Why Protein Helps Hypoglycemia or Low Blood Sugar

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

I was asked by a person with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) why they felt so much better when they consumed protein. I applaud them for noticing that protein helps hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia sounds pretty benign. But if you’ve got it, you know it can make you feel awful. As well, persistent hypoglycemia can signal a serious pre-diabetic condition called Fat Storing Hormone resistance. If left unaddressed, Fat Storing Hormone resistance can turn into full-blown type 2 diabetes.

In this article, I’ll explain:

First, let’s take a look at why protein helps your hypoglycemia.


How You End Up With Low Blood Sugar

When you eat, your blood sugar rises, triggering a rise in Fat Storing Hormone to bring your blood sugar back to normal. It’s a simple, straightforward process. Yet sometimes it goes haywire, and you end up with too much Fat Storing Hormone that then pushes down your blood sugar to levels that are too low. Then, a lack of counter-regulatory hormones to raise your blood sugar to normal levels contributes to ongoing hypoglycemia.

If you have low blood sugar, you know the symptoms all too well. They include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Depression

A young Asian woman dizzy from hypoglycemia

Years ago I had bad hypoglycemia, and my eyes were quite dry and irritated. Then I started consuming more protein and felt great for a long time.


This Is Why Protein Helps Your Hypoglycemia

Now, many people think there are only two kinds of fuel for the body: glucose (sugar), and fat in the form of ketones. But protein also can be used by your body as a fuel.

Your body can break down protein into what are called carbon skeletons, which are then converted to glucose. This process is called gluconeogenesis. It’s quite amazing when you think about it. Not only can protein replace the protein that erodes in your body, but it can also be a fuel.

Gluconeogenesis is the reason why you start feeling better if you eat protein when you have hypoglycemia.

a sign reading protein surrounded by meat poultry and fish

Protein Stimulates An Important Hormone

What’s unique about consuming protein is that you’ll stimulate the release of Fat Storing Hormone, but at the same time you’ll stimulate what’s called glucagon.

Glucagon is the opposing hormone to Fat Storing Hormone. It’s also made by the pancreas, just like Fat Storing Hormone is. Since glucagon raises blood sugar in response to Fat Storing Hormone lowering it, this creates a nice leveling effect on your blood sugar. Protein is thus called a glucogenic precursor.

In other words, protein is a building block that can be turned into glucose if your body needs it for fuel.

Don’t Eat This For Hypoglycemia

If, by comparison, you consumed carbohydrates when you had hypoglycemia, you’d feel better for a couple of minutes as your blood sugar rose. But then Fat Storing Hormone would kick in and quickly lower your blood sugar again, and your chronic low blood sugar issues would worsen over time.

So, use caution when you see recommendations like this:

  • Eat frequent, small meals throughout the day
  • Never skip meals.
  • Eat slow-digesting carbs (oatmeal, beans, whole wheat bread)

You’ll temporarily feel better if you follow this advice. The problem is that it does nothing to address the condition of Fat Storing Hormone resistance at the heart of your hypoglycemia.

No carbs red circle with a red slash around processed carbs


How To Fix Your Hypoglycemia

You might now think that I suggest you go crazy eating huge amounts of protein, but please don't! Overconsumption of protein comes with its own set of health issues. Thus, I actually recommend you eat moderate amounts of protein to stimulate glucagon and help level out your blood sugar.

The ultimate solution to solve hypoglycemia is to get on a Healthy KetoTM diet. Do the whole keto program, along with intermittent fasting. When you do, you’ll correct the large amount of Fat Storing Hormone - the Fat Storing Hormone resistance - which, as you’ve seen, underlies the problem of hypoglycemia.

a photo of a variety of healthy keto foods

Once your Fat Storing Hormone resistance is corrected, you won’t have the wild blood sugar highs and lows anymore. There will be no more hypoglycemia to fix, even if your blood sugar stabilizes out around 70 or even 60. You’ll feel very stable. No more dizziness, mood swings, or irritability. And how liberating would that be?

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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