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Old 08-09-2012, 11:07 AM   #1
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Q: NOT fasting better for adrenals (+ cortisol, blood glucose, etc)?

Last night, I found a very interesting list of adrenal burnout symptoms:
Quote:
  • You don’t really seem to “wake up” until midmorning, even though you’ve been awake since early.
  • You get a little sleepy and “foggy” in the early afternoon.
  • You have a burst of energy around and after dinner.
  • You get sleepy around 9, but you resist going to bed.
  • You experience a kind of second wind, but then can’t get to sleep until after midnight.

In between you crave salty foods. You don’t have much energy throughout the day. You’re a little lightheaded when you stand up, get up from your desk, or get out of your car. Your muscles feel weaker than they used to. You sigh a lot.

--Al Sears, MD (website: paceliving)
Amusingly enough, last night I did get sleepy around 9 (and I often do), but I found this article around 10pm!

Fasting & intermittent fasting have been shown to offer lots of health benefits.
However, for people with "adrenal fatigue" and perhaps certain other conditions, it may not be optimal.

Something mykidsteacher mentioned recently has had me curious about adrenal fatigue & fasting, so I hope she will see this & comment!
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:19 AM   #2
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That's interesting - I know Vanessa (i forget her username ) on the main board has had that issue. I sometimes I wonder if I have it too because for the life of me I can't seem to lose much weight and I'm sleepy throughout the day.

I know you can get tested for it - but I wonder how and what kind of dr do you have to go to for it?.

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Old 08-09-2012, 11:20 AM   #3
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:38 AM   #4
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A little background: when you fast, your adrenals release cortisol which in turn signals your liver to release glucose so your blood sugar doesn't get too low. This is good; it keeps you alive!

The problem, at least for me, is that in the morning my BG is too high already ("dawn phenomenon").

Some time ago, when I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I found that fasting in the morning does not help my BG go down (I wake up with it high),
but eating (protein, not carbs! ) does.

I haven't been testing or worrying about it to much while trying to JUDDD, but I've been pretty stalled out and/or gaining the last couple months. I really enjoy IFing, so I put on my denial blinders. And hoped that things have improved since I've been taking metformin for over a year.

Today, however, I had to get up early & was out for 3 hours, so I decided to test the effect of fasting on my BG again.

7:22am: When I woke, my BG was 132*.
11:34am: 125. One hour of this time was spent driving but the other 3 were spent shopping, cooking, washing dishes, standing. That much activity *should* have lowered my BG. Plus I drank 24oz water, which also often lowers my BG.
12:20pm: 121, after another hour of housework.
Drank a non-fat** protein drink, 20-25g protein. Mix of gelatin & whey.
12:50pm: 123. Hmmm, I thought it would be going down...
1:24pm: 103. WHOOMP! THERE IT IS!!!
2:23pm: 102. !!!

*My meter reads a little high compared to lab results. So this is probably closer to 115-120.
**Tomorrow I plan to test with something high-fat.

This doesn't mean that fasting is unhealthy for everyone.
But it looks like *I* am better off having something in the morning!
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Last edited by piratejenny; 08-09-2012 at 11:42 AM.. Reason: correction
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:48 AM   #5
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I know I have adrenal fatigue and am taking a natural cortisol supplement in the morning, and I have all those *exact* symptoms mentioned in your first post. I DO eat something usually most mornings even on my DD, I find I feel much better throughout the day, can usually just skip lunch instead, or just eat some broccoli slaw. I use a little nonfat GY with a fiber supplement in it with stevia and baker's cocoa and also a little protein powder for about 200 calories total. Of course, I'm on maintenance level so I go between 500-800 calories. Yesterday I ended at about 650, that left me a good amount for dinner.
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:32 PM   #6
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This is by Chris Kresser, from his website.

I like this explanation; there are more in-depth ones out there, but this conveys the basics very succinctly.

Quote:
Intermittent fasting, cortisol and blood sugar

There’s been a lot of discussion about the benefits of intermittent fasting (IF) in the paleo community lately. Paul Jaminet mentions its role in boosting the immune system in his book, The Perfect Health Diet, and IF can also be helpful for those trying to lose weight and tune their metabolism.

