I wrote a post a while back comparing my blood sugar response to protein compared to a non-diabetic friend’s response (Blood Sugar Responses Compared). In that n=2 study I noted that my blood sugar goes up a bit when I consume protein but my non-diabetic associate’s blood sugar goes down.
Turns out this difference has been well known for nearly a century. A while back I reviewed a paper by Conn from 1936 (Protein vs Carbs). That paper (J Clin Invest. 1936 Nov; 15(6): 665–671. THE GLYCEMIC RESPONSE TO ISOGLUCOGENIC QUANTITIES OF PROTEIN AND CARBOHYDRATE. Jerome W. Conn and L. H. Newburgh.) which compared the blood sugar response of two non-diabetics against fifteen diabetics.
Turns out there was a difference between the diabetics and the non-diabetics which matched my own n=2 results. Here’s the blood sugar response of the non-diabetics.
And here’s the blood sugar response of the diabetics.
The blood sugar of the non-diabetics dropped when lean beef was eaten. The blood sugar of the diabetics went up a small amount when lean beef was eaten. Could this be an interesting screening test for diabetics?
The OGTT (Oral Glucose Tolerance Test) is one way to determine if someone is a diabetic. They are given a large glucose drink and their blood sugar is monitored over the next couple of hours. The peak value of the diabetic above is 340 mg/dl. The peak value of the non-diabetic is around half of that at about 170 mg/dl. Clearly there’s a difference there between the diabetic and the non-diabetic.
A second difference is the time that the blood sugar takes to return to normal. In the non-diabetic they are back to their baseline at about 2 hours. The diabetic is still high four hours later.
My favorite explanations of the difference have to do with first phase insulin response being delayed in diabetics and diabetics don’t stop GNG as quickly as non-diabetics. The absolute value of the fall or rise from protein isn’t all that much compared to glucose. The point of the Conn paper was that the peak value is what matters for a diabetic. Even though half of the protein was believed to be converted to glucose
Either way, as long as I continue to have this blood sugar response to protein I still have at least one of the side-effects of diabetes.