Over eating when low

When my BG is very low I eat anything I can get my hands on that might make me feel better. I have a difficult time describing the intensity of this feeling to others. How do you deal with this? How would you describe this feeling to those who do not understand when you eat an entire package of cookies or More?

Hi @synstokesyahoo-com, it helps to understand that low blood sugar tricks you into thinking you are gonna die if you don’t eat something.

I deal with it in one of 2 ways:

  1. by counting how much more I want my blood sugar to go up, for example if I am 40 mg/dl and want to be 80, that’s a rise of 40 so I chew up 3 glucose tabs and tell that voice to shut the f up.

  2. I eat everything in the fridge and then raid the candy jar.

For times I use strategy number 2. It helps to count the carbs and bolus for all but 12 grams. I pump so I can deliver that bolus over 30 minutes allowing me to recover first and then the insulin kicks in for the… extra.

Good luck


For me, explaining this to others requires breaking it down by gender.

For women, I usually reference their monthly visitor. “You know how men can never understand all the emotions and hormones that go kaflooey every 28 days or so? Eating the refridgerator when blood sugar goes low is like that. It takes great strength to STOP eating. Also, you know how men (husbands in particular) asking you about your cycle or commenting on your cycle never ends well? Keep in mind, it’s like that too. Best to just stand back and SAY NOTHING!”

For any man that asks, I just tell them to pretend I’m getting my period. They know the rules.


When I overeat I try to estimate the carbs and square bolus over two hours. Sometimes it works sometimes not. Nevertheless I am out of commission the next day pretty much.

Nobody is perfect Synthia. Yes a good roller coaster ride can make me sick too. I am usually ok after 18 hours or so.

The 12 grams of carbs you do not bolus for is to keep the blood sugar from droping too low again? Do you have a 1:12 carb ratio?

Sorry for the delay I am not in my normal time zone. My pump can do the math if I enter my bg and the amount of carbs and it gives me what I need to cover the carbs and raise my blood sugar to target. It also complains that I shouldn’t bolus until my bg is above 70.

I know it’s weird but if I do the math in my head and just bolus for all but what I need to raise blood sugar i end up about right and I don’t get backtalk from the pump. My ratio is about 1:12 and if I’m 40mg/dl then 12 grams carbs will boost me from 40 to 100ish. Sorry for being vague. Good luck.

I haven’t had that many people ask me what it feels like when my blood sugar’s low, so I haven’t really had to tackle how to explain it. Which, in a way, seems really sad because I want the people in my life to care about me and to understand what I go through every day. But at the same time I don’t really want people to know what it feels like because I don’t want them to worry every time they see me have a snack. I do have a coworker with hypoglycemia who eats cookie butter straight out of the jar every morning during our daily meeting. Plus a banana, a doughnut, and fruit juice. I always feel a weird mix of pity and envy watching her eat breakfast. We’ve talked with each other about what it feels like sometimes and it’s nice to know someone else understands. I’m not really sure what everyone else thinks about it, but I don’t think our coworkers judge us too much for what we eat. We work outdoors and burn a ton of calories throughout the day, so we all eat more sweets than we probably should.

Do you feel like people are judging you for your food choices? Is that why you’re struggling to explain the feeling? Maybe instead of focusing on what it feels like, focus on the science: The body needs energy to work. Energy comes from sugar. So when your blood sugar’s low your body doesn’t have enough energy and tries to shut down. And you have to eat a lot of sugar to prevent that from happening. I think that’s easier for non-diabetics to follow. No one’s going to really understand without first hand experience.

I got judgement all the time from my family who thought they knew what was best for me. I told them after 37 years as T1 I thought I had a grasp on it. I Then I set a boundary with them and told them they were not to discuss my diabetes with me anymore. I would rather preserve my relationship. So far they have respected it.
The difficulty I have is with the severe lows like 30’s and 20’s. I will stuff anything I can get into my mouth until the BG comes back up. This behavior seems appalling to others. I actually feel like I am dying. I would like to know physiological and physiological components that actually drive this do or die response and I just wish others would understand the intinesity of the feeling. Someone would have to physically restrain me from eating during those lows. How do I describe it so they will get it.

Honestly, I think you just came up with your own answer. When your blood sugar’s under 30 you feel like you’re dying because you are dying. And you’re having a do or die response because those are the only two options you have. Anyone who’s judging you at those times doesn’t understand just how dangerous this disease is. If you want them to understand, I would tell them what you just told us. Or you can take an “I don’t care if they think I’m a pig” attitude and ignore them. You know that you’re doing your best to take care of yourself. That’s really what matters.

Physiologically, your brain doesn’t know that there won’t be insulin available when you need it later, all it knows is that it can’t function right now without sugar. (You knowing and your brain knowing are not the same thing.) So it sends signals to the rest of your body that you’re hungry and it doesn’t stop sending them until it has the the energy it needs to function normally. The problem is that – because of the amount of time it takes for your body to digest all the food you’ve eaten and get that sugar to your brain – by the time your brain stops sending those signals you’ve already eaten too much. If you weren’t diabetic that’s when your pancreas would kick in and start producing more insulin. Because you’re diabetic you have to work to avoid a high blood sugar and that’s where everyone else’s advice will come in handy.

I have a hard time stopping myself from overeating whenever my blood sugar’s even a little bit low. I hate the way it makes me feel and it takes a tremendous amount of effort to sit and wait for 15 minutes. I’m not always successful. You’re kind of lucky you have that fight response, though. My brain shuts itself down bit by bit. If I don’t catch the low early, instead of getting hungrier I just go blind. As in my eyes stop working. It reminds me of sci-fi shows when a space-ship is low on power and diverts energy from lighting to life support. It’s terrifying and also very difficult to explain to anyone trying to help me.

