Reactive Hypoglycemia and Other Low Blood Sugar Symptoms May Be Prediabetes Warning

Reactive hypoglycemia and prediabetes are characterized by low blood sugar symptoms like fatigue, weakness, tiredness, and more.

reactive hypoglycemia

Is hypoglycemia a sign of diabetes?

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This phenomenon, despite how common it is, is not normal, nor is it healthy. It’s the classic sign of what is known as reactive hypoglycemia and an early symptom of the prediabetes-related condition known as insulin resistance.

Refined carbs can cause wild mood swings

If you eat a meal loaded with sugar and refined carbs, you will experience wild swings in blood sugar that make you feel tired, anxious, irritable, and hungry for more quickly absorbed sugars. When you repeat this process day in and day out, eating a diet full of empty calories, refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes), sugars, and sweetened beverages (sodas, juices, sports drinks), your cells start to become resistant or numb to insulin. You end up needing more and more insulin to keep your blood sugars down. This is insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition that has become an epidemic.

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What is reactive hypoglycemia?

Reactive hypoglycemia is characterized by low blood sugar symptoms like fatigue, weakness, tiredness, dizziness, sweating, shakiness, palpitations, anxiety, nausea, a sensation of hunger, and difficulty with concentration which occur after eating an abundance of sugar or refined carbs. These reactive hypoglycemia symptoms occur in the early stages of insulin resistance.

Take a typical breakfast these days: swigging a large sweetened coffee drink and grabbing something from the Starbucks pastry case will give you a big energy surge as your sugar and insulin levels spike. What follows, however, are inevitable sugar crash symptoms as your blood sugar plummets.  With this comes the low blood sugar fatigue.

Insulin levels may be the first sign that something is wrong

While reactive hypoglycemia is typically the first symptom, the first sign your doctor could see, if he or she checked, would be high insulin levels. High insulin causes your body to create more belly fat, more inflammation, and more oxidative stress while you lose muscle. The downstream effects of this, besides an expanding waistline and fatigue, are scary. High insulin levels and insulin resistance are linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, low HDL, low sex drive, infertility, depression, heart disease, stroke, dementia, cancer—all the common diseases of aging.

Hypoglycemia vs diabetes

Does hypoglycemia lead to diabetes? You cross the line to diabetes when your cells eventually become so resistant to insulin that it can’t do its job. This causes your blood sugar to stay up and your pancreas to go into overdrive trying to produce enough insulin to fight against your high blood sugar and resistant cells. But given that insulin resistance itself is linked to all the above-mentioned problems, it’s foolish to wait until you receive a diagnosis of diabetes to start breaking the cycle.

How to stop the cycle

You can start today. You don’t need a pill to help stop symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia, lower your insulin, and reverse insulin resistance and prediabetes. Cut the white flour, sugar, and corn syrup out of your diet. Replace these empty calories with nutrient-packed whole grains, lean proteins, beans, nuts, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats, and see what a difference this makes in terms of your energy levels and your low blood sugar symptoms.


References:

[1] Ludwig DS. The glycemic index: physiological mechanisms relating to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. JAMA. 2002;287(18):2414–2423.

[2] McKeown NM, Meigs JB, Liu S, Saltzman E, Wilson PW, Jacques PF. Carbohydrate nutrition, insulin resistance, and the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in the Framingham Offspring Cohort. Diabetes Care. 2004 Feb;27(2):538-46.

[3] Brynes AE, Mark Edwards C, Ghatei MA, Dornhorst A, Morgan LM, Bloom SR, Frost GS. A randomised four-intervention crossover study investigating the effect of carbohydrates on daytime profiles of insulin, glucose, non-esterified fatty acids and triacylglycerols in middle-aged men. Br J Nutr. 2003 Feb;89(2):207-18.

[4] Bhashyam S, Parikh P, Bolukoglu H, Shannon AH, Porter JH, Shen YT, Shannon RP. Aging is associated with myocardial insulin resistance and mitochondrial dysfunction. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2007 Nov;293(5):H3063-71.

[5] de Rooij SR, Dekker JM, Kozakova M, Mitrakou A, Melander O, Gabriel R, Guidone C, Højlund K, Murphy MS, Nijpels G; RISC Group Investigators. Fasting insulin has a stronger association with an adverse cardiometabolic risk profile than insulin resistance: the RISC study. Eur J Endocrinol. 2009 Aug;161(2):223-30.

[6] Ryan JP, Sheu LK, Critchley HD, Gianaros PJ. A Neural Circuitry Linking Insulin Resistance to Depressed Mood. Psychosom Med. 2012 Mar 20.

[7] S Roriz-Filho J, Sá-Roriz TM, Rosset I, Camozzato AL, Santos AC, Chaves ML, Moriguti JC, Roriz-Cruz M. (Pre)diabetes, brain aging, and cognition. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 May;1792(5):432-43.

[8] Perseghin G, Calori G, Lattuada G, Ragogna F, Dugnani E, Garancini MP, Crosignani P, Villa M, Bosi E, Ruotolo G, Piemonti L. Insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia and cancer mortality: the Cremona study at the 15th year of follow-up. Acta Diabetol. 2012 Jan 4. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID:  22215126.

[9] Hardy OT, Czech MP, Corvera S. What causes the insulin resistance underlying obesity? Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2012 Apr;19(2):81-7.

[10] Berlin I, Grimaldi A, Landault C, Cesselin F, Puech AJ. Suspected postprandial hypoglycemia is associated with beta-adrenergic hypersensitivity and emotional distress. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1994 Nov;79(5):1428-33.

 

This post originally appeared in 2012 and has been updated.

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Comments
  • dvanilla

    Every time someone mentions fatigue it’s always some life threaten disease. Not like it used to be anemia, or not enough rest. I hope our nation can get back on track without all this negative imputes on various issues. We as American citizens is so tired of always getting bad information from our so-called health experts. Some have reason to believe these experts are contributors to the bad health results which indicate why the negative output is expressed. Most citizens know where most health diseases are originated, from medicines. Many prescribed medications induce the diseases doctors are treating. Which is sad so many is dying daily from diabetes, cancer and other medicine induced related diseases, shame on our health care system. Another sad thing, you think the American people don’t know this, they do.

  • This article is not crap. I am experiencing this myself after years of a high carb diet with no exercise. You start to get light-headed / giddy and extremely sleeply after a meal that is high in sugar/carbs, especially refined ones, and previous you don’t get this at all. I have already reduce my carb intake but still continue even after eating wholegrains. Going to start exercising high intensity asap.

  • To RJ
    If you were not experiencing fatigue after eating a meal High in refined sugar and simple carbs that’s when your body wasn’t working correctly.

  • Hello
    I have been diabetic for some time and I followed a wide variety of treatments, I have even combined with different medicinal plants without clear results. My health was deteriorating more and more. But thanks to a method that I found on the internet to achieve the results i wanted,i knew from the beginning that this could help me, and I began to follow the method from Dr Alhaji Shanu and the results were wonderful: I recommend you to get in contact with him via
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