View Full Version : Hypoglycemia and diet
08-09-2007, 07:52 AM
My 9-year-old has problems with low blood sugar. Lately, it's been worse though. She has literally been almost passing out - whooshing sound in her ears, vision going black, unable to walk, cold sweat, vomiting. It's scary. I took her to the doctor yesterday. He has ordered a 4-hour glucose tolerance test and an EEG to rule out seizures. She's not very happy right now. She totally broke my heart. She was very composed in the doctor's office, but the minute we got outside the door, she broke down and cried.
Anyway, he read me the riot act about pop. *I* don't buy pop. My husband and my kids drink the stuff constantly, and hubby and I have gone round and round about pop. I don't drink much pop, so I couldn't care less if it's in the house or not. I've told hubby not to bring it home, but he's as addicted as the kids, so he brings it home despite my protests. Doctor told me I "need to take the bull by the horns" and insist on no pop in the house, so I did that last night. What has me puzzled is that he encouraged me to offer her Crystal Light. Nutrasweet?!?! He says he'd rather she drink that, as she's getting water with it without the sugar, carbonation, artificial coloring, etc.
The thing is, I've read some stuff about Nutrasweet that has me concerned. When I was pregnant with her, my OB/GYN told me NO NUTRASWEET, and since then I quit drinking diet pop. She had been wanting to try Crystal Light before the doctor mentioned it, and now she's all excited that he has suggested it! What do you all think about Nutrasweet?
Also, I have a very picky eater on my hands here. Getting her to eat protein is difficult, especially at breakfast, and proteins are what keep the blood sugar at a more even level longer. I need some creative ideas for snacks/breakfast/lunches to put some protein in her belly so she quits having these plummeting blood sugars. She won't eat PB&J. She won't drink milk or eat yogurt. She won't eat cheese sticks. She won't eat nuts unless they are cashews. Right now, soy milk at almost $4.00 per little carton is what I'm giving her.
08-09-2007, 08:06 AM
At nine your darling is old enough to start to understand the issues and the choices..either feel sick as a dog and light headed..or..have some dried apricots or..whatever.
I absolutely support your concern re Nutrasweet etc. I have bad knee problems and I had been using Splenda. A tip from another had me really do some serious research on it. I gave it away and although that in itself did not create my keen pain and inflammation..I started to feel better without it. I dropped out certain muscle pain and so on.
Here you could see a dietician for advice but there are low GI indexes online and in many cookbooks. I could look up these and use anything that was really low GI because that means the energy from the food is used slowly over a period of time (layperson's speak there) rather than the quick hit and rush of sugar.
Your husband may like to consider his role in his daughter's health. Does he want her ill or well..what is he prepared to give up to help you all bring her to wellness? And then knowing everyone will feel better.
I sometimes wonder about the addictive powers of foods. I LOVE mineral water and when I weaned of soft drinks I used to have mineral water and sparkling apple juice and really found that so refreshing. No added sugar and so on. Then because I have a weight problem I had to lessen mineral water because of the salt content. But, arriving at fizzy alternatives can be good. Home made ginger beer or root beer can be glorious and you can control the sugar. The amount of sugar in a can of coke is sickeningly high.
I'm sure others will have some great ideas re foods but I'd look up some low GI indexes and sites and see what you find also. Good luck. And bless you for pursuing this in the face of hubby adversity! :)
08-09-2007, 08:06 AM
Ronda, first of all - big :hug:. If she has low sugar levels, why does she need proteins? Isn't she supposed to eat carbs, to get the sugar, like potatoes, rice, pasta? And what is "pop"? I just don't know what it is:think:. I think that your doctor should check WHY she's having low blood sugar before she's treated. I, for example, have very low levels of ferritin and the doctors are always giving me iron pills - they just don't work on me because there's something wrong with the way proteins get linked to the iron. You need to get to the root of the problem to understand what she needs to eat. Did you consider going to a nutritionist with her? I hope everything turns out ok :hug:
08-09-2007, 08:12 AM
KN is right about the carbs really..but you can fix the plummeting sugars via dried fruits also. I guess in a way you often also have to check and ensure the protein levels are stable because sometimes they can be forgotten about a little.
I hear you KN on the iron thing. I have ultra low iron for ages and then developed a parathyroid tumour which sucked the calcium from my system. Talk about muscle pain! Ouch.
08-09-2007, 08:13 AM
Pop is soft drink or..soda as some other US states call it I believe. Here we usually say soft drink.
