Friday, August 6, 2010

Notes to Shi No Ubi, Measure

One of the best things about being alive now is that knowledge becomes more decentralized today.  We can find out that glucose management is critical for health, and we can get technology that will help us manage our glucose levels very easily.  That means we can avoid absurd claims like "complex carbohydrates do not raise blood sugar levels as rapidly as simple carbohydrates."  We don't have to "pay attention to the experts."  We cat eat something, and measure the impact.  If we eat something and our blood sugar skyrockets we know one of two things - we ate something we'll have to avoid if we wish to live well, or we ate too much of something we might otherwise be able to eat (if we eat a small enough portion).

Dr. Davis makes great use of this tool to debunk two of the most persistent absurdities about food - that whole wheat is good for you and that oatmeal is good for you.
Oatmeal: Good or bad?
What increases blood sugar more than wheat?

This is what I consider to be the emerging template of how to chase health - don't speculate, don't take the advice of the experts, don't take a leap of faith; eat and measure.  Test yourself.  The science of diet will take a long time to mature.  Even testing yourself is imperfect because - as with LDL - we may still be chasing bogey man numbers.  This is the only sane way to proceed, though, so eat and test all those numbers that correlate with better health - abdominal circumference, triglycerides, HDL, blood pressure, and perhaps most important, A1C (a measure of how much sugar is sticking to your red blood cells, and therefore a running tally of your glycemic control).

My friend Shi No Ubi bought one of the glucose measuring units immediately after choosing to tackle his metabolic derangement.  It's nothing less the empowerment to be able to pick a food, eat it, and measure the impact - blood sugar over 110?  Or, blood sugar still rising three to four hours after a meal?  Well, "that's a clue."

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