No two lows are the same
Updated: Jun 22, 2021
You wake up in the middle of the night, and realize it's because your blood sugar has plummeted. You're about to start an important meeting, and notice that you're in a full sweat. You are running late to an appointment, then you remember to check your Dexcom before driving and see that a low blood sugar is why you're feeling a little shaky. You need a solution quick - what is your go to fix for a low blood sugar?
When you're diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, the answer given by most care providers is to treat your low with sugar tabs. While they do work very well and offer a lot of control, they are almost never my top choice (key word being *almost*).
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I often am tempted to over indulge in a favorite dessert to treat my low, such as a frozen cake truffle or some bites from a pint of ice cream in the back of the freezer. Especially if I wake up in the middle of the night, it can be nearly impossible not to go on a rampage through our kitchen and grab whatever dessert seems most delicious at the 2 AM hour. Here's why I do my best to avoid treating my lows with, well, a favorite treat: I want to ENJOY that pint of ice cream. Though I do like eating and drinking the go to low blood sugar savers that I'll share, I rely on them because they offer the most amount of control and aren't my typical desserts of choice. They allow me to easily use the correction ratios that I've worked on with my doctors and for the most part are very "sugar forward". This way I leave my favorite sweets for a happier time when I can really enjoy and savor the flavor.
Now, as I write this, I can tell you that two nights ago when I woke up mid slumber to treat a low, I did not follow my best advice (re the kitchen rampage). Each low is different. We are human. Sometimes my blood sugar slowly drops, and I'm able to have one sugar tab, a sip of juice, or even just a small snack and that will do the trick. Other times, my blood sugar is on a fierce downward spiral, and a sugar tab or two just isn't going to cut it.
Knowing that no two lows are the same, I'm here to share the why behind my go to low blood sugar heroes.
Apple & Eve mini juice boxes
Since I was diagnosed with type one, I have loved these small juice boxes. Yes, I might feel a little silly in the office drinking something with a Sesame Street character featured so prominently, but I've always found these to be the perfect amount of juice to treat a low without going overboard. And if one isn't enough, it's easy enough to double up. They also travel better than your average sized juice box. This brand of juice has a 4.23 oz size with 15 carbs per juice box, and I love the fruit punch flavor - trust me, it's the best.
Medjool pre pitted dates
A recent discovery for me (and part of a favorite snack that will definitely be shared on Instagram soon), I've found that eating one date can give me a quick sugar boost when needed. They have such a satisfying chew and are a great option when I'm not feeling in the mood for dessert, or more accurately if I know I'm going to want a REAL dessert later on once my numbers have leveled out. My favorite dates are the Natural Delights Pitted Fresh Medjool Dates and they are about 16.5 carbs per date.
These notorious tabs are often given a bad reputation by many, myself included, but hear me out. They get the job done, make it easy to treat a low with precision, and nothing travels with you better than a small tube of these tabs. I keep these in my pouch with the rest of my supplies and it makes me feel more secure knowing I have something with me at all times in case of an emergency. The CVS brand glucose tabs I use have 4 carbs per tab, and the only flavors that I'll buy are raspberry and strawberry.
This is where we start to cross over into favorite snacks. It might be weird, but I really do love applesauce. Similar to sugar tabs, applesauce for me seems to just get the job done. I also love the texture especially when my blood sugar has dropped, because it's more substantial than having a juice box but is similarly easy to consume. I have a favorite homemade recipe that I'll share on Instagram and in a blog post soon that comes together quick and easy with only 3 ingredients. If you're in Massachusetts, my favorite brand to buy is Carlson Orchards with 27 carbs in 1/2 a cup (you can find it at Whole Foods or directly from Carlson!).
And now we cross over into one of my favorite things in the world. As much as I try to avoid having a favorite dessert to treat a low, sometimes it's unavoidable and both my heart and blood sugar are calling for chocolate. When this happens, I try to stay with something as classic as possible (no nuts) and find that small packaged chocolates are the best for the job. A favorite of mine are the Lindt Chocolate Truffles, and most flavors are around 5 carbs per truffle.
Do you have a go to? Share below or on Instagram!