Why is it so important for a diabetic to have a nighttime snack?
By Barbara A
Diabetics are told to watch what they eat, keep their blood sugar under control and maintain a healthy weight. So, it would seem that a bedtime snack goes against all these instructions. Given the nature of diabetes and how it affects those diagnosed, the right bedtime snack can actually help them.
Why Diabetics Need Bedtimes Snacks
Depending on the diabetes prescriptions a diabetic takes, either injected insulin or an oral medication, he could experience a nighttime dip in his blood sugar levels. If the level goes low enough, this can be potentially deadly, so a small, healthy nighttime snack can help prevent this problem
Oral medications that have been implicated in nighttime hypoglycemia include glipizide, glyburide and glimepiride. If he skips meals, exercises at night or drinks alcohol, he is also at higher risk of developing symptoms of nighttime hypoglycemia.
Choose the Right Snacks
The diabetic patient who deals with nighttime hypoglycemia should choose about 1 ounce of protein and 15 to 30 grams of healthy complex carbohydrates. Low-fat cheese, skim milk, graham crackers, sugar-free pudding or low-fat yogurt with no sugar are all excellent choices.
Other good bedtime snacks include 1/2 cup of canned fruit in light syrup or a small piece of fruit. Combined with about 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese, this gives him the protein and carbohydrates his body needs to avoid an episode of nighttime hypoglycemia.
Nighttime hypoglycemia develops when the amount of blood sugar and the amount of medication or insulin in the diabetics body are out of balance. He will wake up feeling bad; he may have a nightmare caused by his low blood sugar; soaking night sweats; confusion when he wakes up or a headache and he may feel extremely tired in the morning. If he does not discuss his symptoms with his doctor, he could slip into a coma, develop seizures or die. While that nighttime snack sounds like a frivolous allowance, it can save the life of a diabetic.
Diabetes Frequently Asked Questions
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How do I get started exercising?
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I need more information about flexibility exercises.
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What can I do about my dry skin?
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What is the "Welcome to Medicare" physical exam?
When am I eligible for Medicare?
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Who is providing these Medicare Part D plans?
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What are Medicare Advantage Plans?
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Why is it so important for a diabetic to have a nighttime snack?