by Liz Pavek
Reactive hypoglycemia is usually the first sign that an individual has reached a dietary point of no return. It is actually the earliest stage of Type II diabetes, but diabetes can be held at bay by hypoglycemics through careful attention to the diet; so far, the only treatment that is available for hypoglycemia.
But there is nothing that will cure RHG once it gets established. The only way to deal with it is to put yourself on a STRICT low-carbohydrate diet, and STAY on it. As Dr. Starlanyl states in her article, this condition will lead to Type II diabetes if it is not carefully managed.
Dr. Robert C. Atkins, M.D. and others have all clearly explained the sugar/insulin/fat metabolic process and thousands of people have lost tons of fat by following their prescribed programs, all of which work, to a greater or lesser degree. The Atkins Diet is a very good one for RHG.
Dr. R. Paul St. Amand, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine-Endocrinology --Harbor-UCLA, says, in a nutshell: "Only a perfect diet will control hypoglycemia." Fasting from carbohydrate foods is a good way to get control of the oversupply of insulin.
Without the carbohydrates that would normally be in the diet, the receptor sites gradually begin to reappear, the insulin is there to take the sugar into the cell for energy. Et voila! The sufferer is suddenly carrying around his very own 24-hour, open-all-night lunch pail.
Once the switchover to the combustion of stored body fat is complete, the body will cruise easily and the "feed me!" signals will disappear. One nice thing about this fast is the fact that if it is carefully adhered to, the symptoms will disappear, and the blood sugar will move into the normal range (80-120mg/dl).
The more strictly the sufferer follows the fast, the more relief he will get. The individual will immediately know if he has taken in insulin-stimulating foods because he will again feel hunger pangs, something that disappears completely when the body is utilizing its fat stores. Without insulin, the body has no "feed me!" signal.
In the first few days, the receptors on the muscle cells will begin to reappear, slowly at first, but soon in large numbers. The individual might feel some fatigue or lethargy at this time. This is normal. The body is trying to force itself to switch from consumed sugar to its own sugar, which will take a couple of days. Like your car, when the gas tank is empty, the car chugs and coughs and shuts down until you refill the tank. The same thing happens with your body. When its "sugar" tank is emptied, it struggles for several hours searching for a new source of energy. During this period, glucagon will be released once again and the switchover will be complete.
Soon, all the receptors are restored and over a period of time, if the individual is diligent, all the stored fat will be consumed, and the body will shift into a more normal sugar metabolism. When the blood sugar normalizes, energy is restored, and body temperature is back to normal. This does not mean that the sufferer can go back to his high-carbohydrate diet, however. His sugar metabolism is broken, and will never be fixed.
This return to "normal" is only because of the stringent diet the sufferer has chosen for himself. But this is a good thing. Carbohydrates are not a part of the natural, prehistoric diet of humans, and they are very difficult for the body to handle because they demand so much from the pancreas and other glands. By removing these carbs from the daily diet and making the change permanent, the sufferer removes that burdensome metabolic stress and is once again able to enjoy life without the worry of constantly gaining fat no matter how small his meals and portions, suffering from repeated episodes, or dealing with a somnolent metabolism and related glandular insufficiencies.
When the fat is consumed, the sufferer can return to a more normal (but still low-carb) diet, such as the Atkins diet. This process can take days, weeks, or even months, depending on the fat blanket and the amount of insulin stored, but if the sufferer is diligent, the fat will come off and the blood sugar will normalize.
the night without frightening episodes and to be warm and alert at all times that keeps them dedicated. The fat loss is a wonderful "side effect," but is not the primary reason for the fast.
Check your blood sugar once or twice daily with a glucometer to get an idea of what is going on. For hypoglycemics, it will be highest in the morning and lowest in the evening. When it gets down around 90 mg/dl and stays there, you can call your fast a success.
1. Even a small sugar/starch carbohydrate feeding during this fast will shut down the process for about 24 hours and cause the carbs to be stored as fat once more. Only diligent attention to the diet will return the body to the fat-utilization stage.
