Diabetes Q and A

By Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N

Q I recently heard that a person shouldn’t eat chocolate to treat low blood sugar. Is that true?

A The fat in chocolate slows down its absorption, so it won’t raise your glucose level as quickly as other foods will. If that’s all you have handy you can use it, but it isn’t the best choice.When treating a low blood sugar event, use the 15 Rule:87690229

  1. Eat 15 grams of fast acting carbohydrate
  2. Wait 15 minutes
  3. Test again
  4. Repeat if needed

The following items contain approximately 15 grams of carbohydrate:

  • ½ cup (4 oz) of orange juice
  • Half a can of regular (not diet) soda
  • 2-5 Glucose tablets (see label)
  • A small tube (0.68 ounces) of Cake Mate decorator gel
  • 6-8 ounces of skim milk
  • Two tablespoons of raisins
  • 5-7 Lifesavers candies

Your blood sugar level will begin to rise before the unpleasant feelings disappear, so don’t keep eating or drinking until the feelings go away. That will cause your glucose level to climb too high and encourage you to gain weight.

Q My cousin dared me to ask you this. What affect does pot have on diabetes?

A I assume that you are asking about marijuana, right? Most research studies have found that marijuana has little effect on blood sugar levels. The food cravings that often accompany its use may, however, cause unwanted weight gain and blood sugar swings. Under marijuana’s influence, a person might also neglect his or her diabetes and make poor control decisions. Smoking pot isn’t a good idea for anyone and can cause real problems if you have diabetes.

*This article originally appeared in 2006
**please consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diabetes regimen.

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