Apropos to Halloween last week, a doctor I know — who happens to be an endocrinologist — recently offered me a piece of hard candy. Casually. Without hesitation. When I smiled and noted that my "condition" keeps me off that stuff, he insisted I was being "obsessive."
Surely one piece of hard candy won't do much to your blood sugar, right?
The whole thing made me feel validated in my prejudice that most doctors — even those who treat diabetes for a living — really have no idea what it means to live with type 1.
But then I second-guessed myself.
Maybe he was right... maybe one piece of candy wouldn't spoil a happy blood sugar day after all (not that we humans can ever stick to just one piece!)
Anyway, there was only one way to find out. I'd have to do the empirical research. I decided on a three-time N of 1 trial.
On the First Day, I was at a delightful 115 before lunch (the kind of #BGnow that makes food seem more evil than ever, ya know?). While picking up some cottage cheese for lunch, I grabbed one of those strawberry-looking wrapped hard candies off the store counter and popped it in my mouth. Sugar and all. Just like that. No hypo even.
Fifteen minutes later, I clocked in at 132. So a jump of just 17 points. Hmmm.
The Second Time around, I began at a lovely 120 at 10:55 am on a Monday. I very much enjoyed a Werther's Original (after failing to find my all-time favorite hard candy, Coffee Nips). Fifteen minutes later I was at 136, so a 16-point jump. Ironically, at 11:36 am, I was back down to 129 mg/dL — if you have faith in glucose meter accuracy, that is.
In Session Three, I woke up at a perfect round 100 mg/dL. For the sake of science, I popped another Werther's and waited 20 minutes. This time I clocked in at 126, so nearly a 30-point gain from one little sucker.
OK, so my barely-even-close-to-scientific study shows that one hard candy raises my blood sugar by 16-26 points.
Well, that tells me that if I want to use these suckers to treat a low, I probably need 2-3 of them.
It also tells me that if something so tiny (and therefore unfulfilling) raises my blood sugar by that much, it's better off avoided when I am not low.
So what's gotten into endos these days? Are you trying to make me feel normal or something?!