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By Nora Saul, MS, RD, LDN, CDE

Manager, Nutrition Services
Joslin Diabetes Center
Boston, MA

Created: 09/22/2009
Last Updated: 08/17/2012

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Q: I have hypoglycemia and have to eat every two hours or so. I've been gaining a lot of weight even though I eat mostly healthy foods—fresh fruits, vegetables and grains. How can I control my weight when I have to eat so much, so often?

Eating more frequently is one strategy used to avoid low blood glucose (sugar) for people with hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can be associated with diabetes, as well as many other health conditions. Hypoglycemia itself is not a disease, but rather an indication of a health problem, so make sure you're working with your health care provider to identify the cause. In the meantime, an eating plan based on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources and heart-healthy fats can help you achieve a healthful diet and reduce your symptoms of hypoglycemia. However, maintaining a reasonable weight while eating more frequently often requires a conscious effort to be aware of portion sizes. Although your frequency of meals has increased, the size of your meals should decrease. Combinations of one to two servings (15 to 30 grams) of healthy carbohydrate choices paired with one to two servings of lean low-calorie protein is all it takes. For example, a slice of whole grain bread and two ounces of tuna packed in water with sliced tomato is less than 150 calories. Make sure you are also choosing low-calorie beverages because fluids such as fruit juices, sodas and even milk can add a considerable amount of calories to your eating plan. And don't forget regular exercise, which will help with both weight loss and maintenance.