Do you often feel shaky, thirsty and nauseous? Does missing a meal even by just a few hours cause you a major headache? It’s possible that you are experiencing hypoglycemia without diabetes.
Many people with this condition recognize their symptoms as being hypoglycemic, but because they know that they are not diabetic, they decide that low blood sugar cannot be the real issue.
Surprisingly few people know that there is such a thing as non diabetic hypoglycemia, and may suffer the effects of this for many years before finding an answer.
Can you experience hypoglycemia without having Diabetes?
It’s possible to suffer hypoglycemia and experience all it’s symptoms without being diabetic.
In non diabetics, hypoglycemia can occur if you are unable to keep your blood/glucose levels within the healthy range.
Following a meal which was heavy on simple carbs, or missing a meal would normally cause your blood/glucose levels to drop after a few hours.
Normally, this situation is dealt with automatically by the body. Many people will feel hungry as a result and possibly tired and thirsty but rarely will they feel anything else.
If you are unable to keep your blood/glucose levels within the healthy range, you may experience some of the following:
- Very hungry
- Blurred vision
These symptoms may be strong enough that you are unable to go about your normal daily tasks until you increase your blood sugar levels by taking something sweet to eat.
This would indicate that you have non diabetic hypoglycemia.
There are two types of Hypoglycemia
This occurs after a meal, especially a meal that contained a lot of sugar and other simple carbohydrates.
You may have experience of this happening after eating candy, cookies or a slice of cake.
This type of hypoglycemia is associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes.
Non-Reactive Hypoglycemia can happen after taking certain medication.
It can also become a problem if you have other medical conditions.
A hormone imbalance can also produce hypoglycemia.
Who is at risk of developing non-diabetic hypoglycemia?
This condition can develop if you already have prediabetes, are over weight or have other health issues.
It can affect anyone at any stage in their life.
There is also an increased risk if someone else in your family has the condition, or you have had surgery on your stomach.
Always consult with your medical adviser if you believe that you may have this condition. There are tests that can determine if this is the cause of your symptoms.
It would be a good idea to keep a food diary to show your health provider, as this can help with the diagnosis.
How can you treat hypoglycemia?
The chances are that if you are suffering from this condition, you have already found a few ways to treat low blood sugar.
These methods would include:
- Eating a sugary snack
- Drinking orange juice, or a sugar filled soft drink
- Using glucose tablets
These methods will increase your blood/sugar levels, and will improve your symptoms quickly.
However, the downside is that you will often experience another episode a short time later.
It is better to take a snack of complex carbs.
If you treat hypoglycemia with complex carbs, the increase in blood/glucose levels will be more stable, and will you are less likely to suffer a rebound drop.
However, it’s important to not just manage hypoglycemia as and when it occurs.
Hypoglycemia can cause health issues if it is not properly dealt with.
It’s important to find a way to prevent this happening at all.
Change your diet to stabilize your blood/glucose levels.
You need to stabilize your blood/glucose levels as much as you can to prevent hypoglycemia happening in the first place.
The Keto Diet has been proven to help stabilize blood/glucose levels, and is able to reverse type 2 diabetes.
This is due to the fact that the Keto diet is a low carbohydrate, medium protein and high fat eating plan.
Carbohydrates, especially simple carbs are known to cause a spike in blood/glucose levels.
This will cause your body to increase its production of the hormone Insulin, which will correct the level of glucose in the blood.
Unfortunately, this will very often cause a rapid drop in blood/glucose levels a few hours later.
If you have non-diabetic hypoglycemia, it’s possible that you will have produced more Insulin than normal, and your levels of glucose are going to fall a lot lower within a few hours of eating simple carbs.
When following the low carb keto diet, the foods that are responsible for this reaction are severely limited.
The normal recommended daily allowance of carbs is 20g net carbs each day.
