Another question about hypoglycemia

Here’s another question about hypoglycemia from a visitor to my website.

Question: I was just diagnosed about 3 months ago, although I KNOW I’ve had it for years. I took the 5 hour glucose tolerance test and after 2 hours my blood sugar level went down to 46. Needless to say, I have been trying to figure out what to eat, what not to eat, when to eat, etc…. I need help and some suggestions other than what these idiot doctors say; “stay away from sugar”. I know there’s more to it than that.

Today all of a sudden the room started spinning. I thought I was going to fall down. I had no idea this was a sign of low blood sugar. I had a low carb yogurt and cheerios for breakfast but still felt really dizzy. What am I doing wrong? Should I purchase a glucometer and test my blood sugar levels every day? Some say yes, and some say it’s not nessecary. I don’t want to be an alarmest, but I need some good advice.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you.”

Here is my answer:

“Thank you for your email. I’m sorry to hear about your symptoms of hypoglycemia. I know how alarming it can be.

It’s certainly correct that you should cut out sugar from your diet as much as possible. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a low carb diet. This seems to be the current trend. About 20 years ago it was the Pritikin diet – very low fat. I’ve tried low carb and low fat diets. Neither of them work in the long run. At least not for me.

Let me try to explain. The secret to preventing low blood sugar is to have your food digest as slowly as possible. Sugar and refined carbohydrate digest very quickly. They give you a rush of sugar and then a downer. Protein and fat digests slower, as does more complex carbohydrate such as whole grain bread etc.

So, if you eat something like yoghurt and cheerios (I live in New Zealand, I don’t know what cheerios are … but I assume it’s a cereal?) this will give you hypoglycemia because it digests relatively quickly. There’s no fat in this meal to slow down the absorption of the carbohydrate. That’s why people have traditionally eaten butter on bread for thousands of years. The butter slows down the absorption of the carbohydrates in the bread so you don’t get low blood sugar. If you just eat bread on its own, without butter, you’ll get low blood sugar.

For some reason most so-called experts today can’t see the value of eating butter and other natural fats. They talk about lowfat spreads etc. Forget all this. People have been eating butter since the beginning of time – and olive oil etc in other parts of the world. It’s absolutely essential for good health that you have these fats in your diet to keep your blood sugar stable.

For breakfast I usually have a cereal called WeetBix (it doesn’t have any sugar in it – basically just wheat) with milk (full fat milk – yes, it’s better to have whole milk because there’s more fat to slow down the carbohydrate). I also have a couple of pieces of whole grain toast with plenty of butter, and a cup of tea (not coffee because that can affect your blood sugar). I do have coffee occasionally but only after meal – never on an empty stomach. The same applies to alcohol. It’s really bad for your blood sugar on an empty stomach but you can probably have one glass of wine or beer with a meal ( if you want to).

A balanced meal of any protein plus carbohydrate plus some fat (butter on potatoes etc) is fine to keep your blood sugar stable. You can try a small dessert but not too sweet. I emphasise small because I know Americans tend to eat big desserts such as ice cream. Ice cream, by the way, is one of the worst things you can eat for hypoglycemia – at least from my experience. It’s pretty loaded with sugar.

I hope this makes some sense. Just please don’t follow a low fat diet. Eat some butter or olive oil – just like the French do and they have one of the healthiest diets in the world – becuase they eat a lot less sugar than Americans.

So … cutting out sugar is important. But so is making sure you have some protein and fat with each meal to slow down the release of sugar. It’s simple once get get the idea.

Try eating different meals and see how you feel. I used to eat a low fat lunch and feel awful. (This was in the days when low fat was all the rage). Then one day I had a cheese sandwich with loads of butter and a thick slice of cheese and a glass of whole milk. I couldn’t believe how great I felt during the afternoon. So next lunch time I had a piece of quiche. Again I felt great. Soon I realised my “healthy” low fat lunches were making me feel drowsy and headachy in the afternoons!

I hope this is helpful. You’ll find more info in the free report you got off my website and also on my blog.”

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