From an evolutionary perspective, intermittent fasting was probably the normal state of affairs. There were no grocery stores, restaurants or convenience stores, and food was not nearly as readily available or easy to come by as it is today. Nor were there watches, schedules, lunch breaks or the kind of structure and routine we have in the modern world. This means it’s likely that our paleo ancestors often did go 12-16 hours between meals on a regular basis, and perhaps had full days when they ate lightly or didn’t eat at all.

So, while I agree that IF is part of our heritage, and that it can be helpful in certain situations, I don’t believe it’s an appropriate strategy for everyone.

Why? Because fasting can elevate cortisol levels. One of cortisol’s effects is that it raises blood sugar. So, in someone with blood sugar regulation issues, fasting can actually make them worse.

I’ve seen this time and time again with my patients. Almost all of my patients have blood sugar imbalances. And it’s usually not as simple as “high blood sugar” or “low blood sugar”. They often have a combination of both (reactive hypoglycemia), or strange blood sugar patterns that, on the surface, don’t make much sense. These folks aren’t eating a Standard American Diet. Most of them are already on a paleo-type or low-carb diet. Yet they still have blood sugar issues.

In these cases, cortisol dysregulation is almost always the culprit. When these patients try intermittent fasting, their blood sugar control gets worse. I will see fasting blood sugar readings in the 90s and even low 100s, in spite of the fact that they are eating a low-carb, paleo-type diet.

That’s why I don’t recommend intermittent fasting for people with blood sugar regulation problems. Instead, I suggest that they eat every 2-3 hours. This helps to maintain stable blood sugar throughout the day and prevents cortisol and other stress hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine from getting involved. When my patients that have been fasting and experiencing high blood sugar readings switch to eating this way, their blood sugar numbers almost always normalize.

I don’t think eating every 2-3 hours is “normal” from an evolutionary perspective. But neither is driving in traffic, worrying about your 401k, or staying up until 2:00am on Facebook. The paleo template is there to guide us, but it’s not a set of rules to be followed blindly. This should also be a reminder that there’s no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to healthcare. Successful treatment depends on identifying the underlying mechanisms for each individual and addressing them accordingly.
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:35 PM   #7
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That's interesting, pj. Thanks.
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Old 08-09-2012, 06:34 PM   #8
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Instead, I suggest that they eat every 2-3 hours. This helps to maintain stable blood sugar throughout the day
Frankly, this describes many of my DD days and I have no known blood glucose issues. I am often more likely on DDs than UDs to eat every few hours so I'll stay as satisfied as possible, and what I call a certain meal, such as "lunch", may actually be spread over two sittings. So I think I have always been answering these concerns, even back when I started in '09.

The info on health improvements is very interesting to me, and I'm convinced it's not cancelled out because of spreading calories out through the DD. Many people (and mice) have shown evidence of health improvement without compacting their calories on DDs, so I feel confident.

By the same token, anyone who doesn't happen to have the issues the Dr. writes about - to me, go ahead and have long absolute-fast times like the 18 hours.

Bottom line - it's all good. Find what makes you feel well.
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:52 PM   #9
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PJ, that coincides with what my naturopath explained to me. (and he likes IF in general). When your adrenals are already stressed/fatigued/exhausted, you don't want to make them work even harder by having to make cortisol to keep blood sugar up. You want to eat to fuel your body and give the adrenals a rest.

Def low glycemic/prot/carb based so that blood sugar levels don't have big spikes and dips, but remain level and stable.

I've been doing much better since I started having my protein smoothie every morning. On DD's, I use the scoop of protein powder, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, and water to fill the bullet cup. On UD's, I use all almond milk, and doctor it up with strawberries, blueberries, coconut oil, or whatever else strikes my fancy.

