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.

It is important to remember though that intense hunger as a result of hypos can lead to overeating, and this can in turn make blood glucose levels higher.

Why do hypos make us hungry?

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

You may feel like eating chocolate, 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 glucose 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.

The intense hunger can be difficult to control at times, but with a bit of understanding about what your body needs and having faith that the extreme hunger will subside once your blood glucose levels have recovered back to normal, tackling intense hunger will become easier.

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 glucose up, the less time you'll spend being very hungry.

Glucose tablets raise blood glucose levels very quickly and are therefore a recommended way of treating low blood glucose 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 glucose levels. Test your blood glucose levels after 15 minutes to see how your blood glucose 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 glucose levels get back above 4.0 or 5.0 mmol/L, the hunger cravings should then subside.

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.

Are hypos causing you concern? Join the Hypo Program for a comprehensive guide towards hypoglycemia »