Hypoglycaemia occurs when there is an exaggerated insulin response to a rise in blood glucose. As a result there is a dramatic drop in blood glucose, causing physical and mental symptoms, including irritability & sugar cravings. Blood glucose travels a volatile roller-coaster throughout the day.
Common times of the day for Hypoglycaemia are 10-11am and 2-3pm.
Symptoms of Hypoglycaemia are:
- Cravings for sugar or stimulants – chocolate, cigarettes, coffee, sweets.
- Tiredness – lack of concentration and mental fatigue.
- Lightheadedness or dizziness, visual changes or headaches.
- Mood Changes – irritability, emotional, depression, anxiety, feel fragile, trembling.
Correcting hypoglycaemia is relatively easily achieved by eating 6-8 small meals/day or Three main meals and 2-4 snacks throughout the day particularly at the most common times for hypoglycaemia.
The types of snacks chosen should be complex carbohydrates, which take a longer time to break down in the stomach, and therefore the sugar release is slowed and the blood glucose level rise at a regular and manageable rate for insulin to uptake the glucose. If the snacks chosen are simple (sugary) carbohydrates then hypoglycaemia continues and the roller-coaster effect will still be present.
Types of Snacks (complex carbohydrates)
- Raw Nuts – Almonds, Brazilnuts, Cashews, Walnuts, Sunflower seeds, Pipitas, Macadamias etc. (All nuts should be unsalted and raw as the roasting process changes the oil content to a fat (oxidised oil) rendering them less beneficial.
- Dried Fruit – Bananas, Figs, Dates, Prunes, Raisins, Apricots (beware of sulphur dried with respiratory problems), Not sultanas as they are too high in sugar.
- Wholewheat crackers, rice or corn cakes, ryvita, kavli crispbread with avocado, vegemite, cheese, nut spread, Tahini, hommos, salmon, tomato, boiled egg etc.
- Homemade Anzac cookies, wholemeal cookies and cakes (reduce sugar content and no icing).
- Complex fruit – apples, oranges, pears, kiwi fruit, bananas, peaches, strawberries. Not watermelon, grapes or pineapple.
- Herbal or Green tea, Miso soup, Vegetable juice – carrot, apple, spinach, silverbeet, ginger, parsley, garlic, orange etc.
- Sprouted seeds & legumes – mung beans, mustard seeds etc.