Some individuals have a heightened insulin response to certain foods. After eating foods that increase blood glucose, too much insulin is secreted by the pancreas. Insulin’s role is to facilitate the transport of glucose into the cells for energy, and remove excess glucose from the blood to be stored as fat.
When too much insulin is released, there is not enough glucose left in the blood, which can result in various low blood sugar symptoms. To prevent the release of excess insulin, a hypoglycemic diet can be followed, which is benefited by an understanding of the glycemic index.
Low Blood Sugar Symptoms
Some symptoms of low blood sugar that occur with reactive hypoglycemia are physical, and some are mental. Individuals with reactive hypoglycemia typically experience physical symptoms of low blood glucose levels around one hour after eating. Physical symptoms that occur during a hypoglycemic attack can include excessive sweating, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and a feeling of extreme hunger. These symptoms are a result of the blood sugar “crash” that occurs after eating foods with a high glycemic value.
Mental and emotional symptoms of low blood sugar include confusion, irrational behavior, difficulty making decisions, and impulse control problems. The symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia are very similar to other disorders, such as ADHD and even include psychotic behavior. Luckily, however, low blood sugar symptoms can be managed by following a careful diet of low glycemic index foods.
Low Glycemic Index Foods
The glycemic index measures the blood sugar changes that result from eating one serving of a particular food as compared to the changes that would occur from eating table sugar. Foods that register lower on the glycemic index scale have very little effect on the blood sugar, while foods with a high GI score increase blood glucose levels much more. Serving sizes and cooking methods affect the amount that blood glucose levels are impacted by a food.
Diet for Reactive Hypoglycemia
A hypoglycemic diet consists of foods that do not create a drastic increase in blood glucose. Meat, eggs, and fats have a glycemic value of 0, for example. For this reason, Low-Carb Meal Plans are very successful in the prevention of reactive hypoglycemia. High-fiber foods, such as vegetables, legumes, and certain whole-grain foods, have a lower glycemic index score, and are also effective in a diet for reactive hypoglycemia. Combining foods that have a higher glycemic value with other foods that contain fat, protein, or fiber can reduce the impact of the meal as a whole.
Hypoglycemia management can be accomplished through diet alone, but should be done under the supervision of a physician, to ensure that all necessary nutrients are included in the diet. Using Natural Sugar Substitutes can be helpful, particularly sweeteners that do not increase blood sugar levels.