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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.
Amount (15 g of fast-acting carbohydrate)
Glucose tablets or dextrose tablets (preferred choice)
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
1 tablespoon (15 mL)
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)
2 or 3 tablets
Dextrose tablet (3g)
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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CitationsDiabetes 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.
Adaptation Date: 10/31/2019
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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