The Dawn Phenomenon is the term for when your blood sugar is particularly high in the morning. As a Type 2 diabetic who is testing regularly for blood sugar, this phenomenon plagued and fascinated me. As I began to reverse my Type 2 through diet and exercise, I began to read about the idea that intermittent fasting might be able to cure blood sugar spikes and also the dawn phenomenon.
Every morning Lisa has woken up to me cursing and swearing that my blood sugar has spiked again. You know that feeling, you have perfect sugars all day, stop eating by eight in the evening, go to bed at ten, still stable, but wake in the morning and the sugars have really spiked.
How can the blood sugar have gone up as you have not eaten anything since last night? It’s disappointing, dispiriting and discouraging and sometimes made me think that there is no point in carrying on.
I have experienced all of these emotions.
I have researched this and now understand it is the body giving you a massive liver dump in expectation of the day ahead. I know it’s non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and it’s better out than in so to speak but when does the liver stop doing this?
No one seems to give you a timetable. The brilliant Dr Jason Fung explains this in his book, ‘The Obesity Code’, and he recommends intermittent fasting to help cure the problem.
Well, in my experience he is correct. Recently I have been doing a few 24-hour fasts. You can hear the podcast about my fasting experiment in the free simple as fat podcasts.
I started with a 24 hour fast on Tuesday.
When I say fast, I still drank water, a few cups of tea and I had a coffee with double cream first thing in the morning.
Many experts including Jason Fung recommend drinking a salty broth whilst fasting but I just dissolve some salt in water and knock it back. It is important to keep your sodium levels up whilst fasting, just as it is when following a Low Carb High Fat diet.
The weirdest thing I experienced on this whole day fast was that I was genuinely not hungry at all. I was planning to have steak and mushrooms at seven when I finished the fast but didn’t feel that hungry. So, remembering my mantra of only eating when you are hungry, I decided instead to just have a salad with cold sliced turkey breast drenched, of course, in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
That day I also did a 13,000 step walk and did not take any Metformin. And you all know what happens if you take Metformin on an empty stomach don’t you…
My sugars were slightly higher but nothing to worry about after eating, then when I went to bed they were about 5. Ideal!
You can hear all about the exact readings in this free podcast here. Please subscribe they are free and always will be and by subscribing you will never miss an episode.
Next day, Wednesday, my sugars were great all day, but again I didn’t really feel hungry so I just had another salad with cold meats for tea.
By Thursday my sugars were brilliant and I didn’t even have the dreaded dawn phenomenon. I am sure this is connected to the fast on Tuesday.
I started the day with a cheese and onion omelette and a side of streaky, crispy bacon. I had a Stilton salad at lunchtime and steak and mushrooms cooked in butter for my tea.
I had a glass of red wine and by 9.00pm my sugar was 4 so I had a big dollop of full fat Greek Yogurt with a few raspberries before I went to bed.
Eureka! On Friday morning my sugar was bang on 7 so I decided that I would do another 24 hours fast until the evening. It was easy.
The next morning, I did over 12,000 steps as I felt so good and also, if I’m honest, Lisa and I had had a few words, so I wanted to be alone. What a drama queen I am!
However, the walk was brilliant and my sugars and mood were great for the rest of the day. Again, I never really felt hungry but I ended the fast with a big bowl of freshly cooked mussels in white wine, cream and onions, absolutely brilliant and so low in carbs, see the recipe here.
Again, I got up on Saturday morning and had perfect sugar readings.
It was a fascinating experiment and one I intend to do most weeks from now on as the weight also dropped off as a result – both on the scales and on the waistband.
I recorded the event as it went on and put it all into one podcast so I can share with you how I did it and how I felt.
If you fancy doing this I would recommend that you first read Jason Fung’s book The Obesity Code and also consult your doctor before you start.
Remember I am not a doctor, a dietician, a fitness expert or a nutritionist I’m just a fat gobby bloke, losing weight and taking back control!