I've been curious if dates are one of the best things to have for a low blood sugar, for it to rapidly rise. The glycemic index of dates are 103 (where glucose tabs are 102)! A question that is occurring for me is could a lower glycemic drink (such as gatorade, or juice) raise your blood sugar faster, because it is a liquid and could be more easily absorbed into your blood stream? If a food is high on the glycemic index, can a liquid with a lower index raise it faster? Or not? What do you think?

Views: 1850

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

The best way to correct lows is with fast acting glucose, basically anything that's pure sugar. Fruit, like dates, has fiber & fiber slows down absorption. I think glycemic index is useless for T1s. Glycemic index is determined using non-diabetics. If you want to be precise about raising a low, it's better to use something with a known amount of glucose. Difficult to be exact with dates because they're not a uniform size. Also hard to do with liquids unless you want to carefully measure. When I'm low, it's easier to pop jelly beans (1 gr per) than start figuring out combos of food or drink. Jelly beans, or other candy, are portable.
Ah fiber, I didn't think about that. Thanks for informing me, I appreciate it. Yeah that's a good point about also being precise -- I tend to guestimate which doesn't always level out well. Do you think though, if a liquid has the same GI or sugar as a jellybean (with no fiber), would it raise your blood sugar faster?
Guesstimating is a crap shoot. It's hard to be precise with liquid. What I was told to do is let the sugar slowly dissolve in my mouth for the quickest effect. Hard to do this with liquid, but you can experiment to see what's the fastest route for you.
I'm a T1 and I use foods with a lower glycemic index to smooth my post meal curve. I don't think it is useless at all. On the question at hand, I just use glucose tabs.
I agree with young-at-heart, I find fruits very useful in my diet and eat a lot of them.

As to the question about whether liquids are faster, the answer would be that they're slightly faster since you don't need to wait for them to dissolve before swallowing. But glucose tabs dissolve in your mouth (if chewed) in seconds so it would be hard to measure the difference. Note that glucose can't get into your blood until it is dissolved and swallowed - it passes into your blood from your intestines and not before.
+1 on fruit. I try to eat some at every meal
I agree. Tabs are great for lows because I know how much I am getting and what to expect. Low glycemic foods help to keep my bg level. Especially for snacks and exercise.
Glycemic index was researched specifically for diabetics; you probably mistyped. A carb is not a carb, etc. Same gram of one type of carb can raise you faster than another. Glycemic Index of great import to Type 1 diabetics. To raise a low blood sugar, dextrose, soda or juice. For lows in the 60s we give grapes which are as fast as juice. I'll bet the dates would work but not for a severe low.
The fastest way to treat a low BG is pure glucose, and not just any "sugar". Glucose tabs or gel, glucose candy (smarties, etc) are therefore the best.

I looked up the glycemic index of dates at glycemicindex.com, and dates were only about 50 on a scale of 100 for glucose. Sugar (sucrose) is about 60 on this scale. So clearly dates are not as fast as pure glucose but similar to table sugar.

But that said, I have found dates to be one of the faster fruits to bring BG up if it isn't so low that it feels like an emergency (when my BG is in the 50's to 70's). I routinely eat fruits of all kinds to balance BG. Dates are convenient since they don't spoil and the sugar is more concentrated than other fruits. I always keep a container of them around. Each of the dates I buy are about 6 g of carb per date, so they're pretty easy to measure. Raisins are similar in glycemic index and also good to bring BG up, but are a bit harder to measure - about a dozen raisins is around 5 g of carb.

If I'm going hiking or exploring in a new city where I'll be walking for a very long but unpredictable amount of time, I have made it a habit to carry raisins or dates with me, in addition to the emergency glucose I carry. Great to munch on if you feel your BG going low because of the unpredictable extra exercise.
Did you know that Corn Syrup (Karo Syrup) is primarily glucose suspended in water?
Yes, in fact I bought some recently out of curiousity. Unfortunately corn syrup is inconvenient to carry around so I still carry glucose candy instead. Also you need to be careful when you buy it that you aren't getting the corn syrup which has a high percentage of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). Check the ingredient label if you're buying it for that reason.
I think this is YMMV issue.

If it's a mild hypo, I correct using whole fruit. Strawberries, cherries, oranges, raspberries, blueberries. I once even used a punnet of cherry tomatoes - and it worked too.

It's a continuing source of contention between me and my diabetic team. They insist I shouldn't use cherries to treat a low. But my glucose meter tells me cherries work fast enough, so the meter wins.

I don't really like dates so I don't use them, but have on occasion used figs to treat a mild hypo.

But when it's a serious low then I reach straight for sugary liquids. Like this morning when I woke up so sweaty I almost slipped down the stairs. BG was only 24!




From the Diabetes Hands Foundation blog...

DHF Joins Diabetes Advocacy Alliance

Diabetes Hands Foundation is incredibly honored to join the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance, an organization with the drive and potential to affect a powerful, positive impact on diabetes and healthcare policy. Diabetes Advocacy Alliance is a 20-member coalition of leading professional Read on! →

Helmsley Charitable Trust Renews Support for DHF

HELMSLEY CHARITABLE TRUST GRANTS SUPPORT TO DIABETES HANDS FOUNDATION FOR FOURTH YEAR  Funding in 2015 to support major transitions in programs and leadership at Diabetes Hands Foundation BERKELEY, CA: February 18, 2015 – The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Read on! →

Diabetes Hands Foundation Team


Melissa Lee
(Interim Executive Director, Editor, has type 1)

Manny Hernandez
(Co-Founder, has LADA)

Emily Coles (Head of Communities, has type 1)

Mila Ferrer
(EsTuDiabetes Community Manager, mother of a child with type 1)

Mike Lawson
(Head of Experience, has type 1)

Corinna Cornejo
(Director of Operations and Development, has type 2)

Desiree Johnson  (Administrative and Programs Assistant, has type 1)


Lead Administrator

Brian (bsc) (has type 2)


Lorraine (mother of type 1)
Marie B (has type 1)

DanP (has Type 1)

Gary (has type 2)

David (has type 2)


LIKE us on Facebook

Spread the word


This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

© 2015   A community of people touched by diabetes, run by the Diabetes Hands Foundation.

Badges  |  Contact Us  |  Terms of Service