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Old 06-09-2009, 08:06 AM   #1 (permalink)

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Hypoglycemia From Alcoholism

I'm gonna lose my mind with the fatigue from Hypoglycemia. I'm never certain on what to eat, I crash from low blood sugar after eating pretty much anything. I got up this morning, had coffee(I guess this is a big no-no for hypoglycemia), had a piece of wheat bread a a bit of white chicken breast. 15 mins later I went back to bed for 20 mins and sit here right now, so tired and fed up with fatigue and not knowing what to eat I'm gonna lose it. Ok so no booze, I'm fine with it, I get it, but now an entire diet change, coffee or caffeine is off the list, this is brutal. Anyway I wanted to vent and I'm looking for a partner in crime that also has hypoglycemic issues to maybe provide some insight.


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Old 06-09-2009, 10:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Actually, my hypoglycemia contributed to my alcoholism. I always craved sugar and then crashed and didn't realize how it made susceptible to the sugar in alcohol.

I do drink one cup of coffee in the morning. But, I always eat every two hours or so. That is crucial for me. I never go anywhere without something in my pocket or purse - a granola bar, some wheat crackers, something like that. It's best to stick with whole grain bread, rather than white bread. And, whole wheat pasta and brown rice are better for you. Also beans are really good.
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I am only a week sober, but I am finding the fatigue crushing at times. I am all bright eyed & bushy tailed in the morning, and by mid-afternoon I am wondering if it is worth the effort to take another breath - Not suicidal, just bloody tired Whole foods like nuts and fruits, lean proteins, and fruit juices seem to help. I am also taking Ashwagandha on the recommendation of a friend. It a ginseng like herb that is supposed to help with energy and stress. Be nice to yourself, and have confidence that your body can heal.
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Old 10-30-2009, 12:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Not sure where I would fall on the hypoglycemic scale; but I know I have some symptoms. If I avoid hyper processed foods and sugar in general and exercise I'm in pretty good shape. If not, when I do micky ds and eat too much sugar I am up and down; I get lethargic and scatter brained. Have not tried the recommended 7 small meals aday; but I feel appreciably better when I stick mostly to whole grains, quality protein dose according to FDA guidelines, and fresh fruit and veggies. Not sure if these symptoms are part of paws or if it is a permanent syndrome. Anyone have a take? The irony is that when lethargic, I get a constructive boost from a relativly small amount of sugar, and I don't crash.
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Old 11-08-2009, 10:46 PM   #5 (permalink)

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Not sure what to do.

Although I've been sober 636 days now and know I suffer from Type 2 diabetes I have always eaten, even when drinking a healthy diet. I wake about 6am and I'm fine, my head is clear and then it all goes down hill so that by early evening I've,'lost the plot' altogether although a small quantyity of sweets(candy) and/or dark chocolate revives me. I'm not sure what to do, which sounds pretty silly from a 63 year old man who has always lead an active life although I'll admit that tended to tail off as the drink and aging factor took over, so any helpful suggestions would be most welcome. May be I should take more exercise, like rolling my own cigarettes, what do you think?
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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This could save your sobriety.

Seriously. It’s that important.

If you’re an alcoholic, either active or in recovery, you’re almost certain to be hypoglycemic. And managing that condition could easily make all the difference between staying sober and yet another failed attempt. Even those of us who have been recovering for years can take a meaningful step in that journey by learning to manage the fuel we feed our bodies.

Study after study has demonstrated that the vast majority of alcoholics are hypoglycemic. In one conducted by J. Poulos, D. Stafford, and K. Carron, fifty outpatient alcoholics and fifty halfway-house alcoholics were compared with a control group of one hundred nurses and teenagers. Of the one hundred alcoholics, ninety-six proved to be hypoglycemic; only fourteen of the nonalcoholic controls were hypoglycemic. A three-year study by Robert Meiers, M.D., in Santa Cruz, California, found that more than 95 percent of alcoholics studied suffered from low blood sugar.

More evidence comes from Kenneth Williams, M.D., an internist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and a member of the national board of trustees of AA. Williams has found that a vast majority of his sober alcoholic patients are hypoglycemic; many have told him that their hypoglycemia had been diagnosed even before they started drinking.

