What Is Reactive Hypoglycemia?
Reactive hypoglycemia is a drop in blood sugar which often occurs with four hours after eating, explains the National Institutes of Health. Low blood sugar symptoms vary. You may experience confusion, irritability, or shakiness. You may also sweat and have difficulty speaking. Left untreated, it can lead to seizures and possible coma.
Reactive Hypoglycemia Triggers
You may find that certain foods or beverages trigger reactive hypoglycemia episodes. Foods with a high glycemic index often are the culprit. High glycemic foods include starches such as potatoes, white bread and white rice. Fruits such as bananas and watermelon also have a high index. These foods elevate your blood sugar quickly, setting the scenario for a rapid drop in blood glucose levels, warns the Nemours Foundation.
You may find that you can keep your blood sugar in better control if you avoid these types of foods. Other types of foods may cause this reaction including sweets, sugary beverages and alcohol. When you ingest these items, your body may overreact by sending too much insulin into your bloodstream, hence the onset of the symptoms.
You have two options when it comes to your diet for reactive hypoglycemia. You can either avoid your trigger foods altogether, or you can eat these foods as long as you eat them with something which will keep you sated. Pair these foods with a protein which will take your body longer to digest. Whole grains have a similar effect without causing the spike in blood sugar.
You can also consider the timing of your meals. If you eat frequent, small meals throughout the day, you are less likely to experience periods of low blood sugar. You may also find that snacking at certain times of the day may offset some issues.
Some individuals may find that feelings of hunger come on during the late morning or afternoon. To prevent drops in blood sugar, you can plan on a small snack during those times of the day. You may also find that avoiding high glycemic foods at breakfast and lunch will prevent issues during those times.
You may also want to make sure and include foods which will keep your blood sugar stable. At breakfast, eggs with their protein and fat will keep you feeling full longer into the morning. A sandwich with whole grain bread and lean deli meat will satisfy you during the afternoon hours.
Treating Reactive Hypoglycemia
If your blood sugar drops, you will need to raise it quickly to reduce your symptoms. The American Diabetes Association recommends eating foods with carbohydrates such as crackers or juice. In liquid form, sugar will get into your bloodstream quicker. Your diet for reactive hypoglycemia should include foods which will help you recover should you have an episode.
Fortunately, you can control your reactive hypoglycemia with careful attention to what you eat and when you eat. Low blood sugar can be prevented if you avoid the situations and the foods which are likely to trigger an attack.
National Institutes of Health: Hypoglycemia – diabetes.niddk.nih.gov
Nemours Foundation: Glycemic Index – kidshealth.org