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Hypoglycemia: A Sign of the Times

It is rather disturbing to learn that statisticians estimate that almost 20 million Americans suffer from some type of faulty glucose tolerance. Hypoglycemia and diabetes are the two major forms of blood sugar disorders and are deservedly called modern-day plagues. Much controversy has surrounded hypoglycemia within the medical establishment. Unfortunately, the majority of physicians shake their heads when you mention the term hypoglycemia. Most doctors believe that this condition is extremely rare or is directly related to diabetics who may get too much insulin. Because hypoglycemia is rarely understood by the medical community, it is often brushed off as a bogus malady. One reason for this denial is the inadequacies of the five-hour glucose tolerance test (GTT) as an effective diagnostic tool.

In reality, hypoglycemia is believed to cause a great deal of misery. Moreover, new studies are revealing that certain psychological disorders are directly linked to disturbed glucose utilization in brain cells. One study in particular showed that depressed people have overall lower glucose metabolism. The truth is that many normal and otherwise healthy people experience dramatic swings in their blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar, in fact, can initiate a number of troublesome symptoms.

Hypoglycemia involves a domino effect. If carbohydrates are eaten in excess, more insulin than usual is secreted in order to compensate. As a result blood sugar drops dramatically. Glucagon, cortisol and adrenalin are then poured out into the system to help raise blood sugar back to acceptable levels. This can inadvertently result in the secretion of more insulin and the vicious cycle goes on. Achieving proper blood sugar balance is tricky business and eating the wrong things can throw the system into extreme responses. High insulin secretion can cause substantial changes in brain chemistry and wreak havoc with our blood lipids. It is also true that ingesting caffeine can adversely affect blood sugar levels. Eating sugary foods can propel the pancreas, pituitary, and adrenal glands into a highly complex chemical reaction based on a feedback loop. The irony of this hypoglycemic cycle is that when blood sugar drops, we run for more sugar and perpetrate the disorder.

If you suspect that you are hypoglycemic emphasize the following foods: white meats, fish, nuts and seeds, whole grains including whole grain pastas, unsweetened yogurt, vegetable juices and eggs, low carbohydrate vegetables such as celery, beet greens, chives, cucumbers, lettuce, parsley, radishes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, peppers, tomatoes, squash, spinach and zucchini.

Fruits should be limited to two servings per day and should be eaten as part of a meal rather than a separate snack. Recommended fruits include: berries, cantaloupe, coconut, muskmelon, cranberries, casaba melon, lemons, and limes.

Avoid all processed or enriched foods like white flour or sugar, quick cooking grains, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol, and high fat, empty calorie foods like doughnuts, pastries, cakes, and soda pop.

Eat small meals throughout the day supplemented with protein snacks. A snack or mini-meal every two hours is recommended. Raw almonds are excellent. Supplementing any hypoglycemic diet with B-complex vitamins, vitamin E, pantothenic acid, and vitamin C is desirable. Dr. Ross also adds L-glutamine, an amino acid that appears to boost brain nutrition to the mix.

Keep in mind that when you first start to eat this way, you will probably feel less than well. You may feel weak, dizzy, nauseous and depressed. This is particularly true if you have been eating a diet high in white sugar and fat. Give the diet a chance. Your body takes time to adjust and results will not be seen overnight. If you persevere, the next phase typically brings a dramatic improvement in feelings of physical well-being and mental elevation. Within three to five weeks, things should really be looking up.

Information provided in the Education section is provided by Woodland Publishing, Inc. and/or other independent third parties that are unaffiliated with Nutraceutical Corporation, and is intended to provide an electronic reference library about nutrition and health. The views expressed in the Education section are the views of the authors and have not been independently viewed or confirmed by Nutraceutical, and are not necessarily the views of Nutraceutical Corporation. © 1998-2003 Woodland Publishing, Inc. and/or the respective copyright owner. For more information call Woodland Publishing at 800 877-8702.

Hypoglycemia, A, Sign, of, the, Times,