It might sound like I’m trying to get kickbacks for endorsing certain companies, but I promise I’m not. Products designed specifically for treating lows work best for many reasons. First, let’s go over the basics of low blood sugar. When you’re experiencing low blood sugar, you can feel start to feel shaky, sweaty, dizzy, faint, or nauseated. Many people follow, or are encouraged to follow, the 15/15 rule. When your blood sugar is under 70 mg/dL or you are feeling low blood sugar symptoms, you have 15 grams of carbs, wait 15 minutes, test your blood sugar. Repeat the process as necessary until you are over 70 mg/dL.
When deciding what kind of carbs to consume during this 15/15 process, I vote low blood sugar products over regular soda, Snickers bars (you wouldn’t believe how many times I hear this one specifically), juice, peanut butter crackers, and sweets in general. Here’s why:
Products designed to treat low blood sugar:
- Are glucose. This means all the calories in these products come from glucose. Because of that, these products are quickly absorbed and treat the issue faster.
- They are portion controlled. Most of the products are portioned into 15-20 gram portions so they are easy to take without over or under-treating your low.
- They can come in handy dandy tablets that are great for storage in your car, purse, or even pockets. They also won’t melt or go bad.
- The liquids and gels make great treatments because if you are experiencing a particularly bad low, these products do not require chewing.
Why food and drinks can be more troublesome:
- Sure these can work, but candy bars, soda, and juices contain sugars, fats, and proteins that all have to be absorbed. Therefore, they will take longer to work.
- Many of these foods and drinks are not portioned into 15-20 gram carb servings, so you’ll have to read the nutrition label to know when to stop eating. (BUT will you really stop two bites into a Snickers bar?)
- It’s easy to over-treat your low, thereby consuming more calories and fat then you intended and possibly resulting in high blood sugar when all is said and done.
Let’s look at some examples.
An entire regular size Snickers bar has 11 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, and 37 grams of total carbs. If you were trying to treat your low blood sugar with this candy, you should only consume approximately half of it.
Good luck with that!
Now let’s take a 12oz can of Coke. The whole thing contains 39 grams of carbs. If you are using this to treat your low, you should only drink about 6oz or less of it. You’ll be able to accurately drink about 6oz of the can, right? Nope. Not to mention, the sugar used in this product is not glucose, but high fructose corn syrup.
Let’s do one more. One cup of apple juice is 29 grams of carbs. You only need 1/2 cup (4oz) to begin treating a low. The next time you are in the kitchen, take out a 1/2 measuring cup and fill it with water. It’s not very much at all.
I hope I’ve made my point. In a pinch, food and drink will do. But as a rule, I think low blood sugar treatments are more useful. Find them in your local pharmacy or ask your pharmacist.
Thanks for reading!