Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What Should A Person with Reactive Hypoglycemia Eat?

No two people are alike. Therefore, what you can and can not eat will be determined by the severity of your condition - is it mild, moderate or severe - and your current sensitivity to foods. No one diet will work for everyone. You must develop and follow a diet tailored specifically for you. The more natural, whole, and unprocessed the food, the more it will stabilize blood sugar and reduce cravings for sugar. Your diet should consist of vegetables, fruit, protein, and healthy fats. Here is a guideline to help you get started. These suggestions are based on building a strict diet that is intended to get you results in a shorter period of time.

Send sugar packing and eat complex carbohydrates instead.

No more sugar. You absolutely must eliminate ALL sources of sugar from your diet immediately. Examples include table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, honey, syrup, cakes, cookies, candy, pies, sugary cereals, fruit drinks, soft drinks, sweet dairy like ice cream and yogurt, processed foods, packaged foods, and any food with any of the following ingredients on the label:
  • anhydrous dextrose
  • brown sugar
  • confectioner's powdered sugar
  • corn syrup
  • corn syrup solids
  • dextrose
  • fructose
  • high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • honey
  • invert sugar
  • lactose
  • malt syrup
  • maltose
  • maple syrup
  • molasses
  • nectars (e.g., peach nectar, pear nectar)
  • pancake syrup
  • raw sugar
  • sucrose
  • sugar
  • white granulated sugar
Processed and packaged foods are convenience food that is commercially prepared and have been altered from their natural state using methods such as canning, freezing, refrigeration, dehydration and aseptic processing. These include snacks like chips and crackers, sugary cereal, boxed pasta meals, canned foods, frozen dinners, packaged cakes and cookies, etc. Think twice if it comes in a package or can. Read the label.

Complex carbohydrates are foods containing carbs that digest in the system more slowly. Slow digestion prevents a rapid rise and fall of blood sugar. It helps keep sugar levels more balanced. (Remember: In R-Hypoglycemia, the pancreas is more than likely excreting too much insulin at the first sign of sugar causing a rapid fall in blood sugar level.)


There are many complex carbohydrate foods to choose from. Here is a pretty good list. However, you will need to eliminate many of these foods in the beginning of your diet because your body may be sensitive to ALL sugars/carbohydrates. Detox and reconditioning is needed first. Your carbohydrates should come from vegetables and some fruits.

Vegetables (steamed, raw or stir fried)
Brussels sprouts
Collard greens
Beat greens
Salad greens

Fruits (fresh fruits lowest in sugar, not dried)
Lemon and Lime

Later, you may be able to add some eliminated but good fruits and vegetables back into your diet. For example, carrots and potatoes are eliminated due to their high starch/sugar content but you may be able to tolerate these foods later. For example, I added carrots back into my diet after a few weeks.

Think you'll get bored from eating vegetables? Think again. Here is a list of 98 varieties of vegetables by season.

Know the difference between carbohydrates and sugar.

Sugar and carbohydrates are closely linked in the body because sugar is a carbohydrate. It is made up of 1/2 part glucose and 1/2 part fructose. Most carbohydrates in the American diet come from refined and processed foods and not natural foods like fruits and vegetables. This has caused the body to be in a state of sugar shock, not knowing the difference between good and bad sugar, and becoming conditioned to respond in a fight or flight manner to protect you from excessive sugar intake. The body interprets all types of sugar in basically the same way; as an energy source, but it may process them differently depending upon the type.

Most organic matter on earth is made up of carbohydrates because they are involved in so many aspects of life. There are natural carbohydrates (plant life) and refined carbohydrates (sugar).

Carbohydrates come in many forms and they are all broken down into simple sugar by the body eventually, and most foods have some carbohydrate content. There's a difference between allowing your body to break down complex carbs into simple sugar and you taking in simple sugar directly. It takes longer for the body to turn some carbohydrates into simple sugar. Thus, the pancreas is not required to release as much insulin, and this is the best way for the body to handle sugar.

Sugar is a generalized name for a class of chemically-related sweet-flavored substances used as food. The real name for sugar is sucrose. Sucrose is a simple carbohydrate that consists of two simpler sugars or components stuck together; fructose and glucose, when broken down by the acid in your belly. Table sugar has gone through the refinement process and has been depleted of its natural life forces, vitamins and minerals. The body cannot utilize this refined starch and carbohydrate unless the depleted proteins, vitamins and minerals are present. Nature supplies these elements in each plant in quantities sufficient to metabolize the carbohydrate in that particular plant. There is no excess for other added carbohydrates. - William Dufty, Why Sugar is Toxic to the Body

The term sugar can be confusing because it is used to describe both the natural (good) and the refined processed (bad) versions. Knowing the difference is key. One person may say sugar is good for you - your body uses sugar as energy so you ingest more sugar. While this is true, it is dependent upon the context in which sugar is being discussed and the type of sugar being referenced. READ: All Sugars Aren't the Same.

Glucose is commonly called sugar. It is an important energy source that is needed by all the cells and organs of our bodies, especially the brain. Most or all of the glucose in the human diet is traceable to plants and is manufactured in plants by photosynthesis. READ: What is Glucose Made of?