08-09-2007, 08:16 AM
Carbs burn too quickly. They turn into sugar, spike the blood sugar, then the blood sugar plummets again. Protein is a slow burn. It gives energy but doesn't spike blood sugar.
I know my doctor told me to eat five small meals a day with snacks such as peanuts, cottage cheese, etc. I'll do some thinking to see what kind of kid food might appeal to her.
As for nutrisweet or any artificial sweetner....I steer clear.
08-09-2007, 08:19 AM
KnittingNat - Sorry. Pop = soda. Coke and that sort of drink. My daughter was tested when she was 5 because of this problem, although it didn't seem as severe then. Nothing was found, and we were told it was just hypoglycemia. This doctor is ordering a couple of tests to get to the bottom of what is causing this, but he still thinks the problem is hypoglycemia. The thing about eating the protein is that, in the end, your body breaks down all foods into sugars, but protein "burns" longer. If she eats simple carbs (like candy or pop), she will get an immediate spike in her blood sugar (which is good if she is having a hypoglycemic reaction) but then she will drop fast. If she eats small, frequent meals throughout the day - especially foods with protein - her blood sugar will stay more level. She won't have the fluctuating blood sugars. Milk is perfect for this - it has some sugar but it has the longer-burning protein. Problem is, getting her to drink milk is difficult.
Perhaps after the tests are completed, the doctor will refer me to a dietitian. That might be a good idea, guys.
Susan - I so agree with you on my daughter being old enough to understand this whole situation and learn to take care of herself properly. My husband is forever getting upset with ME when she has these reactions. He has it in his head that I can force food down her throat. I can only present her with healthy options. It's HER CHOICE to eat what's placed in front of her. I offer her 3 meals a day, and there are plenty of healthy snacks in the house. I have come right out and explained this entire situation to her. She has had 4 of these almost-passing-out episodes in the last 2 months, one of them at school. I've told her she can continue to have these or she can learn to eat a healthy breakfast in the morning even though she's not hungry.
Which reminds me, the doctor also suggested cereal bars. Now, aren't those just full of sugar and "bad" fats?! I'm beginning to wonder about my doctor.
08-09-2007, 08:21 AM
Interesting Jen as I think one group of diet advisors will argue for carbs..the others against. I think the balance is the key with a little more of whatever the individual body makeup needs but I DO so agree that more smaller meals are better for hypog. problems. When you're talking of what burns of course this can depend a little on how active the person is OR how active they need to be. A pal of mine refuses to eat any carbs after 5 but he will power carb in the morning because he'll cycle and gym for a solid hour or so before work. His lunch is a real balance of salad/protein and carb.
08-09-2007, 08:27 AM
Ronda.. You clever thing you...yes..most cereal bars are pretty bad really..high sugar and fat levels and NOT low GI at all. That said, you can make some of your own.
Could you make the 3 meals five and get into the old fashioned morning tea and 'tea' of an afternoon? Is she the sort that would love to invite her girl pals over next weekend for a rather 'regal' morning tea or afternoon tea? Then you could really lay it on..some thin sliced protein based sandwiches..crusts cut off etc etc..just to make it highbrow..some tiny cakes but low sugar and so on. In other words take advantage of the impressionable age and vamp it up to be something classy and great. Your daughter can play the hostess and 'pour' mineral water or fresh juice and so on...you can wait on them LOL You may set a neighbourhood trend :)
There are some very high protein cereal grains that also throw in carbs of course. I have had some nice felafel style meals and 'bakes' with those. Hubby needs to become Jeeves and get with the classy program..and if he's intent on blaming you..perhaps hold up a mirror..literally..in front of his face and ask him what HE is doing to model.
08-09-2007, 08:30 AM
You might just be onto something, Susan. She's just the type who would go for the afternoon tea thing. In fact, I might just buy her a little recipe book and let her make her own little sandwiches - with or without friends. She gets into cooking and being creative and she might just eat what she makes by herself. Thanks! Excellent idea.