I am so much better than where I was when I started this healing journey, but I still have most of those symptoms to at least a small extent.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:56 PM   #10
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Tina, glad you dropped in!
It was your comments that got me curious about this.
Of course, I had heard of it before...the whole "eating small frequent meals" thing, to keep cortisol low...
but usually in those hyperbolic articles in women's magazines (Lose 300lbs Before Labor Day!!!!!!!!!!!!)...so I was never entirely convinced.
Also, eating/preparing 5 or 6 meals a day is inconvenient.
However, I don't think I'll necessarily need to do THAT; just eat breakfast & stay low-carb.
And being able to test my blood sugar has made it less theoretical and more plausible.

Glad to hear you are feeling better, Tina! Hope you continue to improve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyKT View Post
I know you can get tested for it - but I wonder how and what kind of dr do you have to go to for it?
Idk about what kind of dr to go to (maybe an endocrinologist?), but you can order cortisol tests online.
We even sold them at the health food store where I used to work.
You don't have to get blood drawn; it's a test that uses saliva.

IIRC, the important thing is to know whether your evening cortisol levels are elevated. So the test needs to be done at home anyway.

I just Googled "test for adrenal fatigue" & came up with lots of hits.
But I can't look into it for you now...
I am trying to get to bed earlier! Cuz it's bad for melatonin & cortisol to stay up too late!

Good night, y'all!

Last edited by piratejenny; 08-09-2012 at 08:58 PM.. Reason: punctuation
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:09 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Whitlin' View Post
Frankly, this describes many of my DD days and I have no known blood glucose issues. I am often more likely on DDs than UDs to eat every few hours so I'll stay as satisfied as possible, and what I call a certain meal, such as "lunch", may actually be spread over two sittings. So I think I have always been answering these concerns, even back when I started in '09.

The info on health improvements is very interesting to me, and I'm convinced it's not cancelled out because of spreading calories out through the DD. Many people (and mice) have shown evidence of health improvement without compacting their calories on DDs, so I feel confident.

By the same token, anyone who doesn't happen to have the issues the Dr. writes about - to me, go ahead and have long absolute-fast times like the 18 hours.

Bottom line - it's all good. Find what makes you feel well.
I agree with your thoughts on this.. eat your DD calories whenever and in whatever portions work for your comfort and good health during the course of your day. As far as weight loss goes, I don't think it makes much difference, and if you have a health issue that requires you eat often, I think that will work just fine. I've done it both ways and never noticed a dime's worth of difference for myself, but as far as I know I don't have health issues that need to be considered from this standpoint.
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:18 AM   #12
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Yes, Whitlin' has good words to take note. Most everyone doing leptin reset always have protein first thing in the morning. I started JUDDD with 30 grams of protein 1st thing upon waking while I was doing it with leptin reset.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:02 AM   #13
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One thought to add.

In the third quarter of the BBC special the other night, "Horizon: Eat, Fast and Live Longer" (youtube now), the presenter Michael says: "Mark Mattson told me he doesn't think it matters when you eat your calories on a fast day."

Now, of course I wish we had more of Dr. Mattson's thinking on that specific question in his own words. I wish he'd write a book I can afford, on a reading level I might understand. (smile - his "Diet Brain Connection" is a neuroscience textbook that starts at $145 used).

Also, obviously Dr. Mattson wasn't addressing anyone's blood glucose questions, just what works for his aim - longevity and health markers. Still, I found it helpful to hear "the" expert say, for his purposes, fast-day cals eaten in any way will work. That's very reassuring to anyone who has additional reasons for certain schedules.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:32 AM   #14
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:54 AM   #15
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THANK YOU! Whitlin!
I will quote this on the ADF benefits thread, because Beverly and I were curious as to how the Fast5'ers & LeanGains folks were coming up with a window? Something tells me that they may do it for simplicity? Or who knows?

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Old 08-10-2012, 08:36 AM   #16
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Since I'm retired and have all the time in the world, I'm going to spend the day doing a little experiment. This is a Down Day for me, and I'm going to eat 'about' 35 calories at the top of every hour. I started at 7:00 am and will have my last 35-calorie feeding at 10:00 tonight, so 16 mini-feedings throughout my DD, with calories totaling 560 tops, and probably somewhat less than that, as a few of my little meals are a bit under the 35-cal limit. So well within a DD weight loss range. I set the timer on the kitchen oven, which I can hear from all over the house, for the top of each hour. I won't miss a meal!

