The juice box conundrum

It seems the diabetes community has some sort of obsession with juice boxes.  I just don’t get it.

Sure, I have a healthy stash of juice boxes in my house.  My son loves them, and they’re a good lure when I need to get him in the car to go somewhere.  But for me, personally, I can’t remember the last time I drank from a juice box.  I may have used a juice box to treat a low blood sugar once in my entire life.

Think about it.  You’ve got to pull the straw off of the side of the box, get it out of the cellophane wrapper, then with your trembling hands, line it up perfectly with that tiny foil hole at the top and jam it through.  All the while, being careful to hold the box gently: not so tight that  juice squirts through the straw and in your face/lap/bed, but not so loose that the whole thing slides though your sweaty fingers and onto the floor.  Finally, you’ve got to suck the juice through that coffee-stirrer sized straw as quickly as you can, while inevitably you create a kind of vacuum inside the box and it collapses on itself.  To finish off, there’s that silly game of angling the straw and the box in that awkward fashion to get the last drops of juice from it.

And doing all of that while hypoglycemic.

Let’s not forget the possibility of having the straw fall off, leaving you to stare at that hermetically sealed beverage hopelessly teary-eyed (or perhaps vengefully plotting some hair-brained scheme to get inside).  While low.  Personally, I’m afraid that the box will get crushed and juice will splatter everywhere in an awful mess.

YDMV, and apparently this works for a lot of people, but I’m not one of them.  To me, it’s not worth the trouble, and I find the taste of lukewarm juice to be downright repulsive.  It’s one notch below pineapple-flavored glucose tablets on the “yucky-ways-to-treat-a-low” scale.

When I was just a young kid with diabetes, juice didn’t come in boxes – it came in little single-serving cans (you still can sometimes find them as drink mixers at a bar).  You pull the sticky foil tab off the top and chug – the only worry was cutting your lip or getting your tongue stuck in that tiny opening.  The juice always tasted the same: sour, acidic, and metallic, regardless of the fruit it allegedly came from.  On a hot day, the can itself could cause severe burns.  It was disgusting.  Maybe that’s the reason I never really took to juice as a treatment for lows as an adult.

Or maybe it’s because it’s just not satisfying.  I can probably chug 6 ounces of juice in 6 seconds, but then I’ll most definitely want something more.  And I’ll end up over-treating the low (I do that anyway, but that’s not the point).

Instead, I’ve lately found myself carrying around little pouches of Fruit Snacks for the “moderate”  lows (I still have the tube of glucose tabs for the severe lows, or the ones when I’m just not hungry enough to eat anything.)  They taste good and they do the job rather well.  They’re a bit on the carb-y side at 19 grams per pouch, but they’re contained well enough to stop me from REALLY over-doing it.

And if I really need juice, I’ll pour myself a glass of refrigerator-cold Tropicana.

(Does anyone else NOT use juice boxes to treat lows, or is it just me?)

Posted on August 10, 2012, in Diabetes, Personal and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. i hate using juice boxes simply cause i dont like the taste i do use liquid wither 150 ml of coke which is exactly 15g carbs or a couple of mouthful iof lucozade which has like 17g per 100 ml


  2. I use juice at night or if I am having a resistant low (or one below 3.0/54). I prefer not to chews tabs at night, and I would rather just squirt the juice down my throat and be gone with it. I find if I am fiddling with the tabs container I am more prone to over-treat. These days during the day I carry tabs or life savers in my purse, though. Juice boxes squish and leak horribly.


  3. I thought I was the only person that didn’t drink juice boxes. I prefer glucose tabs, smarties or fruit snacks.


  4. Juice boxes are bulky and a bit expensive for my tightwad college budget. I’m currently using glucose tablets (I think I’m the only person with diabetes who doesn’t think they’re completely gross), but I’m starting to look into treating with other candies to see if they’ll be cheaper. I like pixi stix except that they absorb smells too easily to be a great thing to put in a purse also contained scented lotion.


  5. I don’t treat with them because I don’t want to, it’s because they are so darn expensive. And OMG, the canned OJ! My mom used to pour one in a glass and fill it half-full of sugar too – either way, it was nasty!!
    My preferred low treatment is 1)Glucose tabs {I’m with Nel, I actually don’t mind them}, or 2) like you, I like the fruit snacks because they are easy and pre-portioned. You can get a big box from Sam’s Club that lasts foreva!


    • Well, my fruit snacks don’t quite last forever, because it’s also something my son enjoys. I let him have it because (lucky for him) he can. And too much sugar DOES NOT CAUSE DIABETES! (but you already knew that!). He has a habit of asking me “I’m hungry. Do you have any Fruit Snacks, or did your sugar get low today?”. I like how they are soft and flexible, and can be stuffed in a pocket without a problem.


  6. It’s just you! 🙂

    I like to use them at night (and I use the wee 4-ounce boxes) because I can down it in one gulp and lay back down, and know I’ve had almost exactly 15 grams of carbohydrates.

    Also, because I’m a spoiled juice-box-drinking brat, I usually get my husband to do all the straw-unwrapping and stuff.


  7. I don’t use juice boxes because it hasn’t occurred to me (I’m 46 and we didn’t have them as a kid), I came to a similar revelation about my portable candy for lows, though. I was using those square, wrapped caramels until I realized I’m clumsy with my hands when I’m low, so I switched to butterscotch discs. Finding THOSE is getting harder and harder, but the individually wrapped ones are easy-peasy to get into.


  8. I only started keeping juice boxes around just a couple of months ago .. Until then it was always just glucose tabs (which I still carry in my purse). But I have found that the juice box works really well on my night stand. I fought off another 46 this morning with one, as a matter of fact. But that’s just me. 🙂 And it’s hard to explain to my 4 year old that those are “Mommy’s juice boxes” 😉


  9. I’ve never had a juice box. Not to treat lows and not to just drink for the heck of it. I use glucose tabs. The tropical fruit ones I actually like. I know, I’m weird.


  10. The juice isn’t lukewarm if you put it in the fridge 😉

    I use glucose tabs when I am out and about but at home I prefer a cold juice box. The 4 oz size is exactly 15 grams so I know I am getting the right amount of sugar without over treating.


  11. I do use the tiny (4.2 oz.) apple juicy juice boxes, 15 carbs. They are easy to drink and I like how they taste. I don’t drink them (or any other juice) any other time, just for lows. The juice also works faster than any other types of sugar. I can’t handle the chalky, dusty glucose tabs, they taste so awful and the dust flies all over when I open the tube. I stash the juice boxes in my desk at work, next to my side of the bed, in the cars, and carry 1 in my briefcase. I’ve only had 1 or 2 times when I needed help with the straws or they spilled. They come 8 in a package and are $2.29 at Target or WalMart, sometimes on sale for $1.99. Of course, everyone’s low Tx will vary. I just had to put a good word in for the jbox. 😉


  12. You make an excellent point about the awkward straw situation!

    I particularly like juiceboxes however because I can buy them in bulk at Costco and the ones I get are 15g of carbs with fruit+vegetable juice in them (somehow it makes me feel healthier!).

    My husband is also less likely to drink my low treatment in juice box form! Bottles of juice don’t last long in our house.


  13. I use juice boxes just because I can slam them down pretty quick. Unfortunately the only ones I can find with exactly 15g of carbs have Clifford the Big Red Dog on them, so I look real cool whipping them out in public.


  14. lovehatediabetes

    I use juice boxes all the time. I have two of them in my purse, along with fruit snacks, glucose tabs, and a little container of nerds. That’s a good one, nerds. I use my old test strip container and fill it with nerds. it’s 14g of carbs and they’re tasty 🙂


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