First The Truck Hits You, Then You Pass Out

Most of us know that our bodies create insulin to handle the sugar that goes down our gullet. And most of us also know diabetes shows up when our insulin can’t get the job done.

What few of us know is what happens when insulin does its job too well. It’s hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, and it’s the pits. I’ve been there and done that, and there’s nothing I can say to recommend it.

Here’s what happens: You eat some kind of starch, which your body converts to sugar. Your pancreas says, “You want insulin, do ya? Well, take this!” and dumps out way more insulin than you need.

At first, you feel fine. Maybe even get a little energy boost from what you ate. An hour or so later, though, you feel like a truck hit you. Tired like you can’t believe. Brain asleep for the duration. Feeling as energetic as a wet noodle. To top it all off, you may even pass out. You’ll be wiped out for six to eight hours.

What causes hypoglycemia?
• A high-carb diet–lots of bread, pasta, bagels, desserts–a pretty standard diet nowadays
• Vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Not giving our bodies the ammunition they need to fight the good fight takes us down a lot of dead ends, including hypoglycemia.
• Alcohol. Our bodies see alcohol as a poison–and a high-carb poison at that.
• Prescription drugs such as those given to treat infections.
• But most of all, endocrine problems. If your thyroid and/or adrenal glands get in a tizzy, you’re kind of a sitting duck. That’s how I ended up in hypoglycemic misery.

Testing for hypoglycemia:
Diagnosis comes via a fasting-blood-sugar test. First thing in the morning, after fasting for at least twelve hours, you give a blood sample, then chug down a big glass of what tasted to me like 7-Up syrup. Then for the next four or six hours, depending on the test ordered, you give regular blood samples so they can track your body’s reaction.

Normal blood fasting blood sugar ranges from 80 to 100, although they monkey around with the numbers from time to time. My blood sugar, at its lowest, was 46, so it’s no wonder I slept through the three-hour test–whilst sprawled on a hard couch in the waiting room. They roused me enough to stick my arm out for another blood taking as needed, but I don’t think World War III could have awakened me.

Fixing hypoglycemia:
• Give up simple carbohydrates and limit all carbohydrates. No more than 20 grams of carbohydrate a day–about half a peach, as I remember.
• Start (or continue) treatment for your thyroid, adrenals, and other affected endocrine glands.
• Put together a good vitamin/mineral program for yourself. The endocrine system pretty much controls what happens in your body, and it’s a nutrition hog. Most vitamins and minerals have specific functions in the endocrine system, which you should learn.
• Don’t fight yourself. Do what you can and get plenty of rest.

I went on a diet of five high-protein “feedings” a day. High protein, high fat and almost no carbs–to give my system a rest. Determined to get out of the ditch as quickly as possible, I never exceeded my carb limit.

Of course, I was eating steak and all sorts of great stuff, which made maintaining my motivation relatively easy.

I beat hypoglycemia in three months.

I knew a woman, diagnosed with hypoglycemia the same time as I, who decided she absolutely could not start her day without a large glass of orange juice–sugar on steroids. She spent a couple of years passing out at work, more days than not, before I lost track of her.

I don’t understand that attitude. There’s nothing enjoyable about bad health; I much prefer accomplishing what I set out to do than wallowing in sympathy because I’m too sick to do much of anything. Right?

Got hypoglycemia? Why not reverse it?

God is good,
Bette Dowdell

About the author: Bette is all about determination. A month before her first birthday, a drunk driver smashed into her parents’ car, and she ended up with a concussion. The concussion put her endocrine system (the thyroid and the rest of the gang) pretty much out of business. Well, that system controls all of health, life was a mess, but doctors didn’t help. So, she got her Oh-Yeah! attitude in gear and researched her way out. Now she writes about how your body works and what you can do to make it work better. Good, eh? Subscribe to her free health e-mails at

The content of the Too Pooped To Participate blog is provided as general information only.

© by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved

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