SAD Effect on Blood Glucose (Part 1)

I have described half of my experience wearing a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) for twenty days in my blogs CGM Study Results – Low-Carb Eating and CGM Study Results – Controlled Carb Eating. Basically, the first half of this study was a conservative verification of what I expected would happen with my blood glucose levels. The second ten-day period, I threw all caution to the wind and embarked on the Standard American Diet (SAD). For complete transparency, this wasn’t my initial goal of my research study. Being the safe, analytical researcher that I am, I had planned to continue with controlled experiments because that’s what any “good scientist” would do… things just didn’t work out that way.

Day 11

I did my second oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) on a Friday morning. The second OGTT was different than the first, as my blood sugar plummeted at the end of the study (discussed in The Dreaded Oral Glucose Tolerance Test). My final measurement was 64mg/dL, but it was obvious that my glucose continued to fall (Figure 1, CGM wasn’t initialized until midway through the OGTT). Being the stubborn person that I am, I did not want to solve that problem by ingesting more sugar, so I left the study to have the same low-carb meal that sustained me after the first OGTT. I just knew I didn’t have time to drive home, so I stopped immediately to eat. When I pulled into my local Whataburger to repeat the meal I successfully had ten days prior, my CGM “low glucose” alarms were going crazy.

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Figure 1

My food had not arrived yet, but I was shaking, hot, and nauseated, so I asked the associate if they could hurry my food along. I showed her my glucose monitor and thankfully, the she was able to expedite my order. Unfortunately, even after eating, I still had the same hypoglycemia symptoms. At this point, I knew I need to eat some sugar. The associate offered me some apples, but seriously, if I’m going to eat sugar, I’m going to eat sugar, you know? So, I ordered a chocolate chip cookie. That seemed to do the trick (Figure 2), so I headed home.

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Figure 2

By the time I got home, I felt horrible. I had plans that I couldn’t cancel, so I took a nap and that helped a little. However, my glucose was elevated during my nap (end of Figure 2), my pulse was high, and I had hot flashes. My husband and I went to happy hour and stayed for dinner. I was already on the roller coaster, so I didn’t think it would matter if I ate and drank more carbs, which I did (Figure 3).

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Figure 3

My plan was to regroup on Saturday and return to a low-carb, high-fat diet to stabilize my blood sugar.  Only problem, it didn’t work… Overnight, my blood glucose was insane (Figure 4).

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Figure 4

Day 12

My blood glucose finally started coming down and began to stabilize, although higher than normal (Figure 5 and 6).

After almost 16 hours of fasting, I ate an appropriate breakfast.  All seemed well with my blood glucose; it was perfectly stable (Figure 7 and 8), but that wasn’t enough.

After four and a half more hours, I was still struggling with cravings. We were at the bowling alley and I had a margarita with lime juice (no sugar) and continued to avoid the carbs, having just a couple of bites of mostly protein. I ended up back on the roller coaster, but this time, starting off with little waves (Figure 9).

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Figure 9

After the bowling alley, we met some friends at a brewery and I had a 10oz beer and some peanut butter pretzels. I was trying to get back on track. No such luck.  We were “off to the races” in more ways than one (Figure 10)…

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Figure 10

We went to the horse races that evening, as our dachshund was entered into the “Weiner Dog Races”. The healthy food options were limited, so I chose a burger and fries, eating 1/2 and 1/3, respectfully. I still had every intention of getting out of the carbohydrate mess I was stuck in (Figure 11).  Later, I had another margarita with lime juice and no sweet and sour (Figure 12).

My cravings were out of control, and I gave into a brownie sundae for dessert.  All hell broke loose at that point (Figure 13).  Overnight was pretty rough for me (Figure 14).

The next morning, feeling absolutely horrible, I came to the realization that Monday was Memorial Day and we had plans with friends, so what the heck…

I would just abandon ship and embrace the SAD! And, being an overachiever, I embraced it with passion! I just didn’t expect how the CGM would react to the sugar overload…

More to come in Part 2 of “A Sad Effect on Blood Glucose”!

4 thoughts on “SAD Effect on Blood Glucose (Part 1)

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