When it comes to the question, “What is normal blood sugar levels,” that is a tough one to answer. Knowing what the normal blood sugar levels are and how to maintain them is a key factor when it comes to being able to maintain your diabetes as well as keeping your health intact. A pre-diabetic will need to know what the normal blood sugar levels are in order to prevent themselves from developing full blown diabetes down the line, the same as a diabetic needs to know what the normal blood sugar level is in order to keep their health maintained. There are many factors that can lead to what the normal blood sugar levels are because they are going to vary throughout the day so it is very important that you keep that in mind when you are taking a blood sugar test. Jimmy Moore is graciously continuing the conversation about safe starches with a post from Dr Ron Rosedale.
Dr Rosedale argues that glucose is toxic, so we should want to have less of it in our bodies; and that low-carb diets deliver less of it. Dr Rosedale seemed to feel that this was the weakest point in my argument, and directed his fire here.
I will spend a fair amount of time and show a fair number of studies to show that there is no threshold.
This view makes sense as a matter of molecular chemistry: the number of glycation reactions may be proportional to the concentration of glucose, and if glycation products are health damaging toxins then toxicity may be proportional to glucose levels. The trouble with this is that it doesn’t really get at what we want to know: what blood glucose level optimizes human health? Look at the black dots, which are the actual data, not the fitted curves which are model-dependent; and at panels A and C, which treat all-cause mortality, not B and D, which are specific for coronary heart disease.
My interpretation: I would say that this study demonstrates that mortality is a U-shaped function of blood glucose levels, but it doesn’t tell us the shape of the bottom of the U. This study used glycated hemoglobin, HbA1c, which can serve as a measure of average blood glucose over the preceding ~3 weeks. This supports the “blood sugar should be as low as possible” thesis, since lower HbA1c levels were associated with lower mortality.
This study is an an analysis of NHANES III; it excludes diabetics and has 3 cohorts, not 1, with HbA1c below 5%. This study looked at blood glucose levels 2 hours after swallowing 50 grams of glucose, and then followed the men for 38 years to observe mortality rates.
The study was designed to look at high blood glucose levels: there were 4 cohorts in the top 10% of blood glucose levels, but the bottom cohort in blood glucose had fully 31% of the sample. Safe starch proponents say that raising blood glucose and raising insulin is a very natural phenomenon and needn’t be avoided. He’s saying that higher blood glucose favors “reproductive success,” while lower blood glucose favors “post-reproductive lifespan.” I guess one has to choose one’s priorities. But suppose Dr Rosedale is right, and that low blood glucose levels are most desirable for at least some persons. If the key to health is achieving below-normal blood glucose levels, then low-carb diets are in trouble. In general, very low-carb diets tend to raise fasting blood glucose and 2-hr glucose levels in response to an oral glucose tolerance test.
The general opinion in LC circles is that you need 150g of carbohydrate per day for three days before an oral glucose tolerance test. This is at the high end of the 20% to 30% of energy (400 to 600 calories on a 2000 calorie diet) that is the Perfect Health Diet recommendation for carbs. Studies confirm that high-carb diets tend to lower fasting glucose and to lower the blood glucose response to a glucose challenge. This last study did not report fasting glucose, but did track blood glucose for 4 hours after the glucose challenge. The 20% carb diet lines up pretty well with the mortality minimum, and both high-carb and very low-carb diets wind up at bins with slightly elevated mortality. Now, I don’t believe we can infer from data on high-carb dieters what the relationship between blood glucose levels and mortality will be in low-carb dieters. Well, if we all have diabetes, more or less, then I guess I have to consider whether our regular diet – which recommends about 20% of energy (400 calories) as carbs – is healthy for diabetics.
Now, before I begin this discussion, let me say that I don’t claim that this is optimal for diabetics.
The low-carb diet was a little higher in protein and lower in fat than we would recommend, but very close overall to our recommendations and spot-on in carbs.
So the big benefit, in terms of glycemic control for diabetics, comes from reducing carbs from 55% to 20%.
I am a type II diabetic and a Perfect Health Diet follower, so I want to chime in with my experience…. For dinner tonight, I had a fatty pork rib, green beans, and a small baked potato with butter and sour cream.
So not only am I losing weight on the Perfect Health Diet, my blood glucose levels have actually improved, thanks to the increased carbs counteracting the dawn phenomenon, just as Dr. To repeat: I’m not claiming that our regular diet, providing 20% of energy from “safe starches,” is optimal for diabetics.
Why does this magic number, which happens to be the Perfect Health Diet recommendation for carb intake, do so well? Where the blue and maroon lines cross, dietary glucose in matches the body’s glucose utilization. Eating too few carbs creates a risk of health impairment due to insufficient glucose or protein. Eating too many carbs results in unnecessary exercise of glucose disposal pathways, and possible unhealthy fluctuations in blood glucose levels if those disposal pathways fail. Hitting just below the intersection is a safe, low-stress point which will work well for most people.
