What is a Hypoglycemic Diet?

Autumn Rivers

The hypoglycemic diet aims to extend the amount of time it takes for food to be absorbed, as this can help keep blood sugar at normal levels. It is often referred to as the natural diet, since it focuses on eliminating many manmade foods in favor of natural products. Thus, while it is meant for those with hypoglycemia, many people trying to lose weight or just improve their diet may try out this food plan. In general, the hypoglycemic diet encourages that followers of the diet decrease the consumption of simple carbohydrates and increase both complex carbohydrates and high fiber foods. Caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks are to be avoided, and substituting several small meals for three larger meals is promoted.

A person with hypoglycemia checking her blood glucose levels.
A person with hypoglycemia checking her blood glucose levels.

One of the main tenets of the hypoglycemic diet is that simple carbohydrates should be avoided when possible, since they are digested and absorbed quickly. This leads to a fast increase in glucose in the blood, followed by a sharp drop in those who have trouble regulating their insulin due to hypoglycemia. Cookies, cake, pastries, honey, candy, sugar, jelly, and soda are some popular types of simple carbohydrates, which are often the main culprits of glucose spikes. Complex carbohydrates, such as pasta, vegetables, cereal, whole grain rice, bread, and beans, are all considered good to eat on this diet. Foods that are high in fiber, such as bran, broccoli, potatoes, carrots, strawberries, apples, and citrus, are also encouraged when following the hypoglycemic diet.

Pasta is typically high in complex carbohydrates, which can be part of a hypoglycemic diet.
Pasta is typically high in complex carbohydrates, which can be part of a hypoglycemic diet.

In most cases, fruit juice is considered sugary, and is not promoted on this diet since it is thought to be better to get fruit servings straight from the source, as fresh fruit contains only natural sugar, as well as fiber. Additionally, caffeine consumption can typically result in the same reaction that the ingestion of candy, cookies, and other simple carbohydrates often does, which is why coffee and soda are not permitted on this diet. Alcohol can cause a similar drop in blood sugar, so it is frowned upon, as well.

To keep blood sugar normal, followers of the hypoglycemic diet are encouraged to eat about six small meals per day rather than three large ones. This can help keep blood sugar levels balanced all day. It is also suggested that prohibited items, particularly caffeine and alcohol, be eliminated from the diet slowly since suddenly cessation of them can result in withdrawal symptoms. Reaching and maintaining ideal weight can help keep blood sugar levels the same at all times, and many people use this diet to do just that. Finally, it should be noted that the hypoglycemic diet works best when tailored to each individual using the general rules.

Bag of oat bran.
Bag of oat bran.

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Discussion Comments


I will begin a hypoglycemic diet to reverse insulin resistance. Will it be counter-productive to juice during this diet? What if I keep it 80 percent vegetable, 20 percent fruit. Won't that lower the effect on my blood sugar??

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