I’m with you! A dietitian once told me she understood how you want to eat everything in sight until you feel better. It’s hard to just eat the number of carbs your doctor/DNE/ nutritionist recommends based on formula, while you’re sitting there feeling shaky or whatever symptoms apply. It’s hard to trust that things will be okay, so you keep eating, which causes a spike later. It does take a lot of discipline to trust that things will be fine. I do understand.

Synthia, I would describe the feeling as “sheer Panic” felt like I was dying. But I figured how to fix the problem, I usually have Apple or grape juice in the fridge, and I have taught myself to drink some and then sit down and wait, because I have done the same thing, no food was safe in my house, but I had to teach myself to trust that 1/2 glass of juice was enough, I know it sounds a bit difficult but once you do it you’ll realize that a little bit will work, logically you know but your body is yelling at you to do something, you might want to get some small cans of juice and have them handy, then just grab one and wait and try not to panic. Hope this helps. Bye Jan

i would skip the explanation and just do what you need to do. Keep the juice/or soda front and center in the fridge. Its the only way to make sure i go for that first vs the cookies or making pbj sandwiches and drinking all the milk. I work in healthcare so my peers fortunately know/understand that when i’m low i need carbs asap.

The glucose tablets work well and keep me from eating everything in the house. I have the Dexcom and Tandem with Basal IQ. It is wonderful. I sleep a full night. Even my husband doesn’t understand after all these years.

I totally relate, being T1 45 years now and very rarely feel lows and haven’t for 20+ years. I do have a Dexcom the last few years which helps me prevent those previous (40 years) terrible 20-40 bs lows. Even tho with my Dexcom, I do still panic when it shows double arrows down and I’m dropping quickly. I’ve learned for me, to always keep bottled screw to Pepsi close by…car, by my bed, fridge, etc. I’ve calculated that it takes me 3-6 sips to bring me up but not skyrocketing. I’ll then eat some protein afterwards if possible. It has really helped me from skyrocketing, but I do still ride that awful low and high rollercoaster at times. I believe we can’t control T1, but only manage the best we can. I only wish the health care community understood this. In my opinion and going thru so many doctors, no one knows this disease unless you walk it, or have a child with it.

Lol…I totally understand. I don’t seem to raid the cabinets and fridge as much as I used to do. Maybe I’ve gotten a little wise to my own faulty deceptions, or, more likely that I know that my raids will cause my blood sugars to sky rocket and then I will become severely hyperglycemic and regret that for the next several hours. I describe it like someone who has just smoked a joint and then gets the overwhelming desire to demolish the entire contents in the fridge (not that I would know :joy::wink:).

The reason that you lose your mind is because you are physically about to die. I am sure you have observed the geometric breakdown of your visual capacity and the rapid beating of your heart. Anyone who tells you that is not the case is just lying to you because of their ignorance or agenda. Although the long term negative effects of high blood sugar are incredibly harmful, the short term effects of hypoglycemia are absolutely dreadful. Non-T1 diabetics cannot possibly understand. I have watched a person who had purposefully overdosed and died and it was a horrific thing to behold. The line between a 40 glucose and death is very thin. I am not trying to scare anyone but they should be scared. Do whatever you have to do to keep from getting that low. I eat a lot of eggs. They are the superfood for type 1 diabetics. Among the other excellent outcomes, they keep a steady stable level of protiens and fats in your system. Carbs are the death nail for Type 1 diabetics so please try to reduce the intake them in your diet.

It’s a thin line we walk trying to minimize the problems hyperglycemia can cause. I know people who lost their feet and ultimately lost their lives in there 50’s… Hypoglycemia is no fun either I have been hospitalized a few times because my sugar dropped too low. (rolled a car over once about 12 years ago) (About 5 years ago I was unresponsive and wife called 911 police arrived before ambulance and actually cuffed me because I was thrashing around too much.) I wouldn’t worry about what to tell people so much as to not let it get so low to begin with. The doctor finally talked me into a CGM a few months ago, and even though it is not very accurate, I will use the readings to give me a heads up and snack before it starts going super low. I carry around sugar pills and if I see it dropping while on a walk I will have a few pills when it goes below 120 and then take a couple more every 20 points lower it goes. I wouldn’t rely on the CGM 100 % but when it starts dropping I do a mental check and generally have a snack just in case, particularly if I am doing something physical. By the way I am type 1 and have been for 43 years now…

High all; I am new to T1N I am also new to being a diabetic. I recently had WHIPPLE surgery. For those of you that don’t know what Whipple is it is the removal of your pancreas long with your spleen and gall bladder. I know exactly what the young lady is talking about. I have been a Type 1 diabetic for about 6 months in this time I have learned what a serious low and a serious high (over 400) is. I have as low as 40. I understand roughly what she is going thru herself and what she is going thru with her family. I have been married for 57 years and when I go low or high my wife start pointing the finger. When I go high her words hurt and I get angry if I go low again her words hurt because in both cases there is nothing constructive being said instead I feel like I am being scolded. Patience is something I do not have. It is a real struggle for me to eat so many carbs and then sit and wait to see the outcome I find myself eating more than I should and now I’m going too high. Yes I’m having trouble trying to stabilize myself. My Endo and Dietition have both said the same thing that no one is perfect do the best you can on that given day work on it the next day and the next day and so on. I try to do my best ignore the criticisms. I’m starting to babble hope what I said helps. Gods speed and do what the doctors tell you. Jim C

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HI, I have had diabetes for 56 yrs. I feel the same way. It is difficult, but I try so hard not to eat so much because I suffer with highs afterwards. The cgm helps me a lot, so that I do not overeat. I hope this helps.