Hypoglycemia occurs when blood glucose levels drop below normal. Foods digested in the body break down into nutrients, including glucose, a sugar that helps fuel the body for energy. During the process of regulating the amount of sugar in the blood, the body may produce too much insulin for people with hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Symptoms may include anxiety, hunger, sweating, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, blurred vision and fatigue. A blood glucose test determines hypoglycemia. Doctors recommend a diet similar to one that helps control diabetes.
Protein converts into glucose at a slow pace, so the glucose enters the bloodstream consistently, preventing sudden blood sugar changes. Healthy sources of protein include lean meats, skinless poultry, fish, peanut butter, nuts and seeds. Avoid fatty or fried meats, high-fat sauces, gravies, butter, shortening and hydrogenated oils. Prepare and cook meats, poultry and fish with unsaturated vegetable oils, such as olive, canola, peanut, sunflower and corn oils. Choose skim milk, 1 percent milk, plain or artificially sweetened nonfat yogurt and buttermilk. Avoid whole-milk products, ice cream, processed cheeses and cheese spreads.
Enjoy whole-grain breads and pasta, unsweetened cereals, English muffins, rice and potatoes. These foods also take time to break down during digestion to keep blood glucose levels under control. Crackers, pretzels, plain popcorn, plain cakes and cookies made with sugar substitutes and low-fat milk also help control hypoglycemia.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Fresh or cooked, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables work effectively in a hypoglycemia diet. Avoid glazed or sweetened vegetables or fruit canned in heavy syrups. Eat dark green or yellow vegetables and citrus fruits daily. You can also have other vegetables, fruit, dried fruit and fruit canned in natural juice or water. Some fruits, vegetables and legumes contain soluble fiber that digests slowly to help regulate blood sugar. They include oranges, apples, carrots and dried beans and peas. Blueberries, cherries, tomatoes, squash and bell peppers contain antioxidants, which help protect the blood from damaging effects.
SWEETS AND DRINKS
Consume jams, jellies or gelatin and other sweet products made with sugar substitutes. Avoid table sugar, soft drinks and sugary foods, such as candy, pastries, donuts and pies. Check labels for sugar, which may also be listed as corn syrup, corn sweetener or high fructose corn syrup. Limit or eliminate your intake of fast foods and commercially baked goods made with trans fatty acids. Choose decaffeinated coffee, tea or herbal teas, unsweetened fruit juice, diet decaffeinated sodas and water instead of sugar-laden drinks.