Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What Exactly Is Happening With My Bewildering Blood Sugar Levels

Ever since I blogged about my recent struggle to lose 30 pounds that have refused to budge since I put them on in the first couple of months of my resistance training which began in December 2007, the comments, e-mails, and overall good wishes that so many of you have shared with me have come pouring in and I sincerely appreciate everyone's advice and positive reinforcement for me through this frustrating time. I realize I am not alone in this and that is what drives me to want to get to the bottom of the issue to help others who have a similar predicament.

While there are likely several issues going on right now that might be the culprit in my case, I kinda stumbled onto something accidentally yesterday that was quite odd to say the least. For perhaps the first time in the more than four years I've been livin' la vida low-carb, I may have figured out something that has happened to my body somewhere along the way that goes against everything you've ever heard about the physiological mechanism of blood sugars. This totally freaked me out because I've never experienced anything like this before.

Out of pure curiosity, I decided to go to my local Walgreen's and purchase a blood glucose monitor on Tuesday along with all the lancets and testing strips to check my blood sugar levels. I couldn't believe the monitor was like $15, but the test strips cost $55 for a box of 50! WOW, paying over a dollar a pop for a tiny little test strip was a bit pricey, but Christine and I have considered buying this thing for a long time just to see where we are with our blood sugars.

No, we're not diabetic or even pre-diabetic and don't really NEED to check this, but I was just very, very interested in seeing something for myself--what happens to my blood sugar AFTER I eat? We've all talked about one of the major benefits of livin' la vida low-carb is stabilized blood sugars and keeping it from spiking so high after a meal. It makes sense, we believe it is true, now let's see. And so I did.

After a full night of fasting, I attempted to test my blood sugar levels yesterday morning. I say "attempted" because I had trouble using the lancet to provide me with enough blood for the testing strips. After reading the instructions about poking yourself in the forearm since it's not supposed to hurt as much there, I cocked that baby back on the "3" setting and let 'er rip! OUCH! Shoot, they didn't say it was gonna be like a shotgun coming out with that little pointy needle! That bad boy left a pretty big bruise on me today:

Then, when I attempted to put the blood into the test strip for my reading, apparently there wasn't enough blood for the test and the monitor shut off automatically. AAAACCK! I turned it back on again and the stupid thing showed "Er3" which I assumed was some sort of error message. Dangit, that mistake cost me over a buck and I pulled out another expensive test strip to try again.

After trying to produce blood (out of a turnip!) from my forearm three more times with no success, I reluctantly went to my fingers. UGH! I type with these things all day long, so the thought of pricking the tips of my fingers was not very delightful at all. I have SO much respect for diabetics who do this EVERY SINGLE DAY! Oh my gosh, more power to ya and I bow down in your honor. I used my index finger the first time and it produced a painful, yet productive flow of a drop of blood for the monitor this time around. On subsequent readings, I alternated to my ring finger, a few times on my thumb (more bruises!) until finally figuring out the side of my middle finger works the most pain-free of them all. I feel like I'm gonna leak if I drink something with all these holes in my fingers! :)

Okay, so I finally get my first reading after a full 15 hours of fasting--107 mg/dL. It seemed a little high after no food for such a long period of time, but I was pleased with it being well within "normal" range. I took my fish oil supplements and vitamins prior to this test, so I'm wondering if they might have impacted my blood sugars a bit. Even still, I wasn't at all concerned about my reading. It was right where it needed to be.

So Christine and I decided to eat a pretty large meal for lunch which you can see at my menus blog for May 27, 2008. Although it was a low-carb meal, there was still plenty of carbs from spinach, eggs, Ranch dressing, dried cranberries, cheese, mashed cauliflower, and the protein that gets synthesized into carbs in the body (remember gluconeogenesis?). So you would expect that my blood sugar would go up even slightly, right?

Well, not exactly.

When I tested my blood one hour after this meal, I was in for a BIG SHOCK! Hold on to your hats with this people, but it literally stunned me--my blood sugar levels DROPPED 26 points down to 81 AFTER my meal. What the? How did? Is it possible? HUH?!?! Now, wait a minute. I thought your blood sugar was supposed to go UP after eating a meal? I ate all these carbs, so wouldn't my blood sugar go up under normal circumstances? Strange, huh?

Oh, but it gets even better. Three hours after eating, I decided to check my blood sugars again (man, my fingers REALLY hurt with all this testing!) and it had risen back up to 94 again, but still well below my fasting blood glucose of 107. Although it was on the rise again, my blood sugar was still kinda low and made me hesitant about eating something else lest it drops again. I know it sounds funny to say that, but what else am I to think about this bewildering blood sugar predicament?