Researcher and author Emanuel Cheraskin, M.D., found on the basis of six-hour glucose tolerance tests that between 75 and 90 percent of alcoholics studied were hypoglycemic. "Too much therapeutic emphasis has been placed on psychological factors," says Cheraskin" while more basic biochemical deficiencies and defects in body chemistry have received relatively little attention."

These studies confirm the findings and views of endocrinologist John Tintera, M.D. After years of research, Tintera concluded that even recovered alcoholics who have been sober for many years continue to suffer the effects of hypoglycemia. He strongly believes that the treatment of alcoholism "centers essentially about control of hypoglycemia... by far the most important part of the physiological treatment of alcoholics is the complete restriction of easily absorbed carbohydrates."

Until their severe fluctuations in blood sugar are stabilized, Tintera warns that alcoholics will be predisposed to depression and what only appear to be "deep-rooted emotional or psychiatric disorders."

But what, I hear you ask, does all that scientific doublespeak mean to me?

Simple – If you’re a recovering alcoholic, whether you’re just getting sober or you’ve been dry for years, your recovery depends upon avoiding the hypoglycemic rollercoaster. If not, you can expect to experience symptoms such as:









Desire to drink

Sound familiar? Sound just like how you felt when you first stopped drinking? That’s no accident, as it turns out. The link between alcoholism and hypoglycemia is profound. And pretty widespread, judging from the profusion of donuts, cookies, candy, and other sweets at every AA meeting.

If you just keep on eating all those refined carbohydrates like white flour and sugar, you can expect to feel like you’re on an emotion rollercoaster. Your cravings for alcohol will be as strong as ever. That’s not the recipe for a serene, peaceful, strong recovery. That’s the recipe for relapse.

So what can you do? It’s pretty simple really. You cannot recover from hypoglycemia overnight, but in a few short weeks you can feel much better. You can banish symptoms and correct the underlying processes by following a healthy new diet and taking some more nutrition supplements. You'll have to give up both caffeine and cigarettes, but the sacrifice will pay enormous dividends in renewed energy and vibrant good health.

Get ready for a big change in the way you eat. You're going to have to give up foods containing refined sugar. That means virtually all sweets. Candy bars, Colas, Cookies, Ice cream. I know you love these foods. You may not want them when you're drinking, but most alcoholics begin to crave sweets as soon as they go on the wagon. Small wonder! Did you ever think about the similarities between sugar and alcohol? Both are carbohydrates with no nutritional value-all you get from them is calories. Both are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, and both can cause memory blackouts and intense cravings. I can't promise you that giving up sugar will be easy. But it won't be as bad as you think.

In addition to sugars, also temporarily eliminate dairy products and wheat. Both are highly allergenic, and one or both frequently contribute to problems of alcohol allergy/addiction. You'll know within two weeks whether or not you are affected. If not, you can resume eating dairy products and foods containing wheat.

I have published a suggested diet in another article. There are lists of foods you can eat and those you must avoid. Also provided are suggested menus and meal preparation and shopping tips. Don't let the word "diet" scare you. You are not about to embark on a regime of grapefruit and lettuce leaves. You will be pleasantly surprised by the enormous variety of foods you can choose from. You will be eating three hearty meals each day, plus healthy and filling midmorning, mid afternoon, and after diner snacks. In fact, you probably will be eating more and better than you have in years.

It is important to eat all the snacks. They will provide you with a steady supply of protein, fats, and slowly available (complex) carbohydrates to prevent the drop in blood sugar that normally occurs about two hours after a meal. If your meals are delayed for any reason, you may need an extra snack.

So that’s not too bad – good food, lots of it, and snacks. And as an added bonus, if you’re faithful to this new way of eating you can expect to drop to a healthy weight and stay there. Here’s a preview:

•One meal each day should consist largely of vegetables. Big salads will do the trick.
•When buying food, read labels carefully. Most canned soup and juice, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, salad dressing, and canned vegetables contain sugar and/or starch. You can get sugar- free products at food co-ops or health-food stores.
•Do not use any food that lists sugar among the first four ingredients on the label.
•Throw out junk food containing refined sugar. You will be snacking on healthy foods frequently so you won't feel hungry.
•Substitute soy milk or fresh goat's milk or Rice Dream (Imagine Foods, Palo Alto, California) for cow's milk.
•Avoid aspirin/caffeine compounds including Anacin; Empirin, cold tablets; Midol, Trigesic, and medications containing alcohol (read the labels). Bayer aspirin is caffeine-free and may be used.
Shopping Tips

