Hypoglycemia - a Very Common Avoidable Condition

Hypoglycemia is a condition of low blood sugar.

It's usually temporary - and usually the result of having eaten too much food high in carbs.

Carbs are not all alike.

Some release their sugars very rapidly, while others release them slowly. Variations in our individual metabolic systems cause variations in the effects of the carbs.

Simple sugars such as table sugar, honey, and corn syrup are digested very rapidly with glucose reaching the blood too soon after the food is eaten.

Carbohydrates are necessary, but too many carbs too fast can be deadly.

Lots of online sources indicate that low blood sugar happens most often among diabetics.

My dad was a type I diabetic - meaning his pancreas produced very little or no insulin, so he depended on insulin injections.

In spite of careful management of his condition, he had frequent bouts of hypoglycemia, also known as insulin shock.

Earlier in my own life I've had problems with very low blood sugar, even though I'm not diabetic.

The symptoms include migraine-like headaches and blurred vision.

Step by step through several decades I've found that certain dietary changes along with regular exercise have eliminated severe problems with hypoglycemia.

When I eliminated caffeine from my diet, the symptoms subsided noticeably.

I had already eliminated my consumption of desserts loaded with sugar, along with candies - especially chocolate.

I've always really enjoyed potatoes, no matter how they're prepared.

Boiled, baked, scalloped, fried - potatoes are delicious.

But a few years ago when I learned that my metabolism quickly turns those spuds into sugar, I painfully stopped eating them. The pain was imagined - just the feeling of deprivation.

About the same time, I also stopped eating wheat and other gluten-containing grains.

I love bread and all other bakery items - but I don't miss them or the many harmful effects.

Now I don't have any of the usual severe symptoms of hypoglycemia - at least not for the last 2 years. I suppose they could crop up again if and when I accidentally eat something I should not eat.

The book, Dangerous Grains by James Braly, M.D. and Ron Hoggan, M.A. presents very clear evidence that wheat and other grains are most likely problematic to most people - clearly for some more than others.

I had already stopped eating wheat, potatoes, and dairy products before stumbling across Dangerous Grains.

That's because Joyce had found Eat Right 4 Your Type several years earlier.

Another book, Fit For Life by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond, has an interesting short passage on hypoglycemia.

Their writing on hypoglycemia is in the chapter devoted to frequently asked questions.

The question in question is: Why does it seem as if so many people today either have hypoglycemia or think they do? And doesn't eating fruit aggravate a hypoglycemic condition?

They answer in two parts.

First, they say, there are so many possible symptoms that almost everyone has at least one of them - which would be why many people only imagine they have low blood sugar.

Secondly, the SAD - or Standard American Diet is highly energy-usurping and acid-producing. Low blood sugar is a very common result.

I hadn't realized that foods could be energy consuming. They're supposed to give us energy, right?

Dr. Junger in Clean tells us that many foods in the Standard American Diet really do require large amounts of energy for digestion - and in fact, the energy requirement for digesting large meals is the primary reason we feel really tired and sleepy after eating a big meal.

The energy requirements of digesting many of our favorite foods is the reason many people run out of energy right after lunch - then snack on more junk before the evening meal, and indulge in yet more snacks before bedtime.

Dr. Junger spells this out in no uncertain terms for us in Clean.

The second part of the question posed in Fit For Life regarding fruit is something I've heard before from sceptics among friends and colleagues who don't like eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Diamonds' answer is that fresh fruit is the most effective food for raising low blood sugar.

Nearly anyone who has had as family member with type I diabetes knows that to be true.

Our Dad always carried oranges or raisins - and he was often force-fed orange juice by our Mom. He became very obstinate when he was hypoglycemic - or nearly comatose when his blood glucose levels were extremely low.

As is emphasized in Harvey and Marilyn's book, eating fruit actually increases levels of blood glucose rather than just suppressing symptoms.

Eating high protein foods does suppress the symptoms.

Protein - especially animal protein - is hard to digest, and so it consumes more energy than it provides.

My copy of Fit For Life was copyrighted in 1985 and 1987.

Back then you certainly did not hear from medical doctors on any topics related to nutrition. Nonetheless, we had access to a lot of valuable information from the Diamonds and other non-medical folks who filled the void at the time.

I'm very thankful now for the numerous medical doctors such as Dr. Junger and Dr. Braly who are publishing valuable information for many who might only listen to a medical doctor.

Return to Self Health Care from Hypoglycemia