2. The older you are (especially if you are a woman) the harder this will be to accomplish. Postmenopausal women have a tendency to thickened middles anyway, as a result of the secondary estrogen secretor role of their abdominal fat. If you fast for any length of time and not only don't lose but continue to gain, the chances are very good that more than your sugar metabolism is at fault. If this happens, get an adrenal and thyroid panel from your doctor. Sometimes hidden problems like hypothyroid or cortisol disturbances can be behind your metabolic problems. Don't hesitate to ask for these tests, and follow your doctor's instructions.
3. The diet must be very strictly adhered to. Meats, poultry, fish, fats, cream, butter, lard, tallow, eggs, and cheese are the only free foods on this controlled diet (no vegetable oils or shortenings). Non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower may be eaten in small amounts, as well as green beans, cabbage, and asparagus. Eat sparingly, if you wish, but don't starve. Fats are very satisfying if one is not consuming carbohydrates, so don't refrain because you are afraid you will be hungry all the time. Have no fear: This is a very comfortable time as long as no carbs are consumed. And do not be afraid of animal fats in your diet. Rather than being the heart/blood pressure villains they are claimed to be, they are nutrition-dense and highly efficient as sources of energy, besides being like "Roto-Rooters" in your arteries. Steak and butter, if you wish. Fish and cream. Meat and Cheese. Once the normal blood-sugar level is reached, you should be able to add small amounts of other foods (vegetables and small servings of fruits) back into your diet.
Many people won't even attempt this regimen because it is so restrictive. I've had people tell me "But, I can't give up my bread!" "What will I eat??" "I hate fat!" "I'll just die if I don't have my cinnamon roll every morning." Fine. Nobody is forcing anyone to eat the way I recommend. If their cinnamon rolls mean more to them than life, they should go for it. These people will probably have Type II in another couple of years. They will be the ones who will probably die in their mid-seventies, if not before. But there are some who want to live without needles and Glucophage. They are the ones who will get serious about removing the insulin-loaded fat and untangling the metabolic knot.
4. As long as you have stored insulin in your fat cells, you will continue to have hypoglycemia. The stored insulin spells "no room" in the blood to newly secreted insulin, which means new fat cells must be stimulated for more insulin and fat, and so on ad infinitum. Only by not stimulating any new insulin can the individual begin to use up the fat/insulin stores. I cannot emphasize enough how very important it is not to cheat on this diet. If you want to regain your health, you must, in the words of Clint Eastwood in The Outlaw Josey Wales, "...get plumb, mad-dog mean!" Get mean with yourself, and you will fool your body into using up its store of fat. Stay with it and don't let anyone distract you from your goal, because, for reactive hypoglycemics, this is a matter of life and death.
5. This condition will never go away. It is yours forever, probably as a result of a family history of defective sugar metabolism genes, so always keep it in mind. (I even went so far as to get a medic-alert bracelet to remind myself when I am tempted that what I have is lifelong, as well as potentially life-threatening.)
RHG is actually a form of diabetes, and you are stuck with it. So stay with your diet, and avoid having to take insulin, which is what will happen if you develop Type II diabetes. You will get your hypoglycemia under control, but it will always lurk under the surface, waiting for you to slip up. If you don't like the adrenalin flashes and the other symptoms, this is what you have to do to get control of them.
6. Do not fail to eat fat with this diet. Three tablespoons of butter or so a day (more won't hurt), whipping cream in your coffee, or coconut oil two or three times a day is the bare minimum. Without it, you might even get ill. You must have some form of saturated fat on any strict fast or high-protein diet. Saturated fats are NOT fattening, no matter what anybody tells you to the contrary. They do not stimulate the production of insulin, which must occur in order for calories to be stored as fat. They are, however, extremely nutritious, biochemically essential, and your body needs more saturated fats than almost any other nutrient, except perhaps water and protein. Do not be afraid of butter, steak fat, whipping cream, cheese, lard, cream cheese, or eggs while doing this diet. Butter and coconut oil are very good forms to use since they are just about the only foods you can be certain are absolutely carb free.
Have you regulated your blood sugar eating a low carb diet? I would love to hear your story! Feel free to share in the comments section below.