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Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool

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Author Topic: Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool  (Read 80841 times)

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Pip

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Re: Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool
« Reply #45 on: March 11, 2010, 09:02:04 AM »

Todd, not sure if you would know but I've been wondering whether CO and CM may not be beneficial for someone who is more prone to low rather than high blood sugar. I'm thinking it may not be such a good thing for me. As of today, I'm not going to use it for awhile.

Jbird, I'm just curious: were you experiencing some kind of side effect from the CO/CM?
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Heidi 555

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Re: Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool
« Reply #46 on: March 11, 2010, 05:03:41 PM »

Jbird -- I'm curious too.  Coconut oil keeps me up at night if I take it late in the day.  I think that it revs my thyroid.  I have to be careful not to take too much of it.  Also, I love CO, CM, and cream.  So I think that they might not work for me because they're like an addictive dessert.


Pip -- you definitely have a talent for summing things up well!  I also like this post of yours from another thread:
Quote
Pick your poison:
High carbs => diabetes
High protein => liver & kidney problems
High Sat. fat with carbs => heart disease
High Sat. fat, low carbs, low-ish protein => ???
It made a good point in a humorous way.  It made me think about how it's a good idea to pick your diet based on what diseases you're prone to. 

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to lose 20 pounds (from about 140 to 120)
Dropped from size 8-10 to size 4
I'm 5' 4.5"

Read about my success nose clipping regular food instead of doing oil or sugar: http://boards.sethroberts.net/index.php?topic=5903.

Jbird

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Re: Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool
« Reply #47 on: March 11, 2010, 05:35:57 PM »

Pip, I was noticing my blood sugar would drop much lower after using coconut oil and coconut milk (Todd noted a similar effect), and I think whereas that's good if someone tends to have higher blood glucose readings, for me it was compounding a hypoglycemic tendency, so I'd end up in the 70s an hour later. Today I used heavy cream and didn't have the dramatic drop. So I just don't think it's a good thing for me to use coconut products.
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TalkingRat

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Re: Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool
« Reply #48 on: March 11, 2010, 08:57:41 PM »

Heidi, thanks for the welcome, and thanks, too, for the link to Pip's appetite levers.  Pip, I have enjoyed reading all your links! 

JBird, it sounds like a good idea to switch to something where you won't have to worry about the glucose drops.  A sudden drop doesn't feel good for me, either; once I start dropping, I tend to keep going.  But I've only noticed it twice, so I've been using hunger to decide whether to start with VCO coffee vs. food.  But I also wanted to try adding protein to breakfast, so the last two days I began with a balanced breakfast, before VCO coffee, and it seems to have improved AS.  
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NTB

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Re: Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool
« Reply #49 on: March 14, 2010, 03:44:04 PM »

Pip, I was noticing my blood sugar would drop much lower after using coconut oil and coconut milk (Todd noted a similar effect), and I think whereas that's good if someone tends to have higher blood glucose readings, for me it was compounding a hypoglycemic tendency, so I'd end up in the 70s an hour later. Today I used heavy cream and didn't have the dramatic drop. So I just don't think it's a good thing for me to use coconut products.

Jbird and Pip,

I'm not sure that it is necessarily a bad thing to have your blood sugar drop into the 70s.  I know that in certain situations this is bad, for example if one is a diabetic or has reactive hypoglycemia.  However, low blood sugar may be a good sign for most of us.

In this light, I've recently done an experiment twice regarding the effect of high intensity exercise on blood sugar.  In both cases, I started my day out fasting, skipping both breakfast and lunch, and having only some water or tea with coconut milk, and went for a mid-day run.  In both cases, my run lasted about one hour and I was really pushing it to the limit of speed.  So I was out of breath by the end of both runs, these were not casual jogs.

