Now that you have an understanding of the process we will follow, it's time to start exploring how to test your individual glucose responses. It's important to keep in mind how the "big five" - meal content, fasting and meal timing, physical activity, stress, and sleep - are affecting your glucose responses. With that in mind, below are some experiment ideas to help get you started and spark curiosity for self-exploration.
Part 2: Experiment Ideas
- Try the same portion sizes of different types of carbohydrates from different foods (i.e. carbohydrates from fruit, dairy, starchy vegetables, legumes, grains).
- Compare carbohydrates that vary on the scale of glycemic index - Some low GI foods include steel-cut oatmeal, unpearled barley, blueberries, sweet potatoes, and beans. Medium GI foods include brown rice and apples, and high GI foods include white potatoes, pineapple, and white bread.
- Compare the impact of food processing by trying a food in its most natural state, such as steel-cut oats, versus in a more processed state, such as instant oats.
- Try a carbohydrate consumed alone and then paired with various different protein and fat sources.
- See if your glucose responds differently to resistant starch, such as cooked and cooled potatoes versus a freshly cooked hot potato.
- Test various "healthy" food products, such as kombucha or protein bars to test the marketing claims.
- See how your glucose may differ depending on the form the food is in. Compare the same amount of grams of carbohydrates from a liquid versus solid form of food, such as an orange versus orange juice.
- How do sugar substitutes and other "zero sugar" foods affect glucose?
- See how different types of exercise may affect your glucose (HIIT versus prolonged cardio versus weight lifting).
- Do your glucose levels change when you go for a walk after meals?
- Does your overall average glucose level change when your workout is in the morning versus the evening?
- How does your average glucose change on a day when you workout vs a rest day?
- Try a meal both after exercise and with no exercise to see how it differs.
Fasting & Meal Timing
- Try the same exact meal after 18 hours of fasting versus the second meal of the day.
- Try the same dinner at 5 pm versus 10 pm, how does your fasting glucose the next morning change?
- Do your overall average glucose levels differ when your time-restricted eating window is between 6 am-2 pm versus 1 pm-9 pm?
- Try the same exact meal but at different times of the day.
- Experiment with the effects of fasting and how to best break a fast. Try shortening your eating window to see how it affects your glucose values, shift your eating window to during the day versus evening, and try breaking a daily fast with different types of meals.
- If you are feeling up to it, try an extended fast!
- How does a bad night of sleep affect your glucose levels the next day?
- How does an elevated glucose level before bedtime affect your sleep?
- How do your glucose values differ depending on which stage of the menstrual cycle you are in?
- How do glucose values change when traveling?
- How do you respond to coffee? Does glucose lower, increase, or remain stable?