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Managing Diabetes: Understanding the 15-15 Rule

If you or someone you know has diabetes, you might have heard about something called the 15-15 rule. The 15-15 rule is an easy way to manage blood sugar levels when they drop too low. Let’s dive in and learn more about what the 15-15 rule is and how it works!

What is the 15-15 Rule?

When someone with diabetes experiences low blood sugar, it’s essential to treat it quickly. The 15-15 rule is a simple guideline to help with this. Here’s how it goes: eat 15 grams (g) of fast-acting carbohydrates, wait for 15 minutes, and then check your blood sugar again. If it’s still low, have another 15 grams of carbs and repeat the process until your blood sugar gets back to a safe level.

How Does it Work?

Our bodies need glucose (sugar) to have energy. For someone with diabetes, low blood sugar can make them feel shaky, dizzy, or even faint. By eating 15 grams of fast-acting carbs, like certain foods or drinks, it helps raise blood sugar levels quickly.

Good Sources of 15 Grams of Fast-Acting Carbs

Knowing which foods or drinks have around 15 grams of carbohydrates makes things easy. Examples include:

  • 4 ounces (or about half a cup) of fruit juice: Look for juices without added sugar.
  • A tablespoon of honey.
  • Four to six hard candies. Check the label to make sure they’re made of sugar.
  • 4 glucose tablets or a small tube of glucose gels. These are designed specifically for treating low blood sugar.

Remember, it’s important to pick options that work best for you and that fall within your doctor’s recommendations.   

Other Diabetes Management Tips to Keep in Mind

Now that you know about the 15-15 rule and good sources of fast-acting carbs, here are a few extra tips to help manage diabetes:

  • Always carry snacks. Having small snacks with you, like crackers or a piece of fruit, can be a lifesaver when blood sugar drops.
  • Talk to your doctor regularly. They can help create a plan tailored just for you, including adjusting medications and helping you know how to manage blood sugar lows and highs. 
  • Stay active. Regular exercise can help control blood sugar levels. Just remember to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

Remember This…

Everyone’s body is different, so what works for one person might not work for another. Listening to your body and working closely with your doctor is the best way to manage diabetes well.

Understanding the 15-15 rule can make a big difference in managing low blood sugar. It’s a simple but effective way to help you feel better when those sugar levels drop. Always be prepared, stay informed, and take good care of yourself!

Author: Amanda Tovar, RDN, LD, CDCES. | CCS Health   

This site is for educational purposes only. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before making any decisions about your health.