low blood sugar and vegetarianism - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-06-2007, 06:12 PM
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I've struggled with low blood sugar thruout my 20s and now in my early 30s. It appears that my thyroid gland doesn't regulate my blood sugar well. The thyroid med fixed the low blood sugar problem and I quickly lost 25 pounds, but I had to go off of it because of side effects.



I went off meat and fish three years ago. The thought of having to eat chicken again is as appetizing as eating my pet bird. But seriously, do people with bad low blood sugar do better on chicken or meat. Is the protein "more substantial" as they say? My relatives told me I'd get more energy and it would help with the hypoglycemia. --Tim923
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#2 Old 07-06-2007, 07:51 PM
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There's really nothing magical about animal protein. Eat a sensible well balanced diet, stay away from simple sugars (to avoid the blood sugar roller coaster), and get yourself to a registered dietitian (RD) who is supportive of a vegetarian diet to help you out. Do not listen to your doctor (well, with regards to nutrition advice), and do not listen to your family (unless one of them happens to be an RD). There is just waaay too much nutrition misinformation out there, especially with regards to vegetarian diets for people with health issues. Another recommendation would be to drastically reduce or eliminate any soy you are now eating, as some studies suggest it may aggravate hypothyroidism in those prone to it. Stick to regular old beans, seitan ('wheat meat'), nuts & whole grains (especially quinoa) for your protein.
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#3 Old 07-08-2007, 05:06 PM
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I was eating a lot of soy products. Let me see. I've noticed that most/many snack and protein bars include soy.
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#4 Old 07-08-2007, 05:22 PM
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I have a friend who cannot eat fake meat soy products because they make her blood sugar drop. I have hypothyroidism myself and I'm able to eat them. I don't know why they make my friend's sugar drop but if it does it to her, it might do it to others.
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#5 Old 07-10-2007, 12:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simpy View Post

I have a friend who cannot eat fake meat soy products because they make her blood sugar drop. I have hypothyroidism myself and I'm able to eat them. I don't know why they make my friend's sugar drop but if it does it to her, it might do it to others.



I feel that processed refined foods, whether omni, vegetarian or whatever dietary choice someone is making in their life is not beneficial for the body. May I suggest a whole foods approach, with foods that are not bagged, pre-processed or prepared?



I hope this helps you and/or your friend.
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#6 Old 07-10-2007, 03:30 AM
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You don't need to eliminate soy, but to watch your iodine intake to make sure you're getting enough.



Here's a recent-ish review of the literature on hypothyroidism and soy. I'm only posting the abstract:





Quote:
Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: a review of the relevant literature.

Messina M, Redmond G.

Thyroid. 2006 Mar;16(3):249-58.



Soy foods are a traditional staple of Asian diets but because of their purported health benefits they have become popular in recent years among non-Asians, especially postmenopausal women. There are many bioactive soybean components that may contribute to the hypothesized health benefits of soy but most attention has focused on the isoflavones, which have both hormonal and nonhormonal properties. However, despite the possible benefits concerns have been expressed that soy may be contraindicated for some subsets of the population. One concern is that soy may adversely affect thyroid function and interfere with the absorption of synthetic thyroid hormone. Thus, the purpose of this review is to evaluate the relevant literature and provide the clinician guidance for advising their patients about the effects of soy on thyroid function. In total, 14 trials (thyroid function was not the primary health outcome in any trial) were identified in which the effects of soy foods or isoflavones on at least one measure of thyroid function was assessed in presumably healthy subjects; eight involved women only, four involved men, and two both men and women. With only one exception, either no effects or only very modest changes were noted in these trials. Thus, collectively the findings provide little evidence that in euthyroid, iodine-replete individuals, soy foods, or isoflavones adversely affect thyroid function. In contrast, some evidence suggests that soy foods, by inhibiting absorption, may increase the dose of thyroid hormone required by hypothyroid patients. However, hypothyroid adults need not avoid soy foods. In addition, there remains a theoretical concern based on in vitro and animal data that in individuals with compromised thyroid function and/or whose iodine intake is marginal soy foods may increase risk of developing clinical hypothyroidism. Therefore, it is important for soy food consumers to make sure their intake of iodine is adequate. [Bold mine]

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#7 Old 07-10-2007, 10:35 AM
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Thanks smartbeauty and Snow White.



I think you are absolutely right about whole foods smartbeauty, I'm trying to cut back on refined foods and include more veggies and grains. I haven't been eating much store bought sweets or white breads for a long time now anyway, before I was even veggie. So at least I'm in the right direction, even if I'm not there yet.



Snow White- thank you for the article on thyroid function and soy. I quit drinking soy milk because it has more isoflavones and instead started drinking almond milk but I'm still eating soy products. I'm just trying to eat them in moderation now. I'm glad that some of the research doesn't say it's all bad. It's just that you read independent research that says contradicting things and you don't know which to believe. So I've concluded just to eat it in moderation.



