A few months ago, I participated in a week-long blood glucose study. We monitored blood glucose over the course of each day (especially before and after meals) with an off-the-shelf finger prick analysis device. Here are the results of 5 days superimposed by time of day:
Day 5 was a Saturday where I evidently had later meals. On Day 3, I had a small salad for lunch, which can be seen to cause less of a blood sugar spike.
As an exercise, we consumed 100 g of sugar within 10 minutes and took readings every 10 minutes. First of all, 100 g of sugar within 10 min makes you pretty nauseous. I don’t recommend doing it for non-experimental reasons.
I fasted after lunch and consumed the 100 g of sugar at 7pm. It took about 2.5 hours for my blood sugar levels to return to normal.
This whole experience has been interesting in many ways:
First of all, finger pricks individually don’t hurt that much, but compounded over a week, it becomes painful. I wasn’t afraid of the pricks the first day or so, but later in the week, I became more and more fearful and would tense up before each prick. I feel extremely sympathetic to diabetics who need to do this constantly. Hence, there is a huge need to develop continuous blood glucose monitors that have better user experience.
Second, I’ve known from my previous experiences that my blood sugar levels tend to run a bit high, but previously had only taken a few sporadic snapshot data points. This study has allowed me to see a lot more. I’m excited for the day we can get truly continuous information in a non-invasive way, such as with Google’s contact lens. Monitoring blood glucose and directly correlating it with food intake will be a powerful method to combat diabetes and obesity.
Lastly, I now understand a bit more about my normal blood glucose levels. I don’t believe it’s something I need to worry too much about yet, but this has motivated me to make smarter decisions around food choices, especially in decreasing carbohydrate intake. I had previously done a form a Paleo, but it was giving me other side effects (such as loss of muscle mass). Striking a balance between different nutrients to maximize energy levels throughout the day is key.
These plots were made with Plot.ly, which is pretty cool.