What is hypoglycemia? Could paleo principles help build an effective hypoglycemia diet plan?
What is hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia is a condition which rapidly occurs in the human body when blood sugar levels drop below a specific level. This level is around the 70mg/dL (milligrams/deciliter). If blood sugar levels get to this point a multitude of effects may be felt in the body, some more serious than others.
- Change in mood, behaviour or both
- Visual changes, such as blurry vision
- Faster, harder heart rate
- Intense hunger
- Shaking hands
These are some of the more physical hypoglycemia symptoms a person may suffer from when suffering from the condition, and while not extensive, they are easy to identify. On a personal note, after you have experienced a state of hypoglycemia yourself, you will be very familiar with it and will know the signs as they are presented to you by your body.
Treating hypoglycemia and its related symptoms can be as simple as making alterations to your diet. This is where the paleo diet and the paleo way of structuring your food pyramid can benefit you when building an effective hypoglycemia diet plan.
The paleo diet is a low carbohydrate diet. How does this benefit a person prone to hypoglycemic states?
Firstly, carbohydrates entice the release of insulin into the bloodstream. This is bad because insulin is highly effective at removing glucose from the blood to prevent a level of toxicity being achieved. While this “protective” nature of insulin is very important in the body’s function, it can also have a role in decreasing readily available glucose to dangerously low levels.
Because the paleo diet incorporates low carbohydrate, high protein and high fat eating, your insulin levels will be more stable and you will benefit from an increased level of insulin sensitivity. This means that you will be better protected from low glucose levels in your blood and ultimately, hypoglycemia as well.
As a low carbohydrate diet encourages the body to utilise fat as it’s primary energy source, your energy levels will be more consistent and you will be more aware of what your sugar levels are doing.
A personal note
I have experienced hypoglycemic symptoms before while exercising at a fairly intense level for extended periods of time. These symptoms included dizziness and blurry vision. The remedy for me at the time was to get sugar or carbohydrates digested as quickly as possible. I achieved this by eating dried fruit and drinking an energy drink. While the energy drink wasn’t paleo, the sugar it provided was sufficient, and acceptable in such an “emergency” situation as a state of hypoglycemia. This was before I began my paleo adventure, and now with the proper eating and guidance of great, fat based energy eating I have yet to have another hypoglycemic incident. Paleo diet could really be a tool for building an effective hypoglycemia diet plan.