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Hypoglycemia & Vegetarianism

post #1 of 8
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I recently read an interview with Temple Grandin where she said that she is not a vegetarian because without animal protein she will get hypoglycemic. I'd never heard about this before. I know that if you aren't eating meat it's important to get your protein from a variety of sources but I've never heard of someone truly needing protein from an animal source to maintain their health. So last night I was hanging out with a friend that is somewhat of a flexatarian and she said that during the last few months that she's gone back to being vegetarian she has been getting very weak, lightheaded, dizzy, etc. She decided to eat some meat and has been doing so for the last few days and says she feels fine now. She doesn't want to eat meat and I suggested that she monitor her protein intake more closely and gave her several protein dense vegetarian options. Both of these situations have made me wonder though, have you ever heard of someone that absolutely just had to eat meat?
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post #2 of 8
I don't know about hypoglycemia, I've never heard that it has anything to do with animal protein. However in my experience people who say vegetarianism has made them ill tend to either have very poor diets (and therefore it isn't vegetarianism but a poor diet in general), or it is simply in their minds. I've heard many people who haven't eaten meat for a matter of days - or even hours - claiming to feel a whole host of ailments, usually including weakness, dizzyness and tiredness, that magically dissapear as soon as they eat a hamburger.

Excuse my scepticism, I am sure there are some people who for health reasons cannot - or find it difficult to - be vegetarian. Infact I've known people with digestive problems meaning they cannot eat beans, legumes or tofu which would certainly make maintaining a healthy vegan diet quite difficult. I'm also sure some people develop health problems that dissapear when they eat meat again, for example I know people who suffered with anemia and stopped being vegetarian and got better, however they would also have got better if they had eaten other vegetarian foods that would have improved their iron intake - the problem was they stopped eating meat and didn't replace it with anything! (ie: just eating carbs and veg).

Anyway for your friend I'd advise she goes to the doctor - a few months is a long time so it seems unlikley its psychosematic, it could be unrelated to diet, and if it isn't her doctor can find exactly what it is she's missing out on, and then she can work out what vegetarian foods she can eat more regualrly to help (and her doctor may also give other help depending of course).
post #3 of 8
I have blood sugar issues too, and have no problem on a veg*n diet as long as 1. I eat frequently and 2. I eat enough protein and fat to make me feel full. It's especially important for me to have a protein snack around the late afternoon (usually I have nuts) otherwise I do start to feel weak/dizzy. I think your advice to your friend was good, it's really not about animal protein so much as just making sure you're eating right. IMO
post #4 of 8
I'm diabetic so know all about hypos. Hypoglycaemia is caused by low blood sugar levels and blood sugar levels are all to do with your carb intake. Meat, fish and eggs and dairy such as cheese have such low carb values that they don't affect blood sugar levels and will not prevent hypoglycaemia. To avoid it you should eat regularly, at least a snack every few hours. Best snacks are fruits, starchy carbs, biscuits (cookies to 'Mericans) and things like that - slower releasing carbs.

Protein, fat etc. have no bearing on hypos as far as I'm aware.

So basically, she's talking **** as always
post #5 of 8
Actually the friends that I have who are hypoglycemic do need to eat protein to control their hypoglycemia, carbs don't help much. Not saying it needs to be animal protein but they do need a significant amount of protein to control it.
post #6 of 8
Ugh... I got hypo at work today. I hate it. I feel like garbage for several hours. Any protein digests more slowly than a simple carb, but it's more a matter of planning and balance. Or in my case, not deciding that the vegan chocolate cake was going to be sufficient for breakfast.
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post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashlend View Post

I have blood sugar issues too, and have no problem on a veg*n diet as long as 1. I eat frequently and 2. I eat enough protein and fat to make me feel full. It's especially important for me to have a protein snack around the late afternoon (usually I have nuts) otherwise I do start to feel weak/dizzy. I think your advice to your friend was good, it's really not about animal protein so much as just making sure you're eating right. IMO



Protein is really important in preventing hypo's. Carbs boost the blood sugar up quickly, and the protein keeps it stable.
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post #8 of 8

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Edited by Beetlejuice - 6/9/12 at 10:09am
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