I'm interested in how well this controls any feelings of hunger or even how slight appetite responds to this schedule. Some of these little mini-meals will be larger in quantity than others, some fluids that I will drink down, sipping, and some that will offer some needed chewing.

I'm having a hysterically fun time on ******, planning out various things that I can consume for only 35 calories. What a hoot! I'll post on the *DD - What are you Eating* thread sometime later.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:43 AM   #17
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Pat, NOW, this is a wonderful idea!

Thanks for being the "hamster" for our scientific research.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:59 AM   #18
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Pat, NOW, this is a wonderful idea!

Thanks for being the "hamster" for our scientific research.
I think once the actual figuring is done, the rest is going to be very, very easy.

I made a little batch of *something vaguely Italian..* with plain tomato sauce, a sprinkling of mixed Italian seasoning, a tiny sprinkle of garlic salt, shirataki noodles snipped into tiny pieces, chopped zucchini, and shredded fresh spinach. The batch was about 105 calories on ******, but it's divvied up into three little saver tubs for three little mini-meals today. I'll make a pumpkin pie shake too, and divide it into portions of 35 calories each.

This shouldn't be a very hard way to do a Down Day as far as the calorie consumption goes. On DDs when I'm out and about, doing a lot of running, I'd just have to figure easy *take with* foods, but that's certainly not a biggie.

I have always been one who didn't have a lot of appetite in the earlier morning hours, so not big on breakfasts, and after eating a first meal, my appetite was turned on by that, so it will be interesting for me to see how all of that plays into this day. So far, so good.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:26 AM   #19
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Pat, you crack me up and I can't wait to see your results! I'm still torn, myself, as to whether or not dividing up the calories throughout the day or eating them all at once is a better idea for controlling appetite :P
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:45 AM   #20
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Pat, you crack me up and I can't wait to see your results! I'm still torn, myself, as to whether or not dividing up the calories throughout the day or eating them all at once is a better idea for controlling appetite :P
LOL

Well, so far it's easy. But I will say, as far as an appetite goes.. it hasn't kicked in much yet. If it wasn't for that timer on the kitchen stove, I'd miss my mealtimes!

I'm thinking on this subject from the standpoint of the advice they always give about pain control... stay ahead of it! Don't wait until the pain get bad before taking your pain meds. So I'm trying to objectively observe how *staying ahead* of appetite by these little feedings works to keep hunger at bay on this Down Day.

It may not be quite fair though as I've been JUDDDing for a long time. I don't have a lot of undue hunger on the DDs anymore anyway, but I will say I am far more prone to wanting to snack and nibble as the afternoon wears on and in the evenings, so I'll assess that today. Scientist Pat.. So Happily at your service.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:45 AM   #21
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Just FWIW...for me this is not about controlling appetite
(not sure how/why the conversation took that turn ).
It's about reducing cortisol.
Which, in turn, I hope will improve my blood sugar readings and sleep patterns.

I do not intend to eat every couple hours, but do more of a Leptin Reset thing...eat every 5 hours.
Maybe a few nuts walnuts/pumpkin seeds or my gelatin drink between meals, if necessary (if bg is going up).

If I do IF or JUDDD, I have to find a way that doesn't aggravate my diabetes or insomnia.

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Old 08-10-2012, 10:10 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piratejenny View Post
Just FWIW...for me this is not about controlling appetite
(not sure how/why the conversation took that turn ).
It's about reducing cortisol.
Which, in turn, I hope will improve my blood sugar readings and sleep patterns.

I do not intend to eat every couple hours, but do more of a Leptin Reset thing...eat every 5 hours.
Maybe a few nuts walnuts/pumpkin seeds or my gelatin drink between meals, if necessary (if bg is going up).

