Koolaid for correcting low BG?

Has anyone tried using cherry Kool-Aid, the powdered sugar containing variety, to correct their blood sugar? We are going backpacking, and I think that it might save a lot of weight to use that as a correction while we are hiking.

My mom made up some packets for Eric to use, and wrote on them, but I’m thinking that you could probably mix them up a little stronger – use less water – and they would have the same amount of carbohydrates.

My question is would they be absorbed as quickly if they are not diluted as much?

If you are looking to save weight, maybe sugar packets?
15 carbs per 3.5 g sugar packet.

Two answers - the practical answer, and the actual science answer.

First, for practical purposes, powdered Koolaid mix will raise a person’s BG just fine even if it is concentrated. Having it more concentrated won’t be the fastest, but as long as EH is not extremely dehydrated and not doing extremely strenuous exercise, he could eat the powder straight from the bag and it would raise his BG.

But a more exact answer is that eating the powder straight, or drinking it in a more concentrated form would be slower in terms of absorption.

Osmolality is a measurement of the concentration of a fluid, in terms of the number of solutes per volume of fluid. The osmolality of the blood and body fluids is approximately 290 mOsmol/L.

A hypotonic solution is any solution that has a lower pressure than another solution.

Hypertonic solutions have an osmolality higher than the body (> 300 mOsmol/l)

Hypotonic solutions have an osmolality lower than the body (< 280 mOsmol/l) which actively promotes fluid absorption.

Isotonic solutions have an osmolality similar to the body (= 290 mOsmol/l)

Next is “tonicity”…

Tonicity is the ability of an extracellular solution to make water move in or out of a cell by osmosis. This determines what direction fluids flow across the membrane. Water wants to flow from areas of low concentration to high concentration. Your body wants to keep things equal.

Sports drinks are big business, and the idea is that you want the drink to be absorbed faster. This becomes especially critical during extreme endurance or intense workouts.

So simple answer is - it’s just fine, drink it concentrated and it will work as long as he’s not extremely dehydrated.

But the more exact answer is - having it more concentrated will be a bit slower.


@Eric That was the exact answer and explanation I was looking for! I knew there was some science behind this concept! Excellent. Thank you!

And the sugar packets are a great suggestion @Thomas, but EH is picky as heck and would only eat them in case of emergency. Also I can’t talk him into honey either. :roll_eyes:

We are headed to Havasupai Falls. 10 miles in, 10 miles out. Got a lot of sugar with us, and carb heavy meals. Hope it goes well!


We frequently backpack during the summer and don’t find the control to be particularly difficult. We cut back on basal and have some extra sugar around, but honestly most of the pack food has plenty of carbs (i.e. trail mix etc). The worst time for us is late afternoon if we have been hiking all day, other than this the control isn’t nearly as difficult as say a baseball game. I think you will be just fine with the Koolaid

For activity like that, (hiking, kayaking, biking) we actually prefer slower carbs like bars (combo protein and carb). Depending on activity, half a bar every 20 or 30 minutes coupled with reduced basal.
Certainly we would have fast carbs with us but would not intend on using those if things are working out.

1 Like

Holy crap I wish we were you. Out trip was basically an unmitigated disaster. The days were fine, high carb dinners caused a major spike, but after dinner a slow decent started, seemed to level off and then rapidly dropped, ended up as low as in the 20’s at some point in the middle of the night, even with suspending insulin delivery and/or running a reduced basal program. We made it out but it wasn’t fun and no night out of the three did either of us get more than two hours of sleep in a row.

The Koolaid was helpful for sure and I’m glad we brought it. But we need much more work on high carb meals and the effects of continued daily exercise (I obsessively carb counted prior to leaving as we literally never eat these types of instant foods at home and couldn’t begin to use the force to guess at how to handle them).


Did you adjust the I:C ratio for the dinners?

We find significant exercise during the day continues to cause IOB to become supercharged into the night. Such that dinner bolus (after significant daytime exercise) needs to be reduced so as to take the impacts of the day into account.

1 Like

It might go well for us, because our son does cross country in the fall, baseball in the spring, runs, lifts, most days etc. So the activity isn’t a big change for us.

Sorry it didn’t go well, that really is no fun. As @Thomas has indicated, you might need to adjust your IC ratio’s. Also, if you aren’t going out for very long, you don’t have to have high carb dinners, you can bring stuff that will cook into a more moderate carb dinners, and keep your high carb meal for lunch when you have time to adjust.

Another thing you could try is eating an early dinner so you have time to adjust if it doesn’t go well, and snacking on low carb stuff as a snack before dinner.

Yeah - I like that. The opportunity for a 3~4 hour post-meal correction (yet still before bedtime) is always GREATLY appreciated by the monitor.

But we still do what needs to be done. Either way.

1 Like

Why not just carry glucose tablets ?

Because they taste so bad? That’s my guess.

It’s not like one is looking for a culinary experience when they eat one or two… kinda just bumping up t heir bg as fast and simply as possible so they can get on with life


@TiaG 's suggestion on another thread was Smarties. Tastes great, less filling, and lots of Dextrose. No need to convert your sugar first

1 Like

Sorry for the delay, I’ve written this post a couple times, and it hasn’t saved for some reason – probably because I’ve been out of the service area for my phone. Back now.

Yes, we reduced the IC ratio by about 50% (instead of injecting 10, he injected 5 for our rice and chicken dinner). Although, as I mentioned, there were some severe spikes from eating these really high carb meals.

I wish could’ve gotten it together to serve dinner earlier, but we were doing long day hikes, and I was corralling a party of five including two kids without parents along that don’t belong to us. I just couldn’t do it. :frowning:

Glucose tablets are heavy. And even though I wanted to, I couldn’t carry donuts (hi, @docslotnick!) And Kool-Aid tastes good! Especially when you’re drinking crappy tasting spring water. I guess I should get the smarties, but I hadn’t thought of that. We also had jellybeans, Clif shot blocks (no caffeine versions), Clif bars, TJ’s fruit jelly candies. He wound up eating some of all of them, and not as much Kool-Aid because I didn’t pre-mix it before bed. Jellybeans seem to digest slowly, and he bit his tounge and got a resultant canker sore from the Clif Bar because he was super low.

I was really struggling with the food in the tent issue too. Thank goodness, no bears where we were camping, but we did have ants in the tent after he ate a Clif bar one night. Need a scent free glucose option. I’m thinking about those dextrose shots that @Jen mentioned on another thread.

Next time, carbs mid-day, stick with the reduced basal program but an even lower reduced one over night, different sugar options, and I’ll catch it way earlier if I can sense a pattern. I believe EH thinks the trip was a total success. I think I got some grey hairs now thanks to a 3am low around 20-something in a canyon ten miles from nowhere. :wink:


Did you at least get some amazing views on the trip? I always love when you work hard and then get an amazing view, it makes the whole trip worth it to me.