Examples of simple carbs are:
- Baked goods including cakes, cookies, fruit pies
- Grains including wheat, breakfast cereal, oatmeal, pastry and bread
- Starchy root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots
- Starchy foods such as rice and pasta
- Most fruits except berries
- Fruit juice
For full details of the keto diet read What is the keto diet about? . You can get a full list of the foods for the keto diet here:
You will need to be on the look out for hidden sugars too. These can often hide in sauces, ready meals, some deli meats and yogurts.
Always read the nutritional labels if you’re not buying a single ingredient food such as eggs, vegetables, meat or fish.
By keeping to the keto guidelines for carbs, you will be stabilizing your blood/glucose levels and will feel more alert and focused.
When choosing how to spend your 20g net carb allowance, make sure you chose complex carbs that are nutritionally dense.
This will ensure maximum glucose management as well as ensuring that the keto diet is able to meet all your nutritional needs.
This article will help you to make the correct choices when it comes to carbohydrates:
What about Protein and Fats?
The keto diet suggests that you should eat 5% carbs, 20% protein and 70% fat.
To find out how many grams of each macro you will need use this keto diet calculator.
There is some evidence that if you suffer with hypoglycemia, slightly increasing your protein above this level may work for you.
I suggest that you start by following the guidelines, and only try increasing protein after a few weeks once you are used to the diet.
If you find that your weight is decreasing or increasing, adjust your daily fat intake until you are maintaining your weight.
Don’t alter your carb allowance. This needs to stay exactly as the calculator suggests for you, and never more than 5% of your daily intake.
What to expect in the first week
The keto diet has multiple amazing health and weight loss benefits.
However, most people starting on this diet will not be used to burning fat for fuel instead of the usual glucose.
This means that the first week can feel difficult while the body makes this adjustment.
To become fully efficient at burning fat for fuel will take a month or so, but you will make the switch to this form of metabolism withing the first few days.
If you are not familiar with this aspect of the keto diet this article goes into greater detail:
During the first week some people also experience a condition known as the keto flu.
This can be avoided by making sure that you are getting enough electrolytes. These may be lost in the first few days as you will initially lose extra water along with fat.
It’s important to make sure that you’re eating nutritionally sound whole foods, and are eating until you are full.
This will help you to reach your health goals, stabilize your blood sugar and prevent you from snacking between your meals.
What can you expect within two or three weeks on the keto diet?
By the time you’ve reached your three week anniversary of keto eating, you should be feeling all the benefits of this amazing diet.
Your blood sugar levels should be stable, and you should not be experiencing hypoglycemic episodes.
Importantly, your risk of developing type two diabetes will be massively reduced or completely eliminated if you are following the diet correctly.
Other benefits will include:
- Feeling more relaxed, as there is now less stress on your nervous system
- Feeling full between meals, as the low carb/high fat intake is very satiating
- Weight loss, unless you’ve increased your fat consumption if this is not one of your goals.
- More alert and focused
- Less depressed
- More energy
If you experience low blood sugar but are not diabetic, it is possible that you have non diabetic hypoglycemia.
It’s very important that you stabalize your blood/glucose levels, as continual Hypoglycemia can have implications for your health.
The keto diet has been proved to help to keep blood/glucose levels stable throughout the day.
After a few weeks of following the guidelines of the keto diet, you will be feeling more energetic and focused.
You should now be able to go longer between meals without experiencing a hypoglycemic episode.
The keto diet will bring you many health benefits apart from managing your low blood sugar.
You will be reducing your body’s’s levels of inflammation, which in turn will reduce your risk of developing a long list of very serious diseases.
You should no longer be feeling as if you need to eat every few hours.
Your blood/glucose levels should be stable, reducing both your appetite and your craving for food.
Without frequent hypoglycemia, you should also notice that your headaches are reduced, your sleeping has improved and you are more relaxed and happy.
More than enough reason to experiment with the keto diet as a way of managing your non-diabetic hypoglycemia.