Q&A with a reader: Getting your blood sugar under control

This published on my “About” page, but I don’t think you all get notifications about that, so I’m publishing it here because I hoping it’ll be useful information for a lot of folks:

Question:

Hi! I am in my 30’s and am struggling with hypoglycemia. Normally, I could control it or catch it before it drops too low, but recently it is just dropping constantly. My whole day is revolving around food and eating to try to not feel the symptoms that I can’t avoid. I have gone to my Dr and to a nutritionist. I really need to be in contact with people who understand and need to find more information and hopefully, something can help me. I am very interested in this blog. And your story sounds close to mine. The only thing is I am not even able to go more than an hour and a half without eating. And it is frustrating and scary going through this on a daily basis. Morning are most difficult and trying to plan my foods, eat and balance my blood sugar to start my day, and simply just get ready for my day is getting to be overwhelming to say the least. Any help would be so much appreciated. Thanks!

Answer:

Hi Dorthyann,

I’m really glad you find this blog helpful, but I’m also really sorry to hear what you are going through!

The first thing that comes to mind is that you are not eating enough protein and/or eating too many carbs. This usually causes the blood sugar rollercoaster.

Try this:
Eat a TON of protein. I would opt for more than 20 grams each time you eat. I’d try a giant (unbreaded, unsauced…both add carbs/sugar) piece of chicken, 4 eggs, at least 1/2 a pack of tofu, or something else, but do your homework and make sure you are eating the 20 g of protein. I often ballpark less and that’s when I have issues. Nuts are great filler (and will provide good fat), but you’d have to eat a lot of them. Here is a post on a variety of protein sources: https://hypoglycemiaresource.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/reader-question-protein-sources-other-than-nuts/

With your protein, eat no more than 30 g of carbohydrates and make them a COMPLEX carb. My top recommendation here would be beans (black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, black beans). Beans are a great source of fiber, which studies have shown helps regular your blood sugar. They also add even more protein (although I wouldn’t include this in your total 20 g count, the idea is to get your protein very high!). Make sure and measure out your portion so you don’t go over 30 grams. For variety, you can do some other complex carbs such as whole wheat pasta or brown rice, but again, measure your portion carefully and beans should be your primary.

With your protein and beans, eat a ton of other non-starch vegetables. My top choices here are spinach, kale, green beans, broccoli, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, cabbage. Again, if you are eating them in a salad, NO DRESSING other than olive oil or pure vinegar; dressings add a ton of sugar. I recommend eating them raw or steamed. This will also drive-up your fiber intake which should help. I eat 5-8 servings of vegetables a day.

If you do the above EVERY MEAL, you should see a dramatic improvement. The minute you vary, you’ll have issues. Here’s how it changed my life: https://hypoglycemiaresource.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/new-higher-protein-less-carb-diet-works/

There are other things that I’ve heard can cause erratic blood sugar and so these are also things to consider, but I’m not recommending treating them and ignoring the diet advice above:
– Lack of sleep
– Significant stress
– Caffeine, nicotine, or any other stimulant.
– Illness

Finally, I recommend finding a diabetes specialist. It doesn’t sound like you are getting the right advice. And, just a reminder: I am in no way a medical professional and anything you read on here should be checked with the appropriate medical professional before implementing.

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