Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia

Low blood sugar is called Hypoglycemia. Diabetes involves high blood sugar. Your glands and hormones normally work together to enable your body to keep blood sugar levels within a certain healthy range. When these control mechanisms break down imbalances occur. Carbohydrates can be divided into simple and complex forms. Sugar is a term used for certain simple carbohydrates. Foods that are high in sugar include fruit, refined sweeteners (table sugar, cane juice and high fructose corn syrup), beets, corn and honey. Complex carbohydrates are the larger molecule carbohydrates. They are often called starches. Foods that are high in starch include root vegetables such as potatoes and yams, and grains and grain products such as rice, wheat, oats, flour, bread and crackers.

All carbohydrates, whether simple or complex, are converted into the simple carbohydrate glucose in our bodies. To understand the affect that carbohydrates and thus glucose has on your body, you must first understand insulin. Insulin is a hormone released from the pancreas usually in response to blood glucose levels. It facilitates the movement of glucose into cells where it can be used for fuel. It also moves glucose into the liver for storage as glycogen, and whatever is left after that is converted into fatty acids for storage as fat in your body. Since all carbohydrates even complex starchy ones are converted to glucose in your body they all trigger the release of insulin.

The main difference between complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates is that simple carbohydrates can elevate your blood glucose levels quicker because they are more easily absorbed. The body wants to maintain blood glucose levels within a healthy range, so when blood glucose levels spike quickly, a large amount of insulin, often too much, is released to deal with it quickly. When this happens blood glucose levels can then quickly plummet to below normal levels causing hypoglycemia.

At this point the adrenal glands release cortisol which inhibits insulin in an attempt to stop blood glucose levels from continuing to drop. When this happens too often it stresses the adrenal glands damaging them which can lead to adrenal fatigue. In addition, hypoglycemia makes you hungry in an attempt to bring blood glucose levels back up to a normal range so you eat more. Eating simple carbohydrates with saturated fats, proteins and fiber will slow its absorption and help prevent spikes in blood glucose.

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