Hypos and Controlling Hunger

Hypos can be treated without over doing the calories
Hypos can be treated without over doing the calories

Low blood glucose levels can cause us to feel exceptionally hungry. If you've had that feeling of "I could eat the whole fridge right now" then you're not alone.

Intense hunger as a result of hypos can lead to overeating, so we've written a guide to address treating hypos without over doing the calories.

Why do hypos make us hungry?

The intense hunger we can feel is down to our blood sugar levels and it's not so difficult to control.

It just takes a bit of understanding of what your body really needs and a bit of faith that the extreme hunger will go once your sugar levels have recovered back to normal.

When you're low on sugar, you get hunger cravings because your body wants you to get sugar.

You may feel like eating meat, cheese or a fifteen course meal, but the bottom line is that all your body usually needs is a certain amount of glucose to bring your sugar levels back to normal.

It's not uncommon for us to eat more than we would normally when hypoglycemic, which can present problems for those of us that are watching our weight.

Treating a hypo and beating the hunger

The best way to reduce the hunger cravings is to get your blood glucose levels back to normal levels.

The faster you can get your blood sugar up, the less time you'll spend being very hungry.

Glucose tablets raise blood sugar levels very quickly and are therefore a recommended way of treating low blood sugar levels.

Most glucose tablets contain about 3-4 grams of carbohydrate and so it is recommended to take 3 to 4 glucose tablets to raise blood sugar levels. Test your blood sugar levels after 15 minutes to see how your blood sugar levels have responded.

If you don't have glucose tablets, then sweets, sugary soft drinks or fruit juice should also raise your blood glucose levels quickly. You can eat other sources of carbohydrate such as bread, chocolate or cereal bars but these will take longer to raise your glucose levels.

Preventing further hypos

Once your sugar levels get back above 4 or 5 mmol/l, the hunger cravings should then subside.

If you're watching your weight, the best way to treat a hypo is with glucose tablets as these will raise your blood sugar quickly and therefore end the hunger cravings sooner.

If it is some time before your next meal, you may need to take some longer acting carbohydrate in addition to prevent your blood glucose levels dropping low before the next meal.

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