•Choose foods that are as close to their natural state as possible: fresh vegetables and fruits; fresh meats, fish, chicken, and eggs; raw nuts and seeds; and fresh salad greens.
•Avoid canned, processed, dyed, chemically flavored, frozen, additive-laden foods.
•Don't buy roasted nuts. The process of high-heat roasting cause undesirable changes in the natural oils the nuts contain. In the body, this altered oil can promote formation of free radicals, dangerously unstable molecules capable of damaging healthy tissue and promoting the development of cancer. Choose only raw nuts and seeds.
•Pass up luncheon meats (Spam, bacon, ham, bologna). They are loaded with refined sugars and cancer-causing nitrates.
•You can find fruit-sweetened jams at a food co-op or health food store.
•Drink flavored sparkling water (read the label to confirm that it is sugar free).
•Cut your salt intake by using lite salt, which is half potassium (needed for cellular energy) and half sodium.
Meal Preparation Tips

•Peel fruits and vegetables or remove outer layers to avoid pesticide residues.
•Steam your vegetables (if you cook them in water, you will lose much of their vitamin and mineral content). You can get a steamer that fits inside any pot in most houseware departments. Cook vegetables until they are almost tender, not soggy.
•Raw vegetables are your best choice; they also make excellent snacks.
•Keep a lot of assorted nuts, sunflower seeds, apples, oranges, carrot sticks, celery, and other raw vegetables on hand for snacking
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hey SilentKiller thanks for the input, I like most of us suffer from hypoglycemia... I do well the the most part on my diet... I can't seem to cut caffine, but I do avoid sugar in most of its forms--I find in recovery my mood is so dependent on what I put in my body...
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Old 12-18-2009, 02:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SilentKiller View Post
This could save your sobriety.

Seriously. It’s that important.

If you’re an alcoholic, either active or in recovery, you’re almost certain to be hypoglycemic. And managing that condition could easily make all the difference between staying sober and yet another failed attempt.
snipped respectfully
Fantastic Silent Killer!

I recently spent time in a rehab for 1st time and the day before I left we met with a nutritionist who told us about a book called 7 weeks to Sobriety. I bought it when I got home and if I had only new about all of this!!!!

Here is a link to where it is discussed

Hypoglycemia and Alcoholism
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Bumping this in case it's helpful to anyone.
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Old 05-29-2011, 09:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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i'm hypoglycemic too. I don't have it very badly, but i eat pretty well and eat the hypoglycemic diet my doctor recommended. i only seem to crash if i'm outside for a long time riding motorcross or doing MMA for along time and using up a ton of energy.

i have to eat about every 3 hours to remain stable, but that seems to have helped me lose weight and be alot more picky about what i put in my body..

I also switched to being a vegetarian recently and i have to say that has also helped me alot. it's also gotten rid of alot of my athritis and carpel tunnel syndrome as well.
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Old 05-29-2011, 07:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Great thread! SK, great post. You seem very knowledgable about the connection between hypoglycemia and alcoholism!

I am on day 3 after several recent binges. I am experiencing the insomnia, fatigue (what an awful conundrum) and irritability, and know it's related to my body not having its supply of alcohol/refined carbs (which I only seem to eat when bingeing). Reading this thread has been a helpful reminder about how crucial my diet is during the next few weeks.
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Old 06-08-2011, 04:09 AM   #12 (permalink)
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The solution is, quit from drinking alcoholic beverages and eat nutritious foods. Consult your doctor and live a healthy life.
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Old 06-19-2011, 05:15 PM   #13 (permalink)

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Hypoglycemia From Alcoholism

Hey everyone,

Great topic. I had no idea hypoglycemia was so common in alcoholics, I thought it was just me!
I deal with it by sticking to two cups of coffee, and eating every 2-4 hours, depending on how I feel. Seems to work for me.
The only times it gets really bad is after a long bout of exercise, then I just get stupid, i.e. lightheaded, shaking, etc.
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Old 06-19-2011, 05:23 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Old 06-19-2011, 05:44 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I'm hypoglycemic, and I do have coffee in the mornings.

