I have hypoglycemia. Should I eat the way my body reacts and experiment with foods?

I have recently been diagnosed with hypoglycemia. I have been put on the proverbial high protein / low carbohydrate diet. In doing some research I have found many discrepancies on just what a hypoglycemic diet is. Example: the diet my doctor gave me lists pancakes and waffles as foods I can eat. Other lists I have found list these as foods I should not have. This is just one of many discrepancies I found.

Common sense tells me to eat by the way my body reacts and to experiment with different foods. What do you think?

I am still very confused. For one thing, I am now supposed to eat more times during the day. This is hard for me. I find myself forcing food down my throat when I am not hungry. (I have never eaten a lot and don’t usually crave food.) I fight nausea when I eat and I am not hungry and nausea is usually how I know to stop eating. I feel sick for a little while after I eat. For as long as I can remember I have been this way. I don’t have very large meals, maybe a piece of fruit or half a sandwich now. Why do I have to eat when my body says not to?

I also have never eaten sweets on a regular basis. Sweets were and still are too sweet for me. Maybe I’ll eat a piece of cake or have some ice cream every now and then. Most of my sugar intake seems to come from soda. So I am having difficulty understanding where this hypoglycemia comes from.

Also, I don’t seem to know, nor can I find a list of just what foods are simple and complex carbohydrates and high protein. I don’t pay attention to food except when I am hungry so I never learned just what foods are what and their classifications. Do you know where I can attain a list describing what these foods are? All the diets I have found have meager lists of what I should eat and don’t tell me just which food is a carbohydrate or protein.

Like I said before I am having a hard time with this. I still don’t feel well and seem to be battling with the food I eat. I am hoping you have some information that may be of help.

The information you have received sounds confusing to me too. A low carbohydrate (less than 130 grams per day) is no longer used for hypoglycemia.

First off hypoglycemia results from an over production of insulin, poor glycogen reserves in lean muscle tissue (liver and muscles) and usually a sporadic food intake that includes concentrated sweets (candy, pop, desserts). Many doctors consider hypoglycemia a pre-diabetic condition because insulin production is abnormal. Your body produces too much insulin in response to sugars and carbohydrates in food which is opposite to a diabetic who produces too little insulin (Type 2) or none (Type 1).

I would not suggest you experiment with foods to see what works. As your blood sugar falls to around 50 milligrams percent, you may pass out. Your brain uses more glucose than any other organ in the body and when there is not enough fuel, you may lose consciousness. To another person, low blood sugar symptoms resemble alcohol intoxication and you may not be treated appropriately.

If you feel weak and shaky like you are going to faint (hypoglycemic), eat protein like cheese or luncheon meat. This is different than the recommendations for a diabetic experiencing an insulin reaction who is instructed eat sugar-containing foods like orange juice. Sugar would temporarily bring your blood sugar up, but it would fall rapidly again within a short time.

Nausea with or after eating is not normal and should be addressed by your doctor and a dietitian. The amount of food you eat (one piece of fruit or half sandwich) is probably not sufficient to prevent or cause hypoglycemic symptoms between meals. Do you sporadically eat much larger meals at other times? Or binge eat? Or fast?

One 12 ounce can of soda (carbonated beverage) contains 9 tsp. of sugar or 45 gm of carbohydrate. How much soda do you drink a day or at one time?

Simple carbohydrates are sugars like those found in candy, soda and desserts as well as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose). Complex carbohydrates are starches and fiber found in bread, cereal, rice, pasta and vegetables like potatoes, corn and peas.

Protein containing foods are meat, poultry, fish, cheese, lunchmeats and sausages. Milk contains protein as well as milk sugar (lactose).

The dietary treatment for hypoglycemia is slightly reduced carbohydrates (50% of calories), slightly increased protein (20% of calories) and six small meals per day. With a regular meal pattern, your hypoglycemic symptoms should lessen and you will probably feel better. This diet is very similar to a diabetic diet that does not include sweets or sugars. Two 4″ pancakes or 2 frozen round waffles are allowed and can be exchanged for 2 starch breads for breakfast, but no syrup. Try fresh fruit (1/4 to 1/2 cup) on the pancakes or waffles instead.

I would suggest you see a Registered Dietitian who is a professional trained in nutrition therapy who could provide you with a list of what foods to eat and plan a meal pattern of foods you like.