Hypoglycemia

This is a condition of low blood sugar (glucose) which can lead to many frightening physical and mental symptoms. It is usually caused by long term over eating of refined carbohydrates (e.g. white bread and white flour products, white rice etc.) and of sugar. When refined carbohydrates and sugar are eaten they are rapidly digested and absorbed and cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. This enhances the production and secretion of the hormone Insulin from the pancreas which acts to lower the blood sugar again.

  1. Sugar eaten
  2. rise in blood sugar
  3. release of insulin
  4. drop in blood sugar

The drop in blood sugar is often extreme and the cells of the body and especially of the brain fail to get sufficient nourishment.

The hypoglycemic person may have some or many of the symptoms listed below. They are often of sudden onset and usually occur before breakfast, a few hours after eating, after exercise or after emotional stress.

Symptoms

Intellectual Symptoms

  • Confusion
  • Loss of concentration
  • Forgetfulness
  • Spaciness or foggy feeling

Emotional Symptoms

  • Impatience
  • Phobias
  • Irritability
  • Loss of purpose or sense of meaning in life
  • Bad temper
  • Suicidal feelings
  • Crying
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Nervous Symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Twitching of muscles
  • Trembling
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Numbness
  • Fainting

Bodily Symptoms

  • Fatigue or exhaustion Backache
  • Bloating Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain Cold sweats
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Palpitations
  • Insomnia
  • Hunger

The Treatment of Hypoglycemia

The treatment of Hypoglycemia involves eating a well balanced diet with plenty of unrefined carbohydrates. These are broken down slowly by the body to yield glucose without dramatically raising the blood sugar. If the hypoglycemic person does not follow this type of diet he will run the risk of eventual pancreatic exhaustion when no more Insulin can be produced and the person suffers from Diabetes or Hyperglycemia (to much blood sugar). It is also very important to eat plenty of protein – at least 50 g daily.

The Glycemic index shows how much different foods may cause the blood sugar to rise. This is a qualitative not a quantitative measurement but it does give useful information on the relative benefits of various foods. The lower the GI the better is the food.

The Glycemic index

breads:
white 100
wholewheat 99
whole rye 58
cereals:
buckwheat 74
brown rice 96
white rice 104
white pasta 72
brown pasta 61
corn 87
All Bran 73
cornflakes 119
porridge 71 – 96
Shreddies 97
 

Fruit:

apple 53
banana 79
cherries 32
grapefruit 36
grapes 62
orange 66
peach 40
pear 47
plum 34
raisins 93
legumes:
baked beans 60
(canned)
kidney beans 48
soybeans 21
chick peas 49
red lentils 43
vegetables:
frozen peas 74
boiled potato 81
baked potato 135
sweet potato 74
dairy:
ice cream 54
skim milk 46
whole milk 49
yoghurt 52
sugars:
fructose 30
glucose 138
honey 126
maltose 152
sucrose 86

Recommended Foods:

  • All vegetables and fruits unless mentioned below as being restricted.
  • Unsalted nuts and nut butters
  • Sesame paste (Tahini)
  • Whole grains and their products e.g.. brown bread, brown rice, brown pasta.
  • Beans and peas
  • Tofu and other soya products.
  • Lean, organic meat, poultry and fish

Limited Intake of:

  • Full fat cheese
  • Grapes, prunes, figs, dates, raisins, bananas and dried fruits.
  • Fruit juices

Avoid completely:

  • All refined and processed foods
  • All sugar and honey
  • Cakes, biscuits, sweets, pastries, puddings, cereals with sugar, ice-cream, jam and
  • marmalade
  • Ketchup, relish, sauces, pickles, mustard, tea, coffee, alcohol, soft drinks,
  • chocolate drinks, malted drinks.
  • White bread, pasta or rice.
  • Sweets and chocolate
  • Salt
  • Tobacco
  • Medication with caffeine, cough syrups, laxatives.

General Advice

Avoid stress and exhaustion and practice relaxation techniques
Get plenty of sleep. Take plenty of exercise but not to the point of exhaustion.

Eat a small meal every 2 -3 hours and avoid snacking in between.
When hungry, try eating a high protein snack – it will often give you more lasting satisfaction and energy than carbohydrates.

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