The Georgetown University Diet Management Center, working with endocrinologists, has found that hypoglycemic symptoms often can be controlled by:
* Avoiding simple sugars -- including honey -- as much as possible.
* Dividing up the day's calories into six or seven small meals, rather than three larger ones. (The sensitive pancreas cannot handle "surges" of carbohydrates as well as smaller, better-spaced amounts.)
* Eating a diet lower in fat and high in complex carbohydrates and fiber -- whole-grain cereals, fresh fruit and vegetables, tubers, like potatoes and beans of all sorts. Fiber slows the absorption of carbohydrates, again easing the load on a sensitive pancreas.
* Avoiding alcohol -- especially after several days, or a week of dieting -- on an empty stomach. Alcohol blocks the liver from it's glucose-manufacturing job by poisoning the enzymes, increasing any tendency to hypoglycemia. Abuse of caffeine in coffee and soft drinks may also exacerbate hypoglycemia. There is no solid scientific evidence suggesting usefulness of mega-vitamin therapy, although the diet center recommends a one-a-day type multi-vitamin supplement
Most important, if you suspect you may be sensitive to carbohydrates, if you tend to binges and have trouble dieting, or have "weird" symptoms a few hours after eating, see a doctor to explore the usefulness of a glucose-tolerance test and perhaps a further endocrinological workup. If hormone injections are suggested, be sure to get a second or third opinion from a fully qualified endocrinologist. The injections can be more dangerous than the condition itself.
For information on control of hypoglycemia, binging, bulimia and other diet-related disorders, call the Georgetown University Diet Management Center, 625-3674.