08-09-2007, 08:34 AM
Now i get it :happydance:: pop=soda. I can suggest granola=muesli. I make it myself, so i know what goes inside. I take whole oats (not Quakker (sp?), roast a little tiny bit on a hot pan with no oil, add nuts ( different kind), some honey and butter, stir well, add some dried fruit, like raisins and bananas and that's it! It's full of proteins and carbs, it's tasty and healthy. Just don't over-roast it! Good luck! And i would personally just leave the soft drinks out of the diet, it's has so much junk inside with too much sugar...:hug:
08-09-2007, 08:38 AM
Great idea. When I was her age my mother bought me a cookbook..a spiral bound one. Do you have stoplight sandwiches there? Where you cut rectangles and use a cookie cutter to make three holes in the top slice of bread..and then you have to put a red, yellow and green food item in to make the stoplights? If you can think of the sorts of foods you really want her to eat..then you can supply them and try to make it appealing along these lines.
You could do a real girl-together shopping trip. I would perhaps go with her to buy a low GI cookbook (maybe check ahead the bookstore has one) or buy it as a present with a nice notebook and pen set (for shopping list). Let her look through and then say..shall we go buy some ingredients and you can start to cook? Suggest she plan one days meals and see how she goes with that?? Like 5 little banquets? Like make it a type of challenge..not too hard but enjoyably challenging. Maybe only one or two meals if 5 are too much but she could suggest a couple YOU could make that same day. Could be quiet a lovely time for you both.
And yes, she could cook for herself..or for you and she together..or then entrap her dear daddy..who of course will wear a tie and leave a tip:)
08-09-2007, 08:40 AM
I got carried away Ronda LOL I SO had a BOY and not a girl. One meal or afternoon tea and sandwiches would be great. But she could always be your executive cook while you make another meal that night for the family from the book etc. (I can now see Ronda knitting a chef's hat :))
08-09-2007, 08:42 AM
or then entrap her dear daddy..who of course will wear a tie and leave a tip:)
Love the muesli idea, KnittingNat. Thank you. :hug:More good suggestions as well, Susan. Thanks! :hug:
08-09-2007, 10:42 AM
While oatmeal is carby, it's a whole grain and therefore has a lower GI, maybe a bowl of that with protein powder mixed into it (after cooking, it doesn't like being heated) will stay with her in the morning. For a sweetener, I use stevia; it's a naturally sweet herb that's way sweeter than sugar. It comes in powdered leaf, powdered extract and liquid drops. You could make her lemonade with that - water, lemon juice and a little stevia. Caution, 1/8 tsp is about as sweet as 2 tsp of sugar, so use very little, just sprinkle in. The white extract can be used in cooking - use about 1 tsp for 1 C of sugar. You can also use honey to sweeten as it has a lower GI and also a few nutrients, unlike sugar.
08-09-2007, 10:56 AM
:hug: I sufferred from hypoglycemia in high school . . . and my room mates suffered from my hypoglycemia during college :teehee:. Seriously, I was no fun to be around when I was hungry - or, more acurately, when my blood sugar levels were low. I went through the whole blacking out, can't see, can't hear thing, too. That is what finally sent me to the doctor.
In any event, will she eat bagels? There are some good high protein bagels out there that can get her well through the morning. Will she eat smoothies? I see she's not a yogurt, milk or pbj fan, but you may be able to get either yogurt or even peanut butter into a smoothie, as well as some fresh fruit or carrots and stablize it with some protein powder. Good luck!
I was scared straight by a Seventeen Magazine article about anorexia which talked about a girl who had died - not from anorexia, but ultimately from hypoglycemia brought on by anorexia. I wouldn't eat a piece of candy or dessert for a year after being diagnosed. Even still, my mother carried around snacks for me well into adulthood. I'm 37 now and haven't had any problems probably since after college.
08-09-2007, 11:07 AM
Bananas of course are great to put into shakes and things..a protein shake can be useful..and I think you can vamp up shakes so kids forget milk is even in there. The reason I suggested sandwiches etc and recipes tho was because years ago a dietician at a hospital was telling me that kids..like with anorexia etc..can start off by becoming too dependent on what he personally referred to as baby food eating. In other words, they start to resist solids and wind up on shakes and liquids and then of course resist them. I love a good health drink and I am mad for juice. I really have to stop myself drinking it as I could have it all day long LOL but I think one should perhaps use shakes more as a morning tea or mid afternoon meal replacement only if you're all on the run etc. Just to keep your kids connected with a good chomp on something :)M
Mind you, when my son was a toddler I used to put anything and everything in the blender with a banana. He would eat anything as long as it had a banana taste. Now he hates them..I did that!!! arrrrrrgghhhh :)
08-09-2007, 11:08 AM
Bagels are yummy with cream cheese and cracked pepper..yummm..my tummy is grumbling.
