The Need For Speed

Low blood glucose is probably my biggest pet-peeve in terms of Diabetic symptoms. I’ve been fortunate enough that with the exception of a bit of Diabetic Macular Edema, I haven’t had to deal with the more extreme Diabetic side effects. But given that I’m a fitness enthusiast with just a hint of crazy, low blood sugar is definitely one of my most-visited Diabetic symptoms.

So, how does one best treat a low? The standard answer is the rule of 15/15. Provide 15 grams of fast-acting glucose and wait 15 minutes. If your blood sugar is still low, then repeat. This isn’t always feasible, since you may be in the middle of a 60-kilometre bike ride with no place to rest or take shelter, and you need to boost your blood glucose NOW! So what’s the best answer for getting some fast-acting glucose into your system?

For myself, I like to use regular jellybeans. The ones usually put out by Dare or Ganong. They usually sit at about 2 grams of carbs per jellybean, so wolfing down about a dozen usually does the trick. I find they work the fastest and the best for me in particular, especially in the middle of the night. Grabbing two handfuls puts me at just over a dozen jellybeans, which allows me to safely go back to sleep.

Every body is different, and every Diabetic will be just as different. What this means for you is that you may need to experiment and try a few different sources of fast-acting carbohydrate to figure out what works best for you. Maybe jujubes will be preferable over jellybeans, or maybe it’s apple sauce, like one of my fellow bloggers prefers.

What you want to try and avoid, is any source of glucose that is high in fat, like chocolate. Although chocolate will have the desired effect, it’ll simply take a whole lot longer since the body will need to break down the fat before getting to the glucose. And since chocolate is essentially a brick of sugary fat, your blood may continue to drop while your body is trying to process the fat before giving you what you need.

Glucose tablets can be ideal, although they don’t seem to work well for me. I usually have to eat the entire package before I feel or see any noticeable difference. And that’s the thing: what works for you depends on your metabolism, how low your blood sugar may be and how quickly you need it to rise. If you’re lounging at home, binging Netflix, chocolate may be a perfectly acceptable option for you. It’s pretty subjective.

At the end of the day, monitoring your blood sugars through a CGM or by testing via finger-prick multiple times throughout the day is an absolute must to ensure you maintain good blood glucose levels. But if you’re suffering a low and need to get yourself up there a bit faster, be sure to chose a fat-free option that can be easily and quickly consumed. ☯

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I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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