Expert Q&A

Hypoglycemia: What Is the 15/15 Rule?

Please explain the 15/15 Rule for treating hypoglycemia.

Have you ever felt light-headed, shaky, anxious, sweaty, dizzy, weak, and/or irritable? If the answer is yes, then you have experienced classic signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. If you have low blood sugar symptoms, you need to:

1.   Test your blood sugar. Anything below 72 is too low.

2.   Eat one serving of a Quick Carbohydrate (see list below).

3.      Wait 15 minutes and retest your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is still less than 72, eat another serving of Quick Carbohydrate (15 grams). Continue to test your blood sugar and treating until blood sugar is normal, between 72 and 110.

4.      Once your blood sugar is higher than 72, eat one of the following:

  • Your next meal or snack if it is due in the next 30 minutes
  • A protein (meat or cheese) and a grain product (bread or crackers)
  • A glass of milk or a carton of yogurt and a grain product.



Quick Carbohydrates

4 teaspoons of sugar

1 tablespoon of jelly/jam or honey

½ cup juice or regular soda

8 regular size jelly beans

6 Lifesavers, chew quickly

6 small gum drops

8 gummy bears

3 glucose tablets



Cindy Guirino, RD/LD, CDE, CNSD, ACE PT
Contributing Expert

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