08-09-2007, 11:48 AM
Not a true hypoglycemic, but I do get the headaches and nausea if I don't eat every few hours. I eat a lot of dried fruit and nuts - if she doesn't like plain nuts try looking up a recipe where you coat them in cinnamon and sugar (not enough to cause problems, just enough to give it a candy crack feel). I really found the folks at my local Whole Foods to be WONDERFUL. They have some great rice/bean pilaf mixes that are delicious, fruit bars (high in fiber and protien) as well as protein bars for that slow burn.
There was a time I had to be dairy free and I found the Silk Vanilla soy milk to be the best and also used tofu and fruit to make smoothies. What about cottage cheese and fruit topping? I keep little boxes are raisins and trail mix in my desk at all times.
Best of Luck
08-09-2007, 01:12 PM
I'll preface this by saying that I haven't read all the responses. My grandmother is hypoglycemic, my mom is borderline, and I've got to watch things, too. Here are some of the things I've learned.
-protein helps. If you blood sugar drops like that and you get woozy, eating a handful of peanuts (or other nuts), which are at least handy to have in your purse or bookbag, is a good way to get yourself back on track
-it's better to eat more smaller meals than to wait too long between meals. If you don't eat often enough you can get headaches or just really really crabby.
-try to limit the sweets. Too many sugars, whether fruit sugars or regular old sugar, can get your system off kilter. I don't like artificial sweeteners and try to avoid those. You can water down fruit juices as one way of enjoying your juices without getting too much sugar. If you're going to eat a candy bar, find one with nuts in it to at least sort of kind of counteract the sugars.
I manage mine OK if I don't pig out on sweets (breads are OK), if I try to eat more protein than carbs in general (I'm a vegetarian and I do OK with plant-based proteins, so you don't need to eat large slabs of meat), and if I don't go too long without eating. When I'm travelling and my eating schedule may be messed up, I'll put some nuts or trail mix or a luna bar in my purse in case I need it.
For whatever it's worth, the protein advice came from my Dr, while the peanut trick is something my grandmother figured out on her own.
08-09-2007, 01:21 PM
Scrambled eggs? I dealt with some hypoglycemia as a teen/young adult. Protein was the best fix for me, though I still ate carbs. Everything in moderation, KWIM? But several small meals a day, and NO meal without a protein seemed to help me manage best. If I was feeling low, protein alone helped--cheese, eggs, nuts...those kinds of things.
I drink Nutrisweet constantly, with no problems. I think most of those nutrition scares are fairly dependent on your body and your dietary makeup. :shrug: But certainly, I'd venture to say that pop with Nutrisweet is better for her than the straight sugar in regular pop!
08-09-2007, 01:44 PM
Better no soda pop at all. There's other things in there besides sugar/nonsugar that aren't really good for a person. Like caffeine - it messes with blood sugars too.
08-09-2007, 09:57 PM
Re: protein vs carbs for hypoglycemics...
Carbohydrates for the immediate fix - preferably glucose or fruit sugars. Orange juice usually works for me (I'm constantly getting sugar lows). Then, for the meal, make sure there is a good balance of carbs and protein, so that your blood sugar doesn't crash all over again. It's hard to manage this, though, b/c your body tends to really crave carbs during a sugar low.
This balance and the protein, especially, play a big role in keeping the sugar lows at bay. It might be beneficial to pay attention to her response to meals. If she's crashing within 2 hours of a meal, she's getting too many carbs. This tends to be my problem. I'm a bit of a carb addict, so it's a real struggle for me to make sure I get enough protein in my meals. Eating smaller meals more frequently helps, but that balance still needs to be there.
So overall, you do want to cut down the carbs (not eliminate) to prevent sugar lows, but to treat a low, you definitely need some healthy sugar.
I react badly to artificial sweeteners, so if I cut out pop/soda, it's water, juice, milk, etc., for me instead. There is some research out there that suggests that artificial sweeteners can lead to weight gain, as well, because the brain thinks it needs to compensate for the calories you're not getting by making you hungrier or more likely to consume more calories in your food.
08-10-2007, 12:55 AM
My 12 yo dd suffers from hypoglycemia and so do I. She mainly has problems mid morning while she's at school. I send those little juice boxes and packages of pb and crackers with her to school. If she starts to get shakey and dizzy they send her to the office so she can eat and drink. I usually eat half a pb sandwich. I also have problems with protein absorbtion and that's why I think the sandwich works better for me....