Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Diet for Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia is a disorder of blood sugar metabolism. Hypoglycemia is the medical term for the condition in which blood glucose or blood sugar levels are lower than the normal and healthy levels. Glucose, which is one of the main sources of energy for the human body is mainly derived from carbohydrate rich foods. Foods like potatoes, rice, various fruits, the different cereals, and dairy products like milk and sweets are also rich sources of carbohydrates.

Under normal circumstances glucose that is present in foods is absorbed in to the bloodstream to be supplied to the body cells. The energy conversion process by which glucose is used for energy is regulated by insulin, which is a hormone produced in the pancreas. Our diets are often deficient or excessive in certain ingredients and even the healthiest diets will have some nutrient in abundance or lacking. If your glucose intake is higher than that required by your body then the excess is stored in the liver as glycogen. These are like glucose reserves that are used to meet the energy requirements of your body in between meals, in the absence of a fresh supply of energy. Extra glucose may also be converted to fat and stored in fat cells that can again be used as energy.

Keep a daily account of everything you eat for one week to ten days. In one column, list every bit of food, drink and medication that you take and at what time. In the second column, list your symptoms and the time at which you experience them. Very often you will see a correlation between what you have consumed and your symptoms. When you do, eliminate those foods or drinks that you notice are contributing to your behavior and note the difference. DO NOT STOP MEDICATION. If you believe that your medication may be contributing to your symptoms, contact your physician. A diet diary is your personal blueprint: a clear overall view of what you are eating, digesting and assimilating. It can be the first indicator that something is wrong and, perhaps, a very inexpensive way of correcting a very simple problem.

The aim of a hypoglycemia diet is to slow down the absorption of food. Given below are a few tips for a hypoglycemic diet:

* Carbohydrates should not be eliminated from the diet. Instead, the consumption of complex carbohydrates should be increased. Complex carbohydrates are absorbed at a slower rate compared to simple carbohydrates and hence do not cause the quick fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Some of the complex carbohydrates are legumes, vegetables, whole grain rice, pasta, cereals and breads.
* Stay away from foods comprising of simple carbohydrates like soda pop, pastries, cookies, cakes, candy, pies, molasses, honey, table sugar, jellies, and jams.
* Increase the consumption of high fiber foods. Fiber is the undigested part of grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits. When these foods are eaten the carbohydrate is absorbed more slowly, thus preventing the sharp spikes and lows of blood sugar that is characteristic in hypoglycemia. Some of the sources of soluble and insoluble fiber are whole grains such as cereals, bran, brown rice, and wheat; vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage; root vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and beetroots; fruits like apples, strawberries, and citrus fruits; dried beans, peas and other legumes.
* Instead of drinking fruit juice, it is better to eat the whole fruit, whether fresh or canned. The fiber in the fruit slows down the absorption of sugar.
* It is advisable to have smaller meals interspersed with snacks.
* It is best to avoid beverages and foods that contain caffeine because it causes similar symptoms as hypoglycemia, thus worsening your condition.
* Alcoholic beverages should be avoided, as alcohol causes a drop in blood sugar levels, especially if taken on an empty stomach.
* It is advisable to get your body weight down to optimum levels according to your height, as excessive weight can hinder the body’s ability of using insulin.

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