I’m a Type 2 Diabetic and in September of 2013 I decided to control my blood sugar levels by adopting the Paleo lifestyle and the results have exceeded my expectations as evidenced by the fact that my A1C measurements have been indistinguishable from someone who is not a Type 2 Diabetic but being the man of science I am, I decided to really test out how well my body has adapted to insulin sensitivity by performing a short experiment and I’ll share these results in this post.
When I decided in September 2013 to stop taking my medication (Janumet) and adopt the Paleo lifestyle I first kick started my body by going on an extremely low calorie diet for 1 week that had scientific roots in a clinical study performed by Newcastle University.
This diet is not for the faint of heart and consists of only 700 calories a day and requires consumption of only vegetables and 3 shakes per day (complete diet details can be found here). It’s not an actual fasting diet in the truest sense of the word but it’s as close as you can get. Its a low carb, no meat, no dairy, no processed foods, no sugars, no grains, no fruits, no alcohol type of diet and I’m not going to lie, it’s tough. But I noticed phenomenal results when I first employed it and I wondered what would happen now if I tried it again.
I didn’t “need” to do this as my A1C measurements and fasting blood sugar measurements were within the normal range but I knew that I still had an insulin sensitivity that caused my blood sugar levels to spike if I intentionally ate grains (which I was prone to do to test my body). I wondered if I could improve my insulin sensitivity by going on this diet for a few days so that is what I did.
I was on this diet for 4 days starting on 11-APR-16 but when I finished I occasionally ate foods that I knew would spike my blood sugar levels (fried chicken/duck, potatoes, rice, corn, etc.).
The graphs below show my morning and evening blood sugar levels before, during and after this diet experiment. The days preceding the diet are marked in blue, the days on the diet are in black and the days after the diet are in red.
The first observation from this experiment was that during the 4 days I was on the fasting diet my fasting (morning) and bedtime (evening) blood sugar levels were almost identical. This is not too earth shattering since this low carb/low caloric diet should have kept my blood sugar levels stable since I still have a functioning pancreas.
But the real surprise was the week after I went off the fasting diet. Notice that my morning blood sugar levels were significantly lower for about a week (magenta rectangle). It should be noted that the morning blood sugar measurement in the green ellipse happened after a dinner the night before of fried duck wings when my evening blood sugar measurement was 258 mg/dL.
So, what did I learn?
I think this fasting diet has some real benefits and I should try this again for a longer duration. It was obvious that my body responded the week following this diet but then my insulin sensitivity reverted back to its normal level. I would obviously desire that my morning blood sugar measurements would be in the 70 – 90 mg/dL range than the 90 – 100 md/dL range so maybe staying on this diet for 10 days may yield longer-term benefits.
It’s obvious that I’ve met my goal of controlling my blood sugar levels without medication but my stretch goal is to eventually get my body back to the point where my insulin sensitivity level is on par with someone who doesn’t have Type 2 Diabetes. Don’t misunderstand me, I’ve seen the benefits of the Paleo lifestyle and I’ll never go back to eating grains but I’d like to know that my body has “reset” to the point where my blood sugar levels are in the normal range when I unknowingly eat something that will spike my blood sugar levels. I only have 1 pancreas and I want to keep those beta cells happy so they don’t die off and I turn into a Type 1 Diabetic.