A common trend in the food industry these days is the push for more organic, natural foods to replace or join their artificially-sweetened, artificially-colored counterparts. No one wants extra chemicals and preservatives in their food and beverages, right? So why would PWDs be any different with their glucose tablets? Which are, you know, supposed to be pure sugar? Glucose tabs are joining the organic movement with the launch of two new lines of glucose tablets, Dex4 Naturals from Atlanta-based CanAm Care and GlucoLift from the San Diego-based start-up Jungell.
CanAm Care's Dex4 Naturals
CanAm Care came onto the glucose tablet scene a few years back, and then became the primary player with their Dex4 products when BD — the makers of those chalky glucose tablets known and hated by almost anyone who tried them — sold their glucose tablet business to CanAm Care two and half years ago. Many people were thrilled with the addition of tastier flavors, like raspberry, grape and even sour apple.
But there's a small subset of loyal BD customers who were not happy. BD's glucose tablets were originally made free of artificial flavors and colors. CanAm Care has received phone calls over and over from customers complaining about the Dex4 products.
"The customers were saying, 'We used to buy the BD product because it was dye-free'," explains Phil Willis, VP of Marketing. "They said, 'We don't want any color in our glucose. We don't want artificial flavoring in our product.'"
In response, last month, CanAm Care launched new Dex4 Naturals, a pure glucose tablet made without any color dyes or gluten or caffeine. Right now, they're only selling them in orange flavor, which I'm not personally a huge fan of. But if sales go well, Dex4 Naturals plan to expand into other flavors.
"We are working a flavor strategy that will hopefully hit markets in 2012," Phil says. "We hope to bring something new and exciting to glucose tablets. They've basically been flavored the way they are for about 20 years. Even competitors basically copy what we've done. We want to push the limits on what flavor options could be delivered, and deal with this flavor fatigue that's a big issue with glucose tablets."
(Wow, it's almost like they're listening to customers, no?)
Dex4 Natural's are already available in Walmart and Walgreens, and will be coming to RiteAid soon. The tablets are available in 50-count bottles for $6.99 and rolls of 10 for $1.49, and each tablet contains 4 grams of sugar. CanAm Care is providing DiabetesMine readers with a Buy One Get One coupon for any of the Dex4 products!
CanAm Care is also a big advocate of getting folks to make the switch from treating low blood sugars with juice or soda to treating them with glucose tabs. Why? To sell product, of course. But also to help with your health! Because if you treat just three low blood sugars a week (the average for a PWD) with juice, you're consuming 26,000 extra calories a year! That's seven extra pounds you'll gain! Want to know how many extra calories YOU are consuming, by treating lows with items packed with fat and calories? Check out CanAm's nifty "Smart Choices" calculator.
San Diego-based Chris Angell was one of CanAm Care's dissatisfied customers. After years of disliking glucose tablets because of their "ingredients, taste, texture, and packaging," Chris, a 30-year-old type 1 PWD with no food science background, went about creating his own glucose tabs line. Launched a little over a year ago, his product GlucoLift uses non-GMO dextrose (which means the dextrose is not from corn), and comes in three flavors: Orange Cream, Wild Berry, and Cherry.
"Our cherry flavor comes from cherries, our berry flavor from berries, and our orange-cream flavor from oranges and cream," says Chris. "We don't use any FD&C or Lake colors, as they have been linked to numerous health risks, and serve no benefit in terms of raising blood sugar. My feeling is that diabetes is enough to deal with; there's no need to ingest risky chemicals to treat low blood sugar when they don't provide any added benefit."
GlucoLift products also come with an easy-to-open flip-top, unlike the stoppers or twist caps on the Dex4 products. Chris says those products can be difficult to open when low, shaky and disoriented (as pointed out so eloquently by our D-blogger friend Bernard Farrell).
GlucoLift is also the product to receive an "Approved Product" seal from Take Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD), the popular conference series founded by endocrinologist and type 1 PWD Dr. Steve Edelman, who is also Chris's endocrinologist. We haven't had a chance to try GlucoLift ourselves here at the 'Mine yet, but Chris says, "Dr. Edelman is a big fan of the tablets."
You can snag samples when Chris exhibits at TCOYD conferences, and GlucoLift is also available on Amazon.com for $8.99 for a bottle of 40 tablets. Like Dex4, each tablet contains 4 grams of sugar.
We're definitely big fans of getting rid of dyes and other artificial crap! We agree with Chris that there's enough artificial garbage in the food we all eat already, so no need to add it to our glucose tabs.
So, anyone planning on making the leap to organic hypo treatments? Also, who's got a favorite flavor? Amy and I both prefer the berry varieties ourselves.