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Dizzy After Eating

Feeling dizzy after eating may be caused by underlying conditions. There are treatment options to help with dizziness. Learn more about causes and treatment. Dizziness is usually one of the first physical signs of going too long without food. Although it is less common, you may feel lightheaded or dizzy after eating.Low blood sugar, low blood pressure, and diabetes medications can cause dizziness after a

  • Posted on 27th May, 2022 14:55 PM
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Dizziness is usually one of the first physical signs of going too long without food. Although it is less common, you may feel lightheaded or dizzy after eating.

Low blood sugar, low blood pressure, and diabetes medications can cause dizziness after a meal. In addition, certain medical conditions and food sensitivities can leave you feeling unwell after a meal. Fortunately, you can try several different techniques to minimize after-meal dizziness.

This article will explore what causes dizziness after eating and how to treat and prevent it.

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Causes

Several different conditions can lead to dizziness after eating. For some, it may be caused by a quick drop in blood pressure from standing too quickly after sitting, a condition known as orthostatic hypotension. Other potential causes include low blood sugar, diabetes medication, and more.

Low Blood Sugar

Non-diabetic hypoglycemia is the term used to describe low blood sugar in people who do not have diabetes. It is a rare condition often diagnosed after your healthcare provider verifies low blood sugar levels that improve after eating sugar.

Typically, blood sugar levels increase following a meal. However, when a person experiences low blood sugar two to five hours after eating, it is called reactive hypoglycemia, a type of non-diabetic hypoglycemia that often causes dizzy spells after consuming high carbohydrate foods.

People at risk for diabetes or prediabetes are more prone to reactive hypoglycemia. This is because they have difficulty producing the right amounts of insulin. Stomach or weight loss surgery can also lead to low blood sugar because they cause metabolic changes that lead to excess insulin production after eating.

Diabetes Medication

If a person does not eat enough carbohydrates after taking insulin or other diabetes medications, it can lead to low blood sugar and dizziness.

If your insulin and carb intake are not timed appropriately, you can also experience low blood sugar. Because beverages are absorbed faster than solids, it can be challenging to time your insulin correctly.

Additionally, accidentally injecting too much insulin or injecting it directly into the muscle can lead to hypoglycemia and dizziness after eating.

Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure after eating, also known as postprandial hypotension, is a condition that affects up to one-third of older adults.

It most commonly affects adults with hypertension (high blood pressure) because it hardens the arteries, making it more difficult to contract and relax as needed.

Postprandial hypotension happens when a person's intestines and stomach demand extra blood for digestion, resulting in decreased blood flow to all other body parts. The sudden drop often leads to dizziness, fainting, chest pain, blurred vision, and nausea.

Food Sensitivity

When a person with a food allergy comes in contact with a trigger food, they may experience dizziness or faint within minutes to two hours of ingestion.

Food intolerances may also cause dizziness after eating. For example, limited evidence links lactose intolerance to lightheadedness and feelings of intoxication.

Additionally, a person sensitive to caffeine may become dizzy after drinking caffeinated beverages.

Food Triggers

Certain foods may trigger people with specific conditions, causing dizziness after eating. For example, people with Ménière disease should avoid salty foods because salt can increase pressure in the inner ear, worsening dizziness.

Alcoholic beverages, in particular, can also be a trigger. This is because alcohol in the blood can affect the inner ear, causing someone to feel like the room is spinning.

Certain foods or food ingredients may trigger migraines, which can cause dizziness. The most common food triggers reported are:

  • Red wine
  • Aspartame sweetener
  • Chocolate
  • Dairy products
  • Cheese
  • Soy isoflavones
  • Vegetables
  • Processed meat high in nitrites

It's important to note most of these foods have been self-reported by people. At this time, there is little to no scientific evidence to back them up as being possible trigger foods.

Treatments

Treatments for dizziness after eating involve addressing the root cause. If the reason is an allergic reaction, you'll need to recognize and treat the reaction to get symptom relief.

If a person is experiencing dizziness after eating due to low blood sugar, immediate treatment involves eating or drinking 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates. This is equivalent to 1/2 cup of fruit juice or six or seven hard candies.

For postprandial hypotension, there is no definitive treatment. However, you may reduce symptoms by lying down for some time after eating until dizziness resolves.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Minor episodes of dizziness usually resolve on their own and do not require a trip to the emergency room. However, call 911 if any of the following symptoms accompany dizziness after eating:

  • Chest pain
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness
  • Fainting
  • Severe headache

If you continue to experience dizziness after eating without life-threatening symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider. It could be a sign of another treatable, underlying condition.

Prevention

There are several techniques a person can try to reduce or prevent dizziness after eating. This includes:

  • Drinking enough water before and during meals
  • Limiting or avoiding caffeine, alcohol, or sodium
  • Eating small meals every three hours
  • Meals should consist of adequate portions of protein, fat, and high-quality carbs
  • If you have diabetes, keep a close eye on your blood sugar after meals
  • Avoid refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, rice, and sugary beverages
  • Keep good control of blood pressure and blood sugar, in accordance with your healthcare provider's guidance.
  • Work closely with your healthcare provider to adjust blood pressure or diabetes medications

Summary

Feeling dizzy after eating is often related to an underlying condition such as high blood pressure or prediabetes. It can also be caused by food sensitivities, stomach surgeries, or enzyme deficiencies. If you frequently feel dizzy after eating meals, it's important to let your healthcare provider know. They will be able to run tests and get down to the root cause.

A Word From Verywell

Feeling weak and dizzy after eating can leave you feeling scared and frustrated. Drinking enough water and eating a balanced diet that includes healthy fat, lean protein, and slow-digesting carbs can help you prevent dizziness after eating. If symptoms persist after trying different techniques, schedule a visit with your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is dizziness after eating a sign of diabetes?

    A person who has pre-diabetes or is at risk for diabetes may experience dizziness after eating because their body is not producing the right amount of insulin, causing blood sugar to fall.

  • What causes dizziness after eating when you’re pregnant?

    Standing quickly after sitting down for an extended period can reduce blood pressure resulting in dizziness. Pregnant women who experience dizziness after eating often experience improvement after delivery.

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