Today is Day #29 of a 30-day sugar fast, and yet my blood glucose is elevated. I’m keeping a food diary to try to figure out why. Processed carbs are gone, hidden sugar foods limited, and I’m walking regularly, so I’m frustrated by the numbers I’m getting. This morning was 120, not a scary-high number but confusing considering the efforts I’m making, and my history of lower numbers normally in the 90 - 110 range.
Obviously, I can’t go back to eating sugar with my numbers at this level. Do I go for another 30 days or just stay mindful of the hazards of sugar? Could I really do sugar in moderation? Probably not yet. Love that word “Yet!”
In the meantime, I’ve been trying to find the universal guidelines which can form the foundation of my approach to food and have come up with 3:
- Michael Pollan: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
- Focus on Fiber
- Avoid processed foods and emulsifiers.
Emulsifiers was a new one for me. One definition from The Conversation (academic rigor, journalistic flair):
“A recent study suggests emulsifiers – detergent-like food additives found in a variety of processed foods – have the potential to damage the intestinal barrier, leading to inflammation and increasing our risk of chronic disease.”
The study was done with mice but the results are considered a warning for humans.
The Conversation explains: “The lining of our gastrointestinal tract has one of the toughest jobs around. It must allow fluid and nutrients to be absorbed from our diet, while also acting as a barrier to prevent the invasion of toxins and harmful bacteria into our bodies.”
Emulsifiers allow oil and water to mix as when the lecithin in eggs allows us to mix lemon juice and oil to make mayonnaise. In the study, two common food emulsifiers were added to the water of mice. The results of the study showed, “In comparison to control mice, previously healthy mice that were fed emulsifiers had low-level gastrointestinal inflammation, ate more food and gained more weight (especially body fat), had higher blood sugar levels and were resistant to the action of insulin. The condition of the mice resembles a human condition that is increasing in prevalence called the metabolic syndrome.”
This note about the lecithin in eggs caught my attention: “Daily intake of lecithin from food sources can be up to 6g in a Western diet, with a single egg yolk containing around 1.5g of lecithin.”
My food diary for the past ten days shows a lot of eggs, normally 2, for a total of 3g of lecithin. Also, a recent food focus is cottage cheese, and its label shows carrageenan, a common emulsifier.
An article in HealthyFood states, “A few studies have linked carrageenan with impaired glucose tolerance in mice and inflammatory responses in both mice and human tissue. A 2018 article highlights the knowledge gaps on these emulsifiers as a) a lack of information on how much people are actually getting in their diets, b) uncertainty about their effect on the microbiome and inflammation and c) a lack of knowledge around differences in these effects with susceptible groups, such as older people or those with irritable bowel disease (IBD).”
While all of this is still in the research stage, I’m going to do an experiment of one and avoid eggs and cottage cheese for the next 3 days. Will report next week.