Hypoglycemia does not wait. It comes “out of the blue” with nasty symptoms. But do you know what to eat when?
- Do you know what to eat when blood sugar is low, and the symptoms are unbearable?
- Do you know what to eat when blood sugar is low, but the symptoms aren’t severe?
- Do you know what to eat to prevent hypoglycemia symptoms in the future?
Whether you ended up with low blood sugar because your system is malfunctioning, you accidentally overdosed on insulin, over-binged on alcohol, or experienced a post-carb crash, you would have to deal with the nasty symptoms of hypoglycemia one way or the other. And definitely you would be faced with the question: what to eat?
What to eat when blood sugar is low and you CAN’T wait
What are the best foods to get out of hypoglycemia fast? When your blood sugar is really low and you can’t waste any time to bring it up, you need to use easily-absorbable foods containing glucose. These are best in a liquid form. Here are three examples of fast acting, blood glucose-raising drinks:
- Classic coke
- Grape juice
These three have very high glycemic index and they will raise blood sugar in a hurry. These picker-uppers can take you out of hypoglycemia symptoms in a flash, but not without consequences.
What NOT to drink when blood sugar is low
In case of severe hypoglycemia, make sure that you reach for high glucose drinks, not just any drinks that taste sweet. Here is an example of the ones, you shouldn’t drink if you want fast results.
- tomato juice
- apple juice
These three do not contain enough glucose to save you from already developed hypoglycemia symptoms, but they have enough sugar to prevent dropping blood sugar from turning into severe hypoglycemia.
It is true that Coke, Gatorade, grape juice are perfect hypoglycemia solutions, but there is one problem: they are also one of the biggest contributor to hypoglycemia symptoms (so are other sugar-based foods and beverages).
How not to get blood sugar roller coaster
Glucose-rich foods may get you out of the low sugar zone in a hurry, but they can also sink you there a few moments later. It’s because they create blood sugar roller coasters.
If you were told to only use glucose-based snacks for hypoglycemia symptoms, you may have been given wrong advice. If you keep using glucose as a “go-to hypoglycemia rescue”, but continue getting hypoglycemia symptoms, chances are that exactly these rescue foods got you into a viscous cycle.
What foods contribute to blood sugar swings
What comes up must go down and what spikes up must crash down. Such is the case with low blood sugar treated with high glucose foods. Here are examples of such foods. They are classified as high glycemic.
- cornflakes, grape nuts, puffed wheat,
- boiled rice, rice cakes
- mashed or baked potatoes
- white baguette, bagel, wonder bread
Every food on this list is so easily digestible that it instantaneously raises blood glucose. This is great news if you have severe hypoglycemia symptoms, but bad news if you use those foods as your staple.
Besides being nutritionally useless (except for potatoes), they can also dysregulate your sugar metabolism. These foods, including breakfast cereals, chips, pretzels, and baked goods are big contributors to sugar swings, weight gain and related symptoms.
High glycemic index foods contribute to sugar ups and downs leading to a permanent state of sugar dysregulation. Unless you stop using them you will have to choose between putting on weight and dealing with hunger pangs.
What to eat to prevent low blood sugar symptoms from coming back again and again
Did you know that the best time to deal with hypoglycemia symptoms is when you don’t have low blood sugar?
That’s right. Planning proper meals ahead of time is the best way to deal with erratic metabolism.
Stay away from glucose-rich foods, fast digesting foods, and those that cause blood sugar spikes AKA high glycemic index foods.
To prevent hypoglycemia you must focus on low glycemic foods instead. These are:
These digest slowly and won’t cause sugar spikes. They may be useless for getting you out of hypoglycemia crisis, but are great for preventing it.
Focus on those if you wish to say goodbye to headaches, shakes, and foggy head. Leave breads, cereals, pop, fruit juices, and potatoes alone. You don’t need them. And you will be better off without them.
Hypoglycemia Food Rules
- What to eat to PREVENT blood sugar from getting low: eat LOW glycemic index foods (fruits, beans, vegetables, meats)
- What to eat when your blood sugar is ALREADY low: use HIGH glycemic index beverages and foods (pop, cereals, rice, potatoes, breads, baked goods)
If you are not sure how to combine foods, what to eat, and which meals can lower your hypoglycemia risk, follow the recipes in 69 Pleasures. These have been designed to prevent hypoglycemia, reduce blood sugar swings, and reduce risk for diabetes.
PS. If your hypoglycemic symptoms are due to diabetic medication, you need to ask your doctor to reduce the medication dose. It is much healthier to adjust meds to the diet, than diet to the meds.