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Quick-Sugar Foods

Topic Overview

If you're at risk for low blood 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 sugar level.

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

Adults: Quick-sugar foods to help raise blood sugarfootnote 1

Food

Amount (15 g of fast-acting carbohydrate)

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 (15 mL)

Children: Quick-sugar foods to help raise blood sugar

Food

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 (4g)

1 tablet

2 or 3 tablets

4 tablets

Dextrose tablet (3g)

2 tablets

3 tablets

5 tablets

Fruit juice or regular (not diet) soda pop

3 tablespoons (40mL)

1/3 cup (85 mL)

1/2 cup (125 mL)

It's important not to over-treat low blood sugar, because it can cause rebound high blood sugar levels and weight gain. These quick-sugar foods will help raise your blood sugar 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 sugar, ask your doctor, registered dietitian, or diabetes educator.

When you have diabetes, it's important to re-test your blood sugar level 15 minutes after treating low blood sugar. If your low blood sugar 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.

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References

Citations

  1. Diabetes Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee, et al. (2018). Targets for glycemic control. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 42(Suppl 1): S42–S46. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2017.10.030. Accessed October 15, 2018.

Credits

Adaptation Date: 10/31/2019

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.