an openblooms thread on hypoglycemia, the glycemic index and the zone diet (july 11th 06)

S. writes

As many of you know, both my sons as well as myself have hypoglycemia, and it is completely under control, to the point of not noticing any symptoms. I don't feel it is one thing, its not cured of course, but chromium gtf and really fresh foods and really quality fats like free ranged bone marrow and country eggs and lard, all these things have had a very stabilizing effect.

K. replies

My own hypoglycemia (had it for decades) disappeared the day I started the Zone Diet. Hasn’t recurred except for a few times I’ve “blown it” re: the protein-carbohydrate ratio and/or the ratio of fast-acting carbs to slow-acting carbs.

For most folks hypoglycemia will vanish if at each meal or snack, the ratio (by weight) of protein to carb is 0.75 to 1.0. Some folks can go as low at 0.6. No more than ¼ (by weight) of the carb can be fast-acting (high-glycemic index). (But a few folks are so reactive to carbs that they have to eliminate all fast-acting carbs to avoid hypoglycemia.)

Fat eaten with carbs also slows digestion/absorption of carbs somewhat and helps prevent hypoglycemia, though not as much as protein. You can’t blow the protein:carb ratio and eat huge amounts of fat and expect it to work.

The restrictions on fat intake are necessary only for overweight adults; kids and others can eat more fats (sticking to healthy ones) without harm and with benefits.

SCD tends to be “Zone favorable” because so many fast-acting carbs (starches and sugars) are excluded. But of course if you skimp on protein, or overload on honey, you can easily blow the Zone with perfectly legal SCD foods.

When deliberately changing our diet in one way, we often un-deliberately change it in other ways. Summer, to me it sounds like the changes you made in your family’s diet, though not deliberately aimed at getting protein:carb ratios etc. “right”, accomplished that, and so hypoglycemia isn’t a problem any more.

my reply:

the glycemic index is pretty meaningless since it is blood glucose levels taken after the food is eaten after a 10 hour fast and given that its only that food that is eaten and all sort of likely confounding effects like gut flora change, stomach acidity and interactions with other foods

the index is just rubbish

there may be notion of slower and faster releasing sugars from foods and a consequence rise in blood glucose but its more a practical thing and not well correlated with the glycemic index

its just typical of the shockingly bad level of university nutritional research

all the zone diet is about is using a reasonable level of protein and fat to slow blood glucose rises, how exactly that happens is a bit difficult to say, but this is how my grandparents used to eat.

maybe the notion of protein weight to vegs in a ratio is of some use, but that is something that used to be judged by eye when a meal was served, judging by eye and making discounts or increments depending etc would be more accurate.

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