Stress and Anxiety: Could Low Blood Sugar Be the Link?

Feeling stressed and anxious? Could it be low blood sugar?

When you have stable blood sugar, you will feel grounded, experience less overwhelm and stress, feel less anxious and have no cravings – if your cravings are blood sugar related (cravings can also be due to yeast, low serotonin, low endorphins, low catecholamines and low GABA)

Signs of low blood sugar may include:

• Anxiety, irritability, agitation, nervousness
• Feeling stressed and overwhelmed
• Feeling shaky between meals or when you skip a meal
• Poor memory, focus and fatigue
• Intense sweet craving at various times of the day
• Waking in the night (low blood sugar is one of many causes of insomnia)

Simple dietary changes to help stabilize your blood sugar

1.  Eat enough protein

• Eat at least 20-25g (4oz or palm-sized portions) of good quality protein at each meal
• Grassfed beef, lamb, wild fish, pastured chicken, turkey and eggs, dairy (if it’s not an issue for you), legumes
• This is not negotiable – you must eat breakfast every day! And within an hour of waking
• If you can’t quite give up your coffee make sure to eat breakfast first
• Make sure to include protein at breakfast! (egg, fish, chicken sausage, cheese/yogurt, even dinner for breakfast)
• Substitute packaged cereals with real oatmeal (if gluten is not an issue or buckwheat and add nuts, seeds, coconut, butter, yogurt or kefir or a scoop of whey protein
Smoothies are good too – use fruit like berries and banana, use water as your base, add 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk, 20g whey protein powder (other optional additions: green powder or freshly juiced greens, yogurt or kefir, nut butters, freshly ground flax seeds)

2.  Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks

Protein, fat and carbohydrate at each meal and snack.
• Lunch example: protein= Beef, lamb, fish, chicken, turkey, legumes; fat=butter, olive oil, avocado; carbohydrate = starchy veggie like sweet potato or brown rice
• Meal ideas: meat and veggies, salad and protein, veggie soup with protein, lentil soup
• Snack ideas: boiled egg; crackers and hummus; fruit and a few nuts; crackers and cheese; raw carrots/zucchini and cream cheese
Always carry some nuts with you for emergencies! Pumpkin seeds are a great choice.

There are nutrients that also help with blood sugar control: the amino acid glutamine, and zinc and chromium.   It may also be helpful to have your adrenal status assessed because burned out adrenals can lead to poor blood sugar control, fatigue, digestive issues and other hormonal problems.  Doing a salivary cortisol test is the best way to do this.

All of this and much more is covered in great detail in The Antianxiety Food Solution: How the Foods You Eat Can Help You Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood and End Cravings, now available in major books stores, at Amazon and via

Thanks to Elizabeth E for her recent comment on Amazon (this is an excerpt):

“I just recently finished reading this book and am grateful for such a great resource! I’ve already begun employing some of the suggestions laid out and they are helping. For example, I am making sure to include more protein in my breakfast and it’s definitely helping my anxiety!”

Trudy Scott is a food-mood expert and nutritionist who educates women about real whole food and finding natural solutions for anxiety and stress, depression and other mood problems, together with the sugar and carb cravings that often go hand-in hand with mood issues. She is author of  The Antianxiety Food Solution – How the Foods You Eat Can Help you Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood and End Cravings (June 2011, New Harbinger). Trudy is immediate past president of National Association of Nutrition Professionals and now Special Advisor to the board of directors. and