You'll see from my menus blog yesterday that I ate a slice of homemade key lime cheesecake in the afternoon followed by a Stallone chocolate protein pudding prior to my Tuesday night volleyball games at church. This fueled me up for the 150-minute cardio workout I received and kept me satiated throughout all my games. When I got home, I was curious to see where my blood sugars were three hours after the last time I ate (the protein pudding). The readout? I was at 91. Weird doesn't even begin to describe this.

I have to tell you during my lunch meal on Tuesday, I experienced a rather excruciating splitting headache from temple to temple across my forehead. I don't usually get headaches, but this one was a doozy. I took three Aleve when I got home and it went away within an hour, but I can't help but think it may have something to do with my blood sugar DROPPING while I was eating my meal. Counterintuitive? You bet it is!

Yes, I realize my blood sugar numbers are fabulous and that people with very serious hypoglycemia have their blood sugars drop dangerously below 60 with all kinds of negative side effects, including headaches, the shakes, sweating, numbness in the extremities, thirst, hunger, heart palpitations, and worse. I would NEVER want to have to go through that myself and I know many of you have.

But does your blood sugar ever go DOWN after eating? Everything I've ever heard and read about blood sugars is that they go UP following a meal and then come back down again over the next few hours. In fact, that's exactly what Christine's did when we measured her blood sugars at the same time as mine. She started at 83 after a full night of fasting and then hers jumped up to 127 one hour after eating lunch before falling again down below 100 a few hours later. That's a normal blood sugar response. So what the heck happened to mine then?

Being the ever-inquisitive investigative reporter-type that I am, I couldn't resist the chance to experiment today and you're gonna think I've lost my marbles when you hear what I did. Because of the way my blood sugars responded to that low-carb meal for lunch yesterday, I wondered what would happen if I consumed an especially high-carb meal today for lunch. Some of you suggested I hearken back to my controversial "planned splurge" idea again to see if that will get the scale moving downward again, and so I did--I went to Pizza Inn and had their buffet!

It was weird going to a pizza place for the first time in about three years (the last time was my infamous 30 slices of pizza splurge when I was visiting my dad in Tennessee) and I was preparing to hate it. Actually, it wasn't too bad. I was hungry, the food was pretty tasty, and I ended up eating about 15 slices in all. I fully expected my body to react to all these carbs (which undoubtedly numbered well over 300 grams!) by being lethargic, bloated, and miserable. And I also predicted my blood sugar would JUMP way up.

Before we headed off for the pizza feast, I tested my fasting blood sugar this morning and it was 91 (lower than yesterday's reading of 107, but I didn't take my vitamins and fish oil prior to today's measurement). Would eating a very high-carb meal make any difference at all in the way my blood sugars react to it today? I wanted to know and see it with my own eyes.

I ate and ate slices of garlic cheese pizza, pepperoni pizza, bacon cheeseburger pizza, sausage pizza, and even chocolate chip pizza. I ain't gonna lie, it was good! But I wouldn't want to eat like that everyday. As has happened in the past when I ate a bunch of carbs, I usually feel miserable the rest of the day regretting my transgressions. That's what I was expecting today along with a spike in my blood sugars. Did it happen?

The answer is no to both. I feel great right now over five hours after eating all that pizza and interestingly my weight is only a couple of pounds up from what it was this morning when I weighed. That's curious since my weight has been known to fluctuate as much as 8-12 pounds after a big meal like that. But even more remarkable is what happened with my blood sugar just one hour after eating all those starchy and sugary pizza slices. I should have expected this.

My reading was 90--that's right, my blood sugar dropped a point from my fasting level one hour after my meal. I had to see my two-hour reading and it FINALLY rose above my fasting level to 100 and then my three-hour reading started coming down again to 98. What's going on here? Am I producing excessive insulin which is keeping my blood sugars very low even after a meal? Is this what they call "reactive hypoglycemia" at work here? If so, how did I get it and what can I do to overcome it?

Thankfully I have a whole host of low-carb experts at my disposal to discuss this phenomena and I suspect a lot more of us low-carbers are dealing with this issue than we would like to admit. Is this part and parcel of eating this way over the long-term and is there anything necessarily wrong with this happening? What can we do to counteract it if it is something that needs to be addressed?

I have set up a podcast interview with a doctor who used to work with the late Dr. Robert C. Atkins later this week to talk about his theory about the onset of hypoglycemia for those who continue livin' la vida low-carb after a significant weight loss. It's a thought-provoking mental exercise that perhaps needs to be researched for the sake of all of us who have made this our chosen lifelong nutritional program. I'll be sharing that interview with you sometime in the month of June at "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show with Jimmy Moore.

In the meantime, I'm finished eating pizza for a LONG time and back to the healthy low-carb lifestyle again. If all of this doesn't have at least SOMETHING to do with my recent inability to get rid of those 30 pounds I've put on since beginning weight training, then I don't know what else is happening. It seems too coincidentally odd that all this is happening simultaneous to the weight gain, so I'm pursuing this further with my doctor to see if it will shed some light on my situation.

