By Jurriaan Plesman BA(Psych), Post Grad Dip Clin Nutr
What is known as the hypoglycemic diet should really be called the “Natural Diet”. This is the diet that humans have consumed over the millions of years to which our digestive system has adapted. The “Natural Diet” is natural to the individual only and may be different from one person to another. Nordic European people who have consumed milk as part of their diet in their ancestry may have better tolerance to cow’s milk, than those people whose ancestry was not exposed to that kind of milk as in Asia or Africa. Southern European with a long history of alcohol consumption are more tolerant of alcohol than people for whom alcohol was never part in the hereditary diet, such as Australian aborigines.
Furthermore, this natural diet has to take into account quirks of inborn genetic disorders such as gluten intolerance as in coeliac disease, Crohn’s Disease, or Ulcerative Colitis.. These may well be hidden behind the mask of hypoglycemic symptoms.
The best plan is to ask yourself what diet your ancestors ate and you don’t even have to go back to very ancient times; think of your grand-parents. Think of what people ate in the 19th century without the sugar.
Whatever diet you finish up with, you must choose a diet that you enjoy. By choosing a diet that you do not enjoy – called “force-feeding” - you may not produce the first necessary enzymes in the saliva as a first step in digestion.
Probably the hypoglycemic diet differs from the natural diet in that the number of snack per day are increased.
In brief the nutritional treatment of the hypoglycemic condition consists of:
1) Avoidance of sugar, coffee, strong tea, nicotine if possible, refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice, cakes and sugary drinks, candy bars, colas, cookies, ice cream sweetish fruits such as bananas, grapefruit, melons, honey and dates (these fruits may be reintroduced at a later stage in moderation) etc.
2) High protein + complex carbohydrates snacks every three hours or sooner, to provide a slow release of glucose, and to prevent the hypoglycemic dip. A high protein breakfast must be considered the most important meal of the day. ”High-protein foods, such as fish, eggs, chicken, and beef, contain all twenty-two, including the nine amino acids that are considered essential for humans.” Source Plus animal fats that are also essential for good health. Eat plenty of green vegetables and fruits and the more varied the diet the better it is.
3) Supplementation of diet with Anti-stress vitamin B-Complex tablets, including vitamin B6, B3, B12, chromium picolinate, magnesium, zinc + Vitamin C, and fishoil (omega-3 fatty acids), vitamin D. For a fuller list of nutrients, deficiency of which can be responsible for mood disorders see: R Hemat, 165 See 6 studies in support of omega-3 fatty acids for Depression and Bipolar Disorder. See also Rich Rich Sources of Nutrients. Also make sure that the mineral sulphur MSM is included in your diet See: Dr Jospeh Mercola on Sulphur.
4) Other supplements that could slow down the absorption of glucose (thereby avoiding blood sugar peaks and the release of stress hormones) are: Psyllium Seeds Husks (1 tbsp per day), Glucomannan including pectin (follow instructions on bottle), and Cinnamon. Also see “Herbs with Hypoglycemic Effects “ at: Research Evidence for Hypoglycemia
5) Avoidance of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) GMO’s is having a dramatic influence on our health especially on our digestive system responsible for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, Autism, Allergies etc etc. See 59 min video.
The Hypoglycemic diet aims at normalizing blood sugar levels, thereby normalizing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, that are thought to be responsible for the symptoms of mood-swings, depression, anxiety, phobias, alcoholism and drug-addiction.
Such a diet needs to be adjusted to the individual needs and nutritional biochemistry. It needs to take into account the influence of allergies.
Furthermore, it should be realized that the beneficial effects of the hypoglycemic diet may take considerable time. If drugs or medications has been used it may take a year for damaged neuro-receptors to be repaired by a high protein diet. (Volkow ND et als. 2001). Normally, the effects of this diet is noticeable within three months. If after this time symptoms still persist, it is time to seek the help of a clinical nutritionist or nutritional doctor for further testing, diagnosis and treatment.
As a rule of thumb ask yourself: “Is what I am eating nature-made of man-made?” Nature-made food consists of complex carbohydrates and proteins, the kind of food we were meant to eat.
Try to introduce the diet slowly and gradually. A strict hypoglycemic diet may cause you to feel worst at first, because your are left with low blood sugar levels. This would last a week or so.
These symptoms can be alleviated by taking a tablespoon of GLYCERINE mixed in milk or in a diluted natural fruit juice three times day (ratio of 20 mls of glycerine to 285 mls of water) ). GLYCERINE, which can be considered a general anti-stress remedy, is metabolized in the liver before it is converted to “energy”, so it does not stimulate excess insulin secretion from the pancreas. An other alternative sweetener is FRUCTOSE, which is also metabolized in the liver into glucose. But excess fructose will be converted to triglycerides. But generally fructose should also be avoided.
When introducing a new diet we must always consider possible allergies. Many hypoglycemics have hidden allergies, that is after having been on the hypoglycemic diet for some time they discover that they are allergic to certain food items. These were there all the time, but were masked by hypoglycemic symptoms. Finding your Allergies.
Ask your doctor to give you a B12 injection as most hypoglycemic are deficient in this vitamin.
The Hypoglycemic Diet should not be regarded as a ‘quick fix diet’. It takes time for the body to adjust to a different nutritional lifestyle. Time is needed to absorb and metabolize nutrients to be converted to neurotransmitters, enzymes and coenzymes, and to rebuild receptors for natural neuro chemicals.
Withdrawal of drugs should always be under the supervision of your doctor.
If you find that the hypoglycemic diet is not improving your symptoms, it may be that in addition to hypoglycemia, other silent diseases as yet not identified may affect your moods. In that case, it is suggested that you seek the help of a Nutritional Doctor, Clinical Nutritionist or a Nutritional Psychotherapist for further medical testing.
Also read Simple Dietary Rules.
Please discuss this article with your health care worker, doctor or nutritional doctor or therapist.