Friday, November 8, 2013

Non Scale Victories: Oranges

Diabetes is such a misunderstood disease.  People think it means you can't eat sugar.  What they don't understand is that all food eventually breaks down to glucose.  It's just a matter of how fast.

A normal person's blood sugar will generally fall anywhere from 80-120, but may go as high as 140 right after eating.  My doctor told me that any time my blood sugar goes above 200, it is damaging my body.  When I was diagnosed, my average blood sugar, day or night, whether I had just eaten or I was exercising or I was sleeping, was 260.  That means it probably never got below 200 and probably soared high above 300 after eating.

When I was first diagnosed, I had to learn all about glycemic index, glycemic load and other fancy terms. Diabetics don't just avoid candy.  I learned that other high glycemic foods could be just as bad.  Potatoes, pasta, bread, oranges and watermelon all have a high glycemic index.

When I discovered that, I swore off oranges.  Oranges are high in vitamins and nutrients, but they would spike my blood sugar like nobody's business.  I remember eating an orange as a snack and checking my blood sugar an hour later and seeing it over 200.

Fast forward almost a year.  There are 65 pounds less of me in the world.  My blood sugar really doesn't spike anymore.  The highest I've seen it in the past 3 months was 134.  That was after a particularly carb filled breakfast.  (Mornings are still when it's the highest.  I had to read a lot before I found an explanation for that that made sense.  I won't get into the explanation, but it's directly related to why Metformin is a good medication for me.)

Last week on Halloween, I decided that I was allowed to go completely crazy and eat whatever I wanted for 1 day.  (I also have granted myself permission to do the same on Thanksgiving and Christmas.)  I went out for Mexican for lunch, eating tons of carb filled chips and a huge burrito.  I had chinese for dinner, with lots of rice, and lo mein.  Finally, I ended the day eating all sorts of candy.

If I'm being honest, I didn't enjoy my indulgence nearly as much as I thought I would.  I sort of felt sick at the end of the night.  Regardless of that, I took my blood before going to bed and it was 124.  That was one of the higher readings I'd seen recently, but it was still completely reasonable.

So this week, after discovering that my blood sugar stays under control even if I eat garbage, I decided I might be able to bring back oranges, a more healthy glycemic food.  Naturally, I bought a giant Costco box of oranges.
Don't they look delicious?

Then, I decided to perform an experiment.  (The only good thing about diabetes is that everything you eat is one constant science experiment performed on your blood sugar.)  I ate a normal breakfast, and then I ate an orange every ten minutes for 30 minutes.  I know that's only 3 oranges, which isn't a ton, but it should be plenty to create a glucose spike.  I took my blood 3 or 4 minutes after the third orange, and here was the result.

That's right, it was 110.  I'm like a normal person.  Remember when I used to have diabetes?

Losing weight is great.  It's fun to see smaller numbers on the scale, but it's the non scale victories that really matter.  I can eat my favorite fruit.


  1. You are such a good scientist. Maybe I should eat oranges too.

  2. That's incredible! And I had no idea that diabetes was so complex. Hooray for you and the blessing of diabetes that is no more.

  3. That is so stinking awesome. You're seriously my hero :)


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