Have you ever eaten lunch and then felt the symptoms of low blood sugar? Shakiness, cold sweats, anxiousness or grogginess? It's not exactly logical; low blood sugars usually occur when you don't eat enough food, exercise too much, or overmedicate, so what's up?
This is exactly what happened to Helen. Helen said she skipped breakfast and then had a bag of gummy worms as a snack and soon after had lunch of a sandwich with 2 slices wheat bread, 1 slice of bologna, 1 slice of cheese and a diet soda. Within the hour, she described feelings of sweating, agitation and the need to eat everything in the house to recover.
When she checked her blood sugar, it was 112, far from low and perfectly within the normal range of 70-130 mg/dL.
Note that Helen hadn't eaten breakfast. Because she had not eaten anything and then consumed concentrated carbohydrates in the candy and more carbohydrate from the bread, bologna, and cheese, and minimal fiber and protein, her blood sugar rose and then fell very quickly within a short period of time.
What's a low blood sugar?
Was this a low blood sugar? Surprisingly, no! According to the National Diabetes Education Initiative, a low blood sugar occurs when your blood sugar reading is less than 70 mg/dL, although for some people, a reading of 100 mg/dL can lead to symtoms of clamminess, tingling around the mouth, finger numbness, anxiousness, agitation, etc., feigning a low blood sugar. Everyone is unique and changes in diet or physical activity can have a greater effect on some.
If Helen had enjoyed a simple egg white and vegetable omelet or delicious NutriBlast at breakfast, her blood sugar would have already been somewhat stabilized for the day. Then, instead of having the empty candy, she should have chosen a snack bar with fewer grams of carbohydrate and plenty of fiber and protein. Then she could have had a sandwich with unprocessed meat, a slice of cheese, plenty of vegetables and water.
Her blood sugar would likely have stayed very stable and, even if it dropped to 112, it would have done so quite slowly and she would have likely not noticed it had dropped to that very safe and appropriate level.
What can you do to prevent low blood sugar readings?
The primary way to prevent low blood sugars is to eat balanced meals on a schedule. Most diabetes educators agree that consistent amounts of carbohydrates, adequate protein, plenty of fiber and low fat at meal time makes the best meal option.
Have breakfast first thing in the morning, follow it with lunch about 4 hours later, dinner 4 hours after that and a bedtime snack 4 hours after that.
And just what should you be eating?
A typical meal should consist of about 45-60 grams of carbohydrate, about 20 grams of protein, 10-20 grams of fiber and less than 10 grams of fat in most scenarios.
This might look like a couple of fish tacos made with skillet-grilled cod fillets in romaine hearts with sautéed cabbage or cole-slaw on top and baked sweet potato fries on the side with a fruit salad and nuts (light ambrosia) for dessert.
The fiber, minerals and wonderful properties of a beautiful concoction in your NutriBullet can help everyone get a stable day started. Your Blast can be made the night before so it's ready to go during your fast-paced morning.
I don't have diabetes - how does this affect me?
Everyone's body turns the food we feed it into energy - insulin helps regulate how our bodies use and store glucose and fat. If your diet is unbalanced, this will affect your blood sugar and fat levels, whether you're diagnosed with diabetes or not, leading to changes in mood, energy levels, appetite and so many other aspects of your everyday life - so eat a balanced diet!
I encourage you to make the steps necessary to prevent low blood sugars. They are preventable in most cases and the journey to preventing low blood sugar is an amazing learning experience.