The results shocked me. Scared me, in fact.
So here was the experiment: I decided to test my son's blood sugar after eating Mugg n Beans Rich Chocolate cake, as he LOVES that cake and it's his go-to treat. If I ask him what he wants to eat, he will ALWAYS choose that. And I don't blame him, really, it's divine.
About once a week, or once every two weeks, I take him out for his treat of chocolate cake. He loves it, and it's our bonding time, our special "thing" that we do together. But being a low-carb coach has definitely made me terrified of doing that. I watch how much sugar he eats in that cake, and I always worry about whether his blood sugar is swinging too high and whether I am damaging him in any way.
So I decided to test. I told him we could go out for cake, BUT on the condition that he allowed me to prick his finger and test his blood sugar afterwards. He wasn't thrilled about the prospect of a finger prick, but the allure of his favourite treat eventually won out and he agreed.
I then decided I would use myself as a control. I would also eat the cake (we split it in half) and I would then test my blood sugar too.
We each got half a slice of cake. I finished my half but my son left some of his. Considering he is less than half my weight, I think this is fair.
We then went home and tested, around half an hour after the "meal".
|My blood sugar about an hour after that half slice of cake! Yikes!|
I was shocked. I tested another finger - 12.6 this time. Oh boy. I felt panicky. My heart rate went up. I paced around the kitchen. I did a few jumping jacks. I didn't know WHAT to do with myself. I was worried. What damage was going on in my body at that very moment? Who knew? Half an hour later I tested again and my reading was the picture above....yikes, I thought, it's not coming down, it's going UP!
I was busy cooking and doing a few things. Then I tested again, around 2 hours after my cake meal, and phew...it was down to 6.2mml/L.
I then went for a quick 3km run. Just to clear out and use up all that excess sugar and glucose.
So what do I make of this? Obviously a few things: eating low/very low carb affects my first phase insulin release. My body is now used to NO carbs coming in, so it didn't have much of a first phase insulin release - if at all! And I took in a LOT of sugar there, all at once. But clearly, and luckily, my second phase slowly kicked in and my blood sugar reading DID drop.
My son, who eats carbs every day, had no problem handling the rise in blood sugar. His level stayed within normal. As a mother, I am thrilled. Thank God! So the occasional treat for him is fine.
But what does this mean for me? Should I be following a low carb diet? Or is it better if I routinely include SOME carbs daily to keep my first phase insulin going? Is keeping your first phase insulin release higher better or not? I know we need SOME insulin to survive. I get that. And for someone like me who is generally busy and active, carbs may be fine. I really am confused. This whole low-carb thing has me a little confused.
For more info/insight on how insulin in a truly normal person works, read here: http://www.phlaunt.com/diabetes/14046621.php
I always think of my paternal grandfather, who lived to be 96 with all his facutlties in working order and ate carbs. Back then no one knew any different. He ate Maltabella in the mornings. Toast with jam, which he shared with the parrot. But I think the key for him was moderation. There were carbs, to be sure, but there was also activity and not stuffing your face with nonsense. There were no fizzy drinks. There was just normal amounts, moderate this and moderate that. Nothing was extreme. He was slim and independent and pretty healthy for most of his life.
I am always looking for the diet answer, and I don't have it. But I do think this: when I completely cut fat out of my diet, I suffered. I may find the same if I completely cut carbs? Who knows?