The upshot: A 20% carb diet meets the body’s glucose needs without much risk of hyperglycemic toxicity even in diabetics. Our book, Perfect Health Diet, relied strongly on evidence from evolutionary selection to guide us toward the optimal diet. We actually share much of Dr Rosedale’s perspective on what influences longevity; it is for longevity that we recommend slightly under-eating carb and protein compared to what evolution selects for. We have written of the suppression of T3 thyroid hormone levels which is part of the body’s strategy for conserving glucose in times of scarcity, and how this is a risk factor for “euthyroid sick syndrome.” See Carbohydrates and the Thyroid, Aug 24, 2011. I believe that Jaminet and most others misunderstand the physiologic response to low glucose, and the true meaning of low thyroid. The reduction in free T3 is of great benefit, reducing temperature, metabolic damage and decreasing catabolism….
There is a plausible case to be made for the Rosedale diet as a diet that sacrifices certain aspects of current health in the hope of extending lifespan.


However, Dr Rosedale takes low-carb and low-protein dieting to an extreme that I think is not well supported by the evidence.
If I truly believed Dr Rosedale’s argument for lower blood glucose, he would have persuaded me to eat a high-carb Kitavan-style diet.
A 20% carb diet, while not optimal for every single person, is healthy for nearly everyone.
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Blood glucose and blood sugar are interchangeable terms, and both are crucial to the health of the body; especially for people with diabetes. Most diabetics will be familiar with the terms blood glucose, blood glucose test, blood glucose level and blood glucose meter, but what does blood glucose really mean? Blood sugar levels are literally the amount of glucose in the blood, sometimes called the serum glucose level. Spikes in blood sugar will occur following meals, and levels will usually be at their lowest in the early mornings. The NICE recommended target blood glucose levels are stated for adults with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and children with type 1 diabetes. High levels of glucose present in the blood over a sustained period of time end up damaging the blood vessels. Poorly controlled blood glucose levels can increase your chances of developing diabetes complications including nephropathy, neuropathy, retinopathy and cardiovascular diseases. The time-scale for the development of these complications is usually years, but be aware that type 2 diabetes is often not diagnosed until a relatively late stage. You can use home testing kits, although before doing so read our guide to blood glucose monitors. Measure levels by putting a drop of blood on a strip and placing it into a BGM (blood glucose meter). In type 1 diabetes the body is unable to produce enough insulin to cope with the increase in blood sugar levels.
This often leaves the body struggling to produce enough insulin to bring down sugar levels quickly enough. If you have blood glucose levels that are consistently on the high there are two main ways of tackling high levels. The first way is by taking an increased amount of insulin or medication that helps insulin work more effectively.
Home blood glucose monitors are a straight forward way of measuring your blood sugar levels. The number of times per day blood glucose levels should be measured depends entirely on the diabetics. For type 2 diabetics controlling their condition with diet, you should test several times a week. However, this doesn't apply to everyone, and each individual case should seek expert advice. Any time you feel ill, and over time if you can feel your blood sugar becoming too low or too high, you should check your blood glucose levels. Find support, ask questions and share your experiences with 209,001 members of the diabetes community. 10 week (free) low-carb education program developed with the help of 20,000 people with T2D and based on the latest research.
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If you have a family history of diabetes or are starting to experience any of the signs and symptoms of diabetes such as frequent urination, difficulty staying hydrated, weakness or being tired all the time chances are you may be developing diabetes.
Whether you are a diabetic or pre-diabetic knowing what the normal blood sugar levels are is a good way to be able to monitor your blood sugar level so that you can keep an eye on your diabetes as well as remain healthy at the same time. Fasting levels will be when there is no food in your body or it has been a long period of time since you ate. I also wrote further on how to minimize hyperglycemic toxicity, and offered an appreciation of Dr Kurt Harris.
He cites a lot of papers on the relationship between blood glucose levels and health, and uses blood glucose levels as a proxy for the level of glucose in the body.
My statement was a description of what the scientific literature shows, and the adjective “detectable” carries a lot of weight here. Very simply, the higher the blood sugar rise, the more damage is done in some linear upward slope. So the impact of a toxin on health will not rise linearly, but non-linearly with a steeper slope as one moves to the right. As Ron himself says, having too little blood glucose is “incompatible with life.” So low blood glucose – depriving us of the benefits of normal levels of this nutrient – is a catastrophic negative for health. Theory doesn’t allow us to balance risks of hypoglycemia against toxicity on such a fine scale.
Most studies relating blood glucose levels to health have been done on diabetics eating high-carb diets. Rosedale cites a good selection of studies in his response, and let’s review a representative subset. Diabetics have poor glycemic control, and episodes of hypoglycemia as well as hyperglycemia, so HbA1c levels (which represent average blood sugar levels) may be a poor proxy for the levels of glycemic toxicity. Effectively there were only three cohorts, since the highest HbA1c cohort had only 2% of the sample; the other three cohorts contained 27%, 36%, and 36% of the study population respectively. CarbSane makes an important observation: this study used whole blood rather than plasma to assay blood glucose. However, if we evolved in a certain way and with certain physiologic responses to the way we eat, it was not for a long, healthy, post-reproductive lifespan.


