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One hour blood sugar: Key to carbohydrate control and reversing diabetes

Posted Aug 01 2011 10:20pm

Diabetics are instructed to monitor blood glucose first thing in the morning and two hours after eating. This helps determine whether blood sugar is controlled with medications like metformin, Januvia, Byetta injections, or insulin.

But that’s not how you use blood sugar to use to prevent or reverse diabetes. Two-hour blood sugars are also of no help in deciding whether you have halted glycation , or glucose modification of proteins the process that leads to cataracts, brittle cartilage and arthritis, oxidation of small LDL particles, atherosclerosis, kidney disease, etc.

So the key is to check one-hour after-eating (postprandial) blood sugars, a time when blood glucose peaks after consumption of carbohydrates. (It may peak somewhat sooner or later, depending on factors such as how much fluid was in the meal; protein, fat, and fiber content; presence of foods like vinegar that slow gastric emptying; the form of carbohydrate such as amylopectin A vs. amylopectin B, amylose, fructose, along with other factors. Once in a while, you might consider constructing your own postprandial glucose curve by doing fingersticks every 15 minutes to determine when your peak occurs.)

I reject the insane notion that after-eating blood sugars of less than 200 mg/dl are acceptable, the value accepted widely as the cutoff for health. Blood sugars this high occurring with any regularity ensure cataracts, arthritis, and all the other consequences of cumulative glycation. I therefore aim to keep one-hour after-eating glucoses 100 mg/dl or less. If you start in a pre-diabetic or diabetic range of, say, 120 mg/dl, then I advise people to not allow blood glucose to go any higher. A pre-meal blood glucose of 120 mg/dl would therefore be followed by an after-eating blood glucose of no higher than 120 mg/dl.

No doubt: This is strict. But people who do this:

–Lose weight from visceral fat
–Heighten insulin sensitivity
–Drop blood pressure
–Drop HbA1c and fasting glucose over time
–Reduce small LDL and other carbohydrate-sensitive measures

By the way, if you inadvertently trigger a high blood sugar like I did when I took my kids to the all-you-can-eat Indian buffet , go for a walk, bike, or burn the sugar off with a 30-minute or longer physical effort. Check your blood sugar again and it should be back in desirable range. But then learn from your lesson: Eliminate or reduce portion size of the culprit carbohydrate food.

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