Awareness & advocacy · Everyday life. · T1D 101

A spoonful of sugar IS the medicine.

One of the most common misconceptions about having Type 1 Diabetes is you can’t eat candy & drink sugary drinks. However, the truth is candy & sugary drinks can actually save Luke’s life.

When Luke’s blood sugar falls below 70, it’s time he tries to get it back up into normal range. The quickest way to do this is to give him something that has 15g of pure sugar. Here are some of his favorite things to treat a low.


Glucose Tablets

We usually get the big bottle of tropical fruit flavored from Target. However, I may “splurge” someday and get him the grape and watermelon flavors. He’d love them! He usually takes two glucose tabs to get his sugars back in range.



Each roll of Smarties is 7g of sugar. Luke usually eats two rolls of them to recover from a low. Sometimes, it only takes one roll- it depends on how low he is.


Juice Boxes

I’ve found that most juice boxes that are about 4 oz. each have 15g of sugar. This size is pretty hard to find locally. I have found Apple & Eve brand at our Walmart Supercenter. Unfortunately, they have Sesame Street characters on them. Not cool for a 12-year-old boy. But you do what you’ve gotta do! Sometimes he’s able to bring his sugar up with an Honest Kids Berry Lemonade, even though it’s only 10g of sugar. Luke tells me this is his preferred option to bring up a low.



One pack of fun size Skittles has 15g of sugar. Needless to say, I raided the after-Halloween clearance sales in October. And I plan to do the same after Easter.

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Jelly Bellies

Another favorite is Jelly Belly jelly beans. Each jelly bean has 1g of carbs. So he can eat 15 jelly beans to bring his levels up. After Christmas, I raided the clearance section and grabbed the 1 oz. sample boxes of Jelly Bellies. These are perfect to stash in his bag or my purse. They don’t get smashed into a powder like Smarties, which is awesome.

Luke can also have candy at parties, holidays, as dessert or as an occasional treat, just like any other kid. He just has to bolus for it, like any other food. Candy and other things that are pure sugar could cause a slight spike, even when he boluses for it. However, we don’t tell him he can’t have it. We want him to feel as normal as possible. Fortunately, he has never been a huge candy guy, so it hasn’t really been an issue.

Ironically, Luke was treating a low of 63 as I started to write this blog post. His sugar of choice? Skittles. Now that I’m finished, his blood glucose level is 83. Well done, Skittles. Well done.

*Amazon affiliate links.


5 thoughts on “A spoonful of sugar IS the medicine.

  1. Kristin I have learned so much from your post. Keep them coming. You are great parents that are involved in your sons life. I love that you want him to feel as normal as possible. GREAT JOB!!!!!!!


  2. Thank you for your thorough post. I love that you agree with the 15 g method. I hear too much about chowing down on whatever they want during a low, just to shoot way too high and have to correct. Which then starts the crazy high low cycle. The 15 g method keeps their BC in control. I’m excited to introduce jelly beans in the mix:) Thank you!


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