Has anyone heard of Galatest?

I’m trying to clean out my attic, which was full of stuff from previous owners. One thing I found was a vial labeled “Galatest Sugar Test Poison.”

It’s probably something you put in urine to test for sugar. I used something like that in the 1980s.
But I’m curious to know exactly what it is.


I found this… from 1953 !!!

I found one on Etsy, it says 1950’s.

It must be a urine test. Note the litmus paper.

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The 1950s make sense as most of the stuff in the attic is that age. What I’m curious about is what chemical is considered poison.


Just guessing here; perhaps the poison is glucose. Have you ever heard of the expression, “the dose makes the poison”?

Interesting semantics that this kit was named, “Galatest.” Did you know that a festive party called a “gala” derived from “gallows,” or the mechanism used to execute people? These hangings often drew crowds to witness someone’s demise and featured a decidedly celebratory aspect to them.

Thanks! Your research skills are better than mine.


What they mean is. This is not glucose to be eaten.
It is a poisonous chemical for testing glucose.

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At first I thought maybe it was to test galactose, another sugar. But it’s to test glucose, as the link provided by someone else clarified.

Possible poisons:

Copper sulfate combined with a strong alkali was part of Benedict’s solution which was the old time glucose test.

Partly overlapping my first years: when I couldn’t get Testape, there was a tablet I put in a test tube with urine for testing. It fizzed a lot and got quite hot. I cannot remember the brand name or the chemical but was always under the impression it was super poison.

I remembered “Clinitab” and googling that brought me to “Clinitest” which is indeed a tablet that fizzed and gets hot in a test tube with urine. And this may be a later brand name for what was found in the attic because evidently Clinitest is sensitive to galactose. Clinitest is a test for reducing substances like galactose

Clingiest Reagent tablets! Used them throughout the 1970’s

Yes it got very, very hot and was very poisonous! And I hated every minute of urine testing!!!

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Poisonous Ingredient

The poisonous ingredients in Clinitest tablets are:

  • Copper sulfate
  • Citric acid
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Sodium carbonate

Yeah, symptoms of Clinitest tablet poisoning are not fun and I remember being told as a child to not eat them because they were shaped like candy. And while they were never something I wanted anything to do with, I sure wouldn’t have been eating them. I really hated urine testing!!!

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This is what I started with in 1965, then using tes-tape some time later. I’m pretty sure it was clinitest. Put urine plus water into test tube, add tablet, fizzes up and gets HOT!!!
Then compare color to chart.

Worst part is that it was recommended to first pee (and discard), then test a new pee sample to get better reflection of recent bg.

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I used that before I was Dx’d. My mother was Dx’d with T2 and I knew it was partly genetic, so I’d occasionally test urine with Clinitest. It always stayed blue until one day it didn’t. So I knew before I saw the doctor that I was diabetic.

It took them a long time, and I asked why, and they said they’d never seen so much glucose in the urine. But oddly, I felt fine.


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i remember when it was considered a big breakthrough when you could put the tape into a meter and get a readout of color intensity.I don’t think I ever did this.

I ordered supplies from some drugstore in Boston.


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I wasted a whole bottle of Clinitest when i accidentally spilled the sample into the open bottle. As I recall it all turned red. What i mean is my moms face turned red with anger, when i did that. LOL

I wish the lady who built Clinitest dip sticks was still alive. She lived in Elkhart Indiana. I was able to visit with her once. Absolute delightful at the age 91 when I met her.

She was a brilliant scientist and a wonderful female in her field in the 1950’s and 60’s.

This is her story.


That is a great site and I was able to use my limited chemistry knowledge to understand how all the tests I was using 40-50 years ago actually worked! Not only that I learned about the folks who innovated to meet the need! Thanks!

Additionally it filled me in on the brand name of the early fuzzy bg test strips that had to be washed in water : Ames Dextrostix.

I used Clinitest for over 20 yrs. I can still see it, hear it, and smell it. I can still feel the heat of the test tube when I did a test. I remember fearing the color orange, and can remember how quickly the contents of the test tube would turn blue if my urine was free of sugar. I remember dancing my heart out to make the sugar leave my urine, much as I ride the bike now after I eat. Yes, the tablets were very poisonous and I was very careful with them even when a little girl. Oh, the good old days.


I was diagnosed when blood glucose meters were just coming on line. I used the strips that you used a timer with.
You had to wipe them off with cotton then hit the timer again and compare to a chart.

Then I got the exactech meter that was truly portable. Using technology that is still used now but back then the strips were in foil and there was no way to,control the size of the blood drop.
That’s when I started testing 3 times a day instead of once or twice.

I missed the days of urine testing, although doctors would often ask me if there was sugar in my urine, to which I would say I don’t test my urine.