Hypoglycemia, also known as low glucose level, is a condition where a person’s blood glucose drops below normal level. Glucose is an important source of energy for humans and without it, the body cannot function properly. Hence, when blood glucose level falls below normal level, hypoglycemia symptoms will kick in.
A few known symptoms of hypoglycemia include fatigue, hunger, mental confusion, dizziness, sweating, etc. Extremely low blood glucose level can even lead to seizure, coma and even death.
Reactive hypoglycemia is a special type of hypoglycemia that occurs in non-diabetic people. Reactive hypoglycemia is also about low blood sugar level, but the symptoms are triggered 2-3 hours after food. The reason is due to the pancreas releasing insulin well past the digestion period of the meal. This excess insulin is the main culprit for causing low blood glucose in people with reactive hypoglycemia.
Hence, treatment for reactive hypoglycemia should be based on two core objectives: Avoid “overloading” the pancreas and reducing insulin production. To achieve the above objective, sufferers are usually advised to follow a special diet plan and avoid food comprising mainly of simple carbohydrates.
There are two types of carbohydrates, simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are foods that are easily converted into glucose, ready to be absorbed into the bloodstream. This rapid absorption of glucose will cause a sharp spike in blood glucose and this often the main cause of reactive hypoglycemia. Thus, avoid intake of food with simple carbohydrates. A few examples would be: white rice, white bread, candy, chocolates, ice cream, cakes, etc. Generally, highly processed foods are also foods that are high in simple carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates, unlike simple carbohydrates, are more difficult to digest and breakdown. Thus, the conversion and absorption of glucose is also slowed down. For these reasons, complex carbohydrates are especially beneficial to reactive hypoglycemia. A few examples of food high in complex carbohydrates would be: brown rice, whole grain bread, oatmeal, vegetables, etc.