You'll be the first to know when I hear ANYTHING about this, so THANK YOU again for all of your encouragement, advice, and support through this. I appreciate the friendships I have seen in action over the past few months as you all remind me of the great community we have surrounding the low-carb lifestyle. We're just real people living our lives and trying to figure out what works best for weight and health management. We KNOW it's livin' la vida low-carb which is why we LOVE it! :)

Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences about these blood sugar fluctuations. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has seen this happening while following a low-carb nutritional approach. Thoughts anyone?

5-28-08 UPDATE: I just took another measurement of my blood sugar six hours after my meal (no, I'm still not hungry after all those pizza slices!) and it was 90--back to my fasting baseline again. Hmmmmm...

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Blogger Taraneh said...

I am SO excited for you to figure this out!!

5/28/2008 5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you check the error rate on those monitors I think you find that all of your readings are well within that error rate. So, really, you had no change at all, maybe. :)

5/28/2008 5:44 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

That's true which makes this all the more bewildering. Why wouldn't it go up? Especially after the VERY VERY high-carb meal, you'd expect the blood sugar to rise more than 10 pounds over the next few hours, right?

5/28/2008 5:46 PM  
Blogger JD said...

If you really want to test your blood sugar, eat 70 grams of white bread or rice in the morning after fasting overnight. This is a way to simulate an oral glucose tolerance test. Test your blood sugars, one hour, two hours and three hours after eating the 70 grams of simple carbs. But in order to get real results you need to consume 150 grams or more of carbs for each of three days prior to the test. Low carbers see higher results without the three day adaptation with 150 carbs/day.

Since I am not diabetic, I get my test strips off of Ebay for around $.50/strip. If you are a member of Costco you can get them in the $40 range for 50. Walgreens and Rite-Aid sell a reliable monitor (so I am told) where the strips cost $.50/piece.

Your blood glucose via a finger prick responds to rises and falls faster than your forearm. Yep. I set my lancet to 4 when doing the forearm. Fingers hurt.

There is a phenomena known as Dawn Syndrome. Your gluoose is higher in the morning than later in the day. Mine was 117 this morning and I just tested and it was 86 three hours after lunch.

Seems like you have a very good Phase I insulin response as you don't have elevated blood sugars an hour after eating.

5/28/2008 6:03 PM  
Blogger Jeri Sessler said...

Jimmy--I read somewhere a while back that the body gets more efficient at processing carbs the longer you are on a low carb diet...Sounds counter-intuitive, but in some ways, makes sense. Another thought is that while the crust on pizza is high carb, you also balanced it out with a significant amount of fat and protein, so that the blood sugar levels didn't rise as much?

gonna follow this one closely! It's like a detective novel only with weight!

5/28/2008 6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


First of all, welcome to the art and science of blood sugar bewilderment! Honestly, it's probably hard to tell what causes some of the anomalies, as blood glucose at any point in time has so many variables impacting it it's hard to measure them all.

Also, as one of your previous posters mentioned, these meters are NOT very accurate. Using the same meter does take some of the inaccuracy out of the equation though, and trends should be off about the same on average.

I did have one comment about your initial question about fasting blood glucose. You might be experiencing what diabetics refer to as the Dawn Phenomenon. Some research shows that all people experience this to some degree. It might just have been your day!

If you are interested I would really encourage you to have your HbA1C checked next time you go to the doctor. This will give you a better measure of blood glucose levels over time, and is a very important measure for diabetics.

5/28/2008 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should head over to Hyperlipid, where he discusses the "dawn phenomenon", elevated blood glucose in the morning.

5/28/2008 6:21 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


I love pizza also! I also admire you and your honesty! You rock!

5/28/2008 7:02 PM  
Blogger Me said...

I second the suggestion to head over to Hyperlipid and read the science behind the "Dawn Phenomenon." It's fascinating and something you should know about
Here's the permalink to that post:

There's always a chance that you got a bad batch of glucose test trips but the fact that Christine's numbers came out differently suggests not.

You might want to research different brands of meters; I know some of them barely hurt.

