Blood Sugar Responses Compared

I asked a friend to be part of an experiment which involved him poking himself with a needle most of the morning. And he agreed. We are both fat adapted (me for 15 months and him for more than 6 months).

We both started fasted from the previous night (no breakfast for myself or my friend). We both ingested 50 g of Whey Protein (IsoPure Zero Carb Protein Powder) at the same time and measured our blood sugar responses over the course of the same morning.

I am a Type 2 Diabetic who has their Blood Sugar “under control” via diet and am no longer on meds. I am 57-years old and do some exercise (CrossFit) five times a week for the past two months.

My fried is a Tri-athlete in his mid-30’s. He’s not a Diabetic and runs frequently.

Here’s the two responses to the same amount of Whey Protein:


The results were very interesting.

  1. His fasted (starting) Blood Sugar number was higher than mine. We’ve compared numbers before and noted this same thing. We did not use the same meter since we were looking for relative differences not absolute values.
  2. After ingesting Protein, the Tri-athlete’s blood sugar went down. My blood sugar (the Type 2 Diabetic) went up.
  3. His Blood Sugar returned to normal much more quickly than mine (less than 2 hours. Mine took over three hours to return to normal.

I am not sure if his Blood Sugar went down due to him not having Insulin Resistance. If his Insulin went up in response to the Protein it could have driven his Blood Sugar down. Since I still have some degree of Insulin Resistance my Blood Sugar doesn’t go down nearly as well.

Support for this idea comes from (“Liver Metabolism“):

Overall, gluconeogenesis is stimulated by glucagon and
epinephrine and inhibited by insulin, as observed most
dramatically in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, in
which uninhibited gluconeogenesis contributes significantly
to the hyperglycemia.

Insulin favors oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate and, therefore, also indirectly tends to diminish gluconeogenesis.



Protein Turns into Cupcakes?

Dr Fung makes the following statement on this webpage (Why Low Carb Is High in Fat – Not Protein):

Once again, these amino acids are absorbed into the portal circulation and directed towards the liver where excess amino acids get turned into glucose.

Turns out the process is much more complicated. To be fair Dr Fung may be simplifying the process for his readers, but the process is more like this (which is probably still an oversimplification). From (Amino Acid Metabolism and Synthesis Explained):

Amino acids that are in excess of the body’s needs are converted by liver enzymes into keto acids and urea. Keto acids may be used as sources of energy, converted into glucose, or stored as fat. Urea is excreted from everyone’s body in sweat and urine.

So it is not quite as simple as Dr Fung lays it out. And keto acids are exactly the goal of any Low Carb diet, ie, the production of ketone bodies. We know that the production of glucose from ketones is necessary to feed brain cells (and some other cells) since they don’t get glucose from carbohydrates when we are on a ketogenic diet. In the absence of any dietary carbohydrates we may actually need more Protein to fuel this very path.

Are the Low Protein LCHF folks then making a serious mistake with very low levels of Protein? Are they relying on studies for necessary Protein levels where subject were not in Ketosis? I will bet a donut they are.

What is the basis for “in excess of the body’s needs”? On what timeframe? Is that per day, meal, hour?

Body Fat Measurement via BodPod

Well, I got the answer I was looking for. I went to the West Virginia University Human Performance Lab and had my body fat percentage measured with the BodPod.

My numbers came back as:

  • Body Fat: 25.3%
  • Current Weight: 193.3 lbs
  • Lean Body Mass: 144.4 lbs

So to get to my 15% Body fat number, I need to get to:

144 x 1.15 = 166 lbs

So I still need to lose 27 .25 lbs. I should be able to do this if I stick with the PSMF diet for the next few months.

Which Metric does it Correlate Best with?

The USN Calculator puts me at 25.0% Body fat. That’s very close to BodPod number and is much closer than both the caliper method (17%) and my body composition scale (30%).

What about Exercise Factor?

The whole idea about muscle vs fat is oversold. According to Lyle McDonald an untrained person can put on something like 2 lbs of muscle in a month. And that is for someone young, etc. But let’s assume that in 3 months I can actually put on 6 lbs of Lean Body Mass as muscle. That would put my LBM at:

144.4 + 6 = 150.6 lbs

At 15% Body Fat that would be

150.6 x 1.15 = 173.2 lbs

So there’s only a bit of leverage with the muscle. Instead of having to cut weight to 166 I could cut weight to 173.2 lbs. Either way, that’s still 20 lbs down from where I am now. And that’s the maximum amount possible.

