Good Enough to Choke Down

One the most annoying things about having diabetes is suffering through the lows. And for me, one of the most annoying things about suffering through (and recovering from) those lows is eating the right thing(s).

I go through phases. Jelly Bellies are a longtime favorite, but they tend to send my blood sugar too high, and once that bag is open, they’re almost completely irresistible. And I’m a Jelly Belly purist, so even when my blood sugar is down around, say, 42, you’ll still catch me eating them one by one, prioritizing in order of favorite flavors, painstakingly picking out the licorice and root beer beans. That’s efficient.

Coke or Sprite is another standby, but I’m always struck with a HFCS hangover once the can is empty and my blood sugar’s back up to normal.

Juice boxes are a classic, but they don’t travel so well, and trying to free the straw from its cellophane wrapper while I’m in the grips of a sweaty, shaky low is beyond frustrating. I’ve been known to crush empty juice boxes on my forehead in a fit of post-treatment irritation.

I never really even considered using glucose tabs until I attended Friends for Life. Tabs were everywhere — the only sound more ubiquitous than the “beep-beep-boops” of Minimeds and Pings was the little snap those tab tubes made when the caps were plucked off and replaced. All the cool kids had glucose tabs, and they were eating them like, well, candy.

So, as I looted the Friends for Life exhibition hall, I couldn’t not stock up on free samples of glucose tabs. For the most part, they were all mouth-puckeringly, tooth-achingly revolting. I don’t know if it’s just because I associate the taste with one of my least favorite feelings, but I disdain glucose tabs. I can’t do it. Couldn’t do it. I mean, how hard can it be to make pure sugar palatable?

But then I got to the Glucolift samples. Orange Cream? Why not? I used the samples I had to treat a first-thing-in-the-morning low, fully expecting to get a mouthful of that chokey, powdery tang. But as I chomped, I realized: these actually tasted like Orange Cream. Sweet and citrus-y, but with a little mellowness to cut the sour taste. Bright notes of dextrose monohydrate, with a smooth magnesium stearate finish.

I ate another one, and another one after that. I was actually treating my low blood sugar with glucose tabs and I didn’t want to cut out my tongue!

Go ahead and try it, low blood sugar.

Inspired and hopeful, I sought out some Glucolift online (Not sold in stores!) and ordered three jars from The labels say things like “Non-GMO,” “Created by a Diabetic” and “Gluten-Free.” That’s all appreciated, I guess, but I’m just thrilled to be part of the glucose tablet club. I’ve got a jar sitting on my desk, one by my bed, and another knocking around in my purse.

There’s a weird kind of confidence that comes with having so many glucose tabs at my disposal. They’re so official, so accurate, so darn fast-acting, and so easy to carry. I don’t have to worry about Swedish Fish melting all over the bottom of my purse or that I might go way overboard on the buttered popcorn Jelly Beans. Now, I’m a real Type 1 diabetic, with real glucose tabs to treat my all-too-real lows.

(In case you’re wondering, no one pays me to write about anything. Ever. I’m just excited to have a delicious new weapon in my war on wildly fluctuating blood sugars.)

13 comments on “Good Enough to Choke Down

  1. Welcome to the club, of those who eat gluc tabs willingly and sometimes think of them as candy rather than Low-treatment… Will have to try those!

  2. Robyn says:

    Mmmm these sound wonderful! Im gonna order some now ! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Melissa E says:

    i always used jelly beans to treat too, until I started eating them when I wasn’t low..oops! Glucose tabs work well and I am not tempted to eat them when I am not low! The orange cream sounds yummy!

  4. Heather says:

    I choke down the disgusting ones now, thanks for sharing & making me laugh!

  5. shannon says:

    i keep forgetting to remind myself to hunt these down. thanks for the poke. love the retro label stylie!

  6. Paul M says:

    The orange cream may make the GlucoTabs better…but I’m telling you…nothing…no, nothing beats Cliff’s Shot Bloks. Six to a sleeve, 8 gms of fast acting carbs each, available through Amazon, shelf stable, taste great…and very unlikely that you’re going to snack on them at other times.

  7. Meagan says:

    Love finding out about new options, thanks for sharing this. I despise Glucose tablets too, going to find some of these! I’m impressed that they were “Created by a Diabetic”…much better than some mad scientist! 🙂

  8. I had to stop using Jelly Bellies for exactly the same reasons. Not only would I go too high, but I would literally pick through the bunch until I found the ones I liked, even if my BG was down in the low 40s. And because I was low, I of course had trouble figuring out what I was doing. (BTW, I like the buttered popcorn ones the best). Anyway, I just ordered me some Glucolift Tabs via Amazon. Need to find something different. I love juice boxes, but they are too heavy to carry around all the time. I also use Gu gels sometimes, but they usually make my go way too high, so I save those for the bad lows.

  9. Scott S says:

    I have tried GlucoLift tablets myself. Now, scrutinizing the source of sugar during a hypo is never a wise time to be having that internal debate, but there IS actually something to consider. In the U.S., virtually all the sugar (by that, I mean real sugar, not sugar-like products such as HFCS or various other sugary substances) is made from genetically-modified sugar beets. GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are organisms (including plants) that have been created through the gene-splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This relatively new science allows DNA from one species to be injected into another species in a laboratory, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. In the U.S. the FDA approved commercial production of GMOs based on studies conducted by the companies who created them and profit from their sale. Many health-conscious shoppers find the lack of rigorous, independent, scientific examination on the impact of consuming GMOs to be cause for concern. Of course, Americans with diabetes are also given NO alternative to genetically-engineered insulin in spite of evidence that its not actually bioequivalent to natural insulin, but the point is that if you buy glucose for treating lows, you are forced to buy a product that has been genetically modified, while there ARE natural alternatives. My only wish is that the company that makes these (Jungell Inc.) would make them more widely available at retailers like Whole Foods.

  10. Auntly H says:

    How did I miss those samples? I’m going to have to order some to try.
    If they’re good, I’ll have to find a way to better secure the cap on the tube that holds 10. I lost precious sour apple tabs (least revolting flavor from the big guys) when the top popped off and they ground themselves into a fine powder in Becca’s pack. Sigh.

  11. Debra says:

    I may have to check these out, the Cherry ones look very interesting. I actually don’t mind the Glucose Tablets. I like a few other commenter use them instead of candy, as I’m afraid that I would want to eat the candy when I wasn’t low, or eat too many. I know that the Glucose Tablets are just there as life sustaining sugar.

  12. Martin Wood says:

    I don’t know how I missed this post until now, but buttered popcorn flavored Jelly Bellies are OMGWTFBBQ! I love them. Maybe we can convince Jelly Belly to get in the hypo treating business next. Thanks for recommending the Glucolift! I’m going to order some next time I restock.

  13. Kim says:

    Heather – I missed these samples, too! But “moar glucose tabs” have been on my grocery list for a while, and now I feel that I need to try these. Intrigued, I am.

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