When our daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, we stocked up with juice boxes, glucose tabs, cake icing gel, and of course Glucagon.
We almost always reached for the juice box when we needed to treat a low. I think I have given my daughter one glucose tab in the two years since diagnosis.
But then last Halloween during our trick-or-treating excursion, which included both excitement and lots and lots of walking and running, Q went low. She asked if she could have some candy and I reached into her heavy pumpkin-shaped bag and found a treat I thought might be acceptable.
Mind you though I can name serving sizes and carb counts of hundreds of items in my sleep, I don’t know the carb counts of candies.
Later that night when I sorted through her stash of goodies, I pulled out many items which were high in sugar content and seemed like they would be fast acting. (Chocolate is usually not recommended to treat lows because the fat content makes it a slower acting carb.)
I realized that Smarties have basically the same ingredients as glucose tabs, dextrose being the first ingredient. The next trip to Walgreens, no doubt to refill one of our many prescriptions, I compared Smarties and glucose tabs side by side. I decided that get get more bang for your buck with Smarties and a whole lot more fun. (One roll of Smarties has 6 grams of carbs.)
(Tip: make sure kids wash their hands before rechecking in 15 minutes. We’ve gotten some crazy high numbers that were a result of Smarties dust on her fingertips.)
So here’s the conundrum: We spend so much time trying to avoid high sugar items for our type 1 kids, yet they need sugar to treat lows.
Do we let them have a little bit of fun by allowing them candy for lows since they can’t eat it freely at other times?
Or should we stick to healthier choices such as juice (which I never had in my house before diagnosis)?
Seeing a number in the 60’s on the meter, my daughter once exclaimed with delight, “Yesss! I can have some candy!”
By treating lows with candy are we sending the wrong message encouraging kids to want to be low in order to eat forbidden candy fruit?
Additional Resources: D-Mom Blog features carb counts of many common candies.
This post is on the topic “making the low go” as part of the Diabetes Blog Week 2010. For more participating blogs, visit Bitter-Sweet.
And by the way, Skittles totally make my daughter spike!
Read my other Diabetes Blog Week Posts:
Day One: A Day in the Life…
Day Three: Grandma’s Girl
Day Four: Let Them Eat Cake!
Day Five: Gotta Dance!