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The Optimal Blood Glucose Levels thread

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  • The Optimal Blood Glucose Levels thread

    I'm a nondiabetic who recently purchased a blood glucose meter to keep track of how different foods and meal sizes affect my blood glucose levels. However, to date, I haven't been able to find a definitive source of info to tell me what the optimal (from a primal, and not CW, perspective) blood glucose levels are. There seem to be plenty of sites that list supposedly optimal glucose levels for *diabetics*, but not too much info for healthy people; also, from a lot of what I've read, CW glucose recommendations are much too high to actually be healthy.

    Mark's MDA post on Blood Markers cites the CW values, but doesn't go into whether genuinely optimal primal values would be different:

    I'm hoping that we can use this thread for everyone to contribute whatever accurate knowledge they have about optimal blood glucose levels, so that we can arrive at a reasonable estimate of the levels we should be aiming for.

    Here are a few interesting (although not necessarily accurate!) resources I've found.

    Claims that the highest allowable healthy postprandial (after-meal) glucose level is 140 mg/dL, and that anything higher causes organ damage.

    Here is this site's target values:

    Fasting: under 100 mg/dL
    1 hour postprandial: 140 mg/dL
    2 hours postprandial: 120 mg/dL

    b) Dr. Barry Sears claims that it's possible to have healthy/normal blood glucose levels, but still have an impaired insulin response; he recommends having a fasting *insulin* test done:

    His recommended ranges for 2 different blood tests:

    "I believe your blood test without fasting was most likely glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), which is used to identify the average plasma glucose concentration over 2-3 months. An excellent range would be less than 5 percent. Ideally, the fasting insulin test should be less than 10; 5 is excellent."

    c) Here are the Cleveland Clinic's guidelines (aka CW) for optimal & acceptable blood glucose ranges at different times of day;

    Time of Test:------------------IDEAL:----------------------ACCEPTABLE:
    Before Meals-------------------80-120 mg/dL-------------80 - 140 mg/dL
    Two Hours After Eating-------less than 140 mg/dL------less than 180 mg/dL
    Before Bedtime Snack---------100 - 140 mg/dL----------100 - 160 mg/dL

    Thanks in advance for any clarifications or additional info that anyone has.
    Last edited by healthseekerKate; 11-02-2010, 09:39 AM.

  • #2
    I have nothing to add at the moment, but I am definitely interested. I am also non-diabetic but have over the past few months started testing my glucose.


    • #3
      RE: b. It definitely is possible to have impaired insulin but normal blood glucose levels. I was diagnosed with insulin resistance a few years ago; the healthy range for insulin is up to 26, but I think mine was 29. My blood glucose and hba1c were both within range, I think. I've actually never had non-normal or alarming blood sugar readings. The last time I checked it with a glucometer was about 2 hours after a meal of meat and vegetables, and it was at 79 mg/dL.

      But for some reason a lot of doctors just do not check insulin. I have another blood test tomorrow, but for some reason it's a policy at my endocrinologist's practice to *not* check insulin. I would love to know what my insulin level is now, because that's what I actually have a problem with. I wish there was a way to check it easily, like there is with blood sugar.


      • #4
        My old endo didn't check insulin level either. He preferred checking insulin by testing C-Peptide. You might want ask if your endo does this test.


        • #5
          I suspect that the CW reference range is too high. Since going primal, my fasting blood glucose has regularly been lower than the lab reference range. I think the last measurement was 3.4 mmol/L (~65 mg/dL)
          Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

          Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine


          • #6
            I am interested too. I just over into the diabetic range before starting metformin and watching my carbs. I have improved but still not great.
            Ancestral Health Info

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            Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.


            • #7
              I like the information listed here:
              Last edited by marcadav; 11-02-2010, 10:53 PM.


              • #8
                Thanks to everyone for all of the useful info!

                Here's a brief summary of the most important info in the link that marcadav posted:

                A normal fasting blood sugar (which is also the blood sugar a normal person will see right before a meal) is:
                83 mg/dl (4.6 mmol/L) or less.

                Independent of what they eat, the blood sugar of a truly normal person is:
                Under 120 mg/dl (6.6 mmol/L) one or two hours after a meal.
                Most normal people are under 100 mg/dl (5.5 mmol/L) two hours after eating.

                A truly normal A1c is between 4.6% and 5.4%

                A1cs are not as good a measure of actual blood sugar control in individuals as they are for groups. An A1c of 5.1% maps to an average blood sugar of 100 mg/dl (5.6 mmol/L) or less when group statistics are analyzed, but normal variations in how our red blood cells work make the A1cs of truly normal individuals fall into a wider range.

                Some people's A1cs are always a bit higher than their measured blood sugars would predict. Some are always lower.
                Last edited by healthseekerKate; 11-03-2010, 11:31 AM.


