So I had a client recently where we were trying to get to the bottom of their blood sugar levels spiking first thing in the morning. Through a process of elimination I discovered that my client was having a cup of coffee every morning on waking, driving to work, then checking their blood sugar levels and having their breakfast in work.

tumblr_ncl37s0v1C1s30ko5o1_500There is a number of issues here, the most glaringly obvious is that anyone on insulin should not sit behind the wheel of a car without knowing what their blood sugar levels are first no matter if it is only a 5 minute drive to work. I can tolerate most things in diabetes self management, but I draw the line on this.

Secondly the coffee can be an issue. Some studies have shown coffee can be harmful to blood sugar levels others say it is protective. In my opinion when a person drinks coffee on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, it tends to spike blood sugar levels. I believe this is due to the fact that coffee is a stimulant, and tends to stimulate adrenaline. When we produce adrenaline, insulin levels reduce and hence a spike in blood sugar levels.

We could not rule out the fact that the morning drive to work for a lot of people can be stressful, so a blood sugar level spike maybe in response to this.

When my client eliminated coffee out of their diet for a number of days, switched around their routine not only did their blood sugar levels balance out, but they prevented the hypos they were having mid morning at work. They had been correcting for the spike and of course breakfast, and then entering the ‘swings and roundabout’ levels that come with starting off their day with a raised blood sugar level.

So it just shows that something so simple as a cup of coffee, was causing so much problems. They still enjoy their coffee, but just at a more appropriate time!