5/28/2008 7:34 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I wasn't going to post but then I said to myself, if it was anyone else would you say something and the answer is yes so here i am. When I first read 15 slices of pizza, I thought that was a typo...until I read about your 30 slices previously. Jimmy, that's not normal. I don't know many men who could physically eat 15 slices of pizza at one sitting. They would be ill. While I understand you wanting to get to the bottom of the blood sugar, I also think you need to address what would make you eat 15 (or 30!!!) slices of pizza (even for testing could have easily tested with 2, 4, 6, or even 8 slices). I know you are struggling with those 30 pounds, but just the fact that you were ABLE to eat 15 slices sounds like you probably eat larger portions in general. I did go to your low carb menus site and honestly, I think part of your problem may be meals like "...sausage, bacon, eggs with bacon, sausage, ham and cheese." Maybe that's a typo but did you really eat sausage, bacon, eggs with bacon, sausage AND ham and cheese all in one meal? 4 eggs and 4 sausage patties for breakfast? Another day you had 6 sausage patties for one meal at 9:30pm. 3 chicken breasts and 3 sausage patties for dinner? It just seems like A LOT of food (not to mention waaaay salty from all that sausage). Then you're fasting intermittently and then eating 15 pieces of pizza. It just doesn't seem healthy. I definitely think it's wise to check with your doctor about the blood sugar, but the 15 slices of pizza seems like a binge to me and that's not healthy either. It may be something you want to mention to your doctor as well (I'm assuming you've told him that you are eating 4-6 sausage patties in one sitting for a meal). I know we have different philosophies on low carb (as I tend to prefer chicken and fish and I watch my cheese) but I think portion size and sodium is playing a HUGE part in why you aren't losing weight. Jimmy, you don't weigh 400 pounds anymore. You're a skinnier guy now and if I'm being totally honest, thin or even medium sized guys don't eat like you do (even guys doing low carb). At some point, I think you need to ask yourself if you really NEED all that food...are you really that hungry? And is this a healthy way to do low carb?

Please no one hate me. I'm not hating on you, Jimmy - I'm concerned. If this was a complete stranger on my board posting menus like this (including the 15 slices of pizza), I would say the same thing and I can't believe no one else has said anything.

Sometimes the reasons we struggle to lose weight are right there staring us in the face and it takes someone else to see what we cannot.

5/28/2008 8:09 PM  
Blogger Me said...

Don't forget that talk by Dr. Einstein that you linked to the other day.

Low glucose levels when you consume carbs means high insulin took care of all the carbs. You may be on the edge of metabolic syndrome.

Remember the goal is to keep your insulin low, not your glucose.

5/28/2008 8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jimmy I suffer with hypothyroidism in the amount that I daily take 450mcg of Levothyroxin..So,I 'm a little knowledgeable about metabolism.Having prefaced with that many nutritionists believe that to avoid the starvation syndrome,you should eat 6-8 small servings a day.My theory to your situation is your body is going into "starvation mode" at night and your adrenal glands are stimulating the increase in insulin to create hunger sensations in the hope that you will eat ..therefore resulting in the higher levels in the morning after fasting and the decrease after you eat.Secondly the reduced metabolism because your body is in "starvation mode"explains the lack of weight loss in spite of your exercise fact the exercise is compounding the problem because the re is less food to store since the muscles are consuming the nutrients

5/28/2008 9:41 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for the info everyone! I'm taking it all in and trying to get closer to the culprit in this whole blood sugar scenario. I appreciate all the input. :)

Amy, THANK YOU for your honesty and I think you missed your calling as a defense attorney. You certainly provided a compelling argument for your point of view, although there were some flaws in your reasoning I'd like to share for clarification.

Let's start with the pizza slices. When I was a kid, my dad would take us out for pizza and me, my brother Kevin, my brother Nathan, and my dad would each order a full large pizza each and could easily eat that by ourselves followed by another half pizza. These were VERY BIG slices, mind you, and we likely downed 12-15 of these in one sitting.

The slices I had at Pizza Inn, on the other hand, are about 1/4 the size of a typical slice. That plate of pizza you see in this blog post has about eight slices of pizza on it and they are much smaller than normal. So, your concerns about being able to eat that many slices is a bit unfounded and Christine said she's happy to attest to this for you.

Also, the eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, and cheese meal isn't large portions of all of those foods. They're like an omelet mix of these foods and again Christine can attest to this. I list all the foods out so you can see what I put in my mouth. I'm an open book when I blog, so perhaps I'm a victim of my own honesty by not explaining the portion size of EXACTLY what I eat. Just don't jump to conclusions assuming what you think I am eating and that should help. :D

Regarding larger portions in general, keep in mind that I was doing my intermittent fast last week for a few days and was very hungry on the days I had to fast. Yes, I ate upwards of 6 sausage patties in one meal because I was hungry. The fat and protein satisfies me and I'm not afraid of eating it. I can respect those who choose to limit those things like yourself. :)

You are exactly right that I probably need to spread my food out throughout the day more and I will be working on doing that ASAP. One of the secrets to my success in 2004 was eating lots of small meals every 2-3 hours throughout the day and that's what I need to get back to. I tried to listen to my own hunger signals, but that hasn't worked (obviously!).

THANK YOU again Amy and I value your input into this. I know you shared all that you did because you care about me as a friend. It is an admirable trait to share the way you did with the sincere concern for me that you displayed. I appreciate it more than I could express. ;) Please feel free to be forthright anytime. I can handle it. :D

5/28/2008 10:54 PM  
Blogger Me said...

