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Hypoglycemia Information

Please note that I am not a medical expert. The information on these pages is merely from my research and experience.

Hypoglycemia (HG) is a condition characterized by periodic lows in the blood sugar level that cause a variety of symptoms including nervousness, shakiness, brain clouds, fatigue, depression, and irritability. This condition is also referred to as Low Blood Sugar (LBS).

The general cause of these symptoms in hypoglycemics is not eating often enough, or eating too much sugar/carbohydrates. Eating too much sugar/carbohydrates causes a high blood sugar level which then results in the pancreas overreacting and secreting too much insulin in its attempt to lower the blood sugar. The result is a very low blood sugar level.

The most common treatment for hypoglycemia is by diet.

HG is often hereditary. So if you have a relative with diabetes or hypoglycemia, this might help confirm that your syptoms are a result of hypoglycemia.

I've noticed that the majority of people develop HG during their mid-twenties. In my personal experience, I know that I've always had HG to some degree and couldn't go too long between meals. It was in my mid-twenties that the symptoms became bad enough that I had to change my diet to handle them.

A High Protein, Low Simple Carbohydrate/Starch Diet

Generally, my diet is a less strict version of the Krimmel diet -- high protein and low simple carbohydrates and starches.

The theory is to eat foods that will take longer for your body to process into sugar. This prevents you from getting too much sugar at one time which causes your body to overreact to the high sugar level and then try to eliminate too much sugar from the blood. Also, foods with protein provide a more consistent level of sugar over a longer period of time since they take longer to process into sugar.

These guidelines will probably sound impossible at first. I currently follow them all, including no sweets! Back when I started my research, I would never have believed that I could cut out sweets entirely. But over a three year period, I made gradual adjustments to my diet and eventually arrived at the point where I can say that I don't want to eat sweets because I prefer feeling good. I find that for me, it is easier to say that I don't eat any sweets than to eat one now and then, and keep overdoing it. (Like a snowball effect.)

I would recommend starting out by revising your diet gradually. I have broken it down into five "steps." Start with a couple of the steps and gradually add another one as you see results and are able to appreciate the improvements that they are making. I've tried to list the easier and more important ones first. You don't necessarily have to do them in order.

You may need to work on each step for a couple of months until you feel comfortable with it and ready to tackle another one. Everyone is different.

They're not easy. It's a big change. You'll just have to see which ones you can fit into your life.

  1. Eat Regularly

  2. Avoid Preservatives
    Specifically MSG (monosodium glutamate) and sodium nitrate which are used in many dried or frozen foods including:
    Chinese restaurant food (ask for no MSG)
    Chex Snack Mix
    some processed meats such as lunch meat and sausage
    Campbells' chicken noodle soup
    Banquet frozen chicken pieces
    Stove Top Stuffing
    dry vegetable dip mix
    McCormick dry gravy mix
    Boullion cubes - chicken or beef broth (HerbOx is a brand that is safe.)
    Slim Jims
    Manchuran noodle soup (like Oodles of Noodles, which I haven't checked)
    some Hamburger or Chicken Helper kits

    Unfortunately, you need to read the ingredients of all pre-prepared foods that you buy and be careful what you eat that others might have made from these types of foods.

    I find that after I've eaten something with MSG, I feel dizzy for most of the next day.

  3. Reduce Simple Carbohydrates and Starches

  4. Reduce/Eliminate Caffine, Alchohol and Smoking

    These can really throw off your blood sugar level. You can start out reducing them, and eventually consider eliminating them entirely.

  5. Reduce/Eliminate Sweets

    Try to seriously reduce the desserts that you eat. More importantly, don't eat sweets on an empty stomach or when your blood sugar already feels low. Ideally, if you're going to eat sweets, eat them right after a high protein meal, such as a steak. You can start out reducing them and only eating them at safe times, and eventually consider eliminating them entirely.

Recovering from a Drop in Blood Sugar

No matter how hard you try to manage your diet, you're going to make mistakes from time to time. In addition, factors such as stress can also affect your blood sugar level.

To bring your blood sugar back up, drink a small amount of fruit juice (about 2 ounces), eat a little bit of fruit, or eat a glucose tablet. Then you'll need to eat a healthy snack to keep your blood sugar at a comfortable level. This will also work well if your blood sugar gets so low that you feel too nauseous to eat.

Find a Physician Who Understands HG

Some physicians don't know anything about HG or don't believe that it is a valid condition. You may need to ask for a referral to a dietician for extra help on developing a diet to help manage your blood sugar. You may even want to consider interviewing other physicians to see if you can find one who recognizes that HG is real and will be helpful to you in learning to manage it.

Meal Suggestions

Following is a list of examples of the entrees I've eaten for dinner to keep my blood sugar balanced since it has often been requested. Be sure to eat meals with non-starchy vegetables such as salad, broccoli, and spinach.


Snack Ideas - a list you can hang on your refridgerator for inspiration

Web Links and Internet Resources

I have listed the major hypoglycemia web links that I have found in an attempt to help other hypoglycemics find the available information. I hope that you will share wit me any other resources not linked into the pages below.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia Homepage Holland - a wealth of information

Hypoglycemia Mailing List

Reactive Hypoglycemia Home Page

Recommended Books

In association with Amazon.com

For the books listed below, I have included a link to each book in the Amazon.com catalog in case you have trouble finding copies of them.

If you would like to order more than one of the listed books through Amazon.com, I recommend that you select the link for the first book, add it to your Shopping Cart at Amazon.com's site, then return to this page and repeat the process for additional items. This will cause all the books to be put on one order and thus reduce the shipping costs per book.

I own both of the low blood sugar books listed below and highly recommend them.

All books purchased through links on this page earn referral fees that help support this web page. (Referral fees do not impact the item's purchase price.)

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Stacy Ichniowski
Email: stacy@tealdragon.net
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