Friday, December 14, 2012

Glucose Gets A Level Up

I love freebies.

I love mail.

So what could be better than getting something free in the mail?  Unless you want to talk about the obvious... sleep, a cure, long vacation, a million dollars....

Introducing Level Life

Level Life is a 60 calorie, 15g liquid glucose dosage designed for both flavor and function.  It comes in four interesting flavors such as Mandarin Orange, Strawberry Banana, Vanilla and Caramel.

The 1.1oz net weight pouches are billed as durable yet easy to open when having a low blood sugar.  The enclosed product brochure says "a pouch that is extremely durable and can be kept in your gym bag, schoolbag, workbag or pants pocket."

Now, this is the tricky part for our Naturally Sweet Sisters family... even though many companies say that a durable pouch is easy to open, when a child has a low blood sugar, quite often opening a lid from a traditional bottle of glucose tabs is tricky.  In fact, we had to outlaw some packages of fruit snacks (like fruit rollups) simply because the dexterity required to remove the sugary fruit leather from the plastic sleeve was too complicated during a thick-fingered, fuzzy minded low blood sugar.  (Side note:  There is nothing worse than finding your child sitting on the floor in front of the pantry, crying because they are too low to open  a package of fruit leather.  That very real situation made us immediately revise what we thought were "good" hypoglycemic snacks into what became good AND easy hypoglycemic snacks.)

Since then, when my kids are at school or in activities that might not include my attendance, I realized the need to be careful with what I supply them for a hypoglycemic emergency.

For a real-life demonstration - but without a low blood sugar (and where is one when you need it?!  Just kidding), I decided to let both girls try the opening of the pouches.  Both our oldest and youngest daughter were able to open the package with just a bit of effort, mostly from youngest daughter on the mandarin orange flavor - not due to her age or skill, but because the two pouches were constructed differently. The mandarin orange pouch notches were cut out less than the caramel, causing a more difficult tear.  The caramel pouches bigger notches made for an easier open. 

If you're a manufacture ... GET REAL LIFE KIDS TO TEST THE PACKAGING!!!!!

Next up, both girls were eager to sample the flavor.  If you have been reading Naturally Sweet Sisters for any length of time, you will know that my girls have a love-hate relationship with the dreaded TABS aka glucose tablets.   After their week-long diabetes kids camp stay, they refuse to eat orange and marginally tolerate the other choices.  Strawberry and pineapple rein supreme, but even then, it is always an eye-rolling experience. 

Not so with these flavors.  By far, caramel was a proven winner immediately upon tasting.  It is a little thinner than typical ice cream-style caramel sauce - which is probably a good thing for quickly eating and digesting - and the taste is almost exact.  None of that weird chalky-ness from tabs.  I actually took it away from the kids who oohed and aahhed over it.  Which is an interesting point, perhaps for those middle of the night lows, where no one wants to awake or eating, maybe a caramel Level Life is a good choice?  Something that kids won't mind sleeplessness over?

If you're a manufacture ... THANKS FOR FLAVORS KIDS LIKE!!!!!

The mandarin orange reminded both girls of jelly.  They thought it was an improvement upon the tabs but certainly not as good as real oranges.  Since we are on our second box of Cuties (tiny mandarin oranges), I could understand how the Level Life did not quite match up to the real thing.  After all, how does one compete with Mother Nature in the world of fresh fruits?

One last tidbit it that the cost on these is a little high... considering what you get in the contents, it still is a hefty increase over a bottle of tabs.  For example, our Walmart sells a 50 count bottle of glucose tablets for $3.97.  The glucose gel is (3) 15g pouches for $5.00.  Perhaps with time, the price will come down.  I was lucky to receive a $.75 off coupon in my sample package and plan on at least using that.  With two kids though, this would not be able to become a stand-in for most low blood sugars - we just couldn't afford it.

If you're a manufacture ... HAVE AFFORDABLE PRICES!!!!!

All in all, the product were great and it is nice to see another option for dealing with those icky low blood sugars.  I asked my kids what they wanted other kids to know and they gestured with a big "thumbs up" and my oldest said, "Give it a try.  The caramel is REALLY good".   My youngest laughed and said, "Make sure they know that these aren't tabs because this is way cooler."

And by the way, no one at Level Life told me or asked me to write a review.  The Level Life people aren't even aware that Naturally Sweet Sisters ordered the freebie sample - available on their website, for anyone interested.  From one family living with t1d to another, I wanted to be able to give a fair and honest review of a new glucose product.  Hope you find this helpful!


Shari said...

Rocco tried these too and he loved the Carmel as well! Thanks for posting this!

Naturally Sweet Sisters said...

Thanks Shari! Glad that Rocco liked it too. Caramel seems to be the big winner in the under 12 crowd:)

Update to the Original Post: I checked our Target today and the Level Life company hasn't made it to the shelves. So for anyone interested in purchasing them, your best bet my still be Wally-world aka Walmart.