Jimmy, since you are so open about everything else, I think it would help all of us understand better if you could give us an exact calorie count for a typical day.

According to the online Nutritional Information for Pizza Inn, one slice of their cheese pizza (which is the one with the least calories) has 290 calories and 31 grams of carbs. Even if the buffet slices are half slices, that's 145 calories a slice or 2,175 calories in 15 slices.

It's very unusual to be able to eat that volume of food at one sitting, let alone that many calories in one meal. It can't be good for your digestive system to have to handle that much food at once. We all love you and don't want anything to happen to you.

I would estimate that you need at most 3000 calories a day.

5/28/2008 11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

on the comment on error of the device - but Jimmy had a control group - his wife!

My experience is that after 4 months on Atkins my fasting glucose was 92.
After 7 months on Atkins I don't know what the fasting glucose is but taken by surprise (went to an event where doctors had their standpoint and measured cholesterol and glucose) my glucose about 4 hours after breakfast was 75.

I know it can't compare of course, but there is something to glucose changes that you never know what to expect living la vida low carb :))

BTW my total cholesterol went down from 233 to 195 in that period (introduced daily oil fish between)

5/29/2008 2:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For anyone who considers themselves a proponent of law-carb diets, it is easy to dismiss Calories as that silly opposing hypothesis that refuses to see the real science. But don't you think that we, who consider ourselves to be unbiased in this area, should at least give it the benefit of the doubt?

The amount of fat (the only remaining source of Calories with carbs being negligible, and protein being a somewhat fixed requirement) in the diet needed to maintain weight may be a range instead of a set point. The difference between losing weight and gaining weight could be a couple hundred, or even a thousand, Calories apart.

For all you know, counting Calories just might be that little nudge you need. Wouldn't that make it worth testing? And even if it isn't, at least then you'll know for certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Calories are not the problem here, and you can put the matter to rest for good.

5/29/2008 3:53 AM  
Blogger caroline said...

Hi Jimmy,

I think the one comment about eating more frequent meals throughout the day, and your memory that this served you well in 2004 might be a good idea.

Also I remember that Dr. Eades mentioned that you don't want to eat too much late at night, but not too little either. Maybe b/c you're a big guy (READ: tall), you need to eat a mini snack before bed.

Good luck with it and it's nice to see that everyone is so supportive!

5/29/2008 9:49 AM  
Blogger JD said...

With respect to drawing blood from your forearm. Did you rub the area of your forearm to bring the blood to the surface? That is the recommendation for my monitor when drawing blood. Even with the rubbing it can be hard to get enough blood. I usually press down a bit after lancing with the lancet device to push out more blood.

5/29/2008 9:54 AM  
Blogger Diet Pepsi Girl said...

Jimmy, I second those who mentioned the calorie factor. I know I initially went through a long stall on my low carb diet before I tried lowering my calories and that was the only thing that worked for me. Now I'm the smallest (and healthiest) I've been in over six years.

I would also caution against eating such a large volume of food (especially high-carb, high-fat food) in one sitting. That's got to be stressful on your body. My husband's got a pretty big appetite and even he can't eat more than about 4 slices of pizza at one meal.

here's hoping you find out what's going on with you. Wishing you the best!


5/29/2008 10:51 AM  
Blogger Dave in Ohio said...

I wouldn't worry too much about the glucose readings. If you wish, they should have given you instructions on how to check the calibration of the meter with a standard glucose solution and you can check that the meter is within normal tolerance. But your readings were all normal -- If I ate that much pizza, they would be above 300 for me.

One excellent place to "pin prick" yourself is the back of the fingers around the nails. Any finger will do. The blood flow is very good and there are many, many more sites to use plus they are in an unused area so they won't hurt very much if at all. Remember the skin is very thin there, so start with the lowest penetration setting to draw blood. You will be surprised just how easy this technique is.

Good luck.

5/29/2008 11:04 AM  
Blogger cc1sillygoose said...

Wow, how very curious. Keep us posted!

5/29/2008 11:14 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

I don't agree that it's abnormal to be able to eat as much as 15 tiny slices of pizza in one sitting. When I was in my late teens and early 20's, on the way home from a night of partying, I'd stop at a pizza place and pick up a pizza, get an orange drink at Mcdonalds and a burger at BK with fries and go home and eat it ALL! I am 5'2" and weighed about 116 then. I stayed that weight through my mid-30's. Granted, I didn't eat this way all the time, but it IS possible. My uncle, who was heavy and ate A LOT couldn't believe what I could put away in one sitting. I never had a problem with getting sick or feeling bad. It was delicious!
Oh, and I don't eat that stuff at all anymore. Haven't for years.
My FIL eats like you wouldn't believe. He'll eat an entire large (costco size) can of cashews and an entire pound of salami in one sitting, then eat dinner afterward (PASTA!). He's always eaten like that. He's 86 and still gets up on the roof to fix his cooler.
I think there are more people than you realize that eat large amounts of food at one sitting. The funny thing is that they aren't all fat!

