Sunday, May 23, 2010
Although not nearly as serious as diabetes, hypoglycemia is an annoying problem to have. When you are hypoglycemic, as I am, your pancreas produce too much insulin so that it is difficult to keep enough sugar in your bloodstream. When there is too little sugar in your blood, besides feeling so hungry you could eat the wallpaper off the walls, you can get shaky, sweaty, unable to concentrate on even the simplest things, really crabby, a bad headache, and even pass out if blood sugar gets too low. I always carry a little Something in my purse because when I feel a blood sugar low coming on it can hit quickly and make my life miserable if I find myself without a snack.
I crave sugar, but eating sugar is one of the worst things you can do when you're hypoglycemic because it causes blood sugar to rise very quickly then plummet, making it necessary to eat again. When I have a blood sugar melt down, more sugar makes all of the bad symptoms go away quickly, but also sets me up for another crash. It becomes a vicious cycle and the calories add up fast.
My doctor recently told me that the key to controlling hypoglycemia is to eat as many or more grams of protein as carbohydrates during a meal or snack. Carbohydrates, whatever the source, raise blood sugar just like plain sugar does, but balancing that with protein slows the absorption of carbs so that your blood sugar levels stay on a more even keel.
He also told me that eating some fat with carbs helps slow the absorption of carbs which makes blood sugar spike less, and, for example, that eating a scoop of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream is better for my blood sugar than a scoop of sorbet. Sorbet is basically pure sugar, but Ben and Jerry's has some fat... okay, a lot of fat. I'm sure that my doctor was using the ice cream-sorbet comparison just to dramatize his point, but I took it as a diet tip. I thought, what if I ate a single serving of Ben and Jerry's during the course of an afternoon rather than several reduced fat, reduced calorie desserts. Could I control the amount and therefore the overall calorie count that way? I couldn't wait to put it to the test. I went out and bought four flavors of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. I was anxious to get started on my new diet.