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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. Olivia says:

    I have hypoglycemia and I don’t know how to control the symptoms when I’m asleep. It wakes me is with a sweaty body and heart palpitations. It’s an awful feeling. I’m sick of it. No one understands. I eat right before I go to bed but sometimes I wake up low blood sugar sweaty and heart racing. Everything calms down once I drink something sweet. Help

  2. MArio says:

    to Olivia:

    It seems I have the same problem. Just recently I used to wake up with a such strong headaches that It would effect all may mornings. after few hours I used to get better and better. I had figured out, still not sure, but certain It is, that my heavy exercises were the reason for headaches, tiredness and mood swings. I used to put my heart rate to up to 120b/min (30b/10s – measured when exercising)and sweat like a pig. It may have caused that through sweat I used to loose important nutrition from my body. When seeing a doctor I was advised that I may be too stressed I tried reducing and changing exercise habits and it seems it worked.

  3. Judy says:

    I was just told by my naturopath that she thinks I have hypoglycaemia. I have all the symptoms. Nausea, fatigue, shakey, anxiety, lightheaded, especially in the morning. It gets better as the day goes on. Have be diagnosed with anxiety and on Lexapro. The only relief for the nausea and anxiety is Zanax which I only take when symptoms are so bad. I’m now trying to change my diet and taking protein shakes before bed, at 3:00 am and when I wake. It’s been 4 days and still not feeling well. As the day goes on I feel better and by late afternoon feel great. Don’t understand this at all. Is there anyone that can help

    • Jurriaan Plesman says:

      It may be a while before the benefits of a hypoglycaemic diet may take effects. Stick to your naturopath. Later ion you may have to consider possible allergies.

  4. Jurriaan Plesman says:

    It is not clear from your post, if you have adopted the hypoglycaemic diet.

  5. Isaac says:

    my girlfriend suffers from depression and panic attacks. She also has problems with headaches, insomnia, and remembering things. I found a link to this website while looking for advice on how to help with her depression and i was wondering if you think that this diet might help.

  6. Nikki says:

    I am so bummed over how I’ve been feeling lately. I’ve drastically changed my eating habits over the past few months…no gluten, no carbs (maybe 1 apple a day or an orange)…only protein and veggies everyday except on Saturdays when I eat whatever I want. Recently, I’ve been getting shaky and a weird, hard to explain feeling in my abdomen area…it’s a weird feeling but when it comes on, I know it means I’m Hypoglycemic. Funny thing is, I can eat a meal consisting of protein and veggies and 10-20 minutes later, I’m Hypo. I’ll then try to have an apple or a piece of dark chocolate or something carby, but it doesn’t seem to help. I’ve been on GTF Chromium 3 times a day and 500 mg of Metformin at night, plus Nature-Throid and Zetia trying to sort all this out, but to no avail. My last fasting glucose test was 110 and my A1C was 5.6. I still need to lose about 30 pounds but honestly, I don’t know what to do or what to eat as nothing seems to work…Just bummed….

  7. Gail says:

    Have had insomnia for 8 years (taking small dose Seroquel). Gained 50 pounds over in past 3 yrs. About 2 1/2 yrs ago, started having skin outbreaks (not acne). Tested for food allergies and skin patch test with no allergies. Two dermatologists diagnosed “neurodermatitis” and suggested I go on Zoloft; instead, started on St. John’s Wort this week. Comprehensive blood tests indicated everything within normal range. I take a variety of supplements, eat organic, etc. foods. I don’t really feel depressed other than concern over the weight gain and the embarrassing skin outbreaks. What might you suggest?

  8. Angela says:

    This sounds like the story of my life! For 17 years I’ve struggled and now at last I have the answers to what has been happening to me despite all the long hours of research I only had some of the answers. It really has been a journey from undiagnosed PTSD to insulin resistance which is why I
    started a high fat low carb diet a few weeks ago, after suffering from more food intolerance’s.

    Thank you so much for this and the attached articles, I
    can at last understand why I don’t have any serotonin
    which leaves me in a sort of numb limbo.

    For others that have made the comment that no one understands, I know exactly what you mean. I guess you have to remind yourself that only people who experience
    this can understand what it’s like. A common thing I’ve come across is you look alright so you must be alright!
    We all know that nothing could be further from the truth.
    I send everyone that’s going through this my best wishes for your recovery. Doctor’s here in Australia know nothing of these discoveries so I’m left to deal with it as best
    I can.

  9. Elle says:

    These articles have been very interesting but I still feel at a loss as to how to improve my condition. I did the hypoglycemic questionaire and scored 25. I think I have been hypoglycemic all my life but it seems to be getting worse. I have worked hard over the last few years to improve my diet (which was pretty good to start with). I now mostly eat wholefoods, no refined sugar, Very little coffee or alcohol. Have never smoked or used recreational drugs. I have tried high protein diets in the past. I did Sandra Cabot’s liver cleansing diet for 8 weeks and felt terrible!! I can eat two eggs with two pieces of wholemeal bread and salad and feel light headed and shaky only an hour later. Same if I have a big plate of meat and vegies. The only food that really makes me feel satisfied is complex carbs. I often wake during the night starving hungry, even though I eat a snack before bed and my limbs often go numb. The worst is when I’m out shopping with my children an an “attack” comes on. Even though i eat something it can take hours to feel better. I get scared driving home because I feel so “out of it”. I am only about 5 kilos overweight but I really want to lose it, nothing is working. I have also developed policystic ovaries in the past 12 months. I am trying yet another GP in a few days to see if she can help, what should I ask her to do???

  10. Elle says:

    Thank you for your reply. I have considered the articles mentioned above. I am going to see my GP today and ask for a hypoclycemic blood test and maybe a thyroid test. But I would also like to see a nutritional therapist. Thanks for publishing these articles, it’s very comforting to know I’m not the only one out there with these weird symptoms!

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