Although things had improved with regards to my reactive hypoglycemia symptoms, I wanted to be one of those people who could eat only every three hours, and not have to eat a midnight snack. I wanted to feel symptom free. I knew it could be done, but I needed to learn from someone who had actually done just that.
I was going on holiday and would finally have a bit of head space to read. I picked up a copy of Reactive Hypoglycemia: A Personal Journey into Managing This Condition by Karen Lyte.
I couldn’t put it down – it was like holding a mirror up to myself! I read the whole thing in an hour and my key takeaway from it was – following a low glycemic index diet is not enough. You see the problem with that is that you can still consume too many carbs which will turn into sugar in your system. I realised that like the author, I had to limit my carbs too.
Essentially, Someone with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes and indeed reactive hypoglycemia has a low carbohydrate tolerance, so eating carbs will lead to exaggerated blood sugar spikes. So even if you have swapped out all the carbs for slow released carbs, you will still have a problem – as I began to found out!
In fact, I would often feel like my insides were being poked and twisted around by an invisible gremlin, which I now believe was due to my body’s intolerance to carbs.
A LCHF diet is often recommend to those who need to lose weight. At just at the acceptable lower bracket of weight which I finally managed to claw myself back up to I certainly did not need to do that! But following the LCHF is about so much more than weight loss.
The eating plan emphasizes whole, unprocessed foods like fish, eggs, low-carb vegetables and nuts and discourages highly processed, packaged items. Obviously added sugars and starchy foods like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice are out of bounds. Daily carb recommendations on this diet can range from under 20 grams up to 100 grams.
The science behind the LCHF in relation to blood sugar levels and reactive hypoglycemia is that the more carbohydrates we eat in a meal, the more sugar is absorbed into the blood stream. Therefore it follows, the less carbohydrates we eat in a meal, the less sugar is absorbed into the blood stream. So that’s good news for those of us with reactive hypoglycemia!
As I write this post I have been following the LCHF for only two weeks and most days – I am virtually symptom free. As my pancreas calms down further I am hopeful that I will soon get to zero symptoms. That is my goal and my dream, and I’m confident I can get there, as have others. I will report back how I get on in another couple of weeks!
Right now, I’m consuming around 50 – 70 grams of carbs a day. I use a carbohydrate counter app called Carb Manager to do that – you can download one for free and it really helps you to understand the carbohydrates in each foods and how quickly they can tot up – even when you’re not eating starchy foods!
If you’re struggling with reactive hypoglycemia I would strongly urge you look into the Low Carb High Fat diet. As I always say, I am not a doctor or medical professional – this is just my own personal opinion based on my experience thus far.