When the blood sugar level drops below 70 mg/dL, the person is said to have hypoglycemia. Long term hypoglycemia needs to be managed with a proper diet. To understand how a hypoglycemic diet menu is designed, you need to know why blood sugar levels drop below the normal levels.
Sugar obtained from all types of food items helps generate the required heat and energy in our body. Low blood sugar levels can result in irreparable brain damage. Several endocrine glands, organs, and mechanisms help control the level of blood sugar in the body. Improper diet or organ dysfunction can cause sugar level fluctuations. Some food items, for example, alcohol, sugar, starches, etc., are converted into sugar very fast, while some like fats and proteins are converted slowly.
Insulin secreted from pancreas helps to store excess blood sugar in the form of glycogen in liver and in muscles. The excess sugar is converted into fats. Excessive consumption of readily convertible foods results in a quick rise in blood sugar levels, as a result of which more insulin is secreted, which brings the sugar levels down. In case of low blood sugar level, adrenaline is released from adrenal glands, which releases sugar stored in liver. If required, sugar stored in muscles is also released because of which fatigue is noticed by the person.
Continuous stress or emotional disturbance can trigger the release of adrenaline and in turn, release of more stored sugar. Once the sugar reserves in the liver and muscles are depleted, it is difficult for the body to maintain normal blood sugar level. and the level drops further. In such cases, blood sugar control can be achieved with the help of a balanced diet. Here are some important tips if you want to design a healthy diet for a person diagnosed with hypoglycemia.
Excessive consumption of candies, chocolates, sweets, desserts or sweet drinks, and alcoholic beverages (high in sugar) can lead to worsening of the situation. White sugar, coffee, tea, cola drinks (containing caffeine), and smoking (nicotine) significantly influence adrenaline secretion and blood sugar levels. So, these should be strictly avoided if you have been diagnosed with hypoglycemia. When you smoke, blood sugar levels are raised by the body to save you from the poisonous effects of nicotine. Smoking can force the body to use stored sugar from the liver. Sugar supply can thus be exhausted after a few days. Studies show that 9 out of 10 overweight persons have reactive hypoglycemia. Obesity should be reduced with the help of diet and increased physical activity. Certain diseases can cause hypoglycemia. Prompt diagnosis and proper treatment promote fast recovery.
The menu should consist of foods that contain complex carbohydrates, such as cereals, whole wheat bread, soft pretzel, bagels, whole grain crackers, or a protein cum fat food. Complex carbs take a longer period of time to get converted into glucose. So, they do not cause sudden rise and fall in blood sugar levels.
A low carb diet containing meat, eggs, dairy products, (not the over-processed ones), peanut butter (without canola oil), low carb vegetables and fruits, decaffeinated coffee, light tea, herbal teas, and low carb fruit juices is recommended as an appropriate diet.
Innumerable diet recipes are available on various sites on Internet. You can also design a balanced diet from the list of low carb foods. You may refer to a high fiber foods list. Fruits contain fiber, so it is better to eat fruits than fruit juices. Foods rich in fiber promote slow the absorption of carbohydrates and help avoid sudden and severe blood sugar fluctuations.
Sample Diet Menu
- Cornflakes ¾ cup with skim milk 1 cup
- Whole wheat toast 1 slice with margarine 1 tsp and sugar-free jam 1 tsp
- Orange 1 medium
- Decaffeinated coffee ¾ cup/creamer/sugar substitute
- One medium apple
- Cooked carrot 1/2 cup
- Italian salad dressing 1 tbsp
- One avocado or banana
- Seeds and nuts ¼ cup
- One hamburger bun with lean meat and lettuce, tomato, etc.
- Skim milk 1 cup with whole wheat crackers 3
- Fruits like strawberries, grapes
- Green beans ½ cup with baked medium potato ½
- Dinner roll 1
- Baked chicken breast 2 oz
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.