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Hypoglycemia and Vegetarian Diet?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have hypoglycemia and have relied in the past on meat protein to stabalize my blood sugar. I know that many foods in a vegetarian diet contain protein, but is it as long lasting as meat? Has anyone had experience with having hypoglycemia and switching to a vegetarain diet? Any info would be helpful.
post #2 of 9

by Suzanne Havala, M.S., R.D.


QUESTION:I have recently been diagnosed as hypoglycemic. My doctor asked me to follow a diet which is basically this: No sugar, eat three meals and three snacks per day (each of which is to include 1 to 2 ounces protein), limit fruits to one small fruit WITH a meal. As a vegetarian, I have always enjoyed a wide variety of foods and have never worried about the amount of protein I was consuming. I'm sure my meals contain plenty of protein, but how can I get protein into my snacks? I'm getting tired of nuts and crackers with peanut butter for every snack. Can you give me more ideas? J.M., CA

ANSWER: Concentrate on including foods rich in complex carbohydrates and don't worry about increasing the protein content of your snacks. (Vegetarians and vegans eating varied diets containing vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds rarely have any difficulty getting enough protein as long as their diet contains enough energy [calories] to maintain weight.) Foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates include breads and cereals, dried beans and peas, and other vegetables especially the starchy ones such as potatoes, peas, squash, corn and others.

Some snack ideas that would work well are lowfat, whole grain crackers, breads, muffins, and cereals as well as bagels. Soup cups - the "add water and heat in the microwave type" - that include lots of rice, beans, lentils and vegetables are also convenient. Or have a baked potato, baked sweet potato, or bowl of stir-fried vegetables with rice - leftovers from last night's supper, for instance.

The primary points to keep in mind if you are controlling hypoglycemia by diet are to 1) eat frequently - every two or three hours, rather than going for long stretches of time between meals; 2) avoid sweets, and if you do eat something sweet, eat it with a meal rather than as a snack by itself; 3) avoid caffeine-containing beverages such as coffee and tea, which can accentuate symptoms of hypoglycemia; and 4) make sure that between-meal snacks contain complex carbohydrates. A piece of fruit all by itself, or a glass of fruit juice, is mostly simple sugar and doesn't have as much "staying power" as do starchy foods or foods that are high in protein.

post #3 of 9
I have hypoglycemia, and am now vegan. I usually have a 7-8 almonds to keep me going in between lunch and dinner. It really works for me. I have actually never relied on animal sources to provide me with the protein to stave off hypoglycemic attacks.

I also recently read "Eat to Live" by Joel Fuhrman, which says that many people who are hypoglycemic are actually reacting to foods such as salt, caffeine, and alcohol when they are not digesting food -- Since becoming vegan I have cut out these foods (mostly) and have found a huge difference.. I no longer get really sick in between meals. It's worth a try!
post #4 of 9
I am hypoglycemnic as well. I've found the switch from a meat based protein diet to a more legume based one has been very beneficial for my blood sugar stability. I don't get the same feeling from soy based products, but eating less than I used to and eating legume meals has made my sugar rock-stable.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I will have to give these suggestions a try. I have also read about chia seeds helping to regulated blood sugar. Has anyone had experience with this helping with hypoglycemia?
post #6 of 9
I've actually stopped having black outs and shakes since becoming a vegetarian. Whole grain breads, pastas, brown rice are all stabilizing to the blood sugar because they are slow release.
post #7 of 9
For anyone with blood sugar regulation issues (both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia) I strongly suggest reading Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes. It has made a world of difference for my husband's diabetes and my hypoglycemia.
I am the user formerly known as MrsKey
I am the user formerly known as MrsKey
post #8 of 9
I greatly appreciate the information about controlling hypoglycemia with a vegetarian diet. For years, doctors have been telling me I would not be able to keep my blood sugar stable by following a vegetarian diet. I now realize that is not the case and feel so much better after beginning my transition.
post #9 of 9
I'm also hypo and going veg helps reverse Diabetes.
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