Put another way, that 6 lbs of LBM gain results in 7.2 lbs less of fat loss needed. It does help somewhat with Base Metabolic Rate.


PSMF – A Day’s Food/Supplements/Exercise/Biometrics

I’ve completed a day of logging everything with CRON-o-meter. Here’s the data entry part:

Bio-metrics were Weight, Body Fat percentage (from the scale), Body Temperature (used to determine if metabolism has dropped) and Blood Glucose.

Exercise was logged (CrossFit with warm-up and the resistance training portions).

Finally, the food I ate was carefully and completely logged. So how did I do compared to my goals? For overall calories I overshot by 2%. That’s great since I should never go under with PSMF.

The overall breakdown was also pretty good. I went under on my fat and over on my protein which balanced each other out. I did not exceed the carbohydrate number (net grams less than 20). That put me at a net deficit of 1131 calories. That would be about 2 lbs per week of loss.


Logging your numbers

I’ve been using spreadsheets to log my food, weight and other numbers.

A co-worker introduced me to CRON-O-Meter which is a good website for doing this logging. They have a lot of tutorial videos.

The site has a lot of standard food nutritional values and allows macros to be easily tracked. You can also enter weight, body fat percentages and exercise.

Here’s a screenshot of the site.

Electrolytes, Water Retention, Low Carb Diets

Low Carb Diets reduce the Insulin load on the body. They are also known for requiring more electrolytes. Here’s a study that shows that salt levels are directly impacted by Insulin levels (J Clin Invest. 1975 Apr; 55(4): 845–855. The effect of insulin on renal handling of sodium, potassium, calcium, and phosphate in man. R A DeFronzo, C R Cooke, R Andres, G R Faloona, and P J Davis).

Another related subject (Metabolism. 2011 Jul;60(7):965-8. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2010.09.005. Epub 2010 Oct 30. Low-salt diet increases insulin resistance in healthy subjects. Garg R1, Williams GH, Hurwitz S, Brown NJ, Hopkins PN, Adler GK.)

Low-salt diet was significantly associated with higher homeostasis model assessment index independent of age, sex, blood pressure, body mass index, serum sodium and potassium, serum angiotensin II, plasma renin activity, serum and urine aldosterone, and urine epinephrine and norepinephrine. Low-salt diet is associated with an increase in IR.

Replacing Hi-Lyte Electrolyte

Electrolytes are important and a Low Carb diet tends to run down electrolytes. To compensate, I have been adding Hi-Lyte to my water, particularly in relation to exercise.

Hi-Lyte has the following composition in one 4.06 oz (120 mL) bottle:

Chemical mg Servings Tot g
Potassium 150 48 7.2
Sodium 125 48 6
Chloride 375 48 18
Magnesium 45 48 2.16
Zinc 3 48 0.144

The Potassium, Sodium and Chloride in the bottle are equivalent to the following measures:

  • 1 Tablespoon of NoSalt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt

The Magnesium can easily be replaced with supplements.

The cost of this mixture is much cheaper than the Hy-Lyte ($39.99 on Amazon for three bottles).

NoSalt is $5 for 239 servings (1/4t per serving). This recipe uses 12 servings. 239/12 = 20 bottles per NoSalt container. That’s 25 cents per bottle.

Sea Salt is even cheaper at $3 for 357 servings (1/4t per serving). This recipe uses 12 servings. 357/12 = 29.75 bottle per Sea Salt container. That’s 10 cents per bottle.

So to get the Sodium, Potassium and Chloride components costs around 35 cents per bottle.


Cost of Protein

Attempting to gather the cost of various forms of Protein.

Store Product Unit
Martin’s Boneless
4 26 0.48 3
Walmart Chicken
4 26.64 0.53 19.3
Martin’s Large Eggs 1.99
12 6 0.66 5
GNC Whey
22 50 1.14 1
Walmart Ground
4 28 1.23 1
Walmart Turkey
4 26 1.30 0.5
GNC Casein
27 25 1.30 1.5
Martin’s Cod 5.49
4 23.71 1.45 4.07
Martin’s Ham 4.99
4 18.33 1.70 14.25
Martin’s Shrimp 8.99
5.3 18 2.34 1