Entries in low blood sugars (1)

Friday
Jan282011

Is your Mood Tied to your Diet?

Do you have frequent mood shifts?  Are you often tired, anxious or feel like you are in a fog part of the day?  What is the cause of this funk?  Mood shifts are caused by many factors and one may be a drop in blood sugar.

Low blood sugar can also be the culprit of not only mood shifts but can contribute to anxiety attacks and minor to severe shifts in energy levels.  How does this happen and what transpires in the body?

Your metabolism is more sensitive to carbohydrates than others.  You eat a high carbohydrate meal or snack without thought to protein or fat which triggers a large spike in your insulin level and resulting large drop in blood sugars.  This drop then results in the change in mood, energy or more anxiety.

One client recently told me he had been tired his whole life.  He could fall asleep at any moment in time.  After a shift in his eating of including protein at each meal and moderating his carbohydrates his fatigue lifted and he regained the vitality he desired for years.

If you are having any of the above symptoms it might be worth re-evaluating your diet to see if there is a fix before moving on.  Here are some suggestions and options:

1.  Eat a higher protein breakfast.  If you are consuming the normal cereal or toast breakfast this is a set-up for having symptoms.  A typical bowl of cereal is like eating 3-5 slices worth of bread which will trigger the symptoms within a few hours.  Consider consuming high quality protein such as eggs, cottage cheese or some European style yogurt with nuts. 

2.  Make sure you eat moderate levels of protein at all remaining meals and snacks along with some unprocessed carbohydrate and fat.  For example, if you have an apple at snack time add some nuts or natural nut butter or a slice or two of hard cheese to balance.

3.  Don’t go more than 4 hours without food.  Going too long without food is a setup for low blood sugars, fatigue and moodiness.  Keep small bags of nuts or seeds with you at all times in case you are running late for a meal.  Consider setting a timer if you forget to eat in the afternoon.

4.  Schedule in at least 20-30 minutes of continuous activity most days of the week.  Even a 20 minute walk helps your insulin work more effectively the rest of the day and encourages stable blood sugars.

5.  Avoid processed packaged foods with sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners which encourage fluctuations in blood sugars and resulting symptoms.

If you’ve been tired, moody or anxious for some time it can take 6-8 weeks to create a stable blood sugar and increased energy levels but commitment to the process will bring the results you desire if the problem is tied to your diet.

A disclaimer is sometimes you may feel worse before you feel better.  If your blood sugars were averaging higher within normal limits and now drop down to lower normal limits the shift can temporarily increase fatigue and moodiness. This shift will correct itself within a week.

Changing your diet creates stability in your blood sugar which creates the mood and vitality you desire.  And after all – what do you have to lose - but fatigue or a bad mood?