5/29/2008 12:29 PM  
Blogger Tom Bunnell said...

You are talking to the guy who can eat a five quart pail of New York Vanilla Ice Cream along with four 16 oz cans of Oregon Blueberries in one sitting. -- It takes me about an hour to eat the first half and about two more hours to eat the second half. -- It's pure bliss! -- How's that for an Ice Cream Sunday.

When I binge that's my favorite way.

To me it's all about carbohydrate and stimulant addiction. -- You and me and the Whole Wide World and more than that in our good old USA.

The great big accident that nobody knows about or believes.

I lost more than 75# from October of 2006 until January of 2008 and then regained 33# since then and until now. -- I hate it!

I worked so hard getting it going and it had become so easy to eat properly that I couldn't believe it! I felt great!

Then I started eating to celebrate my good fortune. -- It ended up being about three weeks on my diet and then three or four or five days off all winter until I had gained back the 33# in the last five months. -- It had become feeling sorry for myself so I ate!

I am all the way back on track as of the last three days, I call it my Thousand Day Diet. -- That's a thousand days of eating right! -- I know it will work!

I have lost one pound!

Good luck to you Jimmy. -- There is no doubt you will get it!

5/29/2008 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a conundrum....
Its funny that this is happening all of a sudden...because lately I have been stalled...and the only thing I can think of is to start "counting calories" along with carbs.
I can not go off plan...I simply can not do it...even though I know you only did it in the name of "science" ...ha ha!
I also went super strict a while back to make sure there was not any "carb creep"...I hate that guy by the way....even when at 20 or less carbs per day, I was not losing at all! Thankfully I did not gain any, but this stall is annoying.
I have only had my blood sugar tested once in the last year...after I had been LLVC for several months..and it was totally normal...I don't even buy ketone strips, because as you said..if you are eating less than 40g carbs per day...then you are in ketosis....
You know we love ya Jimmy..and'll figure it out....

5/29/2008 1:25 PM  
Blogger Stargazey said...

Okay, Jimmy, for what it's worth, I'm female and I have done strict low carb for five years. I am at my goal weight. I use the lancet on my ring finger to take blood samples.

This morning my fasting blood sugar was 88.

For breakfast I ate two eggs scrambled in 1 tablespoon coconut oil, plus an ounce of cheddar cheese and three strips of bacon.

One hour later, my blood glucose was 118.

Two hours later it was 107.

Three hours later it was 104.

5/29/2008 1:56 PM  
Blogger caroline said...

I like that--Thousand day diet. I think that's very true. When you get off, you just have to get back on again. It's a lesson well learned.

5/29/2008 2:21 PM  
Blogger Belle said...

Really interesting, Jimmy.... I wonder what your insulin levels are and how hard your pancreas is working to keep your blood sugar so consistent. Does Diabetes run in your family? Could it be a genetic issue?

Please do keep us informed as you continue to investigate this conundrum. I'm learning so much from your site! Thank you!

5/29/2008 2:51 PM  
Blogger Chai Latté said...

Sorry that this is unrelated to your latest post.. I just wanted to say Hi! I am a new reader of yours, and I want to tell you that you are amazing and so inspirational!

My brother and I just started low-carb (motivated by work, and success like yours) So we started our own blog too :-)

Anyways, I really just wanted to thank you for being you and showing that to everyone.

- Shannon

5/29/2008 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds encouraging, to me. It's hard to believe that something seriously wrong physically, would cause such excellent blood sugar levels after eating such a horrible meal. Storage of fat is probably the least possible harm of eating that much pizza.
Free fatty acids normally cause insulin resistance. I bet your system shuts down their release and puts them to bed at the drop of a hat. Good for insulin sensitivity and blood sugar. Not so good for weight-loss.
Don't worry, Jimmy! We're on the case! (lol)

5/29/2008 3:47 PM  
Blogger The Vitamin Tutor said...

Hello, Jimmy.

Your findings are very curious indeed. I'll be interested in hearing/reading what your low-carb doctor crew have to say about this. Surely they've come across something like this at some point.

Yesterday, I went to an integrative health doctor (an internist that also practices alternative medicine). He did some "muscle testing" on me and concluded, among other things, that my pancreas was stressed.

I don't know if such testing has merit. But, if he's correct, I'd find these results quite puzzling - since I'm low-carbing and I always have normal blood sugar readings. Another curiosity.

My parting thought is this: I think it's great that you stumbled upon this. This finding, of yours, is something your doctors may never have come up with. Think about that!

