I had heard of LEVEL Life glucose gels before and was curious about treating low blood sugar with gels. I typically treat with juice or glucose tabs.
When I received an email from Ethan Lewis, founder of LEVEL Foods who also has type 1 diabetes, offering me product samples to try and provide LEVEL Foods and the DOC with feedback on, I jumped at the opportunity. When my care package arrived with samples of each flavor (Mandarin Orange, Vanilla, Caramel and Strawberry Banana), it was really strange because I was kind of looking forward to having a low blood sugar just to try the products!
I had to wait several days to try the gels out, since I’m not in the habit of sabotaging my health with forced lows. I was out shopping with my friend and between stops, I checked my blood sugar. I’d had a bit of a breakfast mishap (read never confirmed/received first part of breakfast bolus) that had resulted in a blood sugar of 317. I’d corrected and thought I’d still be high… I wasn’t. I what a whole 54 mg/dL. And didn’t. feel. a. thing. I find that super scary that I could drop 263 points in the course of a couple of hours and not feel even a little tremble or warmth. I ripped open the packet of Mandarin Orange gel that was in my purse and was unprepared for the gel’s consistency. Aside from making a mess, the orange gel did its job and brought me back up into range.
When I got my samples, I was excited to try the vanilla, so I asked Ethan what his favorite flavor was. He said he liked the Mandarin Orange. The orange flavor was okay, but I’d say it’s not my personal favorite. I also don’t have a good track record with orange flavored anything.
The next day, in an insane turn of events, I was trembling so badly that I could barely stab my finger to test. I read at 65. I hadn’t had symptoms at 65 for months. I ripped open the vanilla, much more carefully, getting the hang of the whole gel thing. It tasted pleasant and also a bit familiar… kind of like honey. Brad tried a little taste and of course liked it (I’m sure you’re not supposed to share low treatments… but oh well.) I was back in range quickly.
Surprisingly, this was my favorite flavor! I wasn’t sure about how strawberry and banana would come across in a gel, but it was actually pretty pleasant. The evening that I had the vanilla flavor, I tested my blood sugar before bed feeling slightly low and found myself at 56. I had most of the gel and gave Brad a taste of it too then had a spoonful of peanut butter. After brushing my teeth and climbing into bed, I was at a safe 133 and the night went smoothly.
Brad also liked this one, but in all fairness it appears that most people without diabetes like glucose gels, glucose tabs and other low treatments… they’re sweet like candy and I’m sure they’re more enjoyable when consumed while not shaking and sweating.
I tried this one last because I’m not a fan of caramel and I don’t believe I’ll be having it again in the future. I had a blood sugar of 63 before bed and treated with the caramel flavor. I was safely in range before drifting off to sleep. The flavor is true a typical caramel taste, so don’t let the fact that I don’t like it deter you. If you like caramel, you’ll probably like this one.
Gel in general is new to me, but I would keep using it. The LEVEL Life gels were easy to open and consume quickly and they worked well. I can’t say it was any faster or better than glucose tablets or juice, but it was more pleasant. Gels don’t produce dust or give you brain freeze.
The flavors are more enjoyable than the typical orange, berry and fruit punch options for juice and tabs. They are easy to transport and single serve so they’re convenient. They also don’t look like medicine… someone actually saw the box and thought it was a package of Starbucks Via.
You can visit LEVEL Life at levelfoods.com to find out more about the products. I was sent product samples of each flavor to try out free of charge but the opinions in this post are my own (and as you can see, I’m particular about flavors).
You can find these gels at CVS, Target, Rite Aid and WalMart as well as order online.
If you could treat low blood sugar with any flavor on earth…. what would it be?