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Diabetic Supply Guide Home | Insulin | Insulin Delivery | Glucose Monitoring | Emergency | Routine Care | Food & Nutrition

      Food & Nutrition
  Diabetic Snack Bars

Diabetic Snack Bars

The past few years has seen the growth of a new category of foods - diabetic snack bars. Some are formulated to prevent hypoglycemia while others are designed to reduce hyperglycemia.

They are intended to be used as a snack or partial meal replacement, to be eaten in the context of the individual's meal plan. The bars designed to prevent hypoglycemia include uncooked cornstarch (UCS), a slowly absorbed complex carbohydrate that acts as a continuous source of glucose. Those that aim to reduce hyperglycemia use ingredients such as resistant starches and fiber, which help to blunt the postprandial (after a meal) glycemic response.

In a recent scientific review of these products, diabetes specialists made these recommendations:

  • People on intensive insulin therapy treatment plans who are in very good control may benefit most from using the snack bars containing UCS because they are more susceptible to episodes of hypoglycemia.
  • These products should NOT be used to treat hypoglycemia; they are not formulated to act quickly.
  • Snack bars with UCS are good as part of a bedtime snack to prevent hypoglycemia at night.
  • Snack bars without UCS are meant to help prevent hyperglycemia during the day.
  • Snack bars meant for daytime use may not be suitable as nighttime snacks.
  • The various types of snack bars are not interchangeable, even though their carbohydrate content may be similar.
  • Snack bars containing UCS may help to avoid low blood glucose after drinking alcohol.
  • People who suffer from hypoglycemic unawareness may benefit from snack bars with UCS to help prevent hypoglycemia.
  • Both types are preferable to regular snack bars, including health bars, energy bars, or candy bars, which may cause exaggerated glycemic responses.

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Bars Formulated To Prevent Hypoglycemia

Product
(Manufacturer)
 

Suggested Use

Claims

Extend Bar
(Clinical Products, Ltd.)
Use before bed, before exercise, or whenever low blood glucose is likely to occur. Reduces episodes of low blood glucose for up to 9 hours without causing high blood glucose.
Gluc-O-Bar
(APIC, USA, Inc.)

Use day or night as part of
the dietary management of abnormal blood glucose levels.

Provides sustained glucose release over a prolonged interval without sudden peaks.
Nite Bite
(ICN Pharmaceuticals, Inc) 
Use before bed or exercise, to help maintain blood glucose levels. Helps prevent nighttime hypoglycemia; proven to be beneficial before exercise.

The snack bars that aim to reduce hyperglycemia use ingredients such as resistant starches and fiber, which are incompletely absorbed and help to blunt the postprandial glycemic response.

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Bars Formulated To Reduce Hyperglycemia

Product
(Manufacturer)
 

Suggested Use

Claims

Choice DM
(Mead Johnson Nutritionals)
Ideal as a snack between meals, after exercise, before bedtime, or anytime. Clinically shown to cause less rise in blood glucose levels compared to snack bars tested.
Choice DM Crispy Bars
(Mead Johnson Nutritionals)

"Pick-me-up" snack for people with diabetes.

Minimize postprandial peaks in blood glucose levels.
Ensure Glucerna(Ross Products Division) Use as a snack or occasional meal replacement. Clinically shown to lower blood glucose response, compared to ordinary snack bar.

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If you are considering using these products, you should carefully examine the product labels and evaluate your own glycemic response to each. Be sure to make them a part of your individualized meal plan.

Related information Hypoglycemia

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