If I do IF or JUDDD, I have to find a way that doesn't aggravate my diabetes or insomnia.
I understood this, but I am thinking the way it got turned into eating all day on DD, ...may have had more to do with our search for the "reason behind the window" for leangains and fast5ers??? Okay, now I am confused. I admit I have ADD and have read too many different sites this morning.

Nevertheless, Pat is an experimenter today! LOL!

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Old 08-10-2012, 10:17 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piratejenny View Post
Just FWIW...for me this is not about controlling appetite
(not sure how/why the conversation took that turn ).
It's about reducing cortisol.
Which, in turn, I hope will improve my blood sugar readings and sleep patterns.

I do not intend to eat every couple hours, but do more of a Leptin Reset thing...eat every 5 hours.
Maybe a few nuts walnuts/pumpkin seeds or my gelatin drink between meals, if necessary (if bg is going up).

If I do IF or JUDDD, I have to find a way that doesn't aggravate my diabetes or insomnia.
Oh.. sorry. I didn't mean to threadjack here. I think it started in my mind when Whitlin' mentioned being more likely to eat in several small meals on DDs and how that seemed to be more satisfying.

I don't have diabetes though, but am hypothyroid. Is that an adrenal issue?
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Old 08-10-2012, 10:19 AM   #24
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Interesting experiment Pat. Looking forward to the results.

To the doc/test question. You'll be better off with a naturopath or natural minded doc. The medical establishment pretty much doesn't recognize adrenal fatigue as "real". Until the adrenals are non-functional. And then it's too late to do anything about it. They also reject saliva testing for the most part. The cortisol test is done with saliva, and yes, you can buy it yourself online. Lots of labs offer it and send a report with the results.

And PJ, you don't have to cook those mini-meals. A few apples slices and almond butter can be enough to keep the bg up in between. Make lunch, eat half at noon, half at 3. Just be aware of having protein with each mini meal.

I do fine from breakfast to lunch (8-1), but need to eat again around 3, and then supper is around 7.
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Old 08-10-2012, 10:20 AM   #25
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Pat, often thyroid and adrenal issues are linked. And symptoms can be similar.
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Old 08-10-2012, 10:36 AM   #26
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Thank you, Tina.
I'm actually trying to my keep bg *down*, not up.

As I found yesterday, protein can be used to make my bg go down.
Assuming I'm underdstanding all this correctly...If my bg stabilizes after eating, but then goes up again after 3-4 hours, it may mean my cortisol levels are rising. Eating a little bit should put the kibosh on that.

OTOH, eating breakfast may be the only thing I change right now.
Don't need too many things to obsess over!

Last edited by piratejenny; 08-10-2012 at 10:50 AM.. Reason: grammar
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:06 AM   #27
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btw, I wasn't aware of the "benefits of fasting" thread;
I hope it doesn't seem like I started a "benefits of NOT fasting" thread
to be contrary!
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:05 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piratejenny View Post
btw, I wasn't aware of the "benefits of fasting" thread;
I hope it doesn't seem like I started a "benefits of NOT fasting" thread
to be contrary!
Nope, I know you aren't a contrarian. I am hoping to see your answers here, as well as for other JUDDD budds!

I love the "benefits of fasting", more than I love to eat my fav foods forever EOD. That's enough reason for me.

Last edited by sunday; 08-10-2012 at 12:50 PM..
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:24 PM   #29
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I posted my experiment over in a thread of its own. LOL Didn't want to threadjack anymore here. But, the day was great!
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Old 08-11-2012, 08:01 AM   #30
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PJ, I guess I should have said "keep your bg stable", rather than up.

Evening out those highs and lows is really important. And yes, I would assume that if your bg goes up after a few hours, it would indicate cortisol has been released to signal the liver to get to work.

I've seen mention in lots of places about too much protein being converted into glucose as well. It just gets so complicated so quickly.

I stumbled across a site, "Paleo for Women", that looks into the effects of different eating plans on women. There was an article that talked about differences between men and women, and that basically, there is very little research done for women. Almost ALL of the studies were men only. And there is a small bit of research that shows women may respond VERY differently, and in some cases completely opposite.

I haven't spent much time there, but thought it might add something to this conversation.
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