Here are my BG measurements from the two runs:

Start run   92   95
End run   152  157
15 min    123   138
30 min    112   124
45 min   112   96
90 min   91   --
170 min   --   68
300 min  --    74

I also found that when my BG dropped into the 70s and lower, that adrenaline kicked in (I could feel it) and stabilized my BG from dropping any further.  This is exactly what happened when I take CO or CM and my BG drops below 80.  The adrenaline kicks in, which is mobilizing glucose from the glycogen stores and stabilizing my blood sugar.

Now why does BG spike so high during intense exercise and then drop so quickly, whereas with a casual walk (as Seth has noted) BG just drops a little and never spikes?

I think the answer is that with intense exercise, the need for glucose and fatty acids exceeds the rate at which it can easily be supplied from the limited volume of the blood stream, so adrenaline, glucagon and other stress hormones kick in to free up stored energy.  The body overcompensates a little, expecting that there is going to be a higher than usual demand -- so BG goes quite high.  However, once the intense exercise stops, adrenaline secretion stops and insulin briefly turns on to shunt the excess glucose and fatty acids (no longer needed) back into storage.  In this case, the insulin is good, it is just replacing fuel that was temporarily taken out of storage, putting things back where they started.  But notice how quickly the BG comes down (much faster than after a meal) and then stabilizes at a new, lower equilibrium -- around 70 vs. where it was before exercise, in the 90s.

I've noticed that if I can drive my BG into the 70s or 80s, either with exercise or CO, they tend to stay there.  And on both days when I kept my BG low, I lost weight overnight  I also measured elevated ketones in my urine using Ketostix (familiar to anyone who has tried the Atkins diet), which is another indication of fat burning.

What I'm getting from this is:
1.  Transiently high or low blood glucose measurements are not as significant as absolutes, but need to be interpreted in the context of what is happening.
2.  The body can adapt to lower (or higher) average BG measurements as it "learns" what it needs, e.g. based on dietary intake and exercise.
3.  Low BG may be OK, as long as it is stable.  The body will tend to stabilize it by using adrenaline and glucagon to free up glucose from glycogen or convert fats to glucose in the liver (from the liberated glycerol).

So you might consider tentatively seeing how comfortable you are with a lower BG level.  I've found that I have adapted fine to a lower BG level.  From some preliminary research, it looks like athletes and certain non-Western populations get by just fine with BG levels around 70 or even less.  But I want to research this more and get other opinions.

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Jbird

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Re: Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool
« Reply #50 on: March 14, 2010, 06:23:49 PM »

Thanks, Todd, for sharing your results and interpretations. I think I'm adapted to having low blood glucose, which seems to be my natural state and is probably genetic, but I'm not sure there's any virtue in using coconut milk or oil to further encourage suppression. I don't know that taxing one's adrenaline glands is a good thing. I don't think adrenal exhaustion is accepted by western medical science as an actual condition, but I've seen references to that on alternative health sites and they are always negative. I guess what I'm saying is that I agree the body is adaptive, but I'm not sure that stressing the adrenal glands is a good thing in the long run. Since my blood sugar readings aren't in the high range, I don't see any benefit to using coconut milk/oil to bring them down further. Yesterday my BG was 66 after a low-carb breakfast that didn't include any coconut products. I haven't tried testing after exercise yet.
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NTB

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Re: Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool
« Reply #51 on: March 14, 2010, 06:43:35 PM »

Jbird,

I agree with you.  If you are already at 66, there is no point in going any lower.  And I also agree that there is no point in taxing the adrenal glands.  My thought is that CO or exercise are useful to initially help lower BG if it is higher than desirable, but once low enough, it should be able to self-stabilize.  So CO and high intensity exercise are available as occasional corrective measures, to be used only as needed.   

I think my other point (mainly for others with higher blood sugar levels than you) is that a BG of 70 should not be necessarily considered too low.

Just out of curiosity, do you feel your average BG has come down a bit since you started measuring, or do you think 65-75 was your "normal" range prior to any dietary measures?  In other words, do you think you now have a "new normal" range?

