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June 28, 2001

Hypoglycemia, Meal Planning, Food and Diet

Question from Omaha, Nebraska, USA

We have a boy scout troop, and have just gotten three 11 year old boys who have hypoglycemia. We are very active and find it hard to plan three meals and a snack a day let alone meals every three hours. We get a lot of complaints about what and how they eat, but no helpful information. Our boys plan, cook, and clean up their own meals as a patrol. When we are back-packing we need things that don't require a lot of preparation and clean up. Book suggestions would be great even a list of foods that the boys could choose from would be helpful. I'm confused with the Fructose and juice. One of the mothers said no Hi-C, but that fructose was okay. When I looked at canned juice at the store the label said either high fructose or no sugar added. I felt that telling the boys to get the no-sugar added was the safer choice. She said I was wrong. Can you tell me why?

ANSWER:

Hypoglycemia is aggravated by long intervals without food and the consumption of sugar containing foods. It is recommended that sugar be avoided as much as possible. Fructose is a sugar that is found in fruits naturally and as a sweetener in many processed foods and drinks. Fructose may affect the blood sugar slightly less than sucrose or glucose, but there is little difference when consumed in a juice. High fructose corn sweeteners can have the same impact as sugar on the blood glucose. As a general guideline, people with hypoglycemia should really avoid the use of juice as a snack and incorporate it into a mixed meal. Syrups, sugars, chocolate syrups and desserts should be limited. Good snacks for everyone might include peanuts, or other nuts, popcorn, whole grain crackers, whole wheat bread, cereal mixes without sugared cereals (such as Chex mix) and fresh fruits. Any food that is on the Food Guide Pyramid will work for a snack. The trick is to keep it nutritious and to make sure there is food every two to three hours -- it doesn't have to be a lot of food, just a snack. You might want to make a scout project out of learning about the Food Guide Pyramid and then developing meal plans based on those guidelines for some of your trips. JM