Is Reactive Hypoglycemia Making You Tired After Eating?

By Nutritional Weight and Wellness Staff
July 1, 2024

For more comprehensive information listen to the full podcast episode or watch the video at the end of this article:


This article is inspired by a recent episode of the "Dishing Up Nutrition" podcast, where dietitian Leah Klienschrodt MS, RD, LD tackled a question from one of our listeners.

What is Reactive Hypoglycemia?

Reactive hypoglycemia, also known as post-meal energy crash, is a condition where your blood sugar drops too low after eating, typically within two to four hours. It’s different from regular hypoglycemia, which is common in diabetics, because it occurs in people without diabetes.

Why Should You Pay Attention to Reactive Hypoglycemia?

Affects Daily Life: Low blood sugar can make you feel very unwell, impacting your ability to concentrate, work, or even safely drive.

Signals imbalance: It often indicates that your body is struggling to manage blood sugar levels properly, which could be a sign of dietary imbalances.

Preventable with dietary changes: By understanding and managing what you eat, you can prevent these episodes and feel better overall.

Symptoms of Reactive Hypoglycemia (sugar crash):

  • Feeling tired or fatigued suddenly
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Sweating or shaking
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sudden hunger
  • Nausea
  • Blurry vision
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Anxiety or feeling on edge

How to Know If Reactive Hypoglycemia Affecting You:

If you often feel any of these symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia a couple of hours after eating, especially after consuming a meal high in refined carbohydrates (like white rice, white bread, pastries, or sugary foods), you might be experiencing reactive hypoglycemia.

Tips for Preventing Reactive Hypoglycemia:

Balanced Meals: Eat balanced meals that include proteins, healthy fats, and slow-digesting carbs (like vegetables, fruits, whole grains).

Avoid Refined Carbs: Limit foods like white bread, sugary food, and sodas.

Regular Meals: Don’t skip meals, and try to eat food in small, frequent meals to keep blood sugar levels stable.

Pair Carbs with Proteins/Fats: This helps slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, preventing spikes and crashes.

Why Managing Reactive Hypoglycemia Matters:

Managing reactive hypoglycemia can help you maintain consistent energy levels, improve your mood and focus, and reduce the risk of more serious health issues. Paying attention to your diet and symptoms can significantly enhance your overall well-being.

Work Performance: Consistent energy levels mean you can focus better at work, be more productive, and avoid the mid-afternoon slump that can affect your job performance and finances.

Driving Safety: Stable blood sugar levels help ensure you remain alert and focused while driving, reducing the risk of accidents caused by dizziness or fatigue. Stay safe and keep your glucose levels steady!

Family Time: When you manage your blood sugar levels, you can engage more fully in activities with your family, from playing with your kids to enjoying a family outing without feeling drained. Don't let reactive hypoglycemia slow down your physical activity.

Social Activities: Better blood sugar management means you can enjoy social events without worrying about sudden fatigue or feeling unwell. Just be sure to manage the possibility of reactive hypoglycemia in those social situations, too.

Overall Health: Keeping your blood sugar stable can prevent long-term health issues, ensuring you stay healthy and active for years to come and avoid chronic illnesses or conditions that require medical treatment.

Learn More About Reactive Hypoglycemia:

Learn more, listen to the entire podcast episode and learn what reactive hypoglycemia is, its symptoms, and why it happens. Learn additional, practical strategies to prevent it beyond the quick tips mentioned in this article.



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