Glucose Tablets vs. Glucose Gummies


glucose gummiesMy pancreas went kaput almost 19 years ago. In that span of time, I’ve consumed countless glucose tablets to cure low blood sugars. I’ve tried all sorts of brands and flavors to see what I liked best, because if I’m forced to eat something, I might as well enjoy it as much as possible.

I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter who produces glucose tablets into whichever flavor varieties, they will still essentially be the same thing: chalky discs of pure sugar meant to be scarfed down in the event of a hypoglycemic episode. Yes, I have demonstrated a preference for tropical flavored tablets over the years, and no, I don’t miss the days of punching rectangular tablets out from foil wrapping and being mystified as to how they achieved “pleasant orange flavor” despite their pure white appearance. Despite my obvious taste for some glucose tablets over others, I maintain some resentment towards them for being a boring (but super effective) low treatment.

Before you say, “Wait, why don’t you try gels?”, let me explain why I shy away from them. In my experience they’re 1) messy/sticky and 2) less portable than tablets. I also think that it’s more cost-effective to buy economy-size bottles of glucose tablets (good for at least a dozen lows) than to spend money on little four-packs of gels (good for only four lows). But that’s just my opinion.

What exactly am I getting at here? Well, until recently, I thought that I was resigned to stick with glucose tablets as a low treatment. Sure, I can use real food/juice to cure lows (and I do), but if I’m having a particularly symptomatic low, there’s something about treating it with glucose tablets—I know that they’ll work more quickly than virtually anything else I could consume. So even though they get old after 19 EFFING YEARS of eating them, they do the trick and I guess I’m okay with sticking with them…

…Until I discovered that an alternative exists: Glucose GUMMIES. I could hardly believe my eyes when I first saw them in the store, but I didn’t think twice about buying myself a bottle. I was eager to try them next time my blood sugar was low. Naturally, I didn’t have to wait long. Here’s my official review of glucose gummies:

They come in “assorted flavors”, meaning that there’s apple (green), grape (purple), and orange (um, obviously, it’s colored orange). One serving is three gummies and contains 10 grams of carbohydrates and 40 calories.

I usually like apple flavored candies, so I decided to try the green gummy first. Aesthetically speaking, it LOOKED like a delicious sour gummy: Ring-shaped and coated with a layer of sugar. I started to chew it and noticed its texture was also akin to a regular candy gummy—chewy, soft, and not too sticky. But the more I chewed, the more I noticed a taste that was competing with the apple flavor…I can only describe it as grassy? Disappointed, I finished that gummy and tried orange next. That one tasted like I expected it to, albeit with a slight aftertaste that wasn’t as strong as the apple/grass one. I decided to try grape last, because I’m not a fan of artificial grape flavors. But surprisingly, this was the best of the bunch! It tasted like I wanted it to and came most closely to the flavor of real grape gummy.

While I waited for my blood sugar to come up, I examined the bottle and checked out the ingredients list. Glucose syrup, glucose sugar, invert sugar syrup…no surprises there. My eyes went further down the label and I saw…modified pea starch? Food and plant extracts (black currant, black carrot)? Hmm…perhaps these were the ingredients responsible for the bizarre aftertastes I experienced.

This little dalliance with glucose gummies made me realize that if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The gummies work fine and taste okay, but they were a real let-down because I expected them to blow glucose tablets out of the water. But it’s okay, I don’t really mind continuing my use of glucose tablets. They’ve been one of the few constants when it comes to my diabetes and I can’t imagine kicking them to the curb after all these years together.

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2 years ago

I find gummies easier to chew and swallow when my sugar goes so low that I need help from someone else.

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