Your eating habits and food choices can significantly impact your health. Unfortunately, our dependence on junk and unhealthy food has increased with our hectic schedules and busy lifestyles. The growing number of people suffering from lifestyle diseases is proof of the same. Unfortunately, ignorance toward healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle makes people refrain from taking action before they develop a lifestyle disease. However, it is better to take preventive steps by choosing the right food for your everyday meal and incorporating regular physical activities.
One of the most common conditions people suffer from these days is unhealthy blood sugar levels. It is primarily because of eating habits and lifestyle. Research shows that the diet and lifestyle of individuals significantly affect their tendency to develop diabetes. While there is a lot of discussion around high blood sugar levels and diabetes, the prevalence of people having low blood sugar levels has also increased. The condition is known as hypoglycemia.
With advancements in medical science, several remedies are available for treating the same. However, most healthcare professionals recommend a well-balanced, healthy diet and regular exercise to keep the body fit. So, if you concentrate on at least one aspect of the causes, i.e., your eating habits and food choices, the risk of blood sugar issues decreases significantly.
When your glucose levels are out of balance, it can lead to many chronic health issues. However, with advancements in health tech, innovative gadgets and applications can help you track your glucose levels. The conventional blood sugar checks involved pricking the finger and testing glucose levels using a glucometer. However, it was a process that one could occasionally do. But, with HealthifyPro’s wearable gadget, BIOS, you can continuously monitor your body’s real-time blood glucose level during or after a meal or during restive conditions. The spikes highlight the foods that raise your blood glucose levels, which are more likely to convert into fat. Conversely, it can alert you when your glucose levels are below par. In addition, it empowers you to assess your glucose levels and take preventive measures under the guidance of expert coaches.
The HealthifyMe Note
Hypoglycemia is one of the disorders that occurs when blood sugar levels continue to be excessively low. Although the expected outcomes are type 1 or type 2 diabetes, there is another form, non-diabetic hypoglycemia. It requires more awareness to track and assess glucose levels continuously and ensure necessary dietary changes.
Simply put, hypoglycemia is a condition when your blood sugar levels are below par. It is usually hypoglycemia when blood sugar levels fall below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). Although the condition commonly affects people with diabetes due to overdose of medication or severe low-calorie intake, non-diabetic hypoglycemia is also rising. In addition, certain drugs, heavy alcohol use, extreme dietary restrictions and hormone imbalances sometimes lead to hypoglycemia without diabetes.
Reactive hypoglycemia is a condition that leads to low blood sugar four hours after eating. Usually, foods boost your blood glucose levels. But, people with hypoglycemia produce more insulin than required when they eat. As a result, their blood sugar level drops due to the extra insulin.
Although hypoglycemia is a life-long condition, you can control your symptoms by modifying your dietary habits.
Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
When hypoglycemia occurs, it typically causes one or more of the following signs and symptoms:
- Sudden sweating
- Cold limbs
- Hand tremors
- Vision impairment
How Food Affects the Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
Glucose is the primary source of energy in your brain. These symptoms result from your body not receiving enough glucose to maintain your brain operating normally. Since glucose comes from what you eat or drink, it directly connects with your dietary habits.
When your blood glucose levels are low, your body will try to adjust by boosting insulin production. For example, it can happen when you are fasting or excessively low on calorie intake. In such cases, your body will also produce hormones such as adrenaline (epinephrine) and norepinephrine to elevate glucose levels.
Whatever you choose to consume will affect your blood sugar level. For example, certain foods are known to spike blood sugar levels faster than others. Keep this in mind while managing hypoglycemia at home.
Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia: Who is at Risk?
Several reasons may be responsible for hypoglycemia in people without diabetes. Non-diabetic hypoglycemia can occur when the body produces too much insulin after a meal, leading blood sugar levels to fall. It is known as reactive hypoglycemia. Diabetes can manifest as reactive hypoglycemia.
Some other conditions that can cause hypoglycemia are:
- Anorexia: A person suffering from anorexia may not be eating enough food that their body requires to create adequate glucose.
- Pituitary gland disorder: Issues with the pituitary or adrenal glands can result in hypoglycemia because these organs influence the hormones that govern glucose synthesis.
