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Quick-Sugar Foods

Overview

If you are at risk for low blood sugar levels because of diabetes or some other health condition, you need to keep some type of quick-sugar food with you at all times. These foods can quickly raise your blood sugar level. Eating quick-sugar food raises your blood sugar in 10 to 15 minutes.

Choose fast-acting carbohydrates.
  • Check nutrition labels for carbohydrate content. Glucose or sucrose is the best choice.
  • Liquids will raise your blood sugar faster than solid foods.
  • Many adults use 15 grams of carbohydrate to raise blood sugar.
  • Children usually need less than 15 grams of carbohydrate. For example, a child under 5 years old might only need 5 grams, and a child 5 to 10 years old might only need 10 grams. Every child is different. Check with your doctor or diabetes educator for the amount that is right for your child's current age and weight.
Do not use any food that contains fat or protein.

Fat and protein can slow how quickly your body absorbs carbohydrates. For example, regular cake frosting is made with both sugar and fat. It's not a good choice as a quick-sugar food. When in doubt, ask your doctor or diabetes educator.

Examples of quick-sugar foods

These quick-sugar foods will help raise your blood sugar in an emergency, because they are made from almost all carbohydrates. This table is just a guide.

Foods that help raise blood sugar

Food

Amount

Glucose tablets

3 to 4 tablets

Table sugar

1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons)

Honey

1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons)

Fruit juice or regular (not diet) soda pop

½ to ¾ cup (4 to 6 ounces)

Hard candy

6 Life Savers

Credits

Current as of: May 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Colleen O'Connor PhD, RD - Registered Dietitian