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Hypoglycemia & How it Affects Our Lives

Have you noticed that when you (or a loved-one) wait too long between meals, you become irritable, confused, nauseated or fatigued? That means you’re most likely experiencing symptoms of postprandial hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia - The Reason You're so Grumpy

What is postprandial hypoglycemia?

Postprandial hypoglycemia (also known as “Reactive hypoglycemia”) translates as “Low blood sugar which occurs after eating”. In postprandial hypoglycemia, a non-diabetic person experiences reoccurring symptoms similar to those of medical hypoglycemia. Medical hypoglycemia is a state where there are abnormally low levels of glucose in the blood, resulting in an inadequate supply of it to the brain.

What causes hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia - The Reason You're so Grumpy

Postprandial hypoglycemia usually manifests about 4 hours after consuming a large carbohydrate meal or a high consumption of glucose. Healthy adults maintain a blood glucose level of around four mmol/L when between meals. If the level drops below four mmol/L, hypoglycemic symptoms may appear. The U.S. National Institute for Health (NIH) states that "The causes of most cases of reactive hypoglycemia are still open to debate. Some researchers suggest that certain people may be more sensitive to the body’s normal release of the hormone epinephrine, which causes many of the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Others believe deficiencies in glucagon secretion might lead to reactive hypoglycemia.”

Hypoglycemia - The Reason You're so Grumpy


  • Double vision or blurry vision
  • Unclear thinking
  • Sleeping Trouble
  • Heart palpitation or fibrillation
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Muscle twitches
  • Irritability
  • Tremors
  • Flushing
  • Craving sweets
  • Increased appetite
  • Rhinitis
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Panic attack
  • Numbness/coldness in the extremities
  • Confusion
  • Coma can be a result in severe untreated episodes


Hypoglycemia - The Reason You're so GrumpyYou can purchase a blood glucose meter in most pharmacies if you wish to test the levels of glucose in your blood.

The NIH recommends taking the following steps:

  • Eat small meals and snacks every 3 hours.
  • Avoid or limit sugar intake
  • Eat a variety of foods, including meat, poultry, fish, or nonmeat sources of protein, foods such as whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products
  • Prefer high-fiber foods
  • Regular Exercise (exercise increases sugar uptake which decrease excessive insulin release)

Foods you should avoid:

  • Sugar (white / dark)
  • Honey and molasses
  • Corn, rice, maple and fruit syrups
  • Candies, cookies and chocolate
  • Cakes, pies, pastries and muffins
  • Milk, ice cream, frozen yogurt and pudding
  • Jelly, jam
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Potatoes, white rice
  • Noodles, pastas and spaghetti
  • Dried Fruit, grapes, figs, bananas, dates and plums
  • Grape and Prune Juice
  • Dishes containing corn starch and refined flour
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Sweetened condiments
  • Starchy vegetables (like corn)

Foods that are good for you:

  • Wholegrain breads, cereals, crackers made with little and no sugars
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Decaff coffee and tea
  • Carbonated and regular water
  • Brown rice and whole grain pasta
  • Raw nuts, unsweetened nut butter
  • Organic poultry, meats, fish and shellfish



For more information, or if you suspect you might be suffering from hypoglycemia, consult with your family physician.

Image sources: Discouraged foods / Testing kit / Encouraged foods
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