In being the type 1 diabetic that RAN the length of the United Kingdom earlier this year in the GBR 30/30 Challenge, where I covered distances of 30 miles a day for 30 days from John O’Groats to Lands End, I sure put my body to the test. Over the weekend I took on another somewhat gruelling challenge to a very much different extreme, which again put my poor body to the test…
The flaming 1kg burger challenge at a local pub named the Yacht consisted of two chicken fillets, two 12oz beef burgers, additional spicy chilli beef , a load of melted cheese, bacon, onion rings and a not-so-needed helping of chips on the side! To succeed in the challenge you have to clear your plate; however, that sounds so much easier than the mission actually is. As a type 1 diabetic taking this on the question was:
Could I do this – how would it effect my Blood Glucose levels?
A rather fatty meal with a high amount of carbohydrates that weighs in at 1kg is going to take a vast amount of Novorapid insulin to contain it – but how much exactly? My starting Blood Glucose (BG level) level was at 9.2, which was reasonable enough, yet, in consuming such a beastly meal – if able to finish the challenge at all – that figure could be at risk of seriously rising towards a hyperglycaemic (hyper) level if I don’t get my insulin correct.
I’m not a natural carbohydrate counter as I am yet to take the DAFNE course here in the UK, which is beneficial in educating just that; yet, I always have a rough idea of how much to inject with particular meals and usually get it right (there abouts) which I believe with 14 years experience as a type 1 is a skill you gain… I opted to inject 16 units just before starting my 1kg challenge – a lot of insulin for a lot of food!
I chomped my way through the meal like a machine – no challenge beats the Diathlete! Chicken after chicken, slice of beef after slice of beef… I was still going. My non-diabetic friend Callum took the same challenge on and came nowhere close to finishing, however, the diabetic-one was not to be stopped! I struggled towards the end a little but managed to take down that ration of bacon and clear my plate!
Diagesting – Digesting the Fat as a Diabetic
Where there was a large amount of carbohydrates for me to contend with, the high level of fat in this meal also meant that the digestion process of such carbohydrates was somewhat delayed! This is known as a slowdown in gastric emptying: glucose and other nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream due to the slow rate of which the food passes from the stomach into the intestines.
I sat happily in my chair after conquering the 1kg challenge, feeling rather bloated I must admit, and had a check of my BG levels around half hour after my meal: 11.0 – not bad going, my initial thoughts. The overall aim for a type 1 is to keep between 4-10 ideally, however, levels between 10-14 aren’t seriously high (in my opinion) and as an athlete I know that is when you’re actually at your full level of concentration. Any level above 14 and a unit or two of bolus insulin may be required to lower back towards the 4-10 healthy-zone. I decided to inject a further 2 units of Novorapid around 1 hour after my meal – in consideration that I had consumed such fats.
A low fat meal with carbohydrates would usually raise BG levels rapidly, within an hour, but on the other hand a high fat meal may average between 2-4 hours in order to reach its peak BG level. The following morning I woke at a level of 13.9 – a little more on the higher side of things, although I feel that it wasn’t a major bad level in consideration of the feast (a good thing I took that extra insulin shot!). Maybe I just needed a few units more on my average injection of basal Levemir through the night?
Nonetheless – I am the Diathlete and type 1 diabetes could not prevent me from beating the Flaming 1kg Burger Challenge, or better yet still… it couldn’t prevent me from running Great Britain! My point being that type 1 diabetes just cannot prevent me in anything.
I strongly advise every human being, diabetic or not, to eat healthily though – too many of those burgers and I won’t be running around anymore countries any time soon!