Phil Maffetone: Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels and Understanding Abnormalities

April 5, 2019
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Dr. Phil Maffetone is back for what’s sure to be another instant classic, as we help you understand and assess your blood sugar regulation and holistic health.

Topics discussed:

  • How blood sugar was treated decades ago vs. now, and how there’s an increased acceptance to using this information.
  • Types of diabetes — type 1, type 2, gestational
  • Interview Tawnee did with a Type 1 diabetic Jame Stout years back.
  • What is Type 3 diabetes and how it’s related to brain function and decline such as Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Gray areas with blood sugar — when you’re blood sugar levels are “subclinical” thus not diagnosed as a disease, but still showing red flags and this needs to be addressed.
  • How other subclinical health issues are sometimes ignored but still can have a huge effect on one’s wellbeing and deserve attention, such as subclinical hypothyroidism.
  • What we need to do is 1) be holistic and 2) assign risk — what are the risks of even subclinical issues?
  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that is typically discovered early in life, as opposed to type 2 adult-onset diabetes.
  • Type 1 is a condition that we can influence significantly with diet and lifestyle, to the point of getting off insulin, Phil says. It requires a great health care practitioner and getting healthy.
  • Let’s look at people as individual humans not label them as “diabetic.”
  • A listener asks us: I am a 34 year old Type 1 diabetic and novice endurance runner. I was wondering if you had any insight on the ability to prevent hypoglycemic events on long runs (10 to 20 miles) by using the MAF method to stay in a “fat burning” zone. I have some success with this with my own little n=1 experiment by wanted to know if you knew of any science to support this theory?
  • The answer lies in the same principles that we often discuss with the MAF Method.
  • The role of ketones and fatty acids.
  • Phil likes fasting blood sugar below 90; somewhere between 80-89.
  • How are we obtaining our blood sugar values, and how our response influences the test (i.e. are we stressed out when testing causing a shift in BS)?
  • Continuous blood sugar monitoring — shows you how your body is not only responding to food but to life.
  • Phil says, don’t just measure your blood sugar until you start from the beginning by getting healthier, then start adding on layers of health monitoring.
  • Is the MAF Method important to develop metabolic efficiency to prevent hypoglycemic responses in exercises by being a better fat burner? Phil says yes.
  • The role of diet even for endurance athletes, and especially those with blood sugar issues.
  • KEY to find this out: How much natural carbs can be consumed without it interfering with your blood sugar?
  • The role of body fat: You can’t have steady blood sugar if you body fat is too high.
  • Overweight vs. overfat and our past podcast with Phil that addresses this.
  • Phil’s book, The Overfat Pandemic.
  • 20-40% of the non-obese population still has too much body fat, Phil has found in his research.
  • Waist to height ratio
  • Excess body fat associated with chronic inflammation and these blood sugar issues.
  • We’re all an n=1, treat your diet and body that way and experiment to find what works for your wellbeing.
  • 3-4 g protein per kg or bodyweight may be too much because protein can convert to glucose.
  • Phil’s category for people who’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and have overcome it: “former diabetic,” “healthy diabetic,” “diabetic in remission,” etc… the point is our body remembers this condition and we have to still be cognizant.
  • At-home monitoring and using a blood glucose meter.
  • The problem is the technology: at-home glucose meters can have a 15% variance, which can be a huge difference.
  • Don’t rely on glucose meters alone, and while it’s good to gather information, it’s also important to be preventative in the first place by self-monitoring your diet and health.
  • The monitors that Tawnee has:
  • HbA1C — the 3-month snapshot of blood cells that gives you an indication on average blood sugar over that time.
  • Stress significantly influences blood sugar — physical, biochemical, mental, emotional (exercise counts).
  • Fit but Unhealthy by Phil and Paul Laursen.
  • “Everyone is an athlete” we say!!! And walking counts too 🙂
  • Study on ultraprocessed food consumption and risk of mortality.
  • Blood sugar abnormalities when you’re already low carb or keto:
    • If the glucose numbers are correct, something is wrong, such as something metabolic, protein levels, liver issues, gut issues, or a combo of issues that impair metabolism.
    • Be sure to look at the blood glucose monitor’s accuracy and how you’re taking it.
    • Don’t just rely on one number!! Always be sure to test often and frequently to watch for trends (not just one and done).
    • Also get some lab testing to verify blood sugar levels, along with triglycerides (should be 75 or less), HDL levels (should be 80s-90s), HBA1C in a normal range, etc.
    • Keep evaluating till you get to your “aha moment.”
  • With ketone monitoring, be a skeptic as well. They have a value but not perfect, use as a guide among other guides. And don’t let it get to be an unhealthy obsession!
  • Cephalic effect of food.
  • The two meal effect.
  • Seek help from professionals for objective feedback.
  • The holistic approach to life, according to Phil.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test for pregnant women and other patients:
    • Phil says do not use this as a first assessment tool. How to look at things more comprehensive.
    • However, the test can help us find a problem (it helped Phil find out more about his blood sugar dysregulation).
    • You deserve to have options.
    • The test is also a biochemical trauma on the body.
  • Phil’s latest work: “decision making in health and fitness.