Main Content

Quick-Sugar Foods


If you're at risk for low blood glucose (sugar) levels because of diabetes or some other health condition, you need to always keep some type of food with you that can quickly raise your blood glucose level.

Use this table as a guide to choosing a food to raise your blood glucose.

Adults: Quick-sugar foods that help raise blood glucose1


Amount (15 g of fast-acting

Glucose tablets or dextrose tablets
(preferred choice)

4 -5 tablets

Table sugar

1 tablespoon (15 mL) or 3 packets
dissolved in water

Fruit juice or regular (not diet)
soda pop

2/3 cup (150 mL)

Hard candy like Life Savers

6 pieces

Honey 1 tablespoon (15mL)
Children: Quick-sugar foods to help raise blood glucose
Less than 5 years old
(5 g fast-acting carbohydrate)
5 to 10 years old
(10 g fast-acting carbohydrate)
More than 10 years old
(15 g fast-acting carbohydrate)

Glucose tablet
(4 g)

1 tablet2 or 3 tablets4 tablets

Dextrose tablet (3 g)
2 tablets3 tablets5 tablets
Fruit juice or regular (not diet) soda pop3 tablespoons (40 mL)1/3 cup (85 mL)½ cup (125 mL)

It's important not to over-treat low blood glucose, because it can cause rebound high blood glucose levels and weight gain. These quick-sugar foods will help raise your blood glucose in an emergency, because they are made from almost all carbohydrate. If you are not sure about what other foods you could use to raise your blood glucose, ask your doctor, registered dietitian, or diabetes educator.

When you have diabetes, it's important to re-test your blood glucose level 15 minutes after treating low blood glucose. If your low blood glucose level stays below 4.0 mmol/L, you should treat it again with another round of quick-sugar food. For more information and instructions, see the How to Treat a Low Blood Sugar page.


Adaptation Date: 1/4/2023

Adapted By: Alberta Health Services

Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.