Monday, February 27, 2012

What a Difference a Little Protein Makes

We have mentioned in other posts our difficulties with managing the post-breakfast glucose spike. The fact that breakfast choices include so many high sugar foods, especially when considering those options that most young kids prefer, makes this a very challenging time of the day. There was a time when BGs over 300 happened more often than we would like to admit, and readings in the mid 200s felt like success. We have recently made a change to Emerson’s breakfast that has allowed us to make significant progress towards putting those days behind us.

During a trip to Emerson’s endo in early October we talked a bit about this period of the day. She asked if we had tried incorporating more protein in with breakfast, as she thought this might slow the absorption of carbs and reduce the magnitude of the spike. She suggested maybe a turkey sandwich for breakfast or including some other high-protein foods, such as peanut butter. While the sandwich certainly wasn’t going to go over well with Emerson, we got the idea.

Since that time we have simply added 1 TBSP of peanut butter to her breakfast every day and it has made a significant difference. Here are some stats to illustrate. In the 4 months before adding the PB, Emerson’s average pre-breakfast BG was 177. Her average mid-morning BG during that time was 241. We couldn’t seem to find a formula that would control the spike without sending her low by lunchtime. Since we have made the change, her average pre-breakfast BG has been 176 and her average mid-morning BG has been 200.

This has been a significant improvement, but we don’t think it has all been directly the result of the additional protein. The lower spike has allowed us to further tweak our formula and not have to worry about her going low later in the morning. So this is an indirect benefit of the change. Can’t say this will work in all cases but it is certainly something worth trying if you too are losing the battle against the post-breakfast BG spike. Emerson many times will eat the PB with a banana but has gotten to the point where all she needs is a spoon.


  1. Very interesting. Sounds like sage advice from the Endo there, about protein. Glad it's helping to bring the morning BGs down... that's a time I struggle with, but not because of breakfast (which I sadly miss more than I eat in the morning). My basal is boosted up in those morning hours thanks to just the natural morning BG spike and then my coffee intake, and then it comes down just enough to not bring me Low by lunch. While somewhat different, it's a tough time and so I get that - glad to hear this is starting to work for Emerson!

  2. We've definitely noticed that protein helps - esp. if it's the first thing to hit Luke's tummy. Not easy to do with a toddler. BTW - Luke keeps mentioning Emerson (showed him the video of a set change in hopes it'd make him a little braver). I think he has a crush now. :)