Going low? Take it slow.

Don't overdo it in treating a low blood glucose episode. If you overtreat, you'll end up in a vicious low/high cycle. Over-correcting can make your blood sugar rise too high and also make it harder to control your blood sugar over the next few hours and days. Also, too much glucose or food can, over time, lead to weight gain. Remember the 15 grams/15 minutes rule: take 15 grams of a fast acting carbohydrate and wait fifteen minutes before re-testing. If your levels are still too low, repeat and retest.


While glucose products are a preferred way to correct a low, sometimes you may not have a pure glucose product with you when you need it. Good sources of fast acting carbohydrates include:

  • Glucose tablets (read packaging for equivalent of 15 grams carb)
  • Non-diet soda (read packaging)
  • Smarties candies (3 small rolls)
  • Sweet Tarts (8 tablets)
  • Honey (1 tablespoon)
  • Small box (4 ounces) or half a glass of 100 percent fruit juice
  • Hard candy — peppermints, LifeSavers, etc (about 4 to 7 pieces depending on size)
  • Low or fat free milk
  • Dried fruit, like raisins (2 tablespoons or a small box)



1-Browdows, Robert G., Catherin Williams, John M. Amatruda. Treatment of Insulin Reactions in Diabetics. Journal of the American Medical Association, December 28, 1984. Volume 252, No. 24.
2-Medline Plus. 15/15 Rule. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/19815.htm. (Accessed 7/5/11).


Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, diabetes educator, consultant, and member of the CanAm advisory board; and Riva Greenberg, diabetes patient-expert, author, speaker, and Huffington Post columnist contributed to this tip.

Reviewed by Francine Kaufman, MD. 4/08

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by Brenda Bell
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