Does Eating Fat Keep Blood Sugar Down?

A coaching client in Chicago has had type-1 diabetes for 28 years. Lindsay’s taken to drinking “bullet-proof coffee” in the morning. Just coffee blended with butter. She takes no bolus. Just rides on her basal insulin for the entire morning. No significant blood sugar rise.

Recently she told me that she forgot to add the butter to her coffee. Instead of her usual blood sugar of around 100mg/dL, it rose much higher. Zero calories, yet her blood sugar went up.

Last post, I talked about how covering your food in fat, doesn’t require you cover it with extra insulin. Most fat won’t put blood sugar up. But will it help keep blood sugar low? Maybe. But why?

My guess is that skipping food in the morning can be stressful to some (not all) people. “When ‘stressed’… your body prepares itself to flee or fight by sending a rush of epinephrine (adrenalin) and glucagon (sugar) into your bloodstream to give you a quick burst of available energy,” writes Zoey Miller on The Babble Out, “At the same time, cortisol and growth hormone levels rise which causes muscle and fat to be less sensitive insulin which makes more glucose available in the blood stream.”

So you would think that eating nothing would keep your blood sugar more stable. But this may not be true. Fasting, especially if you’re unwell, may just alarm your body. It thinks there’s a food shortage. But add a few tablespoons of fat to the mix, and the body relaxes. Four tablespoons of ghee, for example, contains over 400 calories. That may be enough to stop your pituitary gland from declaring an emergency and ramping up your adrenals. But, unlike carbs, fat won’t ramp up your need for insulin.


Editor’s Note: It’s one thing to bolus for carbs, protein and fiber. It’s rather hard, though, to bolus for stress. In The Diabetic Ratchet Effect you can read about a straight forward way to prevent the release of cortisol when life tries to stress you out. For help maintaining normal blood sugars and HgbA1C below 5.5% you can contact John about coaching.

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