Difference between low blood sugar and dehydration

Do you know the difference between low blood sugar and dehydration symptoms?  Here are some similarities and differences.

Once you know what the cause of the symptom is, then you can know how to fix it – this is what I do with clients is help them know what those symptoms are and why they are happening.  Then we create a plan to correct the issue once we know in this case whether it is caused by low blood sugar or dehydration.dehydratin headache on track

I referred to Health Line and ADA websites for symptoms of low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia.  I will try to differentiate the difference between low blood sugar and dehydration:

  • Shakiness – This is low blood sugar but does not typically happen with dehydration.


  • Rapid heart rate – I have not witnessed this as a low blood sugar issues, but if both list it, it must be a symptom!   In dehydration, the heart beat will also climb and be jumpy in the higher ranges.  This erratic and high heart rate is a sure sign of dehydration.


  • Fatigue – This is a symptom of both.  With low blood sugar, you typically crave caffeine and need a boost of energy.  But caffeine is not the solution, it can actually be dangerous in some cases.
    If you check the time since your last meal, it may be a clear indication you need to just eat, not grab a cup of coffee.  In dehydration, you feel like the wind got knocked out of your sails and you can no longer go at the same pace.  It is usually matched with despondency and the desire to go lie down under a tree in the shade and sleep.


  • Impatience and irritability – This is definitely a low blood sugar issue and not a dehydration symptom.  Notice how co-workers typically get irritable and short with you late morning- they ate breakfast at 6:30/7 AM and by 11 they get very moody.  Yes, they need to eat!  Although drinking water might also be a good healthy idea, too.
    low blood sugar headache


  • Headache – This a symptom of both.  But you want to pair this up with any of the other symptoms to know which it is. Usually a dehydration headache is coupled with fatigue, despondency and slight nausea.  Low blood sugar will be coupled with lack of ability to think and put sentences together well,  and fatigue  often with the desire for caffeine.

There are a few more symptoms of each but these are the main differences and similarities between low blood sugar and dehydration.

Low blood sugar can be corrected with eating regularly spaced meals which are Metabolically Efficient™ and balanced with protein, vegetables, healthy fats and some carbohydrates.
Eating  approximately every 3-4 hours also helps rather than every 5-6 hours.

Dehydration can be corrected with electrolyte supplementation such as Endurolyte capsules or a sports drink like Infinit Nutrition.(use nutritioninmotion for 10% discount)  You may also need to include food which are rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium not just sodium.

If you need help with differentiating between you symptoms to know what is truly the cause, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me to schedule a 30-minute nutrition review to get to the cause.  Then we can create the correct nutrition plan to correct the issue.


If you have a serious health issue, it is time to schedule time at teh ER or with your doctor or specialist.


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  1. Elias says

    I feel very dehydrated, but dont feel thirsty, no energy to workout, cold feet, low libido, not feel hungry, cant think properly, i dont get pump while working out, thinning hair, gaining weight and it gets worse while sweat! These are my symptoms. Any advice will be appreciated.

    • says

      Hi Elias!
      Sorry to hear you are not feeling well.
      This sounds to me like a combination of dehydration potentially from low electrokytes, and a bit of adrenal fatigue which may also be causing the low libido and hair falling out – I had those symptoms too when I had adrenal exhaustion.
      There are many ways to address these issues, and it may be best to schedule a call via the website for a 15 min chat….then I can ask you a few more questions about your symptoms and when they started to get a more complete picture. http://www.nutrition-in-motion.net/contact
      Then I may be able to give you better advice based on what would work best for you.
      Typically cold hands and cold feet do indicate low electrolyte dehydration…which can be a symptom caused by low adrenal function.

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