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March 8, 2005

Hypoglycemia

Question from Lancaster, Ohio, USA:

I am in the process of reading "Think Like a Pancreas," by Gary Scheiner. In the book, the glycemic index of foods is discussed. Am I correct in understanding that a drink of juice, which were taught to give our son when his blood sugar is low, will actually not bring his blood sugar up as fast as a graham cracker or a piece of bread?

Answer:

You were taught correctly. One of the best treatments for low blood sugar, is four ounces of fruit juice because of its ability to bring blood sugars up quickly. Beverages tend to work quicker than solid foods because it takes less time to enter the bloodstream. If juice is unavailable, a backup of graham crackers (three two and one-half inch squares) would be appropriate.

JMS
Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:

No. Juice is a quick acting carbohydrate with only sucrose and fructose in liquid form so works very quickly. Crackers and bread will work somewhat slower than juice so are not good choices for immediate correction of hypoglycemia.

SB