Todd
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TalkingRat

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Re: Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool
« Reply #52 on: March 14, 2010, 08:07:03 PM »

Todd, 70 is a guideline for hypoglycemia, but I've often seen guidelines lower than 70, too.  There are ethnic differences and more importantly for us, individual differences, as well as differences for the same individual.  The thing that's missing from your definition is "with symptoms."   Hypoglycemia is suspected, but not defined, by a number.  The number helps people be alert to symptoms, and it's really the symptoms that define an episode of hypoglycemia.  An individual who gets symptoms at 60 may get symptoms above 70 if the drop is sudden.  With exercise, the balancing act of glucose and insulin may result in several rebounds; the article below suggests post exercise, insulin sensitivity can continue for up to 48 hours after exercise.  The article is a review of studies about exercise hypoglycemia in non-diabetics.  While insulin sensitivity is a positive effect of exercise, when it causes hypoglycemia it isn't positive.  From the summary: 

Quote
Exercise hypoglycemia is a cause of fatigue or exercise cessation, but also impairs thermoregulatory adaptation and is assumed to fragilize muscles and tendons for traumatic events.

http://www.alfediam.org/media/pdf/RevueBrunD&M2-2001.pdf

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Jbird

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Re: Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool
« Reply #53 on: March 14, 2010, 08:54:14 PM »

Todd, I think I was always low and the glucose monitoring confirmed what i suspected about how I react to sweet and starchy foods. I don't know if these things are related, but I am also low in all these areas: thyroid, blood pressure, metabolism, body temperature, and heart rate. My Mom is similar and I think her Mom was too. So I don't think anything I'm doing now has changed anything in my constitution, just given me a clearer picture of how to eat in order to avoid roller-coaster ups and downs.
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kt

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Re: Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool
« Reply #54 on: March 15, 2010, 11:06:41 AM »

Glad to hear that CM can substitute.  Gained weight this week, having kicked coffee and creamer, even though I was still fasting.  Haven't started exercising yet - want to work out the coffee/creamer issue.

Started EVCO with a little Silk to emulsify - will switch to much cheaper CM tomorrow (in green tea, not coffee).

:)
Kate
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slc

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Re: Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool
« Reply #55 on: September 15, 2010, 10:19:09 AM »

I find this topic *absolutely* fascinating. But the last post was from March - is there still activity on this but elsewhere? I'm really impressed by people's willingness to explore this kind of thing - really great info guys!

INSULIN
It's clear I'm going to have to read up on (and finally pay attention to) the role of insulin in all of this. I've looked over some of this earlier - Todd clearly has done a lot of research - but generally my eyes simply glaze over after a few lines. I'm scientifically inclined but somehow that topic is really tough. Perhaps there's a comic book version available? :D

OIL
I'm new to the whole SLD thing and am going to just stick with ELOO for a while (though I bought some other oils to slowly introduce - some day I'll post a photo of the oil options at Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco: it's a jaw dropping top-to-bottom self of different oils - the olive oil is elsewhere...). But the advantage for me is that my changes have been relatively simple: just the oil in the two-hour window.

IMPACT OF OIL
However that oil is having at least one profound effect: I'm not sure if weight-loss is happening yet, but I've certainly lost my appetite for foods that "spike" me - probably insulin and/or BG? For example I don't even think about the donuts left out after meetings (I used to sneak three or four), or check out the Gummy Bears, or over-indulge in ice cream (actually I've had zero since starting SLD - effortlessly). I have ALSO lost some of my urge for coffee (specifically that double-espresso I just had to have every morning). I'm still drinking strong tea as part of breakfast, but if my coffee urge goes away this will be HUGE - I've been a coffee addict since High School.

CALM
Also, with the ELOO, I now feel a weird calm after drinking it. Perhaps that's the lowered BG after CO/CM that Todd mentioned?

Anyway, with a monitor device I'll understand better, and be able to experiment more precisely.