- Hepatitis: Hepatitis is an inflammatory disease of the liver. Hepatitis can impair the liver’s ability to function correctly. If the liver cannot manufacture or release enough glucose, blood sugar levels can become unstable, leading to hypoglycemia.
- Kidney problems: The kidneys aid the body in the processing of drugs and the elimination of waste. Medication can accumulate in a person’s bloodstream if they have renal disease. This accumulation might cause blood sugar levels to drop, resulting in hypoglycemia.
- Pancreatic tumour: Although pancreatic tumours are uncommon, they can cause hypoglycemia. Tumours in the pancreas can cause the organ to generate excessive insulin. Blood sugar levels will fall if insulin levels are too high.
- Alcohol Consumption: When a person’s blood sugar levels are low, the pancreas produces glucagon, a hormone. Glucagon instructs the liver to release stored energy. The liver then reintroduces glucose into the circulation to restore normal blood sugar levels. However, too much alcohol can impair the liver’s ability to operate. As a result, it may no longer be able to discharge glucose back into circulation, resulting in hypoglycemia.
- Medication: Taking the wrong doses of diabetic medicines might result in hypoglycemia. Malaria treatment, some antibiotics, and pneumonia drugs can also cause hypoglycemia.
The HealthifyMe Note
Non-diabetic hypoglycemia can result from several medical and non-medical conditions. However, the two fundamental causes are excess insulin generation, which lowers blood glucose and excessively low-calorie intake, which does not provide your body with enough glucose to function normally. Hence, it is best to assess your symptoms and make necessary dietary modifications to give your body all healthy nutrients in an adequate amount.
Ways to Treat Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia
If you have severe or diabetic hypoglycemia, you may require medications to regulate it. However, treatment for non-diabetic hypoglycemia will depend on factors such as your diet, prior and current health issues, and your symptoms and body type. Reactive hypoglycemia usually does not require medical treatment. Only dietary or lifestyle adjustments can alleviate symptoms.
Should your symptoms be severe, your doctor may also recommend you carry glucose pills or glucagon (injectable glucose).
Non-diabetic Hypoglycemia Diet Plan
There is no one optimum diet for hypoglycemia, but there are particular suggestions and methods that can help you adjust yours to be more effective.
While a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet is occasionally recommended, it does not necessarily benefit everyone in hypoglycemia. Regarding diets, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but some of the below-mentioned dietary tips might help you navigate the hypoglycemic path.
Things to Do
Eat Small Meals Throughout the Day
If you are someone who eats 2-3 heavy meals a day, it’s time to make a change. Consider alternating them with a meal or snack every three hours. It can assist in controlling the quantity of glucose in your bloodstream. Keep in mind that it may not be suitable for everyone. Nevertheless, it’s worth a shot to see how it works for you. For some, reducing carbs is a more effective technique. It allows them to go longer between meals without experiencing hypoglycemic symptoms. Studies have shown low-carb diets are extremely helpful with diabetes management.
Include a Vivid Food Range in Your Diet
You should eat different kinds of foods from a variety of food groups. Protein (meat and non-meat), dairy, and high fibre but low carbohydrate meals, such as non-starchy vegetables, should be included in your diet. Whole grain and high-fibre meals take longer to digest, resulting in more constant blood glucose levels. Research has shown whole grain and high fibre diets are great for people with diabetes.
Include Protein, Healthy Fats and Fibre in Your Diet
Meals heavy in lean protein and fibre will digest slowly, allowing glucose levels to stay steady. Protein, fat, and fibre help lower the likelihood of sudden spikes and a downfall after a few hours in blood glucose following a meal.
- For breakfast, you can have a veggie omelette with two slices of whole-wheat bread.
- For lunch, eat a salad with grilled chicken and a whole-wheat pita
- Your dinner options include salmon, vegetables, and half of a sweet potato.
- A nutritious snack meal can consist of raw veggies with cheese and crackers, Greek or low-calorie yoghurts, and a piece of fruit.
Customise Your Meals
You should never forget that not all meal plans are for everyone. Your body’s demands and your physical activities are different from anyone else. Also, your metabolism and your condition differ from that of others. Hence, it is always best to consult an expert nutritionist to get a customised meal plan.
