Will eggs help keep my blood sugar levels stable while running? The answer is a resounding no. At least they won’t on their own. I posed this question a few weeks ago and began a little, ahem… eggs-periment, in which I compared the difference between my blood sugar levels at the beginning and end of my runs. On some runs I ate a hardboiled egg, on others I didn’t.
Now I have egg on my face. As the stats from my first month of preparation for the Marathon des Sables 2018 show (see below), it was a rather naïve proposition. My thinking was thus: eggs provide the highest quality protein of any food, apparently*, providing sustained energy without the surge in blood sugar levels associated with carbs. So surely they could help keep my levels stable?
Not really. The average drop in blood sugar on July’s 14 runs was 29.1% and whether I’ve eaten an egg or not doesn’t seem to have had any impact on the scale of decline. On runs one, four, seven, eight and 10 I munched an egg before heading out and experienced slides of 3.3%, 17.5%, 55.8%, 21.4% and 38.6% respectively. In other words, there was no correlation between eggs and change in sugar level.
Now, I know the trial was hardly rigorous; the findings are far from conclusive. But what they do show is the variables at play are complicated and numerous. What I’ve eaten and my insulin intake in the 24 hours before a run are crucial. Time of day is another factor: runs one, eight and 13 were all first thing in the morning and the rate of decline was slower (on 13 my level actually increased).
Unravelling these mysteries is going to be a massive challenge as I increase my mileage in preparation for the MdS. Avoiding dangerous peaks and toughs in my blood sugar will be crucial. To be honest, I think it’s going to take a lot of trial and error, and the odd hypo, before I get it right. I might also require some help. Any advice would be gratefully received…
*Disclaimer: I have no medical training (as this post makes abundantly clear). I am not a doctor, a nutritionist, a physio or a sports therapist; I doubt they’d even give me job handing out oranges at half time of a football match. I am just a type-one diabetic and former fat bloke with a stupid idea. This blog is my account of following that idea to its conclusion. Do not attempt anything similar without seeking prior medical (and psychiatric) advic