To make a drink that is most equivalent to Glucola without the chemical additives, dissolve 50 grams of organic dextrose in 8 ounces of water. You will need to do some math. If there are 20 grams of dextrose in 2 Tbsp for example, then you need 5 Tbsp of the powder. You ideally want dextrose, as it is the sugar made from corn that makes up the Glucola drink, and it is most bioidentical to the sugar in your blood called glucose. Therefore, it is the best alternative to screen for gestational diabetes as the standard Glucola drink does, according to the laboratory parameters designed and tested for this purpose.
Another alternative is to drink an equivalent amount of pure corn syrup dissolved in your tea, since the sugar in corn syrup is dextrose. You can find organic non GMO varieties in the health food store, but you still need to do some math, to get 50 grams of sugar total.
Reputable research indicates that you can instead, eat 28 all natural organic jelly beans or enough that equals 50 grams of sugar, which is studied to be a reliable alternative to the 50 gram glucose beverage. It is not standardized as is the Glucola drink, amounts and types of sugars vary with each product, so you need to do the math and make sure you are eating 50 grams of sugar. The study was relatively small but results can certainly be considered.
Other less ideal options are iced tea, organic Gatorade or a cola drink that has 50 grams of sugar added in the form of added table sugar or dehydrated cane juice (sucrose) – similar to the kind of sugar in jelly beans. They are not a first choice because they are not as extensively researched, the form of sugar is different than dextrose, and thus may have a different effect on your blood sugar levels and test results, designed to screen for diabetes based on your response to dextrose.
The blood test to screen for gestational diabetes was studied and formulated to test your reaction to ingesting 50 grams of dextrose. Sucrose is made up of 50 % glucose and 50 % fructose. You will need to read ingredients and nutrition labels to use an alternative, an important skill to develop anyway. And you still need to do some math, as the nutrition label might say something like 23 grams of sugar per 8 ounce serving.
When going for sugars that are not dextrose extracted from corn, you can choose any sugar sweetened drink without added fruit juice. Fruit contains a different type of sugar called fructose that makes the test less accurate as it has a different effect on your blood glucose levels than does dextrose and sucrose. If you can not find or have no time to figure it out and have low risk of gestational diabetes, Snapple 16 oz raspberry peach drink is second choice. Although it is mainly sweetened with sugar (sucrose), it does have a little fruit juice, which again is mostly fructose.
Coconut water is another, but less than ideal option, as it contains sugar in the form of mostly sucrose and glucose, and it does have some fructose as in fruit. ZICO coconut water 16.9 ounces has 20 grams of sugar, so you would need to drink 2 ½ bottles. Honey is another alternative, but it is also not made up of an equivalent sugar – it is sucrose and fructose. Again, you need to read the label. Different honeys have different amounts of sugar per serving size.
Hopefully there will be more studies on these alternatives, but for now, are listed here to consider with your provider, if for some reason you can not take the dextrose or corn syrup equivalent and you are healthy, with healthy weight and lifestyle, with low risk for diabetes.
45 minutes before your appointment, eat the jelly beans or drink an amount that equals 50 grams total of sugar, then nothing until the blood test, which will be drawn 1 hour after you consumed the drink or candy.
If you have time, do some form of exercise like taking a brisk walk for 20-30 minutes after drinking, but before the test.
Bring a high protein, whole carbohydrate and healthy fat snack to eat after the test if needed, to keep blood sugar stable. This will help you avoid unpleasant symptoms once your blood sugar drops, like shakiness, lightheadedness, fatigue, anxiety and irritability.
Rest assured, most healthy pregnant women (about 94%) do not have gestational diabetes. A positive screen simply means you need more testing to confirm it or rule it out. And if you do have it, you can learn how to keep your blood sugar normal throughout the rest of your pregnancy and life.
If you need more guidance, schedule a consultation with me.