                • #9
                  Other issues that I would be interested to have additional info about:

                  ~ Sometimes, I will record my fasting glucose e.g. 3 hours after a meal and then 6 hours after the meal, with nothing eaten in between; and the 6-hour postprandial reading will be significantly *higher* than the 3-hour postprandial reading. Is it normal/acceptable for blood glucose to *rise* during a period of fasting, or might this indicate some sort of problem?

                  ~ Are optimal glucose levels the same for every human (male/female, child/adult, regardless of size or ethnicity), or might they differ by group (e.g. maybe females should optimally have lower levels than males)?

                  ~ Does menstrual cycle affect glucose readings?

                  ~ I've read several explanations for why glucose readings taken soon after rising, early in the morning, can be disturbingly high. (I've actually read that *not* having a snack before bedtime can be one cause of this.) What is the highest acceptable early-morning reading?

                  ~ Ideally, before every glucose reading, you should clean your sample surface (fingertip or palm) with an alcohol swab, and change the lancet tip for every sample taken. However, for those who like to take frequent readings, this turns into a cumbersome and expensive process. If the alcohol swabbing and new lancet aren't done each time, could this significantly affect the accuracy of the readings? If so, which way would they be likely to be incorrect -- too low, or too high?

                  ~ If one is fasting, what glucose readings should be expected throughout the fast? e.g. after 6, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48 hours of fasting? Is there a minimum blood glucose value that if reached, should always mean we *have* to eat asap to avoid complications of hypoglycemia? What is considered to be a "dangerously low" blood glucose level? Should a healthy person be able to perform an extended fast without having to worry about too-low levels, or is this something that should be monitored by anyone on a fast?

                  ~ Can nutritional supplements affect glucose levels? I noticed that, on one occasion, my levels rose 20 points after taking just 2 caps of strontium citrate with water on an empty stomach. Wondering if this was a fluke, or if supplements (maybe the ingredients of the gelcaps?) are known to raise glucose levels.
                  Last edited by healthseekerKate; 11-04-2010, 02:27 PM.


                  • #10
                    I'm just going to throw this out into the ether, take it for what it's worth--

                    You're trying to micromanage your pancreas and your liver, not to mention your every cell.

                    If you are not diabetic, and are not prediabetic, and you've given no indication that you have other health issues or a history of diabetes in your family as a concern... Well, what do you hope to gain?

                    I'm not sure anyone has the answers you're looking for. There are people who THINK they do, both CW and out-of-the-box. But... well, I've been reading for a year now, and I'm not convinced about any of them. You may come to a different conclusion, and more power to you if you think you've found your answers, I guess.

                    But the question remains--what do you hope to gain by such monitoring? At what point does tweaking of diet become obsession that loses sight of other health goals?

                    Again--no judgment. I'm diabetic--and a little obsessed at times. I think sometimes it's the obsession that causes more harm--if I were healthy, I don't think I'd go down the path of constant monitoring and attempts to control...


                    • #11
                      I had a blood test yesterday and found out that my 'estimated average glucose' for the past two-three months has been 105. It's calculated directly from the hbA1c reading, which was within the % range, so I suppose 105 is also within range. But it seems strange, since 105 is higher than the range for normal fasting glucose, and it seems like ideally you'd want to have 'fasting range' glucose levels most of the time.


                      • #12
                        Obviously I'm not dissing PB because I am here giving it my best shot, but unfortunately my fasting blood glucose has increased since going paleo. Previously as a vegetarian it was 75 and now doing PB it is 104. I'm currently doing a month of very clean PB eating and my doc wants to repeat my bloodwork around the 15th of November. Hopefully it won't be so high this time.


                        • #13
                          Are you tracking your BGL at home and the 104 is your typical fasting BGL over time? Or, is the 104 from a one time test at your doctor's office?
                          Have you had a HbA1c test done? If not I would ask for it to be done.

                          It's possible that your vegetarian diet produced higher insulin levels than paleo, thus keeping fasting BGLs lower.


                          • #14
                            I've posted a bunch of info from heartscan.

                            Davis recommends 1 and 2hr post prandials of not over 100. In fact, he recommends structuring diet so that BG just doesn't go over 100. period.

                            When I eat meat, fat, veggies, and even starch mine hits 99-106 after an hour and is typically around 95 after 2 hours. The cheap glucometers aren't so so precise, so a 106 reading could just as well be 103 or 99

                            The highest it ever was was 133 after eating a metric ton of halloween candy and cookies. And I mean like a huge amount. Like 4-5 regular sized candy bars worth. Yeah, I know. Insane.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JEL62 View Post
                              Obviously I'm not dissing PB because I am here giving it my best shot, but unfortunately my fasting blood glucose has increased since going paleo. Previously as a vegetarian it was 75 and now doing PB it is 104. I'm currently doing a month of very clean PB eating and my doc wants to repeat my bloodwork around the 15th of November. Hopefully it won't be so high this time.
                              This gets covered a lot:

                              protein is also insulinogenic but the BG rise comes often 6-8h after ingestion. Some will have to decrease protein and increase fat to mitigate this effect. See PaNu for more information. 'higher fasting blood glucose" is I think what I used to search the site.

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