It’s a common belief that if we skip a meal or don’t eat something for several hours our blood sugar levels drop and we’ll feel tired or irritable. Some people even tend to use the term ‘hypoglycemia’ when they feel tired and blame it on the fact they haven’t eaten in a few hours.
The truth is, people who suffer from real hypoglycemia have a diagnosed disorder. The rest of us don’t get these symptoms at all.
In healthy (non-hypoglaecamic) adults we keep our blood sugar at the normal level of 3.9 – 7.8 nmol/L (about 2 teaspoons of sugar) all the times no matter whether we’re fasting or not.
Therefore short and intermittent fasts will have no effect on our blood sugar and the people who report these kinds of symptoms are usually just feeling the psychological effects of fasting.
In 2007 a study was done (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition) where a group of people fasted for 24 hours and their blood sugar levels were tested regularly. Half of the group were people who reportedly felt the symptoms of ‘hypoglycemia’ when they didn’t eat regularly and the other half were not.
The first group reported higher levels of ‘irritation’ and ‘shakiness’ during the fast, however when they were tested they had no change in their blood sugar levels whatsoever!
So if you’re thinking of giving intermittent fasting a try bear this in mind. If you feel tired or cranky its most likely psychological, and unless you have true hypoglycemia your body will be regulating your blood sugar to keep it at the perfect level.