EPINEPHRINE (?) ABILITY

Plus, I have an added motivation: I'm somewhat of a 'freak' in that I'm able to consciously spike my epinephrine (I think that's what it is). I'd like to understand more about what I'm really doing. When I've posted elsewhere I generally get no interest or feedback - probably because it's just too weird and obscure for folks. If I can measure BG and see a result when I do my "thing" I might be able to backtrack to a likely explanation (epinephrine is just a guess based on symptoms).

Here's the short version of what I do: I do some non-physical and hard-to-describe 'thing' inside, and I feel a certain buzz that's like anxiety or fear (but with no emotional aspect at all). My blood pressure goes way up and my pulse gets erratic, and - this is great for parties - my pupils dilate quite a bit. It takes a bit of effort (though I can't say where I'm applying that effort, exactly) and I feel somewhat exhausted afterward.

So, again, measuring at least the sugar in my blood might give me a clue.

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NTB

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Re: Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool
« Reply #56 on: September 15, 2010, 01:33:23 PM »

I find this topic *absolutely* fascinating. But the last post was from March - is there still activity on this but elsewhere?

slc,

Thanks for the great post.  Unfortunately, the discussions on blood glucose monitoring on this thread (and the SLD site as a whole) have dried up recently -- but maybe you can get them kick-started again!, I do think that measuring your blood glucose is a great way to gain insight into what is actually happening in your body.  It is a great way to empirically test any hypotheses you might entertain about what diet and exercise are doing for you--rather than just believing what other people say.  Monitoring is a lot easier and less painful than you might think. with the newest monitors (e.g. Freestyle Lite). The meters are inexpensive and so are the strips -- if you buy them on Amazon.com instead of in the pharmacy.  Try it!

Quote
INSULIN
It's clear I'm going to have to read up on (and finally pay attention to) the role of insulin in all of this. I've looked over some of this earlier - Todd clearly has done a lot of research - but generally my eyes simply glaze over after a few lines. I'm scientifically inclined but somehow that topic is really tough. Perhaps there's a comic book version available? :D

There is no real "comic book version" that I know of, but I can recommend several sources:
1.  A very clear explanation of the role of insulin in weight management is the appendix of the Fast-5 e-book, which you can download: http://www.fast-5.com/
2.  My own version is posted on the "Diet" page of my blog, "Getting Stronger":  http://gettingstronger.org/diet/
3.  A fuller scientific exposition in "Good Calories, Bad Calories", by Gary Taubes.  Chapters 21-24 are especially illuminating, and written for the intelligent lay reader.

I should warn you that not everyone agrees about the role that insulin plays. I was made aware of this by "bleeding" who posts occasionally on this forum. There is a more recent "contrarian" movement, based on recent research, exemplified by James Krieger, which disputes the conventional wisdom about the role that insulin plays in energy metabolism and hunger.  The arguments are more sophisticated, but if interested, check out: http://weightology.net/weightologyweekly/?page_id=319.  I disagree with James, but he is an intelligent and tenacious debater.


Quote
IMPACT OF OIL / CALM
I don't even think about the donuts left out after meetings (I used to sneak three or four), or check out the Gummy Bears, or over-indulge in ice cream (actually I've had zero since starting SLD - effortlessly). I have ALSO lost some of my urge for coffee (specifically that double-espresso I just had to have every morning). I'm still drinking strong tea as part of breakfast, but if my coffee urge goes away this will be HUGE - I've been a coffee addict since High School....Also, with the ELOO, I now feel a weird calm after drinking it. Perhaps that's the lowered BG after CO/CM that Todd mentioned?

I was a 2-3 cup a day caffeine fiend too, but was able to give it up 3 years ago, and my energy level is MUCH higher today...it never bonks.  If you can go cold turkey for 2 weeks, you'll be there too.  There is a whole suite of strategies that, alone or in combination, work to stabilize your blood glucose and improve insulin sensitivity.  This leads precisely to the "calm" you describe.  These strategies include:  (a) SLD; (b) low carb / ketogenic diets; (c) cutting back on stimulants like caffeine; (d) intermittent fasting to enhance your ability to readily access fat and glycogen stores; and (e) periodic high intensity exercise to improve insulin sensitivity.  These strategies work in isolation, but work even better in combination.  I advise gradualism, since cold turkey can be rough for many people.  Despite any short term pain, the long term gain is so incredible that I would never go back to the old dietary habits.