About iodine intake- do people generally get enough from table salt in foods? I generally don't add extra table salt to foods, but I know I eat prepared foods that already contain it. How much is enough? And how do you measure it?
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#8 Old 07-10-2007, 11:32 AM
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Snow White (re: your hypothyroidism and soy post): THANK YOU!!!!
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#9 Old 07-10-2007, 04:41 PM
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No problem



I think the RDA for iodine is 150 micrograms, but no more than 300. Apart from iodized salt, you can get it from seaweed or, of course, supplements. I can't seem to find any nutrition tracking websites that give info on iodine levels. I do know that I live in a low iodine region, so my main source is the multi I take.



With 13 out of the 14 reviewed trials not finding much if any effect, I'm not too concerned. Of course that doesn't mean I'm going to start using tofu as my sole source of protein because it would be incredibly boring and I'd probably be missing a few nutrients found in other foods.
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#10 Old 07-10-2007, 04:49 PM
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I take a multivitamin and it says it has the 100% daily value of iodine, so I should be good. Thanks for all your research!
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#11 Old 07-10-2007, 07:10 PM
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I have low blood sugar and have to eat every couple of hours to combat it. I find eating simple sugars without any fat or protein mixed is a deadly combo. If I am going to eat some fruit, I eat some almonds or cashews or add some flax to make it stick around longer. If I am going to eat salad I add beans or some kind of stick to the ribs type of food. If I have toast I add all natural peanut butter or hummus. When I was a meat eater I would add some type of nasty animal protein, but now I just add some veggie protein or fat to the mix and my body thanks me.
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#12 Old 07-10-2007, 09:33 PM
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I've noticed that I get light headed and I never did when I was first getting into veg a long time ago and was vegan. I'm slowly learning to listen to my body. I figured when I eat a nice breakfast with proteins and carbs that I'm not so messed up.
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#13 Old 07-12-2007, 03:58 PM
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Yes, there is conflicting information out there on the effect of soy on thyroid. No one study (review or otherwise) should really be taken as fact (as much as I would love to find out that soy has no affect on thyroid ). Considering that there is even a debate regarding this tells me there is a chance that soy could have a negative effect on thyroid. Personally if I had thyroid issues, I would watch my intake of soy. Or at least go through a trial with very limited soy and see if my thyroid function improves.



For some more information, you can do your own research on Highwire.
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#14 Old 07-12-2007, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim923 View Post

I've struggled with low blood sugar thruout my 20s and now in my early 30s. It appears that my thyroid gland doesn't regulate my blood sugar well. The thyroid med fixed the low blood sugar problem and I quickly lost 25 pounds, but I had to go off of it because of side effects.



I went off meat and fish three years ago. The thought of having to eat chicken again is as appetizing as eating my pet bird. But seriously, do people with bad low blood sugar do better on chicken or meat. Is the protein "more substantial" as they say? My relatives told me I'd get more energy and it would help with the hypoglycemia. --Tim923



I've had low blood sugar problems all my life. I have tried bringing up with doctors (before becoming vegan) but I was dismissed, so I don't know what is really causing the problems. I have managed to deal with it, most of the time.



I have found I do better without the animal flesh though. Although for the first 2 or 3 months of being a vegan was pretty much hell (I was a blood sugar yo-yo), but this was mostly because I was re-learning what and how to eat.



I don't know what it means that the protein is "more substantial," and I think it's mostly BS. People just equate protein with animal flesh, not unlike calcium with milk. People have already suggested good sources of protein from plant sources.



I used to consume more soy products, but now it's pretty much down to the occasional tofu and tempeh, and the more occasional but less quantities of soy sauce and Braggs.

I believe everything.
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#15 Old 07-12-2007, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunshinegal View Post

I have low blood sugar and have to eat every couple of hours to combat it. I find eating simple sugars without any fat or protein mixed is a deadly combo. If I am going to eat some fruit, I eat some almonds or cashews or add some flax to make it stick around longer. If I am going to eat salad I add beans or some kind of stick to the ribs type of food. If I have toast I add all natural peanut butter or hummus. When I was a meat eater I would add some type of nasty animal protein, but now I just add some veggie protein or fat to the mix and my body thanks me.



How do you feel when you eat the simple sugars? Do you get light headed and nauseous?
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#16 Old 07-12-2007, 09:13 PM
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i have type 1 diabetes and have to deal w/ the low blood sugars, and i also have hypothyroid.



i dont think that you have to go back to eating animal flesh to be healthy/stable and even "traditional" RDs can agree on that (though, some, im sure, wouldnt).



the above suggestions, about eating often and whole foods is the way to go. consider adding healthy fats as well to your diet. high fiber and high fat foods and food combinations help stabilize your bs and sustain you longer.

ie: ever eaten "white" pancakes and been starving maybe 2 hours later? but if you had eaten a breakfast of pb on wheat toast, fruit, oatmeal....something w/ protein and high fiber, complex carbs... you are sustained much longer?

also, for example, low fat ice cream or fruit sorbet is hi in sugar, so a high fat ic would be a better choice for you.



breakfast is the easiest meals to make the most changes. you are usually eating in the same place each morning, instead of lunch or dinner where you may be out and about.... so make that meal ESP count.



again, snacking throughout the day is a good idea.
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