Part 5: Wearing a Continuous Glucose Monitor as a non-diabetic Physician: Beginning to Share My Data

2018.10.12 Low Carbohydrate and Low Carbon, Washington, DC USA 557
2018.10.12 Low Carbohydrate and Low Carbon, Washington, DC USA 557 (View on Flickr.com)

As I mentioned in part 1 of this series, a significant reason for me wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) was to understand (a very small portion) what it might be like to have diabetes. I will never fully understand what it is like to have diabetes, and I know that. I do understand what it’s like to be a fat person in society, as I have been one previously. Also, when I speak of diabetes prevention, diabetes reversal, diabetes remission, I am speaking of Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90-95 % of the population living with diabetes. For people with Type 1, insulin is not optional and diabetes reversal or remission is not a possibility (for more on managing Type 1 Diabetes with nutrition, see this blog post: Just Read and Just Visited: Duke Diet and Fitness Center and Management of Type Diabetes With a Very Low–Carbohydrate Diet – More reasons I love this century )

I’ve had the opportunity to review the data output and trends from wearing a CGM with an endocrinologist (or two) – thank you – and I feel comfortable sharing some of my data.

The results are boring for a non-diabetic

As the image above shows, not much of a glucose response is elicited (in the average) when glucose regulation is normal, and especially on a low-carbohydrate, healthy-fat diet. It is amazing what our bodies are capable of when you can see it happening real time.

This is not where the data is interesting, though.

Understanding how high carbohydrate meals are processed

This image shows what happened when I somewhat accidentally ate a small carbohydrate load on an empty stomach, after exercise, while otherwise fat-adapted.

These results can’t really be interpreted in the context of a person eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) because their ongoing circulating insulin levels may be much higher (constantly dealing with high glucose loads) and will change the way they react to cookies in this way.

2018.10.07 Low Carb and Low Carbon 550
2018.10.07 Low Carb and Low Carbon 550 (View on Flickr.com)

I would say don’t try this at home – the hypoglycemia down to 40 mg/dl is probably not the greatest state to be in (and it was asymptomatic, interestingly), and I reminder that for someone that has Type 1 diabetes and does not produce insulin, this level of plasma glucose can be life threatening.

I’m looking up relevant literature and will post more trend data and information from experiments that have been done to date.

It’s still impressive that before this era we really haven’t known for sure how humans regulate their plasma glucose in a comprehensive way, and yet we know that the dysregulation of glucose is responsible for so much suffering globally – 12% of the US adult population and heading toward 30%.

Is there a place where people can donate their CGM data for better analytics?

This is the question I’m asking. N of 1 experiments are great for stimulating curiosity in how the body works; they are not great in teaching ourselves what’s normal. If anyone knows of a place where this is happening in a conflict-free, not-selling-data-or-profiting-from-it-inappropriately way (the big catch), let me know in the comments.

Disclaimer and this is not a promotion of CGM-for-all

I’ve been asked directly or indirectly recently if I am advocating CGM-for-all. I am not, and definitely not with the current profile of devices available. This could change dramatically if CGM is more universally available (see blog posts above).

Reminder of my statement of independence and no conflict-of-interest:

2018.05.29 Low Carbohydrate Meetup Washington, DC Presentation  453
2018.05.29 Low Carbohydrate Meetup Washington, DC Presentation 453 (View on Flickr.com)

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