Having hypoglycemia is never a pleasant experience and can affect your day-to-day activities. While some may think that having low blood sugar levels isn’t something to panic about, it’s a serious condition that needs to be addressed to ensure that you live comfortably. In this article, we discuss what you need to know about this condition while sharing the best hypoglycemia diet plan.
Table of Contents
What is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia refers to having lower than normal blood sugar levels. Normal blood glucose levels will range between 70 to 140 mg/dL, without counting the rise that we usually experience after we eat. As such, hypoglycemia occurs once our blood sugar levels take a dip under 70 mg/dL.
When a person’s blood sugar levels drop after four hours of eating a meal, they could be experiencing reactive hypoglycemia, which is caused by too much insulin after eating. While hypoglycemia is mostly associated with people who have diabetes, there have also been cases of hypoglycemia that aren’t related to diabetes. Malnutrition, certain drugs, severe burns, gastric bypass surgery, and other complications with health may lead to lower blood sugar levels.
Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia can be dangerous, and in severe cases, it can be deadly. Having insufficient levels of glucose in our blood may even lead to brain damage and seizures. Some of the most common hypoglycemia symptoms are the following:
- Anger or moodiness
Hypoglycemia is a common occurrence in people who take high insulin doses since this is used to lower blood glucose levels. Taking diabetes medication may also result in blood sugar spikes, so it’s important for patients taking such medication to discuss the risk of hypoglycemia with their healthcare provider.
If you were diagnosed with diabetes and your blood sugar begins to drop, be sure to use the 15-15 rule. Consume 15 grams of carbohydrates and then wait for 15 minutes before checking your blood glucose levels. Should you find that your blood sugar levels are still too low, have another serving of the same amount — you must increase your blood sugar levels to the minimum required.
Hypoglycemia Diet Eating Plan
Leaving hypoglycemia unattended can be dangerous but there are steps you can take towards changing your diet to prevent getting low blood sugar. While there is no diet that can completely eliminate hypoglycemia, the example below can certainly help minimize the risk. One of the most important parts of the diet is to regularly consume carbohydrates every day to avoid hypoglycemia.
Below is a list of all the nutritious foods you can eat to combat hypoglycemic symptoms.
Carbohydrates are essential for the prevention of hypoglycemia since they are broken down into sugar which contributes to our blood sugar. A person who doesn’t regularly eat carbohydrates may have low blood sugar levels and may even suffer from dangerously low levels of sugar once they take insulin. Choosing fiber-rich carbohydrates instead of refined carbs may help to normalize blood sugar levels.
Here are a few high-fiber options to choose from while on the hypoglycemia diet:
- Whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole wheat pasta
- Whole fruit
- Vegetables with their skin intact
- Seeds and nuts
Eating healthy fats, along with lean protein in combination with carbohydrates can benefit patients with hypoglycemia. This is because fat and protein will be digested slower compared to carbs, which means that the stomach will break down sugars slower. Below are some of the best sources of protein:
- Dairy products
Here are a few foods to look into for healthy fats:
- Vegetable oils
- Fatty fish
- Nuts and seeds
Sample Meal Plan
Here are a few food items for every meal that you can try during your hypoglycemia diet.
- Whole-grain bread with hard-boiled eggs and avocado
- Greek yogurt and berries with oatmeal and cinnamon
- Oatmeal with cinnamon, sunflower seeds, and berries
- Tuna sandwich using whole-grain bread and salad
- Quinoa, chickpea, vegetable, and pomegranate salad
- Sweet potato mash, peas, and grilled sea bass
- Brown rice with chicken, steamed broccoli, and avocado
- Salmon with salad or vegetables
- Lentil stew with chickpeas, kidney beans, olives, and tomatoes
- Small apple along with a few cheddar cheese slices
- One banana
- Some seeds or nuts
- Avocado on a wholegrain toast
- A smoothie of your favorite vegetables
- Vegetables and hummus
Lifestyle Changes to Consider
Changing your eating habits and knowing how food items affect your condition can be the best way to prevent further damage and may even work as a way of treatment. Furthermore, being familiar with the symptoms of hypoglycemia can also help — some people have the condition without knowing what it is and will often have problems with their blood sugar levels. Below are just a few tips we’ve curated to ensure that you make the necessary changes in your diet and your lifestyle.
What to Eat for Breakfast
When you first wake up, it’s essential that you consume smaller meals — your breakfast should consist of complex carbohydrates and protein. Here are a few examples of a healthy breakfast:
- A slice of whole-grain toast, boiled eggs, and avocado
- Greek yogurt with oatmeal, berries, and honey
- A small portion size of steel-cut oatmeal, along with sunflower seeds, almonds, and blueberries
Foods to Avoid on the Hypoglycemia Diet
Food items high in sugars and carbohydrates shouldn’t be eaten in this diet to help combat hypoglycemia, which includes the following:
- Pasta, white rice, white flour, and white bread
- Sugary beverages
- Dried fruit
- Flavored yogurts
- Sweetened cereals
- Packages snack food
If you’re looking for a way to structure your meals, the plate method can help you. Make sure that half of your plate is full of non-starchy vegetables, ¼ should have proteins, and ¼ should have carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, or bread. Patients taking insulin doses during mealtime shouldn’t eat meals with a high-fat content since this can delay digestion and can cause low blood sugar.
Ensure that you eat a balanced diet frequently, eating small meals once every 3-4 hours instead of consuming three large meals a day. You’ll also need to avoid drinking sweetened drinks such as fruit juice with added sugars, sugary drinks, and sweets. It’s best to avoid food items high in trans fats and saturated fats — instead, eat foods like lean protein and food with high soluble fiber.
Next, you will need to reduce or eliminate refined and processed sugars from your diet. Choose complex carbohydrates rather than simple carbs, and look for food with low glycemic index scores. It will also help to reduce your consumption of alcohol since it can trigger hypoglycemia through the liver, which is important in the stabilization of glucose levels.
But if your hypoglycemia isn’t related to diabetes, further investigation may need to be conducted to get to the cause of your condition. Moreover, you may need to talk with a registered dietitian if your hypoglycemia doesn’t improve after undertaking the lifestyle changes stated above.
Results to Expect from a Hypoglycemic Diet
When you follow a diet that’s formulated specifically to prevent hypoglycemia, you can expect to reap many benefits, such as reduced instances of severe hypoglycemia, improved levels of blood glucose, and more. Patients taking insulin will need to ensure that they eat the right foods to prevent any complications as a result of hypoglycemia.
The hypoglycemia diet was created to give balanced and healthy meals and isn’t intended to be a weight-loss solution. But if you were to make changes to your diet such as reducing your intake of added sugars while increasing fiber, then you may be able to enjoy the secondary outcome of weight loss.
Start Your Hypoglycemia Diet Today
Those who experience hypoglycemia will know that it’s never an easy condition to treat, but by eating regular snacks and meals throughout the day, they can prevent it. Combining a proper diet consisting of protein, fibrous carbohydrates, and healthy fat with physical activity can help to reduce instances of low blood sugar levels. By following the guide above on what to eat and what to avoid, you should be able to live a relatively comfortable life, even with hypoglycemia.
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