Reasons Why You Feel Dizzy, Woozy, Or Lightheaded After Eating

If you feel dizzy or woozy after you eat, you’ve come to the right place.

There are several potential causes of dizziness or lightheadedness after eating. 

We’ll explore the potential causes of feeling dizzy after meals, whether dizziness after eating is a sign of diabetes, and offer tips for symptom relief.

What causes feeling dizzy after eating? 

Various factors may contribute to the sensation of dizziness after eating. To help determine which might be the case for you, it’s helpful to keep a log of the things that seem to be associated with the dizziness. 

1) Low blood sugar

One of the most common things that causes dizziness after eating is low blood sugar. The medical term for low blood sugar is hypoglycemia, which happens when your blood sugar drops below 70 mg/dL.

You’re more likely to have low blood sugar if you have diabetes, but it can happen if you don’t have diabetes as well.

If you don’t have diabetes and get dizzy after eating, you might have reactive hypoglycemia.

With reactive hypoglycemia, your body produces a lot of insulin (a hormone that helps lower your blood sugar) in response to eating. 

If it releases too much insulin, then it can make your blood sugar drop too low.

Other signs of low blood sugar include:

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Shakiness
  • Sweating even if you’re not hot
  • Feeling nervous or anxious
  • Irritability, confusion, or other changes to your mental status
  • Feeling hungry

2) Low blood pressure

Another potential cause of feeling woozy after eating is postprandial hypotension. Postprandial means after eating, and hypotension means low blood pressure. 

If your blood pressure reading is 90/60 or lower, then it’s considered low blood pressure. 

However, postprandial hypotension is defined as a drop in systolic blood pressure (top number) of 20 mmHg or more after eating. 

That means that your blood pressure doesn’t need to be as low as 90/60 to have postprandial hypotension.

Postprandial hypotension occurs when your body diverts too much blood to your digestive system to digest your food. 

If the blood flow is focused in your digestive tract, then it causes your blood pressure to be lower in other parts of your body, causing dizziness or lightheadedness.

Other symptoms of low blood pressure can include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Fainting
  • Feeling confused
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness

3) Diabetes medications

If you take medication for diabetes, they could be the culprit behind feeling dizzy and nauseous after eating. 

This is especially true for medications that are more likely to cause low blood sugar or those that are taken before meals.

Fast-acting or rapid-acting insulin is the most likely diabetes medication to cause low blood sugar after eating. 

This type of insulin starts working quickly to lower your blood sugar to offset the rise in blood sugar after eating.

If you take too much insulin or don’t eat enough carbohydrates, then you could experience dizziness from low blood sugar after eating.

Examples of short- and rapid-acting insulins and other diabetes medications that can cause low blood sugar are:

  • Insulin aspart (Novolog)
  • Insulin lispro (Humalog)
  • Sulfonylureas (glipizide, glyburide, glimepiride)
  • Insulin glulisine (Apidra)

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4) High blood pressure (hypertension)

The opposite of hypotension is hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure. 

One in four adults has high blood pressure, impacting billions of people worldwide. 

Also called “the silent killer”, high blood pressure often doesn’t come with noticeable signs or symptoms.

Occasionally, high blood pressure might lead to dizziness after eating, though it’s less common than a drop in blood pressure.

This is especially true if you eat a meal high in sodium (salt), which can temporarily increase your blood pressure.

Eating a high-salt meal causes your body to retain fluid to balance out the increase in sodium, which increases the pressure in the walls of your blood vessels.

Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. High blood pressure is defined as a reading above 140/90, although there are several subcategories of high blood pressure. 

Other symptoms of high blood pressure to watch out for include:

  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blurred vision or changes in your vision
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

5) Allergic reaction

If you’re allergic to a particular food, you might develop dizziness after eating as part of an immune response. 

Your allergic response will depend on how severe of an allergy you have. 

If you have a food allergy, you’ll need to be cautious about hidden allergens in foods. 

Working with an allergy specialist and a registered dietitian experienced in food allergies can help you gain the tools you need to stay safe.

6) Prediabetes

If your body is having a hard time producing the right amount of insulin (such as producing too much insulin after eating), you might have a condition called prediabetes. 

Prediabetes is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes later on in life. 

The good news is that prediabetes can be reversed with healthy lifestyle changes, so you should work with your healthcare team to help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Is dizziness after eating a sign of diabetes?

Dizziness after eating isn’t always a sign of diabetes, but it can be in some cases. 

If dizziness is related to another cause, like an allergy or low blood pressure, then you don’t necessarily have to worry that it’s from diabetes.

If you have other risk factors for diabetes and are experiencing wooziness after eating, it’s a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider. 

They can run tests and other diagnostics to assess if the dizziness is happening because of a blood sugar imbalance like diabetes.

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How to treat dizziness after eating

Treatment for dizziness after eating will depend on the cause. Here are some general tips for dealing with feeling dizzy after eating:

  • Drink water. Increasing your fluid intake can help raise low blood pressure if that’s what’s causing your dizziness.
  • Eat regular meals and snacks. Keeping your blood sugar levels stable can potentially help dizziness after eating due to blood sugar changes or blood pressure changes due to very large meals.
  • Lie down if you’re feeling dizzy. Laying down can help your blood pressure regulate and keep you from getting hurt in case you faint (the medical term for fainting is syncope).
  • Avoid alcohol and nicotine until you’re feeling better (they can worsen dizziness).

When to see a doctor for wooziness after eating

If you’re feeling anxious about dizziness, try not to panic. Everyone feels dizzy at some point in their life, and worrying about it can make dizziness worse!

If feeling dizzy after eating is a persistent occurrence (it happens several times per week or is impacting your quality of life), it’s a good idea to see your healthcare provider. If you ever get so dizzy that you faint or pass out, then it warrants a more urgent visit with a healthcare provider.

Preventing lightheadedness after meals

Preventing dizziness after eating will depend on the cause. Here are some general guidelines on preventing dizziness based on some of the more common causes.

Low blood sugar

  • Eat frequent meals and snacks, avoiding large gaps between meals.
  • Avoid eating refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, etc) and high-sugar foods and drinks, which can trigger reactive low blood sugar.
  • Eat protein with meals (meat, poultry, eggs, cheese, nuts, etc).

Diabetes medications

  • Eat enough carbohydrates, especially with mealtime insulin.
  • Potentially adjust medication dose with the prescribing provider (for example, reducing mealtime insulin dose).
  • Check your blood sugar after eating to accurately diagnose low blood sugar potentially caused by medications.

Postprandial hypotension (low blood pressure)

  • Drink a glass of water before eating.
  • Avoid eating large meals.

High blood pressure (hypertension)

  • Limit sodium intake to <2000 milligrams per day (or as instructed by your healthcare provider).
  • Manage hypertension as advised by your healthcare provider.


  • Feeling dizzy after you eat can be due to several reasons. Some of most common reasons include blood sugar problems, blood pressure problems, diabetes medications, and food allergies.
  • If you experience persistent dizziness after eating despite making lifestyle adjustments, consult with your healthcare provider.

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  1. Jansen RW, Lipsitz LA. Postprandial hypotension: epidemiology, pathophysiology, and clinical management. Ann Intern Med. 1995 Feb 15;122(4):286-95. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-122-4-199502150-00009. PMID: 7825766.
  2. Eckert-Norton M, et al. (2013). Non-diabetichypoglycemia.
  3. RenéW, et al. (2005). Postprandial hypotension: Simple treatment but difficultieswith the diagnosis.
  4. Altuntaş Y. Postprandial reactive hypoglycemia. Sisli Etfal. 2019:53(3):215-20.

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