Diagnosed with hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar) several years ago, I had to drastically change my eating habits. A typical college student, my diet consisted of Ramen noodles, frozen pizzas, Chinese takeout, and canned tuna. After seeing several specialists, ranging from quacks to certified dietitians, and listening to my body, I developed a list of food items that I could not eat.
If you are suffering from hypoglycemia or just seem to literally “crash” after eating certain items, you should speak with your doctor about your dietary needs.
Refined sugar products
This includes any sugar rich foods from the obvious donuts, candy, and pastries, to food like pasta, white rice, and white bread. Learn how to read the food labels. I stay away from anything that has more than 15 grams of sugar (or sugar alcohol) listed, and usually opt for food items that have less than 5 grams of sugar.
First off, many juice products actually are sugary drinks with juice flavors. Secondly, juices have such a high concentration of fructose (sugar), that some may even have as many as 50 grams of sugar in a single serving! Instead, if you want orange juice, eat an orange, or if you really want apple juice, you can eat no sugar added apple sauce or an apple. A little trick? If you really want the taste of juice, drink half the serving recommended. (Added note: when you are heading for a hypoglycemia crash, a small glass of juice may be the best thing to give you a quick sugar boost, but quickly follow it up with some food that has protein and complex carbs).
Listening to my own body, I realized that whenever I eat processed foods (most microwaveable foods, anything in a box, fast foods), shortly after I feel the dizziness, crankiness, headache, and shakiness that accompanies a blood sugar crash. Instead, I try to eat as fresh and naturally as possible, avoiding preservatives.
While I can usually stomach a small serving (4 ounces) of hot cocoa, whenever I try the 16 ounce super duper latte’, I actually get a severe headache, get nausea (nope, its not pregnancy!), and being to violently crash. My body can only handle small doses of caffeine. So for long drives or project deadlines, I have to work around my hypoglycemia and have manage my time wisely. I do most of the work when I am most productive and awake.
Alcohol leads to an instant hypoglycemia crash and sleepiness!
So you may ask, how can I possibly have any fun when I can’t enjoy the “finer” things in life because of my hypoglycemia? I work within the limits of hypoglycemia. I can enjoy may foods, just with smaller portions.My hypoglycemia does not act up with one or two pizza slices, a hamburger on a whole wheat bun, homemade peanut butter oatmeal cookies, homemade sweet potato fries, fresh fruit and veggies, or whole wheat rice and pastas. For me, the dangerous hypoglycemia crash that can follow a sugar binge of donuts or a big plate of spaghetti is not worth the risk.
Avoid these foods for a month, and see how your body changes in relation to hypoglycemia. You may find you have more energy, crave sweets and junk food less, and maybe even lose a few pounds!
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