This is a good example about how we should all try to participate in the finding of health solutions - in cooperation with our docs. We can be part of the solution ... if we make the effort to participate.

Good for you, Mr. Moore. :)

Be well,


5/29/2008 4:11 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Susan, I don't count calories, but you can see what I eat everyday at menus blog if you are curious.

5/29/2008 7:44 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Anonymous, I've lowered my calories and decided to start eating more often starting today. We'll see how it goes.

5/29/2008 7:46 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Michelle, my brother Kevin has Type 2 diabetes because of his morbid obesity. Nobody else has this disease, so it's not genetic. I agree something is happening likely in my pancreas to excrete excess insulin. Why, I don't know, but that's what seems to be happening.

5/29/2008 7:50 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

One thing you need to look at here is that you are not diabetic. People who are not diabetic have blood sugars between 60 and 110s no matter what they eat. If you blood sugars stay in this range it means your pancreas is making the natural insulin it is supposed to make.

Blood sugar levels fluctuate some all day long because your pancreas sends the insulin it needs to use to take care of the sugar like it is supposed to. As long as you are in the normal range.... you are well... normal.

5/29/2008 10:04 PM  
Blogger Vesna VK said...


1. Check out for instructions on painless glucose testing. Also interesting info on blood sugar levels.

2. I see your stable levels as an indication of robust good health. I wonder if you would have seen the same rock solid stability back in your high-carb days. It doesn't seem counterintuitive to me at all that consistent, long-term low-carbing would improve a person's ability to metabolize carbohydrate.

3. Funny, I (non-diabetic) have had the same idea of testing my blood sugar just to see how it works in my own system! Thanks for jumping in the water first. :)

5/30/2008 6:52 AM  
Blogger Me said...

I'm really surprised that you don't count calories. It's easy if you keep track of your fat and protein (and alcohol) grams along with your carb grams.

I thought you wanted to lose the weight you'd gained recently.

The only way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than your body needs. (Of course, we now know that the number of calories your body needs is to some extent affected by what you eat. But that does not mean that calories don't count.)

Keeping track of calories and macronutrient composition gives you more control that just counting carb grams. For example, you might discover that you are eating some high calorie foods that aren't worth the calorie cost.

Another benefit to counting calories is that it puts you in the driver's seat. You get to choose your trade-offs such as consuming an extra 500 calories of fat a day versus losing an extra pound of fat a week.

5/30/2008 6:20 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I've been eating this way for four years plus without having to count the first calorie. I don't personally believe in the calorie theory because fat calories are different than carbohydrate calories. Even still, I am naturally reducing calories without counting them by cutting down on eating extra nuts, cheese, butter, and mayo for example. Thanks for your concern. :)

5/30/2008 7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that I hope you find your answers :) It's frustrating to know something is wrong and not know what it is!

5/30/2008 7:55 PM  
Blogger Me said...

Now I'm even more confused.

What do you mean you don't believe in the "calorie theory"?

What's your explanation of why you lost all that weight?

5/30/2008 9:42 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Dr. Atkins called it the "metabolic advantage" of low-carb which makes counting calories irrelevant when you have a lot of weight to lose. That changes for nearly normal weight people which is why I'm dealing with what I am now.

5/30/2008 10:19 PM  
Blogger Me said...

Thank you for being patient with me but I think it's important to keep going until we get this straight.

My understanding of the "metabolic advantage" is that your body doesn't get quite as large an effective per cent of the calories from fat and protein when you are on a low-carb diet than when you aren't. (In other words, your body uses up some extra calories converting fat and protein to glucose which only happens on a low-carb diet.)

This means that if you go by the calorie counts in a calorie table, you can eat a few more calories and lose the same amount of weight when you are eating low-carb.

The biggest number I've ever seen for metabolic advantage is something like 10%. So if you were losing weight consuming 1800 calories on an ordinary diet, you might still lose weight consuming 1980 calories on a low-carb diet.

5/30/2008 10:57 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I'm more than happy to continue the discussion, Susan. :) That's what I'm here for.

I've never calculated the actual rate of the metabolic advantage, but I don't think it is limited to just 10%. In fact, noted low-carb researcher Dr. Eric Westman has said he'd like to see what would happen in a case study of someone eating 10,000 calories in a day of mostly fat and very few carbs. Would the metabolic advantage kick in?

You really should get in on this conversation at my forum about this very subject of calories and low-carb living. They're debating about this topic from earlier this week. ENJOY! :)

5/31/2008 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you know you're secreting excess insulin, if you're measuring is blood sugar, not insulin? Seems to me it could also be, you could be secreting an appropriate amount of insulin, so your body achieves homeostasis with blood sugar, but your fat stores are highly sensitive to insulin so excess fuel goes into fat stores.