I recently took a nutrition class through the gym I was a member of, and it was the best investment I ever made.

Perhaps look into a class in your area in addition to the excellent information shared here?!
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:36 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I'm bumping this because I have a related question.

I have learned to control (adequately, anyway) my hypoglycemia.

I have tried many times to start exercising. Exercising has always been very difficult for me, but it wasn't until I started understanding the symptoms of hypoglycemia that I understood why exercise makes me feel so horrible.

The problem is that even a moderate amount of exercise makes my sugar crash hard.

Does anyone have a similar problem, and if so how do you address it?

I am assuming that once my body becomes accustomed to some regular exercise it will sort itself out, but how do I get past the hurdle of *starting* an exercise program when it hurts me so bad?

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Old 11-16-2011, 07:55 AM   #17 (permalink)

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hypoglycemic crashing

can you please elaborate further on your current physical condition(height/weight) and the amount of exercise you are doing to cause what you refer to as a hypoglycemic crash.... as well as the amount of time after exercising that this crash occurs....
Were you diagnosed by a physician with hypoglycemia???
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:59 AM   #18 (permalink)

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exercise hurdle

IMHO the best way is to start exercising EVERY day... even if it's only 15 minutes of fast walking around the block on days you aren't feeling well..
NO MATTER WHAT is happening in your life, you still move your body a minimum amount daily... then, eventually it will become second nature and your body will desire more and more exercise.... the days you don't move at all you will feel like "something is missing." I am by no means perfect,but for my 'mental' health and to relieve agitation I exercise 7days a week...
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Old 11-17-2011, 08:16 AM   #19 (permalink)
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This is how it was explained to me and I have tested it enough to believe it.

My pancreas has been damaged by my years of abusive alcohol consumption. It's job is to put insulin in my blood to counteract the sugar I put in me, and alcohol has a lot of sugar. Over the years my pancreas has had to produce a lot of insulin once I start flooding my body with massive amounts of sugar, alcohol. Now when I consume sugar, starchy foods, high carbs etc. My pancreas reacts with too much insulin. I feel drugged. More sugar that helps most hypoglycemics actually makes it worse for me.

Over time I have observed and now believe my pancreas is simply slow to respond. When I take in to many carbs I first get a sugar spike and sometimes hart palps followed shortly by intense acute fatigue.

With time and staying away from foods most people would be better off staying away from anyhow, it has gotten better. I think my pancreas is slowly healing. I can now go out one or even twice a week and eat whatever I want as long as the rest of the days I keep a watch on the carb intake.

I'm not sure about an Atkins or South Beach style diet over the long run but when needed, I do it for a couple weeks to stabilize my blood sugar and I actually get my energy back.

The problem for me is not just low sugar but too much insulin produced by an abused pancreas. When I binge on sugar I can sleep for a couple days.

My doctor tested me for diabetes and I am ok there. I also have found both L-glut-amine and Chromium as suggested in "7 weeks to sobriety not only stabilize my sugar levels but help with sugar cravings so that I don't start the sugar spike, insulin overdose cycle again.

That's my expedience with it. Not everyone who is an alcoholic has these problems.....in fact at my noon meeting at the bowling alley people eat fries and burgers and all kind sof junk food I have to keep to a minimum.

Eating right can be hard at times but is well worth it and plays it's part in my sobriety and quality of life.
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Old 11-19-2011, 11:24 AM   #20 (permalink)

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I don't know if anyone else has noticed this but not only was I craving sugar but also protein (eggs, any animal protein) and this from someone who's pretty much vegetarian. I don't care for meat, so having a huge craving for it after I stopped drinking was weird. One night I actually ordered takeout for 2 hamburgers from Chili's!! I've just decided to try having a non-gluten, no-junk-food approach, along with lots of greens, low-sugar fruit in the form of berries (frozen mostly since fresh is so expensive), cruciferous vegetables in homemade soups mainly, raw nuts/seeds, legumes, and see how that goes. Also no more than 3 meals a day as I need to lose weight. I've gained a lot since I've quit drinking. I've started that approach today. Also, will exercise more--I love Zumba, yoga and biking. Thanksgiving and the day after will be an off day nutritionally but then will get back in the saddle. Will see how it helps moods, energy, cravings, etc.
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