personally yet tested just the protein (yet one more test yet to do) but from these results I don't think it is the amount of protein in the bar.

  • @mbuna13 any new results to report? You inspired me to order a glucose meter yesterday (free online!) and will start testing as soon as it arrives! 
  • DrCathyDrCathy
    Posts: 1,178
    Hey you guys!  Just caught up on this...I think it's fascinating stuff...thanks for sharing this info!   Of course, it's important to remember that blood glucose is a function of ingested sugar, insulin, cortisol, glucogon, and other factors at play.   This may or may not be clinically significant.  The bottom line is what happens on a macro basis, of course.   For example, my odd N of 1  "camping diet" of Quest bars and raw veggies for two weeks and insane schedule yielded a 1-2 lb probably fat loss that has remained for a week, though I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.  I wasn't hungry or tired on this diet, though.  And was expending a tremendous amount of energy at the time too.  And this isn't something I'd want to do again if there were an alternative. 

    A point to be taken from all this is probably the JERF approach continues to be optimal.  AND if somebody could design/manufacture a 30g protein truly low glycemic bar that tasted decent, they would probably make some money. 

    Great discussion! 
  • mbuna13mbuna13
    Posts: 644

    @mbuna13 any new results to report? You inspired me to order a glucose meter yesterday (free online!) and will start testing as soon as it arrives! 

    Why yes. :)

    I have tested 6g each (because that was the amount in the Quest bar) of Erythritol, Splenda and Stevia. All separately of course.

    There were no significant spikes from any of them. This leads me to think it was the Isomalto-Oligosaccharide (IMO)  17g  in the Quest bar. I do not have any to test by itself.

    I also test the dark chocolate that I have as a treat some evenings. 1 square of 85%. Also with no spike. This would have just under 1g of sugar.

    @SmithEatingSane, you will have to let us know how your tests go.
  • mbuna13mbuna13
    Posts: 644

    @mbuna13 any new results to report? You inspired me to order a glucose meter yesterday (free online!) and will start testing as soon as it arrives! 

    Any results on your new meter?

    I don't have any new results to post ATM.

    Now coming from the Low Carb side of SSOS I do strive to stay in ketosis. Yes this works great with SSOS as I can still have my 10-12 servings of NSF and stay in ketosis.

    I had been suspecting and now verified by my new Low Carb friendly doctor that I am most like having issues with gluconeogenosis. (A big word meaning too much protein being turned to glucose)

    So I only have 2 weeks of data so far but I am mapping my previous day protein intake to my fasting glucose and ketone levels.

    It is interesting but also means I need more data to know just how much protein is too much. So far I have been keeping my protein to 50g max and my ketone reading are .5 to 2.5 (I would like to see between 1 and 3 consistently)  So more testing (of course) is needed. I will update when I have more info and not just more questions.
  • mbuna13mbuna13
    Posts: 644

    I got an email today from the manufacturer of my glucose/ketone meter company... nova max.

    it seems that they decided to do a recall on a month or 2 or 3 of their test strips that were showing higher than normal glucose reading (mind you they did the recall)

    We have recently determined that some of the blood glucose test strips contained within the Nova Max Glucose Test Strip lots listed in the attached Appendix may report a false, abnormally high blood glucose result. A false, abnormally high blood glucose result could, under certain conditions, result in an insulin dosing error that could lead to a serious health risk requiring immediate medical attention. Nova Diabetes Care has decided to replace the Nova Max Glucose Test Strips and Nova Max Plus Glucose Meter Kits listed in the attached Appendix at No Charge.

    as it turns out every box of my strips was on their list.

    There are sending me new strips ( their customer service was awesome) but it will take 2 days to get new strips,

    I was SO happy to receive this email as my fasting glucose was much higher than I expected the last few weeks.  (but I am no eating ANY sugar)

    Any how since I will not get new strips for 2 day I bought a quicky meter (Walkgreens true2go) with strips that the pharmacist recommended at my (I love these folks) Walgreens pharmacy. (as all of their sticks were on the list of "BAD") btw the quick meter was $9.99 with 10 strips.

    They even took a copy of my list of bad lot numbers, saying something to the fact that the wish they had the same email I had. ( and of course I provided them with a copy)

    So.......   when i got home I did a quick comparison test.... the "bad" strips were 17 points higher than their meter.   

    I will know more when my replacement strips come in.... but geeeez if they are off by 17 then I don't feel so bad about my numbers being so high this last few weeks. (  all of my test strips were on the OMG list)

    will update as I have more info.

    It should be noted that NovaMax did the recall on their own.
  • DrCathyDrCathy
    Posts: 1,178
    @mbuna13 - You may have told us this already -- but I wonder if you also get a spike with 20g of whey protein (just with water; no fat or fiber).   

    I'm suspecting it's the whey protein in the Quest bars that are giving you the spike...
  • mbuna13mbuna13
    Posts: 644
    I have not tested the protein by itself... but did look at some other results and the whey did not cause any spikes.

    That is on my list of tests.....