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The Hypoglycemic Diet


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. It is supposed to give you all the amino acids, vitamins and minerals, enzymes and co-enzymes to allow your body to produce the myriad of feel good neurotransmitters to make you feel happy and content. The “Natural Diet” is natural to the individual only and may be different from one person to another.  When you diagnosed “diabetic”, it may be called a “diabetic diet”. 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 amino acids, 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. Probiotics may be helpful in digesting food. 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 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.

129 Responses

  1. yvonne wilton says:

    Hello everyone I just was diagnosed with hypoglycemia but I was born without a thyroid so my whole life I would wake up exhausted light headed bad mood swings couldI’ver relax to sleep…I just wanted to state what kind of protein has helped me…I saw a women mention it but she says it’s not helping…you need protein with casein to deliver nutrients up to 8 hours I use BSN at night n I mix with verbalize weight control..I drink a shake right before I go to sleep n I have to take my thyroid meds first thing in morning one hour before food n it gets me through…cottage cheese also has casein but I can’t eat that every night…ban sytha_6 has awesome flavors n 5 girls and fiber n only 15 gr8 carbs per serving so in the morning I eat protein eggs omelet first than shake..throughout day I eat complete complex proteins like drive n beans, bean burritos, falafel w pita, Greek salad w chick peas n croutons,etc…but your tummy will shrink quick it’s amazing…(I am vegan lol ) …but as c long as you combine a protein with a carb in small proportion your sugar levels r usually good…I say usually because sometime still I GET LIGHT HEADED…So I am going to add the supplements…had one bit b12 shot IMG huge difference I’m hooked my blood was flowing my hands n feet were no longer numb and tingling..I’m very happy with the results…hope this helps

  2. Maureen says:

    I think I have had this since I was a child.My most prominent memories from that time were the nightly nightmares.Was raised on an extremely cheap carb diet back in the sixties,then graduated to cheap processed food and sugar and caffeine,and tons of stress in betweenI now suffer from severe reactive hypoglycemia.I have periods where I basically blank out,It takes 5-10 minutes for my brain to recover,but it can do without food or sugar taken.I would appreciate any suggestions on diet.

  3. Sarah says:

    Sarah says:

    I really do appreciate this information. I have been diagnosed with hypoglycemia, but it has been very hard to get complete information about this illness until I ask for information for Non-diabetic hypoglycemia and Reactive hypoglycemia.I am so happy to read your helpful information. I’m making copies, and diligently applying this to my diet, treatment, and health. Right now, I’m seriously looking for a type of Chromium that will fit me, because there’s so many kinds to choose from. My other major problem, is finding recipes for snacks without salt or low sodium, 1g of sugar, if any, no wheat, seeds, nuts. All of which are my favorite foods. The reason I need to find out the correct type of Chromium, because I read that it will help hypoglycemics to metabolize: protein, fats, and carbohydrates. As it stands, I eat lots of vegetables, fruit(gala apples) sometimes I eat bananas,pears, blueberries(I take those little seeds out first). Yes, I know that there is about 27 or 28g in them. I eat Kale almost everyday twice a day. I wish that I can eat nuts, but I have IBS. Often, I’m hungry unless I eat almond butter, or unsweetened yogurt that is extremely delicious. But I usually over eat it. That is why I want to get the right type of Chromium to help me to metabolize fats, protein, and carbohydrates. I believe that this will help bring my cholesterol down with other foods like celery and other supplements. At the presence, I weigh 125 lbs. So, I am extremely happy, to get this information. Also my goal is to reverse this illness. Thanks again.

