A Small Experiment with Blood and Sugar.

I know, I know, this is a little weird – but I don’t have diabetes and I do sometimes check my blood glucose levels…Here is what they have looked like over the past week:1I think all the times are off by almost one hour – so the real times are closer to time presented +1, I didn’t feel like changing them.

  • Wednesday (4/9)
    • 4:15 pm – 77 mg/dL
    • 6:25 pm – 110 mg/dL
    • 11:05 pm – 93 mg/dL
  • Thursday (4/10)
    • 7:25 am – 87 mg/dL
    • 9:50 am – 93 mg/dL
    • 2:50 pm – 97 mg/dL
    • 7:55 pm – 83 mg/dL
  • Friday (4/11)
    • 7:25 am – 92 mg/dL
    • 8:10 pm – 103 mg/dL
  • Saturday (4/12)
    • 4:10 pm – 84 mg/dL
  • Sunday (4/13)
    • None
  • Monday (4/14)
    • 2:20 pm – 83 mg/dL
    • 3:05 pm – 160 mg/dL
    • 4:15 pm – 160 mg/dL
    • 5:15 pm – 105 mg/dL
    • 6:15 pm – 84 mg/dL
    • 7:10 pm – 124 mg/dL
    • 8:50 pm –  74 mg/dL

According to Jenny Ruhl’s site a normal fasting blood sugar is 70 mg/dL – 92 mg/dL. Abnormally low would be under 70 mg/dL (indicating hypoglycemia) and post-meal one can expect under 120 mg/dL within the first 1-2 hours after eating and under 100 mg/dL two hours after eating.

Based on these figures it appears my blood glucose levels are fairly within range up through 4/13. So, I decided to do a little test today (ummm, you probably shouldn’t do this at home :P) and see how a significant amount of sugar consumption in a short period of time affected me.

I am a bit of a sugar addict, I have the addiction fairly under control, but in the past I would regularly consume tremendous amounts of candy – and I still do on occasion (oftentimes when depressed or bored2Which only happens at social events…I always manage to keep myself occupied.).

Many people talk about a “sugar high” followed by a “sugar crash” – and I wanted to know – does the amount of sugar I am consuming on a daily basis affect my energy levels and/or wakefulness? I don’t consume a ton of sugar – I always try to eat whole grains and so on – but there is still a decent bit of sugar in some of the items I consume – such as 100% fruit juices, ensure nutrition shakes, and cereals.

So, I consumed within a fifteen to thirty minute period this afternoon approximately 175 grams of sugar (Kris Gunnars over at Authority Nutrition reports that the AHA recommends 37.5 grams per day maximum for adult men).

You can see that I begin at a fairly normal rate for me (83 mg/dL – I hadn’t eaten anything besides cereal for breakfast), within an hour my blood glucose levels had spiked way beyond what I saw over the previous days in regards to my regular consumptions – I hit 160 mg/dL. This held true an hour later but then began to drop after a third hour passed (105 mg/dL) and again after a fourth (124 mg/dL). There was an anomalous spike in the fifth hour (124 mg/dL) which I’m writing up to a fluke in my methodology.3I’m not positive what that fluke would be, though I have a pretty good idea, but I’m not going to spend time typing it out…sorry!

Finally, in the sixth hour I hit the lower-end – 74 mg/dL.

Now, the real question is, how did this affect me? Truth be told I did not feel a “sugar rush” at all…in fact I took a nap immediately after consuming the large amount of sugar (which I had felt like taking even before I consumed the sugar). When I woke up I was at my usual level of alertness and energy. As the night progressed I did not feel any significant change in my affect, alertness, or energy levels – the sugar seemed to be passing through my system quietly.

I did notice an uptick in vocal ticks after consuming the sugar…but this may have to do more with my discomfort level with consuming so much sugar in a single setting than with any biological effect the sugar was having on me…The vocal ticks also subsided within 15 minutes.

I’ll continue to track my glucose levels, my mood, energy levels, and so on – but at this point, on a preliminary basis, I would say that (while I have no intention of increasing my sugar intake and would actually like to continue reducing it), sugar does not appear to have measurable effects, positive or negative, on my wakefulness or energy levels.

[At this juncture in my life, the largest annoyance or obstacle I am facing regarding my physical health is the excessive daytime sleepiness and discontinuous night time sleep. I’m trying to understand what is causing this and if there is anything I can do to adjust it – especially regarding diet.]

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. I think all the times are off by almost one hour – so the real times are closer to time presented +1, I didn’t feel like changing them.
2. Which only happens at social events…I always manage to keep myself occupied.
3. I’m not positive what that fluke would be, though I have a pretty good idea, but I’m not going to spend time typing it out…sorry!
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