The ‘Low’down on Correcting Hypoglycemia with Fewer Calories, No Fat, Sodium or Caffeine
Having low blood sugar is not only frustrating, inconvenient, and potentially dangerous, it can also lead to weight gain. Be smart, use the fastest-acting product to raise your blood sugar that also has the least calories – pure glucose.
If you take any blood glucose-lowering medication (insulin or oral medication), you are at risk for low blood sugar (less than 70 mg/dl). This is called hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar signs and symptoms include trembling, sweating, hunger, rapid heart beat, blurred vision, impaired thinking and even seizures and loss of consciousness.
It’s important to correct a low right away. It’s also important to remember that what you use to correct a low adds extra calories not accounted for in your meal plan. Using something low in calories can help you avoid weight gain when correcting hypoglycemia.
Correct Lows & Avoid Weight Gain
- Physical activity has a blood sugar-lowering effect. Consume some straight carbohydrates (without much fat or protein) during exercise to keep your blood sugars from dropping. Choosing straight carbs helps keep your calorie intake low. To prevent lows after exercise, have a balance of carbs, protein and fat in your next meal or snack.
Be aware of the possible symptoms of hypoglycemia because if you correct a low early you may not need as much fast-acting carbohydrate and will consume fewer calories. With a little practice, you can easily determine how many glucose tablets or how much glucose gel or liquid is likely to raise your blood glucose level
Diet Tip: Hypoglycemia is not the time to ‘binge’ on candy, cookies and other high calorie, high fat foods. These ‘treats’ take longer to raise your blood sugar than pure glucose and usually contain calories that do not raise blood sugar levels effectively. You are almost certain to eat too much of them waiting for your blood sugar to rise and consume unnecessary extra calories that will cause weight gain—and excess weight gain lowers the ability of insulin to keep blood sugar in check.
Don’t Over Correct Lows
When using carbohydrate foods and beverages to correct lows, it’s often hard to only eat as much carbohydrate as you need for two reasons:
- It is tempting to eat more of these foods than necessary because they taste good and the amount you need (15 – 20 grams of carbs) is relatively small.
- Since carbohydrate foods and beverages typically take longer to raise blood sugar than pure glucose, there is a tendency to eat more carbs than you need, trying to stop the discomfort of low blood sugar as quickly as possible. If you have a lot of lows, talk with your healthcare professional about changes in your diet and medication that may help prevent them. When you do have a low, correcting with pure glucose rather than food will help keep extra calories to a minimum.
Remember, losing a small amount of weight, about 7% of your total body weight, can help improve your diabetes. It may reduce the amount of medication you need and improve other health related conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.