Thursday, February 28, 2013

Magic Threshold

How many carbs does it take for you to reach for the insulin?

I know, I know. There are so many other variables involved with diabetes that it's impossible to give a definite answer for that. What our blood sugar is at the time. If there is any insulin on board. Just finished a run? Just heading out for a run? Blah blah blah.

I'm not looking for your special formula. I'm talking about whether you would grab a Swedish berry and pop it in your mouth without testing your sugar or taking insulin for it.

According to my extensive research (ahem: Googled it), one Swedish berry = 3.2 carbs.  That equals 0.3 units of insulin.

I don't think I would ever bolus for one Swedish berry. The exercise it would take to reach for my pump and punch in the numbers would be enough to burn it off. I also don't think I would bolus for two. Or four.

What about five? That's 16 grams of carbs. That's also 1.5 units of insulin. Which is like a medium-sized apple.

I'd definitely bolus for an apple.

What about those mini chocolate bar pieces you can get in bulk? Like mini Oh Henry bits that are about the size of a Swedish berry. I'm guessing 3-4 carbs? I'll often walk by the bag of them after dinner and grab three. That's 12 carbs but I don't bolus for them.

I would if I took 6 though.

What's the magic number?

Four grapes? Nope. Ten grapes? Probably. Fifteen? For sure.

It makes me sound lackadaisical with my blood sugars but I'm really not. I'm as anal as can be with testing, documenting and bolusing. My numbers are usually reflective of that and I would never grab Swedish berries if my sugar had been high all morning and wasn't coming down.

But I would grab a few on a normal day. When things were moving along as they should. I'd pop a few in my mouth and think nothing of it. And normally, my sugar doesn't move very much at all with that extra bit of sugar.

I'm just wondering where my seemingly random magic threshold comes from though. It's not like the dieticians told me that three mini chocolates = free but five = you had better test and bolus. In fact I'm guessing I'd get the finger wag if I told them.

What about you folks? Anyone else notice that there is a certain number of carbs you will eat without bolusing? What is it? And how did you reach the point where that number became ok?


  1. Hmm... Often times it's under 10g carbs for me.
    But if I've already bolused for a meal and I go to eat a small handful of raisins, I wouldn't bother.

    Sometimes I take a unit or two without testing. *gasp* hee hee

  2. Interesting to think about. I would be the same as Scully, most times anything under 10g I just go for it. I like when I know I have exercises hard and can eat up to 20g without bolusing, makes me feel like a rebel :)

  3. This gives me hope! I don't think I have ever permitted more than 3g without test/bolus. Except for during swimming or skiing. Is that crazy? I think his BG goes up about 10 points per g lately. And with a pump, I always feel like, "might as well release a little extra dribble"