Remember the section in Good Calories, Bad Calories, where Taubes wrote about a mouse study where a researcher proved that when fat stores are sensitive to insulin, then extra fat and sugar can go into fat stores easily. This was a study that was looking at insulin resistant muscle and insulin sensitive fat. I bet your muscle is sensitive now that you've been training,

but couldn't it be, that after you eat, and your body restores muscle glycogen and stabilizes blood sugar, if there is still fat or sugar left, all the rest went to fat stores? (the big pizza day, I mean).

6/01/2008 1:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whole grain foods, such as bread, cereals, etc, help lower the blood sugar rate because these foods are known to burn calories faster that regular processed foods, such as white flour or all the junk food, such as donuts, pastry, etc...

6/01/2008 7:35 AM  
Blogger Muata said...

I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who said that the definition of insanity is doing the "same" thing over and over expecting different results. I was insane for an entire year because I bought into the non-science based assertions of Atkins over LC WOE having a "metabolic advantage". It's really unfortunate because there are so many people out there who have hit a plateau or can't lose that last 20lbs because they simply "refuse" to count calories! Why? Because of one diet author's assertion, which wasn't even his own.

Listen, when you meet someone doing LC who says that they can't lose any more weight, no matter how far they drop their carb grams, I have an idea of what's wrong: they're eating too many calories/not expending enough energy!

I think some people refuse to count calories because of a bad "low-fat" or "weight watchers" experience when you had to weigh out your food, but others don't know where to start.

So, I'll give you a quick and dirty "How many calories should I eat to lose weight" formula. I borrowed this from the bodybuilder's community. If you want to stay at your current size, multiply your current weight times 15. If you want to lose weight, multiply your current weight times 12. For every 20lbs you lose, you will need to re-work the formula again because you MUST continue to eat less food than you did at the higher weight; this is non-negotiable.

Jimmy, I love you bro and look forward to doing an upcoming podcast with you; however, there is no justifying eating 15 slices of pizza, no matter how small the slices were. This type of behavior is what caused us both to be over 300lbs at one time in our lives.

The hardest fact for most people to swallow is that once they lose weight, they can NEVER eat the amounts of food that they once consumed and expect to keep the lost weight off. This is why people who have lost the weight and kept if off for a couple of years will tell you that maintaining the lost weight is the hardest part!

If folks are interested in planned splurges, I suggest you do some research on structured re-feeds, as it relates to cycling your carbs. I would start with checking out Lyle McDonald's webpage:

Sorry for such a long comment/ramble ...

Mr Low Body Fat's Blog

6/01/2008 8:49 AM  
Blogger Calianna said...

Took me a while to find it, but there's an interesting article about strange fasting blood sugar readings in a Men's Health article.

(Long URL - I don't know if you'll be able to see the whole thing if I post it on one line, so I'll separate it into a couple of lines - put them together to go to the article)

This guy is thin - and it's a long article, so you may wonder where I"m going with pointing you to this. But keep reading, and especially notice what his fasting blood sugar is, what it does during the OGTT, the 2nd opinion he gets from Dr Berkowitz, the quote from Dr Vernon, and how he is keeping his blood sugar more stable with smaller, more frequent meals.

Even though the author of this article (and his T2 father) are both normal weight, I don't believe only thin people get reactive hypoglycemia. I know I do, maybe not to a dangerously low level, but the reaction is there - even to a low carb meal that has too much protein.

Just as an example of how bad reactive hypoglycemia can be, I knew a woman whose OGTT went something like this...

Fasting BS, normal
Drink glucose, then while waiting for the first post-challenge blood sugar test, she passed out (from low blood sugar)
First post glucose BS was low (70's), but each successive one went up, until she finally returned to a normal blood sugar.

I think it might be worth it for you to have a formal OGTT, and have your insulin measured too, because high insulin levels are very much associated with weight gain - and eating more protein than your body can manage at one meal is enough to cause excessive insulin levels in some people.

6/02/2008 9:52 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Thanks Calianna! The frequent smaller meals is working for me right now as recommended by Dr. Keith Berkowitz. I'll be sharing my interview with him on Thursday's podcast. Check it out! :)

6/02/2008 10:18 PM  
Blogger Music Delights Hearts said...

I am diabetic and my blood sugars are always higher in the morning due to the Dawn Effect. This is because when you are sleeping, your cortisol levels rise, causing your liver to break down glycogen into glucose and releasing it into the bloodstream.This usually occurs around 4am. I have found that when I eat extremely low carb, my blood sugars are higher in the morning than they are when I cosume about 45 gms carbs per meal. My blood sugars are within normal range the rest of the day. My physician put me on Metformin 1000mg at night and this helps to prevent my liver from releasing so much glucose early in the morning. You might be prediabetic. A fasting blood sugar above 90 would indicate prediabetes.

11/01/2008 1:59 PM  

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