The experimental diet is over! F.U. FUDA!
For those interested, here are the fasting readings taken on an extremely high-carb/low-fat vegan diet vs. a low-carb/high-fat carnivorous diet. The first numbers were taken after pigging out on what were about to become forbidden foods. For example, I consumed an entire pint of heavy cream right before bed the night before the diet began. Aurora ate refined sugar, something she absolutely never does, which included chocolate-covered pretzels from the health-food-store. You can see, even despite Aurora’s erratic and unpredictable readings, that both diets appear to lower fasting glucose levels.
Although the postprandial glucose tests performed were very limited, and nothing truly can be concluded from them (we only did 1 test at the 1-hour mark on our respective diets), the postprandial tests were extremely interesting. There’s no doubt that I will do extensive postprandial glucose testing in the future.
Before I reveal any postprandial test results, let’s talk about the presumed science of glycemic response and insulin release so that we’re all on the same page.
The glycemic index is a baseline guide, one that I’ve been tirelessly critical of, that estimates the amount of blood sugar rise one will encounter after consuming 50 grams of a particular form of carbohydrate. For example, eating 50 grams of carbs from pumpkin is said to cause a larger blood glucose spike than eating 50 grams of carbohydrate from a Snickers bar. Sounds fishy don’t it?
What the glycemic index does NOT take into account is the fact that 1 Snickers bar is easy to eat in about two minutes, and supplies those 50 grams of carbs. To get 50 grams of pumpkin carb, you’d have to eat several pounds of pumpkin, which is only hypothetical as no one could even do such a thing (except for Gal Sone or Joey Chestnut perhaps) – much less pull it off in 2 minutes like a measly candy bar.
This caused scientists to come up with a concept called the “glycemic load” of certain foods. This helps account for the fact that although 50 grams of pumpkin carb might send your blood sugar through the roof, a half pound of pumpkin only contains a few grams of carbs, and has an insignificant impact on blood sugar – unlike a Snickers bar by volume. So, appropriately, a candy bar registers higher on a calculation for glycemic load than pumpkin.
The ‘glycemic impact science’ for lack of a better term also notes that the addition of fat and protein, because they digest more slowly than carbohydrates, help slow down the absorption rate of carbohydrates. All insulin and blood sugar control enthusiasts seem to be keen on this. Barry Sears, for example, has built a whole dieting paradigm around combining all the key elements: fat, protein, and carbohydrates together as part of a meal with an overall low-glycemic load. Eating the carbs by themselves, as I have done for two weeks, causes big spikes in blood glucose and therefore insulin according to Sears and countless others.
I too abided by this belief, and felt for years that eating fat and protein with your carbohydrate foods help to slow down the absorption rate and provide a slower, steadier release of blood sugar and insulin into the bloodstream. This stemmed from having fantastic results abiding by that rule per the guidance of Endocrinologist and author, Diana Schwarzbein.
Considering the above information, I leave it up to you guys to vote on which of the following two meals produced a larger glucose reading 1-hour after finishing the meal (which usually provides the highest reading after a meal).
Meal #1 was the final low-fat vegan dinner. It consisted of, by my best guess, about 200 grams of carbohydrates, if not slightly more. I had 4-5 whole wheat chappatis (like tortillas), ground fresh in my kitchen with no added fat. Each chappati had 25-30 grams of carbohydrate I’d guess with 6-7 grams of protein, and only traces of fat. I slathered two of these with 1T of raw honey each. The rest I ate plain. I also had a giant Colorado honeycrisp apple, two clementines, and 3 heads of steamed baby bok choy. I did have one tiny bite (and I mean tiny) of d’affinois cheese, Sinner!
Meal #2 was my first meal after two weeks of uber low-fat/high-carb vegan. Keep in mind this could have affected my fat metabolism somehow – maybe by deactivating some lipolytic enzymes or something. I don’t know, but take that into consideration. I ate like a competitive eater, inhaling some corporate food at Famous Dave’s. I was ravenous. Aurora said, “I’ve never seen you eat this fast.” The meal consisted of about 125 grams of carbohydrates by my best guess, tons of protein – maybe 60 grams, and probably about 60 grams of fat too. I ate ½ slab of St. Louis ribs with about 2T of extra barbecue sauce (containing about 30% HFCS I’m sure), 2 corn muffins (with sugar too – they tasted like cupcakes), 1 slice of white Texas toast, 1 ear of corn on the cob, a side of baked beans (small, and not too sweet), and a side of green beans. The immeasurable variables were the addition of refined sugar and grain, but the total carbohydrate load and glycemic load were undeniably less in meal #2.
One meal registered a blood sugar reading of 116 mg/dl at the 1-hour mark. The other registered a 176 mg/dl at the 1-hour mark – bordering on type 2 diabetic levels. Which meal provided the lower short-term postprandial reading? You make the call in the poll at the upper-right hand corner! Vote quickly so I can report the answer on Wednesday.
Oh yeah, I’ve got another poll for you guys as well. Who do you think lost the most weight over the 2-week period by percentage of bodyweight lost?