Healthy Eating Guidelines For People with Reactive Hypoglycemia

Introduction

Reactive hypoglycemia is low blood glucose (sugar) that occurs within four hours after eating.

Symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia may include anxiety, fast heartbeat, irritability (feeling very stressed or nervous), shaking, sweating, hunger, dizziness, blurred vision, difficulty thinking and faintness.

Follow the tips below to help keep your blood glucose levels steady and prevent symptoms of hypoglycemia.

Steps You Can Take

Eat small balanced meals or snacks throughout the day (about every three hours).

  • Choose a variety of healthy foods from at least three of the four food groups at each meal and two of the food groups at each snack. A meal of chili (Meat and Alternatives, Vegetables and Fruit) with cornbread (Grain products) and a glass of milk (Milk and Alternatives) contains all four food groups.
  • Limit foods and drinks high in sugar such as doughnuts, frozen desserts, fruit flavoured drinks and soft drinks.
  • Avoid long stretches of time between meals.

Choose foods that are high in soluble fibre and starchy foods that have a low glycemic index at each meal.

These types of foods can help keep blood glucose levels stable.

Foods high in soluble fibre include:

  • oatmeal, oat bran and barley
  • dried peas, beans and lentils
  • vegetables and fruits with their skin.

Aim for 5-10 grams of soluble fibre per day.

Starchy foods low in glycemic index include:

  • oats, converted/parboiled rice, barley and bulgur
  • breads made from stone ground flour and heavy mixed grain such as pumpernickel bread
  • dried beans, peas and lentils.

Most vegetables, fruits and low-fat milk products have a moderate or low glycemic index and can be included at each meal. Talk to a registered dietitian for help with choosing and adapting recipes to add low glycemic index foods in your meal plan.

If you drink alcohol, avoid mixing it with sugary drinks such as pop or juice and have it with food.

Alcohol should only be consumed in moderation. Moderate alcohol intake is: no more than two drinks per day or 10 drinks per week for women and no more than three drinks per day or 15 drinks per week for men. One drink is:

  • 341 mL (12 oz) bottle of 5% beer, cider or cooler
  • 142 mL (5 oz) glass of 12% wine
  • 43 mL (1.5 oz) shot of 40% spirits or ice wine due to its higher sugar content.

Additional Resources

HealthLinkBC Files #68h Fibre and Your Health

Dietitian Services Fact Sheets available by mail (call 8-1-1) or online:

Food Sources of Soluble Fibre

"Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide"

Canadian Diabetes Association's fact sheets "Glycemic Index" and "Beyond the Basics"

Last updated: June 2015


These resources are provided as sources of additional information believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of publication and should not be considered an endorsement of any information, service, product or company.

Distributed by:

Dietitian Services at HealthLinkBC (formerly Dial-A-Dietitian), providing free nutrition information and resources for BC residents and health professionals. Go to Healthy Eating or call 8-1-1 (anywhere in BC). Interpreters are available in over 130 languages.

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