Portable Glucose Products for Diabetes

Since a low blood sugar may hit at any time, we insulin-dependents know that it’s imperative to get some quick-acting sugar on hand just in case.

For me personally, lows have often been known to strike when I’m in the midst of something that doesn’t lend itself into a break — especially if I am not with my wife, that carries a large enough handbag to keep my gear on hand for quick help if needed.

As a daily newspaper reporter and then a legal reporter for several years prior to joining the ‘Mine, I needed to be quick on my toes and often found myself moving low while out on mission or sitting in a court trying to comprehend complex legal arguments.

Glucose tabs have been a favorite of mine because they are quick and easy to eat.     (My wife has had to remind me they are not candy, also, because I am who fond of eating them…)

The problem is, as a guy, I fight with “mobile” sugar options. I really don’t like toting things or luggage together with me. And let us face it a tube of 10 tabs or lighter items are not the most discreet for any person, especially in summer when you’re not wearing a coat and it’s going into the pants pockets.

I was like those white BD sugar tabs that were thin enough so I could throw ’em within even my wallet or my pocket. But because those were discontinued, I have been looking for a suitable replacement.

Three new options are on my radar these days, as good choices. All are stocked in golf bag, desk, car, my home, and areas I might be at when they are needed:

This product might be known by you by another name, also.

Remember GlucoBrands and the GlucoPouch? We wrote back and I’d fallen in love with all the easy-to-open glucose packets when they hit on the market.

Ethan — a fellow PWD (person with diabetes) diagnosed at age 12 back at the 90s — wasn’t satisfied with the beginning of GlucoBrands, which started at the July 2011 annual Kids with Diabetes Friends for Life event and, at that time, had just 1 taste, mandarin orange.

Ethan chose they could use a new refresh under a year in after reviewing the marketing and consumer feedback.

So he changed the name to Level Foods LLC, relocated from Tampa, FL, to Denver, CO, also setup store. The business makes a revised sugar gel pouch offered.

Ethan informs us that he did not think about diabetes stigmas if he started his business, but that’s what led to these changes.

He discovered people don’t like shopping in health aisles or wish to place D-products in their carts because it was too clear and potentially awkward.

“At the close of the afternoon, I wish to be like everyone else and not be singled out for my diabetes,” he explained. “I  was trying to find a brand that talked to individuals and had no stigma attached to it, and also we wanted a cool name that didn’t have that gluco-aspect — a brand devoted to me that doesn’t shout, ‘Hey, I still have a disorder!'”

The product concept pretty much stayed the same, although therefore that the name shifted. Same pouch format, though using a more glossy and package. And four flavors are now available — just two “crazy” choices in vanilla and caramel, and two fruity flavors because as Ethan states “we grew up on those tabs.”

Now found in tens of thousands of Walmart stores nationally, the mass production led to a price drop, therefore pouches are now selling at half of the initial price, currently $2.88 to get a three-pack .

In fact, LEVEL LIFE is even developing a new flavor with the support of the DOC… on World Diabetes Day, the company announced a competition to decide on the next glucose gel taste. You also can enter the “Fuel a Cure” campaign, which is open for taste nominations via Feb. 13, 2013. When the new winning taste hits the shelves, $1 of every pouch sale will be donated to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and JDRF. Any fans of this company’s Facebook page can submit taste ideas there!

And Ethan says his company is in the final phases of developing a completely different line of merchandise that go beyond treating low blood sugars. “They’re super-cool, and I say that as a person with diabetes” He told us remaining. “We are not just focused on lows, but managing blood sugars,” he states.

I hope to be a fan, when the line of D-products is anything such as this sugar gel.

My assessment of the sugar gel:

Flavor: The new flavors are good, but not too overpowering (such as the previous GlucoPouch taste of Mandarin Orange, which made me gag instantly – the brand new one does not!)

Portability: The slim and light package is simple to transport pretty much everywhere, in briefcases, golf bags, pants pockets to match coats or outside jackets. Not long ago when I sat down together with all the pouch in my back pocket, I was happily surprised to see it had not exploded at a goo!

Benefits of Opening (key during an actual hypo): There is no clear plastic seal that makes it harder to access if you’re low, so that’s a rare bonus! The pouch shirt comes off with a tear, when you squeeze it like a 26, and the gel inside comes out easily. A toothpaste result made sure I got 15 grams without missing any inside, although A little stayed in the package.

Truly, I really like this sugar gel, am hard-pressed to find anything not to like about it. Would recommend it.

It’s an Pixy Stick full of flavorful goodness that is blood-sugar-boosting? Who would not like this?

That is what QuickSticks is about. The Dallas, TX, company (owned by QS Holdings) makes these fast-acting sugar sticks because the most recent options for PWDs, made as little packets of gluten-free (!) Dextrose that look and feel like the traditional Pixy Stick! They come in watermelon and sour apple flavors, and they are very simple to start and eat. Each packet contains 10 grams of carbohydrates.

Word of caution, however: be careful how you open the package, as an whole mouthful of either taste is a bit too much at once…

They can be located in retailer shops such as Walgreens, Walmart, Costco and Kroger (amongst others), and even are available online via Amazon.com for $4.25 for a box of a dozen sticks.

In November, QS Holdings teamed up with basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal to help increase awareness and promote their product. Shaq has family members news and as an element of the campaign he is doing videos and media appearances.

“My goal with Quick Sticks is to deliver a secure, fun and efficient product, as well as inform people of the advantages of using resources such as Certified Diabetes Educators, the American Diabetes Association and the JDRF,” Shaq said in a statement back in November.

That’s cool, except we’re left wondering why PWDs can not just buy real Pixy Sticks, which market on Amazon for about $2.30 for 10-count. Hmm…

Another fresh quick-acting sugar option, the GlucoLift tabs have a certain appeal for those searching for the all-natural glucose tab variety. Gluten-free, these tabs are flavored with berries cherries, and orange and lotion in the varieties and have no artificial additives or dyes.

We wrote concerning this company back in 2011 and its awesome founder Chris Angell, a fellow PWD who was originally misdiagnosed with type two at age 30 before learning he had type 1.

These alternative tabs are now quite popular, gaining the first-ever product seal of approval from diabetes summit group TCOYD. Also, a percentage of the profits goes toward sporting group InsulinDependence and its “1% for the Planet” campaign.

Flavor: Some say this product doesn’t feel chalky like traditional sugar tabs, but that doesn’t really phase me, because I like all of them and think they could double-up because candy-like treats. Yum.

Portability/Packaging: To me, the tubes and jars are just as with any other brand of sugar tab out there. However, what I really like is that the small sample baggies. I be in my way and can catch three or even two of them! Quite guy-friendly, GlucoLift!

And the price is fair, also: The sample packs are actually not for resale and are just that (a sample), but I could buy a jar of 40 orange lotion sticks for $8.99 online and then just restock my little baggies as often needed, while retaining the larger jar in my vehicle or desk drawer.

These are just three of the available in the marketplace for us PWDs. What others have you attempted?

Which do you prefer, if you’re not up for carrying bag or a bag around, and how can you manage the portability? (Ladies – does that ever apply for you too)?

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn’t stick to Healthline instructions. For more information regarding Healthline’s venture with Diabetes Mine, please click here.

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