Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can best be managed with diet, according to the Mayo Clinic. A vegan diet that contains whole grains and fresh vegetables can also be used to manage blood sugar levels. Vegans should be careful to include enough protein and fiber in their diets. Everyone with low blood sugar should also see a doctor to determine the underlying cause, which can sometimes be serious.
About Hypoglycemia and Blood Sugar
Hypoglycemia is an abnormally low blood sugar level. While it is most often caused by diabetes, it can also be caused by some medications, diseases, tumors, endocrine problems or excessive alcohol use.
Glucose is the simple sugar that your body uses for fuel. Your body gets glucose when it breaks down food during digestion. You can also access glucose that has been stored in your body as glycogen. When you eat, your blood sugar level rises, and your body releases insulin, which lets your cells use the sugar. If you haven't eaten for a while, your liver can break down the stored sugar and raise your blood sugar level.
Diet and Hypoglycemia
Because blood sugar levels are so closely related to what and when you eat, diet is the most important way to manage low blood sugar.
During an episode of hypoglycemia, you may need to eat something sugary (such as fruit juice) to raise your blood sugar quickly. However, in general, the goal is to prevent episodes of hypoglycemia by maintaining a stable blood sugar. This means avoiding foods with a lot of refined sugars or starches, and using caffeine and alcohol in moderation, in at all.
Carbohydrates are a special concern for people with hypoglycemia. You body can absorb them much more quickly than protein or fat, causing rapid changes in blood sugar and insulin levels. You do not necessarily need to eat a low-carbohydrate diet, but it's good to consume foods with some fiber or protein, as these can slow your body's absorption of carbohydrates. General guidelines about healthy eating, such as eating fresh vegetables and whole grains, apply here.
People who do not eat animal products -- vegans -- may need to be extra sensitive about their diets. Vegans will will need to find plant-based sources of protein to ensure both that their regular dietary needs are met, and also that they do not rely too heavily on carbohydrates for their daily caloric intake. Legumes, nuts and seeds, and high protein foods such as tofu and tempeh are good choices to meet these needs without consuming animal products.
The good news is that a diet high in whole grains and vegetables is not only part of a healthy vegan eating plan, but also an excellent way of managing hypoglycemia. These foods, while they contain primarily carbohydrates, are also high in dietary fiber. Vegans should also include moderate amounts of healthy fats, such as those found in healthy oils and nuts, in their diets.