Oesophageal Patients Association
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HYPO - In trying to control this syndrome all of us should be aware of the likely role that Caffeine plays in Glucose/Insulin balance:

Caffeinated drinks can cause problems controlling glucose in adolescents


04 Dec 15

Study showed that consumption of caffeinated drinks caused increase of glucose and insulin levels over several hours.

Adolescents who consume caffeinated energy drinks may experience an increase of insulin levels and problems with blood sugar control. This is suggested in a Canadian study presented at the "World Diabetes Congress" of the International Federation in Vancouver (Canada). These types of drinks may therefore contribute to increased metabolic risk.

Researchers at the University of Calgary included 20 adolescents (ages 13 to 19, and an equal number of males and females) in their experiment. They were asked to drink a caffeinated and a decaffeinated energy drink (both sugar-free) while fasting. Forty minutes later, they underwent a standard two-hour oral glucose test. Blood samples were collected before consuming the drink, at the beginning of the test and again at 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 minutes.

Findings showed that blood glucose levels increased by 25 per cent during the two-hour measurement period after ingestion of the caffeinated energy drink when compared with the control group. The increase was accompanied by a 26 per cent increase in levels of insulin. Since the half-life of caffeine is four to six hours, the researchers assume that consumption of caffeine could affect glucose regulation for several hours after ingestion.

Study author Jane Shearer voiced her concern saying "elevated glucose and insulin responses may contribute to increased metabolic risk including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in susceptible individuals later in life".

[Source: Univardis/Pathology -04/12/2015]

Poster's note - "After several damaging episodes with seizures accompanied by fractures I gave up consumption of all caffeine containing beverages ...I think this has helped me to control Hypos as I haven't experienced a repeat for more than 10 years". GW

09/12/2015 Addendum - I should have said that I have never again experienced loss of consciousness with concomitant seizure; but I do still get milder hypo's if I exercise too soon after eating - the two hour period seems to be critical. GW

7 Replies

Thank you for this useful bit of information. Sometimes we try and go without things for a while to see if it makes a difference, but this study is at least more scientific than our trial and error!

If you take sugar in tea and coffee, which is a separate issue, it would certainly be worth trying to give up the added sugar!



One of the strange and welcome side effect of our surgery is that diabetes can disappear, agree we all need to be aware but need to be careful in the advice we give out to patients as we slightly different to the norm, we have our own insulin / sugar issues due to the vagus nerve being cut during surgery.


I personally have much more insuline trouble with sugars and bread.


Anyone know the level of caffeine in the drinks that the study used? I'm wondering whether a strong cup of tea has the same effect.



Having struggled with several spells of unconsciousness and two spinal fractures I took sensible but fairly dramatic (for me) action.

I now use a blood sugar meter (Accu-Check-Mobile) and check my blood regularly throughout the day/evening.

By doing this initially 15 minutes after every drink/meal I was able to find that for me the big triggers were coffee & tea (even with sweetener and no sugar) the single biggest trigger being milk chocolate. A couple of squares and my sugar level would drop to almost collapse level within 1.5 hours. Coffee & tea they would spike and drop but not as dramatically.

So what I learned is that if I am going to get a hypo (I now don't) I would always get them 1.5 hours after any intake - never earlier and maybe sometimes up to 2 hours but never later (Classic late dumping).

I now avoid any obvious caffeine intake and eat absolutely no milk chocolate. As a general practice I try not to eat sugary foods at all. But I get the cravings and will give in to them occasionally, watching for any symptoms at the 1.5 hour mark after I have eaten them.

Any symptoms then I take some Dextrose tablets. Job done.

I am also now prescribed Acarbose which slows down the body's sugar intake and manages most of the spikes. I take this three times a day with meals and it works (for me)


" we have our own insulin / sugar issues due to the vagus nerve being cut during surgery."

Dave - could you say a bit more about that ? Is the issue the way food/drink rushes through the system ?


It is not so much the speed of food passing through but that the vagus which links the pancreas to the stomach has been cut, so the 'normal' reaction to high sugar levels is delayed, sometimes by 30 minutes.

So in my case I have a sugar high / rush then 30 minutes or more later the insulin kicks in. To counter / balance this I keep a bag of jelly babies to hand.

Commonly known as the dumping syndrome..