These rules allow you to match your meal carbohydrates with insulin for better post-meal readings. However, carbohydrates are also needed to raise a low blood sugar. For this, there are two helpful guides:
- One gram of carbohydrate raises the blood sugar about 3, 4, or 5 points for people who weigh 200 lbs., 150 lbs., and 100 lbs., respectively.
- The glycemic index, protein content, and fat content of foods can modify the speed and strength of Guide 1.
Example of Guide 1: Say you weigh 150 lb. and your blood sugar is 60 mg/dl. You plan to eat a meal in a half hour, but you want to raise your blood sugar to 100 mg/dl to be safe during this time.
To get a 40 point rise (from your current reading of 60 mg/dl to your target of 100 mg/dl), you’ll need 40 points / 4 points per gram, or 10 grams of carbohydrate. Two Becton Dickinson Glucose Tablets have 10 grams of carbohydrate and would put you close to your target.
Example of Guide 2: Say you want to eat 15 grams of carbohydrate to correct a low blood sugar. If you use a fast carb like glucose tablets (glycemic index = 100), relief will be apparent in 10 to 15 minutes. If instead you use a slow carb like kidney beans (glycemic index = 33), relief may not be apparent for 2 or 3 hours, assuming your blood sugar has not dropped further during that time. Obviously, using fast carbs to raise low blood sugars is better.