Choose the Right Carbohydrates
The NIDDK recommends eating every three hours to avoid non-diabetic hypoglycemia. Meals and snacks should be protein-balanced, with 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates at each meal and 15 to 20 grams at each snack. It helps maintain stable blood sugar levels.
A whole-wheat English muffin with peanut butter, a tiny banana for breakfast, and a turkey veggie wrap with a glass of milk for lunch are two examples of hypoglycemic meals. A moderate bunch of grapes with four or five crackers and some cheese has roughly 30 grams of carbohydrates. Choose meat, a vegetable for supper, and approximately a cup of starch, such as rice, maize, or potatoes.
Foods to Avoid
Caffeine can trigger an increase in adrenaline, which can simulate hypoglycemia symptoms. In addition, study shows that caffeine tends to impair glucose metabolism. So it’s a good idea to get over the addiction. Then you may enjoy a little caffeine now and again without experiencing too many glucose spikes.
Eating sweets and drinking sugary drinks or fruit juice causes your blood sugar to spike fast, releasing extra insulin into your system. Hypoglycemia occurs when elevated insulin levels sharply decline your blood glucose levels. Restricting or avoiding foods and drinks with added sugar or other sweets is best if you have reactive hypoglycemia. Artificial sweeteners in moderation are safe since they do not significantly affect blood sugar or insulin levels. You can also try a half-cup portion of fruit, sugar-free ice cream for dessert, or a sweet treat that won’t lead to a blood sugar surge.
Excessive alcohol use might result in hypoglycemia symptoms. Hence, it is the best idea to avoid alcohol entirely. However, when drinking alcohol, avoid combining it with sugary drinks and consume it with foods to help your stomach absorb it slowly. As a result, you may gradually reduce your alcohol consumption.
Dietary Tips for Hypoglycemic Event
If you suffer a hypoglycemic incident and can monitor your blood glucose levels, you can adopt the ADA‘s 15:15 guideline. Here are the five simple steps to follow:
- Consume 15 grams of carbohydrates/glucose. It can be a glucose pill, a glucose gel tube, one tablespoon of sugar or honey, or a few hard candies.
- After 15 minutes, check your blood glucose levels.
- Continue this procedure until your blood glucose level reaches at least 70 mg/dL.
- Consume a meal or snack to ensure it does not drop again after your blood sugar returns to normal.
If you have symptoms and can’t assess your blood glucose, eating fast-acting carbs is a good idea, like the recommendations above. However, they are simple sugars with little to no fibre. Fruits such as bananas, grapes, apple sauce, dates, and raisins are healthier alternatives.
Avoid high-fat meals such as chocolate or cookies when undergoing a hypoglycemic episode. They don’t boost blood sugar rapidly enough since the fat slows the rate at which your body absorbs the essential sugar.
Remember, they are only band-aids that give a temporary cure for hypoglycemia. Consider utilising a CGM if you want to treat the root problem and prevent future assaults.
If you have recurring hyperglycemic crises, you should consult with your doctor. Your doctor can help you determine why these episodes are occurring and whether you need to take further precautions to prevent or manage them.
The HealthifyMe Note
If you are prone to hypoglycemia, either diabetic or non-diabetic, you must modify your dietary habits. Eating small meals after every 3 hours, spreading out the carbohydrates through all the meals, limiting alcohol and caffeine and reducing sugary foods in the diet plan are some general tips you should follow. However, remember that not everyone’s body and metabolic health are the same. So, the meal you choose to eat can be different from others. Therefore, you should consult a nutritionist or use trial and error methods to find your perfect diet plan.
Low blood sugar is less prevalent in those who do not have diabetes, but it is just as dangerous when it occurs. Use the 15-15 rule to increase your blood sugar gradually when you have hypoglycemia symptoms. Consult your healthcare practitioner to learn more about why this is happening and whether you should take any further precautions to be healthy.
If you’re worried about hypoglycemia, you should make some eating and lifestyle modifications. You can manage nondiabetic hypoglycemia with dietary changes. Consuming foods that can help you keep a blood sugar level within the typical, healthy range is the best way to prevent and regulate the symptoms.