If you are a person with diabetes, controlling your blood sugar level is very important. If your blood sugar drops too low, also called hypoglycemia, it can be dangerous. Here’s an explanation of what happens when your blood sugar drops and the foods you can turn to to get your blood sugar back up. But first, what is low blood sugar?
For someone without diabetes, your body may automatically adjust if your blood sugar drops too low. However, if you are a person with diabetes, a drop in blood sugar can be potentially very dangerous.
Although each individual’s reaction to low blood sugar is different, common signs and symptoms of low blood sugar include feeling shaky, having sweats or chills, irritability, confusion, fast heartbeat, hunger, fatigue, nausea, vision blurry, tingling, or numbness in the tongue, lips, or cheeks; and seizures.
The only way to know if your blood sugar is low is to check your blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar levels get too low and your brain doesn’t get enough glucose (sugar), it can stop working properly, causing symptoms like blurred vision, trouble concentrating, confusion, and slurred speech. If blood sugar remains too low for too long, starving the brain of glucose, this can lead to seizures and even coma.
According to the American Diabetes Association, “Low blood glucose is when your blood glucose levels have dropped enough that you need to take steps to bring them back into your target range.” This is usually when your blood glucose level is less than 70 mg/dL. It is always recommended to talk to your healthcare professional to find out exactly what to do for you.
The 15-15 rule
The American Diabetes Association has the “15-15 rule,” which says you should eat 15 grams of carbohydrate to raise your blood sugar and control it after 15 minutes. If your blood sugar is still below 70 mg/dL, have another 15-gram serving. Repeat until your blood sugar is at least 70 mg/dL. Once your blood sugar is back to normal, eat or snack to make sure it doesn’t go back down.
If you have an episode of low blood sugar, write it down and write down your symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider and they can provide suggestions on ways to prevent this from happening in the future.
The best foods for when you feel your blood sugar low
If you are a person with diabetes and your blood sugar fell below 70 mg/DL, then the American Diabetes Association recommends using the following foods when doing the “15-15 rule.” If you have a blood sugar plummet and need to use this rule, talk to your health care provider.
Drink 1/2 cup of orange juice, apple juice, or any other juice of your choice to get a hefty dose of sugar fast.
Drink 1/2 cup of regular soda; It shouldn’t be a diet soda, as you need the sugars and calories right now.
1 tablespoon of honey has about 17 grams of sugar, which is about the recommended amount to follow the “15-15 rule.”
Keep a bottle of corn syrup in your cabinet and take 1 tablespoon when your blood sugar is below 70 mg/dL. This will provide around 16 grams of sugar.
A tablespoon of white sugar has 12.5 grams of fast-absorbing carbohydrates, which is what you want when your blood sugar has plummeted.
Another quick source of sugar is jelly beans, but the serving size can vary depending on the size of those beans. Check the label and take as much as is equivalent to 15 grams of sugar.
Jolly ranchers or other similar hard candies can also help raise your blood sugar when it’s getting too low. They should be filled with regular sugar and not the sugar free kind. Three Jolly Ranchers has about 17 grams of carbs and 11 grams of sugar, which is what you’d need to follow the “15-15 rule.”
These gummy-type candies are usually brightly colored, made of gelatin or pectin, and dusted with a light coating of sugar. You usually see them on store shelves during the Christmas season. Eight drops of standard gum have around 15 grams of sugar, but read the label as it can vary between brands.
As you can see, there are plenty of food options to eat quickly when you feel your blood sugar dropping. You can keep a few of these on hand around your home so you always have access to a quick sugar fix, and you can even carry them strategically in your car or purse. Just make sure you choose the items that cannot be melted!