Mark, posting as iwilsmar, asked about his gradual yet progressively rising fasting blood glucose (FBG) level over a 10 year period of paleolithic LC eating. I think it is still an open question what the optimal diet for diabetics is, and different diabetics may experience a different optimum. Further reductions in carb intake do not reduce average 24 hour blood glucose levels, but may reduce postprandial glucose spikes.
I have been eating rice, potatoes, bananas, and other safe starches ever since, as well as fermented dairy products, such as plain, whole milk yogurt. Note that since following the Perfect Health Diet, my fasting blood glucose reading has gone down.
I don’t know what the optimal diabetes diet is, and it may be different for different diabetics. Rosedale’s diet is its emphasis on longevity as the supreme measure of health, and its emphasis on calorie restriction (especially, carb and protein restriction) and metabolic suppression as the means to long life. Glucose scarcity (deficiency may be a misnomer) elicits an evolutionary response to perceived low fuel availability. For instance, low body temperature is immunosuppressive, leads to poor outcomes in infections, and is a significant independent predictor for death in medical patients. Both our diets are low-carb, low-protein, and high-fat, and studies of longevity are the biggest factor motivating the recommendation to eat a fat-rich diet. Twenty percent may be the best single prediction of the optimal carb intake for the population as a whole. The reason we have been diagnosed with diabetes is because the level of blood glucose in our blood is higher than it should be.
The carbohydrates in the food are broken down into glucose which is then absorbed into the bloodstream and therefore raises our blood sugar levels.
As the concentration of sugar in our blood rises, the body will try to send insulin to help store this sugar in our body’s cells where it can be used for energy.
To keep blood sugar levels at a healthy level, insulin needs to be injected or infused by an insulin pump. Because their insulin is less effective, people with type 2 diabetes will need to produce more insulin to cope with high blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetics using insulin should check their blood sugar levels before every meal, sometimes as often as five times per day. HbA1c is glycated haemoglobin and more of it is produced in the body by high blood glucose levels. If the item comes direct from a manufacturer, it may be delivered in non-retail packaging, such as a plain or unprinted box or plastic bag.
Find out more about your rights as a buyer - opens in a new window or tab and exceptions - opens in a new window or tab. But the precise numbers don’t matter much; the point is that there is a U-shape, and somewhere in that U is a bottom where health is optimized.
There are few studies on healthy people, very few testing low-carb diets, and most are insufficiently powered to determine the precise shape of the bottom of the U.
I was familiar with most of the studies; indeed some were cited in our book’s discussion of the dangers of hyperglycemia. Also, diabetics are usually on blood-glucose lowering medication, which may distort the blood sugar – mortality relationship. Whole blood has more volume (due to inclusion of cells) but the same glucose, and so less glucose per deciliter.
That brings us to the second issue: which diet will produce these low blood glucose levels? I have often said that diabetics may benefit from going lower carb (and possibly higher protein) than our regular dietary recommendations. This blood glucose level would have been maintained throughout most of the day, with the postprandial peaks and troughs flattening.
But I think there is plentiful evidence that even for diabetics, our “regular” diet is not a bad diet. Glucose utilization does not vary as strongly as glucose intake; at low intakes a deficit is made up by gluconeogenesis (manufacture of glucose from protein) and at high intakes an excess of glucose is destroyed by thermogenesis or conversion of glucose to fat. Eating up to 20% of calories from carbs doesn’t require the use of disposal pathways – glucose can be stored as glycogen and then released as needed, so the effect of dietary glucose is primarily to reduce the amount of gluconeogenesis. This results in a shift in genetic expression to allow that organism to better survive the perceived famine….
We have found that when someone starts our diet, their basal temperature will go down about 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit which is a great improvement”. Fever is curative for most infections, low body temperature is a risk factor for infections. Moreover, the diet that delivers the lowest blood glucose levels is a high-carb, insulin-sensitizing diet, such as the Kitavans eat, not a low-carb diet. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable.
However, Dr Rosedale is here saying that even a healthy non-diabetic should eat a diet that is appropriate for diabetics. Only my fasting BG reading was out of whack, usually between 120 and 130, first thing in the morning. Suppressing gluconeogenesis requires some residual insulin secretion ability, so Type I diabetics cannot achieve this, but most Type IIs can.
We have no footsteps to follow as far as the best way to eat for long healthy post reproductive life. As part of this genetic expression, and as part and parcel of nature’s mechanism to allow the maintenance of health and actually reduce the rate of aging, certain events will take place as seen in caloric restricted animals.
Yes, reverse T3 is increased, as this is a normal, healthy, physiologic mechanism to reduce thyroid activity. Readers of our book know that we think infections are a major factor in aging and premature death. We can only use the best science pertaining to the biology of aging and apply it to proper nutrition.
Whether a diet so restricted in carbs that it significantly lowers body temperature is really optimal for longevity is, I think, open to question.



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