To understand how the symptoms of hypoglycemia develop, you need to know how our glucose metabolism works. Our bodies convert all foods to glucose, but the change from refined sugars and white flours (starches) is at a much faster rate. Ideally, when too much sugar floods the bloodstream, our pancreas pumps out just the right amount of extra insulin to counteract the overload.
At Health Recovery Center, clients are given the Glucose Tolerance Test because actual lab evidence seems to propel clients into action better than if we force a hypoglycemia correcting diet on them with no scientific confirmation. However, many of the readers of my Seven Weeks to Sobriety and/or Depression Free, Naturally were unable, financially or geographically, to take advantage of lab work. They simply accepted the written screens and plunged on. If for any reason lab work is not available to you, I strongly urge you to be self-directed and do so too. It will result in the same solution.
Hypoglycemia is a word many doctors hate. Some doctors call it a FAD disease and refuse to do the lab tests necessary to prove or disprove your suspicions.
Mental health professionals often fail to recognize hypoglycemic symptoms. They attempt to explain them as psychological phenomenons. If you have puzzled over noticeable changes in your moods, thoughts and feelings don't be so quick to accept them as psychological disorders. Hypoglycemia can cause severe metabolic changes in your brain and nervous system, creating altered moods, emotional instability and behavior changes. The Health Recovery Center Hypoglycemic Symptometer helps people evaluate their symptoms and decide if they want to seek verification with a lab test. Some of the items on the Symptometer checklist are self-explanatory, but some need clarification:
The normal range of fasting blood sugar values (measuring only glucose and not saccharoids) is eighty to one hundred mg/dl. Most fasting blood sugars are within the normal range, so a simple fasting test is useless.
Life is always a tradeoff: giving up what you like for something you want even more. Ridding yourself of roller coaster emotions is accomplished by trading in the refined sugars and caffeine in your diet. This sacrifice will pay enormous dividends in mental stability and increased energy.
There is no magic pill that cures hypoglycemia. The quickest and most effective treatment is by dietary changes. In the seventies when I began working with this population, there were two distinct camps of thinking about diet. The first was to feed all hypoglycemics a complex carbohydrate diet spacing "small" meals every three hours.
The second was to reduce all carbohydrates radically and replace them with proteins and fats. The odd thing was that each of these diets had their successes and failures. Of course there was little or no research then on determining levels of carbohydrate sensitivity, or eating a diet corresponding to your blood type characteristics and your rate of metabolizing foods. Today, we can zero in on all of these factors so that your food choices fit you like a glove (and keep you at your best weight.)
Craig had every reason to be depressed. He was drinking a quart of scotch a day, often without eating anything. Both of his parents were alcoholic, and his father also suffered from severe depression, Craig was pale and thin. He had completed three alcoholism treatment programs, but nothing had succeeded in bringing his cravings under control. He was desperate for help.