Low Blood Sugar Treatment Diet – Medically reviewed by Jillian Kubala, MS, RD, Nutrition – By Mary Ellen Phipps MPH, RDN, LD – Updated on February 4, 2021
These are all words I used growing up with type 1 diabetes to describe how I felt when my blood sugar was low.
I was diagnosed when I was 5. So, I came up with some interesting ways to describe how I felt about my parents and other adults in my life.
I remember one time when I was in kindergarten, I was describing how I felt to a PE teacher, and she thought I was trying to get out of an activity.
I almost had a hypoglycemic attack because I didn’t have access to proper attention or treatment. (In her defense, she was a substitute and wasn’t told I had diabetes.)
The right treatment for low blood sugar? To answer that question, we first need to know what hypoglycemia is considered to be low blood sugar.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) defines hypoglycemia as any time your blood sugar is below a healthy range. This can vary for each individual with diabetes, but usually means a blood sugar of less than 70 mg/dL (1).
I have sometimes described to my non-diabetic friends that almost “out of body” experience.
Once you start experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to check your blood sugar immediately to confirm if you are, in fact, experiencing hypoglycemia.
Some of these symptoms are also usually high blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia. You may experience these symptoms any time you notice a rapid drop in your blood sugar.
If your blood sugar becomes high and you take insulin to lower it, you may experience symptoms often associated with hypoglycemia when your blood sugar is low, unless it is age-defined low (2 ).
Once you confirm that your blood sugar is low – or below normal – how should you treat it? Basically, you want fast acting carbohydrates, which are simple sugars with minimal fiber.
You also want to avoid high fat foods. The fat that usually stabilizes blood sugar after a meal can actually delay how quickly your body absorbs the simple carbohydrates it needs.
And let me tell you, these glucose pills are not the tastiest things in the world. Think chocolate, super sweet, and fake fruit flavors all rolled into one…sounds fun, I know (1).
Don’t get me wrong; Our main goal in treating low blood sugar is not nutrition – getting your blood sugar back up quickly is the main goal.
But what if you could treat low blood sugar properly and not use chalky tablets full of processed sugars, food colorings and artificial flavors?
If your blood sugar is over 80 mg/dL, you are more likely to experience these symptoms because blood sugar levels change rapidly and you don’t need carbohydrates to work on you as quickly. be
Peanut butter (or peanut butter) is full of protein and fat without added sugar and can help reduce these symptoms without raising your blood sugar.
At this point, your blood sugar isn’t technically low yet, by definition. However, it may be less comfortable with you.
Any kind of starch — in this case, chicken — will help your blood sugar rise a little, and the fat and protein in peanut butter will keep those levels up.
All of the above foods are fresh or dried fruits that have a higher amount of naturally occurring sugars than other fruits. Although they contain some fiber, the amount is very low and will raise blood sugar quickly and effectively.
If your blood sugar drops below 55 mg/dL, you need fast-acting liquid carbohydrates. Fiber, fat or protein should not be present.
Grapefruit juice is one of the highest carbohydrate-rich juices and is my choice for myself and clients who experience this severity of hypoglycemia.
Some people have trouble chewing and swallowing when blood sugar reaches this level, so we want to focus on rich sources of carbohydrates, such as high-carb juices, or sweeteners such as maple syrup and honey.
Before implementing any of these suggestions into your hypoglycemia plan, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider.
. She is also a wife, mother, type 1 diabetic, and a recipe maker. Browse her website for delicious diabetes-friendly recipes and helpful nutrition tips. She strives to make healthy eating easy, realistic, and most importantly… fun! He specializes in family meal planning, corporate wellness, adult weight management, adult diabetes management, and metabolic syndrome. Reach out to him
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Our experts constantly monitor the health and fitness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available. Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD, founder of Milk and Honey Nutrition, is a diabetic dietitian (registered dietitian) known for her combination of diabetes knowledge and nutritional expertise. It’s packed with easy-to-follow recipes and articles!
Hypoglycemia can happen at the most inconvenient time, so it is important to prepare breakfast for low blood sugar!
Hypoglycemia can happen to anyone living with diabetes, and even some people without diabetes. Keeping snacks on hand for low blood sugar is an essential part of managing blood sugar.
Most healthcare professionals define hypoglycemia as a blood glucose value of less than 70mg/dL. But, you should definitely talk to your healthcare team when they want to treat you for low blood sugar. Your doctor may recommend breakfast for low blood sugar at a different cost based on your lifestyle and other factors.
It is also important to remember that hypoglycemia is asymptomatic in some people. So, if you suffer from low blood sugar, make sure you monitor your blood sugar closely and always have a low blood sugar snack on hand.
If left untreated, hypoglycemia can lead to loss of consciousness, seizures, and death. So, as I said above, being prepared with a low blood sugar breakfast is extremely important.
Have you heard of the 15 rules for low sugar? He says that if your blood sugar is low, you should eat 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates, and then wait 15 minutes. Check your blood sugar again, and if it doesn’t return to normal levels, take extra carbohydrates.
As someone who has lived with type 1 diabetes for 30+ years (and is also a registered dietitian), I find this rule frustrating at times. There are many factors that can contribute to how much carbohydrate is needed to treat low blood sugar and how long it will take for your low blood sugar snack to “work”. Talk to your doctor or healthcare team to develop a personalized low blood sugar treatment plan.
The best foods for low blood sugar are what we call “fast-acting carbohydrates.” More on what that means and examples below.
Reactive hypoglycemia often refers to people without diabetes who experience low blood sugar for a variety of reasons. During a reactive hypoglycemic episode, we use the same type of treatment as we do for people with diabetes who experience hypoglycemia. But, in the absence of diabetes, hypoglycemia should be discussed with your doctor to determine the cause and possible big-picture treatment options.
One study showed that ~23% of women with type 1 diabetes experience an acute episode of hypoglycemia during pregnancy. Severe hypoglycemia occurs when the blood sugar level is so low that a person almost loses consciousness and/or requires help from an outside person to treat the hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia during pregnancy should be treated in the same way as when not pregnant. Talk to your OB/GYN about the best ways to prevent hypoglycemia.
What are some of the best snacks for low blood sugar? As I mentioned above, they are high performance carbohydrates. Fast-acting carbohydrates are foods that people with diabetes should generally limit or eat in moderation. And you will see that there is no fat or protein in these foods. Fat and protein can slow the amount of time it takes for carbohydrates to raise your blood sugar. Normally, this is what we want, but not when your blood sugar is low.
Many people express concern about how “unhealthy” they think many of the low-grade sugar treatment options are. For example, many parents worry about using candy for low blood sugar because they think it’s bad for their child. In fact, the most important thing in the middle of a hypoglycemic episode is to treat the low blood sugar you have. Finding a healthy option is unnecessary and unhelpful.
However, that being said, there is nothing wrong with planning ahead and choosing low blood sugar snacks that also come with other micronutrients and may be considered “healthy” by some. But remember, what is most important is to choose something that is easy to eat and that raises blood sugar quickly.
Here are my top 5 tips for treating low blood sugar, because I’ve tasted enough glucose tablets in my life to know that I’ll give a few.
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