What is Reactive Hypoglycemia?

Reactive hypoglycemia, also known as a sugar crash, is a transient condition involving recurrent episodes of hypoglycemia within a few hours of eating high-carb meals. It can affect people with or without diabetes, and its causes are generally unknown. 

Reactive hypoglycemia results from spikes in blood glucose as well as elevated insulin secretion following high-carb meals (think glazed donuts or chocolate). This rapid rise in blood glucose is followed by an equally fast fall paired with excess insulin. This results in symptoms that include the following:

  • weakness
  • double vision
  • lightheartedness
  • fatigue 
  • anxiety
  • palpitations
  • mood swings 
  • irritability
  • hunger pangs

Researchers aren't sure why some people develop reactive hypoglycemia but they did notice that it's more common in lean people, those who lost a lot of weight, those who's diets are high-carb and low-fat, and those who drink alcohol [1]. Researchers also believe that those with reactive hypoglycemia are simply more sensitive to blood glucose fluctuations. 

Reactive hypoglycemia usually doesn't require medication. Doctors recommend paying attention to the composition and frequency of your meals to help control symptoms [2]:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet with protein and high-fiber foods.
  • Avoid sugary foods.
  • Eat food when drinking alcohol and avoid mixing alcohol with sugary drinks.
  • Eat several small meals and snacks throughout the day.

And as far as keto and reactive hypoglycemia are concerned: Animal studies found that keto can help protect against hypoglycemic episodes [3]. However, there are not that many studies on humans and we're still learning about the benefits of keto on metabolic problems. However, given that keto excludes foods that lead to blood sugar spikes and falls, then its sound to assume that it can help with hypoglycemic episodes. 


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