Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers, Part 2

Sometimes things aren’t always what they seem.  Context is important.  Could it be that your fasting blood sugar number is not a problem?  Well, it could depend on your post-meal and Hemoglobin A1(c) results.  Read on..

Blood glucose chart

THIS IS “Part 2” and the first update to a post I wrote about my surprisingly high glucose serum test results that I appropriately entitled, My Blood Sugar Numbers Confound Me, Part 1.

I was both confounded and surprised because my diet is pretty darn excellent, particularly concerning those pesky, debilitating high glycemic carbs that proliferate the Great American Diet.

As is my tendency, I’ve been digging into the matter, trying to figure out how I could possibly have a fasting glucose serum of 100 mg/dL (milligrams per decilitre), which, dear reader, is pre-diabetic!

If you haven’t read My Blood Sugar Numbers Confound Me, you may wish to do so before continuing so that you can have context for the rest of this post.

The first thing that occurred to me when I got my blood test results was that both my father and uncle (his brother) developed adult-onset diabetes, which is called “Type 2 Diabetes”.

I always thought that they both contracted that disease in their 60s because they ate crap, were overweight and didn’t exercise, but now I’m wondering if they had a genetic predisposition to type 2 diabetes and therefore would have gotten it even if they ate and exercised…ahh… well… like me?

More testing and research was needed, and I dove into both.

As the video in “My Blood Sugar Numbers” describes, I borrowed my sister’s glucometer and began testing my blood. I’ve been testing fasting blood glucose, and one and two hour post meal, the detailed results of which I’ll share in a future post.

But I can tell you now that, although some measures (mostly new supplements) I’ve taken have not moved the needle much in the right direction for the fasting blood glucose number, the one and two hour post meal numbers have been in a really good range, between 115 and 120 mg/dL so far.

Acupuncturist and practitioner of integrative medicine, Chris Kresser thinks this is ideal, as his chart shown below shows:

Kresser ideal blood markers

(Source)

In addition to the favorable post meal blood glucose numbers, I have another blood measurement marker that’s in my favor.

Note in the chart above that “marker” termed Hemoglobin A1(c). This measures how much glucose permanently gets glycated (bonded) to hemoglobin in red blood cells. This measurement roughly indicates your average blood sugar over the previous three months, and the higher it has been over the past three months, the more likely it is that glucose (sugar) is permanently bonded to hemoglobin, which is not a good thing.

Hemoglobin A1(c) is expressed in percentage terms because it’s measuring the percentage of hemoglobin that’s bonded to sugar.

The acceptable range is 4.8 to 5.7%

Mine was 5.3%. Ideally, it would be lower, but 5.3% is fine.

So, let’s sum up what we have so far about my blood glucose:

1. At 100 mg/dL, fasting glucose serum is high
2. At 115 – 120, post meal glucose serum is ideal
3. At 5.3%, A1(c) is fine

If #2 and #3 is good, why the poor result with #1?

Back to Chris Kresser…

Turns out, I may not have to worry much about this. In Why Your Blood Sugar Isn’t Normal, Chris gives me an excuse to be less concerned. He reports that it’s not uncommon for people on restricted carbohydrate diets (like me) to have high fasting glucose serum numbers.

Why?

Chris says very low-carb diets will produce elevated fasting blood glucose levels…

“Because low-carb diets induce insulin resistance. Restricting carbohydrates produces a natural drop in insulin levels, which in turn activates hormone sensitive lipase. Fat tissue is then broken down, and non-esterified fatty acids (a.k.a. “free fatty acids” or NEFA) are released into the bloodstream. These NEFA are taken up by the muscles, which use them as fuel. And since the muscle’s needs for fuel has been met, it decreases sensitivity to insulin. You can read more about this at Hyperlipid.”

(Source)

Now, it might be convenient for you to wave away your high fasting glucose serum number, muttering something like, “Gee, I haven’t eaten a pizza all week, so I must have a low-carb diet.”

Not so fast. You need to also look at your post meal and Hemoglobin A1(c) numbers too. If you legitimately are on a low-carb diet and both the post meal and A1(c) numbers are good, then it could be that your situation is accurately described by Chris’ explanation quoted above.

If you don’t know your blood numbers, I advise that you get some blood work done. Check with your doctor and/or examine the Life Extension Foundation blood panels.

As for me, I’m going to continue to explore ways to lower my 100 mg/dL number.

One way to do that, as suggested by Dr. Mark Hyman, is to end my intermittent fasting practise, which I’ve done, mostly. Now, I add fish oil and blended veggies to my morning protein drink. (For more tips from Dr. Hyman, read this free pdf report: How to Reverse Diabetes.)

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for updates about the importance of knowing your blood numbers.

In subsequent posts, I’ll report about some other unhappy blood result I got in my last Life Extension test, such has high VLDL, Pattern B LDL Density Pattern, high inflammation markers and low thyroid indications.

Yeah, surprising… but good to know it so I can do something about it. And I will!

Ciao.

P.S. If you have yet to read Part 1, click the button ==> Part 1

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Joe Garma
 

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 6 comments
65matt - February 12, 2014

Great post! I bought a meter and got similar results. 93 before lunch, 193 1hr after, and 109 2 hrs after.

I too am eating low carb or slow carb. Haven’t been able to lose fat. I started drinking this Cinnamon Apple Spice tea (unsweetened) a few weeks ago. I don’t use stevia in my tea anymore since it’s pretty sweet by itself.

Since I made this change, I don’t have as many cravings, so I’ve been snacking less and drinking less alcohol. I’ve been able to stick to the diet better, even on cheat day. I’ve been losing weight. My theory is that the stevia I was using before, and alcohol/snacking were increasing my insulin resistance, and the cinnamon is lowering it. What do you think?

Reply
Joseph Garma - February 12, 2014

Hard to know, Matt. The variable that is actually helping now w/ the weight loss might not even be one that you’ve considered.

Stevia shouldn’t increase insulin resistance, at least not in modest doses. Alcohol and snacking (assuming the snacks are high glycemic) will boost blood sugar and over time that could cause insulin resistance.

Irrespective of insulin, consider that you may be losing weight simply by having reduced the calories associated w/ your former drinking and snacking, and this could be particularly true if most of this was done at night when you’re no longer active.

Reply
Alexander - February 26, 2015

Great and informative blog!…I’m looking forward to new information and I appreciate you keeping the material in layman’s terms…

Reply
Cory Judge - January 14, 2017

Hi Garma On Health,
Just wanted to let you know we referenced one of your articles for our post: https://www.facebook.com/ponderawellness/posts/1850039151939217

Really enjoy your blogs as it fits right into what we do, and would love to use for more references in the future if that is okay with you?

Thank You
Pondera Wellness

Reply
Joe Garma - January 14, 2017

Hi Cory. Yes, feel free to refer your readers to my blog posts. We all love readers!

Reply
Cory Judge - January 14, 2017

Great and thanks Joe, and thank you for the great content!

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