Coffee or Dawn Phenomenon?

By Type1Lou Latest Reply 2018-10-15 18:15:32 -0500
Started 2018-08-18 09:02:00 -0500

I've seen many discussions about coffee being the cause of elevated blood sugars. I wanted to share Riva Greenburg's experience where, by intermittent fasting, she discovered that her higher BG's in the morning were caused by Dawn Phenomenon and not by the coffee she had been drinking. Here's the link to her blog:

10 replies

GoddessJen 2018-10-14 15:01:09 -0500 Report

I really appreciate this post, because it resonates for me far more than "coffee is a problem." I’ve been T1 for 35 years, no complications. Also drink black coffee or espresso with canned unsweetened coconut milk in the a.m. with NO issues.
Lately I test when I wake up in the middle of the night for a bathroom trip. BS still good. Then upon waking a few hours later in the morning, it’s been shockingly higher, a new thing for me. I had a vague memory of hearing of Dawn Phen. but hasn’t ever applied to me, so thanks for this post. I guess liver is deciding to “helpfully” dump. Interestingly, I have been cleansing and it definitely includes supporting liver function. So could be either the Dawn Ph. is evidence I need it, or the cleanse is having this (temporary) side effect. Hmm… time will tell. In the meantime, it’s wake up and shoot up.

Type1Lou 2018-10-15 18:15:32 -0500 Report

I suffer from Dawn Phenomenon. I've been Type 1 now for 42 years. After resisting an insulin pump for years, I started on one in 2011 and never want to go back to MDI. My highest basal insulin delivery set for my pump is between 3 am and 7am specifically because of Dawn Phenomenon. Still, my highest BG's of the day are frequently upon rising. With pump tweaks and frequent testing (no CGM), my last A1c was 6.0…doing the happy dance! The one thing I've learned living with diabetes is that is never stays the same…especially as we age, we need to continually adapt…but we have the tools now to help us better manage

GabbyPA 2018-08-25 14:08:31 -0500 Report

I don't understand why coffee would be something to raise glucose levels? Unless you drink it with sugar or flavored creamers, it is zero carbs.

Type1Lou 2018-08-26 09:52:53 -0500 Report

I believe its "stimulant" effect may be responsible for some hormone release in some people which could affect BG…but not really sure as I'm not a scientist. I do know that when I do my morning exercise routine, after I stop, my BG will rise which I attribute to extra adrenaline. It's not what one normally expects from exercise but by monitoring and increasing my pump's insulin delivery accordingly, I stop it from going too high. Intense short-term exercise can cause an increase in BG according to Gary Scheiner in "Think Like a Pancreas". Managing our diabetes well involves knowing what foods we can eat but also understanding how other non-food issues like stress and certain activities and drugs also impact our control

Oneshotbandit 2018-08-23 13:26:15 -0500 Report

Yes, this is quite a question. My ex-DR. said that coffee was a no-no: FAST means FAST, BUT the Lab techs told me coffee has no bearings on BG readings as long it was drank black. I've taken it (BG readings) before then the next day after a CUP w/little difference.

Nick1962 2018-08-22 17:23:15 -0500 Report

I guess I’m a bit surprised to see this as I’ve never had coffee effect my numbers. In fact, my morning spikes typically came before I even had my first cup. Sure the caffeine jolt made it a little worse, but it was just the caffeine kicking things up even further in the morning. As she even points out, it doesn’t happen later in the day.