Glycogen is converted from glucose and is stored in the liver and muscles of humans and animals for later use of energy. If the liver is malfunctioning, your glycogen stores will be affected.

What we want is for the body to use carbohydrates/sugar from natural sources (plant life: fruits and vegetables), not from commercially produced refined foods.

Do not restrict carbs from your diet.

Just because you must eliminate sugar (simple sugar, simple carbs, etc.) does not mean you should eliminate all carbohydrates from your diet.

Your body needs carbs but the way in which you eat carbs will make the difference between a good meal and a bad meal which result in low blood sugar and the ugly symptoms that accompany it. Carbohydrates come in many forms; sugar, fruits, and vegetables. The type of carbohydrates you want to steer clear of are those that come from simple sugar and packaged, processed, and refined foods.

This can be a bit confusing but my rule of thumb is to obtain my source of carbohydrates from vegetables and sources of protein like nuts and seeds (sprouts/plant life).

Replace burgers and fries with good sources of protein.

Eat protein with every meal! Protein is necessary in anyone's diet. Protein seems to be helpful in slowing down the digestion of carbohydrates which in turn helps prevent a major spike in blood sugar from occurring and leading to an over production of insulin resulting in a crash or blood sugar drop.

Understand which proteins you can and can not eat. Depending on the severity of your condition, your body may not tolerate certain proteins like beans which are high in starch (a carbohydrate that quickly converts to sugar). I stayed away from beans when I began my tailored reactive hypoglycemic diet because they induced my symptoms. My body needed to be allowed to rest first. Many hypoglycemia diet recommendations will advise you to eat certain foods that are in actuality good for you but possibly not at the beginning stages of your treatment and possibly not ever.

  • Meat from all-natural plant fed animals (chicken, turkey)
  • Raw nuts and seeds (almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
  • Lentils and Legumes (if you can't handle these in the beginning, eliminate beans, cashews, and peanuts) 
  • Dairy products such as eggs, cheese, cottage cheese, and raw milk (*optional if you are not against dairy or allergic. raw goat milk is the better option.)
  • Seafood is an option (fish contains a high level of protein but if you are concerned about mercury toxicity or you have dental amalgams, it may be best to eliminate fish and seafood)
Eat healthy fats.

Basically, there are two groups of fats: saturated and unsaturated. You want the unsaturated fats. Good fats are olive oil, coconut oil, and foods with omega 3's.

Omega-3s are found in fatty fish like salmon, trout, catfish, and mackerel, as well as flaxseed and walnuts.

Love your fruits and vegetables.

Two good sources of carbohydrates and other nutrition are fruits and vegetables. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a MUST for a reactive hypoglycemic diet. Vegetables will give you the carbohydrates you need. Our ancestors ate very little sugar except that found in whole fruits and vegetables.

An important note about fruit: If you are in a moderate to severe stage of hypoglycemia your body may not tolerate some sweet fruits just yet. Remember, your body is malfunctioning and is sensitive to ALL sugars. Fruit contains sugar in the form of fructose. Until your body says you are able to indulge in sweet fruits like bananas and mangoes, steer clear.

An important note about vegetables: Some vegetables are high in starch like corn and potatoes. When you are just starting out it is best to stay away from starchy foods all together.

Eat foods high in fiber.

Dietary fiber is an essential nutrient required for proper digestion of foods and proper functioning of the digestive tract. Fruits, vegetables, and grains are high in fiber. If you have selected to eliminate most fruits and grains from your diet in the beginning stages, you will receive your fiber from vegetables.

Fruits (raspberries, avocados, pomegranates, prunes)
Vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, leafy greens)
Grains (Bulgur, kamut, quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice)

Grains are very high in carbohydrates.

Swap starchy foods for whole grains or just eliminate them.

Did you know that some starchy foods raise blood sugar levels rapidly? People who are sensitive to sugar should avoid most starchy foods, since most starchy foods are rapidly broken down into sugar.  Starchy foods include grains (rice, oats, wheat, barley), potatoes, corn, and beans. Grains are made into cereal, pasta, and bread, as well as biscuits, muffins, crackers, cakes, cookies, pie crust, pastries, and any food made with flour.

Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by most green plants as an energy store. Starchy foods may induce your symptoms if you are in a moderate to severe stage of hypoglycemia. It is best to eliminate these foods in the beginning of your treatment.

Many people are unable or unwilling to eat any type of wheat or grain including oatmeal, whole-grain pastas, couscous, or rice. Read this article How Grains Are Killing You Slowly, which explains why others chose to eliminate grains from their diet all together. Do some more research and you can then determine for yourself if grains should be a part of your diet.

Opt in for breakfast.

Never skip breakfast. For a hypoglycemic person, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your body has been fasting throughout the night; 8 hours or more. Start the day off with lemon water to aid in digestion. After 20-30 minutes, eat a good breakfast with protein. Eggs, sausage patties, and some fruit make a good breakfast combination.

The bottom line.
Eliminate any foods that are or could potentially be detrimental to your treatment.


This post will be updated as new information is learned or provided. This post is the expressed opinion of its author. Consult your health care professional for dietary and health advice based on your individual health care needs.

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