Is there a certain level that my blood sugar should be for me to have a 1 carb snack? Please help:)

I am a newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic, and my doctors have told me to make sure I have a one carb snck between meals. The trouble is no matter when I eat a snack , even if my sugar is normal it still seems that my sugar shoots up anyways!!! I am so frustrated, I eat low carb snacks and I still have this problem. I feel cursed!!! Any suggestions?? Pleaseeee…

Doctors are justifably concerned about hypos (particularly for newly diagnosed patients starting on insulin), so they push the snacks between meals. If your BG is on target between meals & you’re testing regularly, you don’t have to snack.

What are you eating for the 1 carb snack (is it really just 1 carb)? How much does it go up after snacking & how far between meals are you eating snacks? What’s your BG 2 hours after meals & then after snacking between meals?

Could be that you’re not really going up from the 1 carb snack, but that the higher BG may be from the meal before. High protein & high fat meals take longer to digest. Or, you could have slow digestion.

You should talk to your doctor about adjustments to your basal dose if only 1 carb causes a large spike.

She probably means 1 carb exchange, which would be 15 grams of carb. Stephanie, you’ll find a lot of us refer to the actual number of grams of carb and not how many carb servings something is. Both are correct though.

I agree with you, Gerri. There’s likely no reason to keep the snack in her regimen if it is spiking her BG and she isn’t going low without it.

You’re right, Melissa, & thanks. Duh on me! I’d better go test because I must be low to not realize what Stephanie meant. I keep hoping against hope that doctors will start patients immediately on counting carbs.

Stephanie, sorry for confusing you.

Stephanie, I think you should let your blood sugar guide the decision. Try skipping the snack and measure every 1-2 hours and see what happens to your blood sugar. If it is stable, then you may not need to snack.

Also, I would highly recommend looking up and reading about carbohydrate counting. The doctors started me on a similar system as the one that you mentioned. I found carb counting on my own and my doctor was happy that I learned it and wanted to follow it. It allows you more flexibility in your diet and better control.

Take care!

Thanks everyone :slight_smile: I am still so confused and frustrated with all of this!!! I guess it all comes with time…hopefully :frowning:

Stephanie, let your numbers be your guide. If they are withing your range and stay there I’d say skip the snack ! Go out and find the book “The Calorie King Calorie Fat & Carb” and carry it with you. I’ve been using it for years and I think I’d be lost without it ! After a while tho the numbers just come naturally !


Really is overwhelming. I used to cry from sheer confusion. Promise you that it does get easier.

If I had a 15 carb (one exchange) snack with no insulin injection to cover it, my BG would shoot up at least 150 points. Quite ridiculous how doctors push those snacks.

A great place to start is Jenny’s site

Hi, Stephanie,
What are you taking for insulin? If you are not producing insulin of your own, 15g of carbs will push your BG up 75 points. Are you taking any fast acting insulin with meals? I need to take a shot of fast acting insulin for anything over 5g carbs if I want to keep my BG stable.

I take novolog . I am on 10 units at breakfast, 15 units at lunch, and 15 units at supper,and use the sliding scale if my sugar is high. Then I take 18 units of levimer at bed time. I have noticed that if I dont eat a snack before bed time I will wake up in the morning with high BG!!! Then again if my sugar is a little high, I am confused on eating a snack or not. Some nights I go to sleep with that deep hunger feeling because my sugar is high and I am scared to eat anything. I have always wondered if anyone with type 1 has to take insulin before a snack. Sorry for all the questions but I feel so lost right now. I am the only one in my family that has this, and I feel so alone and scared sometimes.

I will check this site out . Thanks :slight_smile:

Depending on Stephanie’s individual insulin sensitivity ratio, 15g could raise her any number of points. 15g of carb will raise me considerably higher than 75 mg/dL, personally.

Stephanie, you are asking great questions. You are on a very standard (but very primitive) dosing schedule that they start MANY type 1s on. Right now, you may not see tight control as they work these factors out. And all of this may or may not change drastically as your life goes forward. Take a deep breath. We’ll help you eat like a normal person! laughs

Many of us here do not take set doses of insulin or eat a set amount of carbs per meal, but do “carb counting” (that Kristin and Gerri have mentioned) and take a set number of units of insulin for every x number of carb grams we eat. (For instance, I take a unit for every 6 grams and someone else may take a unit for every 18 grams! We’re all different.)

And we also add different amounts of insulin based on our blood sugar - your sliding scale that they have you on right now - but we’re much more precise with it, likely, than they are having you be. (1 unit of insulin right now will lower me approximately 26 mg/dL, for instance. Again, we’re all different.) I remember my first sliding scale was 1 unit for every 50 mg/dL over 150. Now, I’d take a different amount for a 150 mg/dL than I would for a 160 mg/dL!

In time, no matter WHICH method you’re on, you will learn to take fast-acting insulin with every single thing you eat, according to how many carbs are in the food, how much you are eating, where your blood sugar is, and how much insulin you have in your system. And later you will learn how to comfortably eat when you’re hungry or when your blood sugar needs stabilizing - and not be afraid to eat or skip eating.

You will get there, Stephanie. It’s a long, confusing, winding road.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about all of this:) I do not have anyone to talk to about all of these things, and it means so much to me to have this site to go to, and have such supportive people that are just like me to talk to. With time I will hopefully get all of this straightened out. :slight_smile:

Same here. 15 carbs, without insulin, would send me at least 150 pts higher. I need only small amounts to correct lows.


I was started on the exact same insulin regime that you are on. With time I was able to change it (with my doctors) to a system that Melissa described. Now I take 1 unit of insulin for every 13g of carb. That means that if I want to have one piece of toast with breakfast, I can (and I take 1 unit for a 12g piece of bread). If I want to eat 2 pieces, I can do that too. It’s nice to set the insulin to the food rather than “feeding” the insulin.

I would highly recommend the book Think like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner or Using Insulin by John Walsh. They are both available at this link, as well as other books that have been recommended by this community.

You will get more and more comfortable with this and have more flexibility in your diet. There is just so much to learn! So take things one step at a time!


hello Stephanie, I’m an old type 1 but I take Levemir ( when I wake up in the morning, at 7.) All our friends told you very good ideas! yes we must count carbs; I learnt it with members of TuDiabetes and American books… not easy but it’s very well. And yes , as MelissaBL said we are all different. Don’t worry, we are all here to help you.

Thanks :slight_smile:

Great examples of why each individual needs to figure out his/her rapid-acting insulin to carb ratio!

Stephanie, do you have access to a certified diabetes educator? To learn carb counting, you also can ask about a referral for Medical Nutrition Therapy with a registered dietitian.

I think it is good to meet with an established health pro in addition to what you find online. That way, you get the clinically proven advice and the real-life advice. Most of us end up using a mix of suggestions from all sources plus our own little tricks.

Keep in mind that the professionals will start you out with basic guideline ratios to try (such as 1 unit rapid to 15 grams carb) but over time you will fine-tune the amounts to match your body, your situation, your activity levels, your food choices, etc.

Don’t be surprised if it takes a while (as in months) to figure out your needs. Compared to Kristin, below, I take 1 unit of rapid for every 8 grams of carb in the morning but 1 unit for every 12 grams of carb for any food/meals after breakfast! And I also dose small amounts of insulin to cover the other nutrient groups in the meal.

Carb counting is like learning to ride a bike. You will wobble and need training wheels at first. Over time, you will get speedy and agile!