Keep in mind…
The different diabetes nutrition bars, shakes, and other products aren’t necessarily interchangeable. Their different formulations will have different effects on your blood glucose.
None of the products described in this article should be used to treat hypoglycemia. They all contain ingredients that slow their absorption, so they won’t raise your blood glucose level as quickly as needed in that situation.
Cornstarch-based bars are generally used at bedtime to prevent overnight hypoglycemia. They could also be useful during the day for people who don’t experience or notice symptoms of hypoglycemia (called hypoglycemia unawareness). Some health-care providers recommend these bars as a snack to prevent the hypoglycemia that can occur after drinking alcohol.
Although cornstarch-based bars have not been studied during pregnancy, they may help prevent overnight hypoglycemia and the incidence of morning “starvation” ketones in pregnant women. When eaten as part of breakfast, both cornstarch and resistant starch nutrition bars can help reduce the after-breakfast rise in blood glucose that is common during pregnancy with diabetes.
When choosing a diabetes nutrition bar or shake, consider any food allergies you may have. Many of these products contain ingredients such as milk, peanuts, soy, and wheat.
If you are trying to lose weight, nutrition bars and shakes can be convenient, portion-controlled options for meals and snacks. However, keep in mind that none of these products is designed to be a sole source of sustenance. Work them into your meal plan along with other nutritious foods. (For more information about the role of diabetes nutrition bars and shakes in weight loss, see “Can They Help You Lose Weight?”)
Keep your diabetes team informed, and carefully monitor your blood glucose if you begin using diabetes nutrition bars or shakes for help with blood glucose or weight control.