  4. Bren says:

    Where can I find the diet

  5. Yvonne says:

    Hi there, I just found this web site and it is all very new to me.
    I had esophogeal cancer 7.5 years ago and am still in remission. I did have lots of Radiotherapy and chemotherapy and the plan was to remove my esophagus and make a new one from my large bowel, I was so sick from all e treatment I decided against the op and so glad I did.
    However, there have been many side effects. For the past 10 months my symptoms go hypoglycaemia have become crippling. By accident a Dr doing a blood test for my eyes found out my blood sugar had dropped to 1.5 .
    My symptoms were effecting my eyes, shaking, getting confused, unable to walk, so tired everyday, always waking up at night, having terrible nightmares, getting numb lips and tongue, feeling nausea and unwell. Having difficulty swallowing food which they have put down to my treatment but now I wonder if that is the reason. I also became very forgetful put things in wrong places, and fall asleep as soon as I sit down. I thought I was going mad!
    My GP still couldn’t believe my blood sugar could be that low, so another random test, yep 1.9 he still questioned it. I decided to get a glucose metre mysel sure enough everyday 3 or 4 times a day my BSL drops to below 3.0
    When my symptoms first started I noticed I was becoming depressed and moody which was very unlike me I have always been strong and positive my GP wanted to put me on antidepressants but I declined I didn’t want to feel worse than I already did. I’m not over weight only 48 kg I have been tested for diabetes but am ok, I have tried 3 times the glucose test but vomit the sweet drink every time about half an hour after. I have been to see a dietitian, I am usually a healthy eater and don’t drink or smoke. I have never had a sweet tooth and prefer savoury things. I have tried changing my diet to low GI but end up having to have sugar to get my BSL up when they go low it takes quite awhile to feel normal again. Sometimes I don’t realise I am having a low until it really hits hard other times I may have warning signs and are able to eat and start to feel better. I have seen a endocrinologist and he I think is baffled at what is causing it. I have recently had a MRI on my pancreas and waiting for results which I think will be fine otherwise I think I would here by now.
    Anyway, I am now doing my own research to see if I can help myself and understand better what this is all about. I am tired of being tired and having these attacks every day. I have noticed if I go for a short walk even if I eat before I will usually have a hypo coming back or when I get back. I just found your web site and am going to read more. Thank you!

    • jur says:

      You would be going through some horrible times. Cancer is no joke. Of course, hypoglycemia may be involved, but you need to be tested for hypoglycemia as distinct from diabetes to make sure. See: Testing for Hypoglycemia,
      http://www.hypoglycemia.asn.au/2012/self-help-website-for-personal-growth/#Testing and discuss with doctor. As to cancer treatment, there are some alternatives. My best advice is to search the internet for ARTICLES WRITTEN BY JURRIAAN PLESMAN and pick the ones that might interest you. But always discuss your findings with doctors or Clinical Nutritionists. Not all doctors are interested in the nutritional aspects of health, but fortunately many are now becoming interested.

  6. M. Gooding says:

    I have underactive thyroid, Hashimotos auto-immune version. Removing gluten from my diet (I also have one genetic marker for gluten intolerance for the brain), my weight dropped, then stabilised and most IBS symptoms disappeared. The rest was due to extreme lactose intolerance. I am 57 and now menopausal, but mostly symptom free (as have Harmony brand herbal tablets). I am asthmatic (for last 30 yrs) but it has settled down. I still have random sleepless nights, but usually wake quickly and alert. Some memory issues, so investigating this. I have tried to manage my diet to cope with low blood sugar by small frequent meals with protein or fresh fruit snacks in between; orginally to help my asthma, which worked. I was told recently to check your site for further advice re managing low blood sugar . My diet is 50:50 paleo /Mediterraneun style. Cook from scratch where possible, grow herbs and some veg organically. I eat lamb, beef, chicken turkey fish and eggs. Some grains (gluten free). I make my own sugarless muesli. Raw honey is part of diet as are herbal teas. I avoid grapes, but eat fresh, or cooked, apples, peaches, pears, nectarines, plums, blueberries and stawberries, and mango, with lots of coconut or almond milk replacements, plus lactose free dairy products. I also eat a range of nuts and seeds (including linseed). Any suggestions?

  7. M. Gooding says:

    I also drink no alcohol anymore (:( ) and little caffeine. Chocolate is unkind to me 🙂

  8. Kenneth says:

    Grapefruit is low sugar, not high?

    Also, what kind of complex would you recommend? Why do you recommend fruits in the complex carbs section? Fruits have sugar and aren’t complex carbs?

  9. Bobbie Dixon says:

    Question: I am learning that a higher carb diets will not cause insulin resistance if fats & sugars are separated, namely that saturated fats inhibit a cell’s ability to absorb glucose. Does anyone have information on this?

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