Sugar, broken down.

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We all have our go-to’s when our Warriors are having a hypo. Depending on what Eva’s level are- for something more immediate acting, we opt for Super C’s (thank you to the person who invented these!) Otherwise, if she’s nearing a hypo but not quite there yet, we’ll give her some juice. I’ve always wondered about the differences between the various sugars: glucose, sucrose, fructose and dextrose. Specifically their absorption rates and potencies. For me, this information is important as it empowers me to choose the right medicine, for the right situation.

Glucose is a simple sugar and has the quickest effect correcting a hypo. Its less sweet than fructose and sucrose. Emergency glucose comes in either a tablet or a gel form. Interestingly, table sugar, which is made up of glucose and fructose- won’t have the same efficacy as pure glucose (but its still useful when you’re in an emergency situation).

Fructose, which can be found in pure fruit juice, increases the blood sugar more slowly. A glass of juice with 20g carbohydrate will increase the blood sugar slower than glucose tablet/s with the same amount of carb. Fructose is naturally found in fruit, honey, agave and many root veggies but synthetically added to processed foods as corn syrup. Not surprisingly, Fructose has the sweetest taste of the four sugars but the least amount of potency on blood sugar levels. Fructose doesn’t affect blood glucose directly-its absorbed mainly by the liver and only then converted into glucose-so essentially its absorbed more slowly than pure glucose. Its important to note that Fructose can in addition raise (when it eventually does) the blood sugar level by further stimulating the production of glucose in the liver.

Dextrose is also a simple sugar made from corn. It is similar to fructose and chemically identical to glucose. Dextrose often appears in foods as an artificial sweetener and ingredients such as fructose corn syrup. It, too has a very fast action in raising the blood sugar levels, so much so, that when combined with a saline solution it creates a rehydration drip for people suffering from dehydration.

Sucrose is produced naturally in plants, like sugar cane or sugar beets and refined to form what we refer to as table sugar or cane sugar. The body cannot absorb sucrose as is, it must first break it down into the separate glucose and fructose parts.

So in essence, since pure glucose is already in its simplest form, it doesn’t need to be broken down before the body can use it, its absorbed directly into the bloodstream and therefore remains the quickest, most effective medicine for a tail-end hypo. I consider Honey a bit like Switzerland in that it contains 35-40% glucose and an equal amount of fructose, so it might give you a slower increase in your Warriors blood sugar levels, without spiking it too drastically (depending on how much you give).


Thanks for reading. Remember we’re all in this together. Without community, we’re alone. And managing this condition alone is very challenging and lonely! Please feel free to browse my blog for other articles and if there’s any topic you’d like to know more about-do let me know and I’ll try to feature it in my next post! You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram. Or simply subscribe below and keep up to date with my latest discoveries on this condition šŸ™‚

1 comments on “Sugar, broken down.”

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