Monday, February 25, 2008

Sugar Sugar

In the name of science (and earning a few hundred dollars for my upcoming spring break trip to Turkey), I enrolled myself in a medical research study about diabetes and heart disease and glucose tolerance. The study is fairly rigorous; I had to eat a fixed menu for four days, get my fat levels tested with skin calipers and underwater weighing, do a VO2 max test on a treadmill, collect a 24 hour urine sample, have my cholesterol and fasting blood glucose levels tested, get a fat biopsy from right above my hip, do an oral glucose tolerance test (get blood drawn before, during and after drinking a sugary drink), an insulin clamp (having insulin infused into me while variable levels of glucose are infused at the same time to see how well my body responds to insulin) and get three MRIs; one of my abdomen, one of my liver, and one of my leg. I also had to stay overnight in Parkland Memorial Hospital, which is perhaps the scariest part of all. The diet was supposed to be weight-maintenance, but it seemed like a lot more food than I normally eat. These were my drinks for the day, along with 1540 ml of deionized water:Breakfast; sausage and eggs, two pieces of toast with apple butter, grapefruit with sugar, and pineapple juice
snack: graham crackers with peanut butter and raisins, 7-up
Lunch: chef salad with twice as much meat as lettuce, strawberries with sugar, a brownie, and lemonade
dinner: baked potato with bacon and butter, three broccoli spears, chicken with some kind of white sauce, an apple, two peanut butter cookies, 7-up and pineapple juice.
My favorite part: most of it came in reusable containers which I saved so that whenever I cook a big batch of something in the future I can portion it into serving-sized meals and just grab one for lunch.

On Saturday I made the mistake of putting off lunch until almost 4 pm, when I had to be finished eating ALL my food by 6 pm. I had to eat two full meals including desserts in around 2 hours. It was a little exhausting.

My VO2 max and fat caliper pulls were done by Peter Snell, who won gold medals and set world records in 1960 and 1964 representing New Zealand in track at the Olympics. So that was a little intimidating. He remains the only man to have ever won the 800 and the 1500 in one Olympics. To have an olympian tug on your fat is very humbling.

Sunday and Monday mornings I had different kinds of glucose tolerance tests. They took around 3 or 4 hours each and they stole quite a bit of my blood (more than 30 test tubes, a little less than when you go to donate), which I’m now worried about because my blood tests showed that I was a little anemic in the first place. whoops...

Things I learned about myself during the study:
My VO2 max is 40.2
My maximum heart rate is 196
I have abnormally fat calves. They were 1.5 times as fat as my thighs, which doesn’t ever happen. Your thighs are supposed to be fatter.
I have baller cholesterol levels (total 115, HDL 43.2) but not enough red blood cells.
I probably won’t ever get diabetes.

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