Quote

EPINEPHRINE (?) ABILITY

Plus, I have an added motivation: I'm somewhat of a 'freak' in that I'm able to consciously spike my epinephrine (I think that's what it is). I'd like to understand more about what I'm really doing. When I've posted elsewhere I generally get no interest or feedback - probably because it's just too weird and obscure for folks. If I can measure BG and see a result when I do my "thing" I might be able to backtrack to a likely explanation (epinephrine is just a guess based on symptoms).

Here's the short version of what I do: I do some non-physical and hard-to-describe 'thing' inside, and I feel a certain buzz that's like anxiety or fear (but with no emotional aspect at all). My blood pressure goes way up and my pulse gets erratic, and - this is great for parties - my pupils dilate quite a bit. It takes a bit of effort (though I can't say where I'm applying that effort, exactly) and I feel somewhat exhausted afterward.

So, again, measuring at least the sugar in my blood might give me a clue.

That's a great ability, but I don't think you are a freak in this respect.  Insulin and adrenaline are highly responsive to psychological factors. This short term response is highly amenable to conditioning (and deconditioning, as I discuss on my blog).  One of the most amazing things I learned is that hunger precedes a drop in measured glucose.  So the lower glucose doesn't cause the hunger; the hunger causes the drop in glucose.  Psychology is the cause, not the effect! This is counterintuitive, but  I think this is a point that very few understand, but it has been proven by studies.  It opens up huge potential for self-improvement, without reliance on drugs or special diets.  I would definitely be interested to see what your self-monitoring reveals, slc!

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Sanchiaza

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Re: Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool
« Reply #57 on: September 15, 2010, 06:21:50 PM »

Re coffee - shortly after I started SLD (with oil) I lost the taste for coffee completely. This has also been mentioned by another poster (I think it was sargeantrom, but I may be mistaken) and quite a few people have commented on changing tastes - lol, this may even be approaching statistical significance!
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slc

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Re: Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool
« Reply #58 on: September 15, 2010, 06:53:45 PM »

Some great comments - will definitely check it out and start my own tests.

Re the 'calm' thing - I just realized (duh) it feels *just* like when I started the blood pressure medicine Lisinopril (and have since stopped, mostly because I don't like pills). I'll have to dig out my blood pressure tester and check it out. Along with my BG monitor - oh, I was all ready to send off for one but decided to hold off for a bit; it's expensive (esp the strips even used a few times a day). I'm going to ask a diabetic friend if she has any ideas (though likely insurance or at least pre-tax money pays a big part).

Anyone else with a history of high blood pressure have a bp drop when taking the oil?

slc
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NTB

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Re: Blood glucose monitor as a weight loss tool
« Reply #59 on: September 15, 2010, 07:07:01 PM »

... my BG monitor - oh, I was all ready to send off for one but decided to hold off for a bit; it's expensive (esp the strips even used a few times a day). I'm going to ask a diabetic friend if she has any ideas (though likely insurance or at least pre-tax money pays a big part).

Expensive?

On Amazon.com, the meter is $10.99:
http://www.amazon.com/FreeStyle-Freedom-Glucose-Monitoring-System/dp/B001G66JNE/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1284602243&sr=8-4

A box of 50 strips is $25.95:
http://www.amazon.com/Freestyle-Lite-Order-Strips-50-Count/dp/B0028AD63I/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1284602243&sr=8-7

So for about $40 (including shipping) you are set to monitor your blood glucose 3 times a day for more than 2 weeks, or twice a day for 3 weeks.

For what you'll learn about your health, it seems like a pretty good deal to me. And if you learn that you can eat less, then after a few skipped meals you'll have recouped your investment.

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