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What reactive hypoglycemia diet is suggested?

Individuals with reactive hypoglycemia respond favorably to high-carbohydrate, high-fiber, restricted-simple sugar diets. All of our patients who closely follow this regimen do well and rarely have hypoglycemic attacks. In sharp contrast, individuals treated with high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets continue to have hypoglycemic attacks and, also, develop abnormal

glucose tolerance tests.

When blood glucose falls, eating carbohydrate foods can bring it back up; a meal or a snack must be eaten. Some people believe the obvious solution is to eat a candy bar or drink a cola beverage. Such a meal or snack is very high in carbohydrate, and consists mostly of simple sugar. It may cause your blood level to rise quickly and then fall quickly. Some people then experience the symptoms of hypoglycemia.

A more helpful choice is to eat food with complex carbohydrates (whole grain crackers, bagels, soft pretzel, breads or cereal). Complex carbohydrate foods deliver glucose over a longer period of time, eliciting less of a rise and fall in blood glucose. A cracker or other grain food with cheese or another protein/fat is the best choice. The protein/fat slows down the digestion of the carbohydrate and keeps blood sugar more stable.

The therapeutic diets provide 55% of energy as carbohydrate, 15% protein, 30% fat, 25-40 grams of fiber per day, and less than 50 grams of simple carbohydrate daily. Our research and clinical experience suggest that diets work like this: generous carbohydrate and fiber intakes foster a high level of insulin sensitivity and facilitate the smooth uptake of glucose from the blood; intake of soluble fiber delays gastric emptying, slows the absorption of glucose, and minimizes blood glucose excursions; and restricted simple sugar intakes decrease large rises in blood glucose values. These diets are somewhat restricted in fruit and dairy products. Initially, we recommend that fruit juices be avoided; subsequently they can be included as part of a full meal.

Three meals and a bedtime snack work well for most individuals. After gastric surgery some require three smaller meals and three generous snacks daily but most do not require the traditional "frequent small meals".

To treat hypoglycemic attacks we recommend pretzels, plain graham crackers, bread or other sources of complex carbohydrate. Patients should avoid sources of simple sugar such as cola, juice or candy. These symptoms usually disappear after 3-6 weeks of diet therapy.

More information on hypoglycemia

What is hypoglycemia? - Hypoglycemia is a medical term referring to a pathologic state produced and usually defined by a lower than normal amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood.
What causes hypoglycemia? - The main cause of hypoglycemia is intentional or accidental overdose of antidiabetic medication, insulin or oral drugs.
What is reactive hypoglycemia? - Reactive hypoglycemia is a condition in which the symptoms of low blood sugar appear 2 to 5 hours after eating foods high in glucose.
What reactive hypoglycemia diet is suggested? - Individuals with reactive hypoglycemia respond favorably to high-carbohydrate, high-fiber, restricted-simple sugar diets.
What is fasting hypoglycemia? - Fasting hypoglycemia, which most commonly occurs among people with diabetes when too much insulin is administered, is potentially very dangerous.
What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia? - Mild hypoglycemia can cause nausea, a jittery or nervous feeling, cold and clammy skin, and a rapid heartbeat. Severe hypoglycemia can lead to loss of consciousness, seizures, and coma.
How is hypoglycemia diagnosed? - A low sugar level in the blood found at the time a person is experiencing typical symptoms of hypoglycemia confirms the diagnosis in a person without diabetes.
What're the treatments for hypoglycemia? - The symptoms of hypoglycemia are relieved within minutes of consuming sugar in any form, such as candy or glucose tablets, or of drinking a sweet drink.
How to prevent hypoglycemia? - People with diabetes should always have ready access to emergency supplies for treating unexpected episodes of hypoglycemia. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005