Most experts will tell you that hypoglycemia is caused by the pancreas producing too much insulin after a person eats sugar or other refined carbohydrates. This excess insulin causes the blood sugar to fall too far, too quickly, which causes a range of hypoglycemic symptoms.
Now, there is some truth in this, of course. But my research has led me to believe that the fundamental cause of hypoglycemia is based in the liver.
It’s very important to understand this because it affects the way you should eat if you want to get well permanently.
I want to stress, I’m not a doctor or a scientist. I’m not going to baffle you with complex medical and physiological terms. Thankfully, you don’t need to know all that (unless you really want to).
In simple terms, the job of your pancreas is to stop your blood sugar from getting too high. The job of your liver is to stop it getting too low. So both the liver and the pancreas are involved in keeping your blood sugar stable. (In fact, there are other organs as well that play a minor role but I’m going to keep this simple.)
Most dietary advice for hypoglycemia focuses on the pancreas. It involves eating frequent small meals and avoiding sugary foods. This is designed to prevent the pancreas from releasing too much insulin and thus keeping your blood sugar stable.
However, it’s not quite that simple. How do I know? Well, I’ve tried that approach… I’ve followed it religiously in the past… and it simply didn’t work for me. I ate frequent small meals. I avoided sugar and everything that contained sugar. And I still felt terrible. In fact, the more I tried to follow the diet, the worse I felt!
How could that possibly be?
Well, thankfully I didn’t give up and I kept searching for the real answer. I tried all kinds of diets, some including small amounts of sugar and others avoiding it completely. I found, through trial and error, that I felt best when I ate three balanced meals a day of food that I actually felt like eating (i.e. foods that I liked and enjoyed, rather than foods that a diet expert told me I should eat)… and not eating when I didn’t actually feel hungry.
In other words, I found snacking at 2 or 3 hour intervals on high protein foods to be absolutely counter-productive for me. On the other hand, eating just three meals a day (sometimes with small snack in the late afternoon if I felt hungry) seemed to work best for me. And conversely, over-eating in general – even over-eating of “healthy” organic foods – made me feel bad.
This is when it dawned on me about the role of the liver in hypoglycemia. Thankfully there are one or two experts who do understand the part the liver plays… and as I read their theories, I felt a light bulb go off in my head. This was the missing link I’d been looking for.
The good news is, fixing your liver is far easier than fixing your pancreas!
This is how your body was designed:
1. You eat a meal.
2. You digest it and absorb sugar and fat into your bloodstream.
3. Calories are burned.
4. Excess calories are stored in your liver.
5. Once your liver is full, any remaining calories are stored as fat on your hips, rear, stomach, thighs…
6. When your gut has finished absorbing your last meal your liver should start burning fat and releasing its stored sugar.
The problem is most people just cycle between points one through five and only manage point six when they are sleeping. And many don’t even do that because they snack right before bed or eat late.
That’s why I recommend you eat less often – not more often. You ideally need to allow your liver to get to point 6 after each meal, before you eat again.
Your liver needs to be able to do its job of raising your blood sugar… before it gets overloaded again by processing more food!
If you continually eat as soon as you feel a small dip in your blood sugar, you are just keeping your liver out of the equation. That’s bad news for your long term health.
So don’t set back your progress by over-eating. Listen to your body and stop when you feel comfortably full. And only eat when you are actually hungry!