Monday, 14 March 2011

the 'sunday roast dinner effect'

whilst reading the section in bernstein's book about the 'chinese restaurant effect' i was confused. i continued being confused for a short while every time it was mentioned in the book, until i suddenly hit upon a more accurate metaphor for my understanding... the sunday roast dinner effect!

the idea behind the metaphor is that when you eat so much (even though it is low carb!) and get SO full your body cannot process everything in it's normal way. instead of requiring an immediate insulin response, then a second long lasting response, there is also a third response of insulin required to help counteract the glucagon the body releases (which the body does because the intestines are stretching to compensate for all that food you just ate!)

so basically, if you eat a whole bag of lettuce even though it's basically full of water and has no carbs, you will still need to inject insulin to cover it because of the quantity you ate.

this only started making sense to me when it helped to explain the reason behind my post-sunday-roast high blood sugar. a sunday roast doesn't potentially contain that many carbs, meat, veggies, gravy... i always assumed it was the amount of fat i was consuming that caused the rise in blood sugar, but however much i injected (more on that later) it didn't seem to help my levels on a sunday afternoon.

but, as we all know (especially in the uk) sunday roasts are an opportunity to eat LOADS, and get stuffed - in fact, it's almost rude in our family to be sensible with your portion sizes when it comes to this meal. traditionally we all spend the afternoon sat immobile or asleep for an hour to allow our bodies to digest the hefty quantities we just downed.

sometimes we do go for a sunday walk afterwards, which helps a little with the quantity of fat consumed, but will do nothing much to help the 'overeating effect' that creates the rise in blood sugar.

it's the same with Christmas - gluttony is a key aspect to many family holidays and traditions, it would seem.

anyway, so now i understand why this happens i can eat a bit less on these occasions, and learn to manage portion control. if eating so much requires me to have more than 6 units of insulin bolused then it's WAY too much - and the amount I will need will rise exponentially the more and more I stuff myself. so i might end up needing 8 units to cover 50g of carbs, just because i ate so much.

and then you see if i injected that sort of quantity i will build up resistance to the insulin and it will become far less effective in my body. and i also run the risk of going substantially lower later on in the day when the insulin finally works it's way to being absorbed.

ok, so what do we learn? overeating is never a good thing, ever. however 'satisfied' it makes you feel, or how much a part of tradition it is, or however much you just want to politely finish what is put on your plate - it's not worth it!