Two thoughts for whatever their worth.
I’ve had several lows over the last couple of weeks and got down to leftover valentine’s day candy!
I'm not totally sure I totally get why we find the tabs so appealing. I think a large part of it is just the notion that these are the "official"
way to treat hypoglycemia. The grams of carb per tablet is also clearer if you're in a state of mind to control your dosage. But I've also read some people who either don't like the taste, find the tabs "too big", or are otherwise unpalatable.
As Gary Scheiner points out, if you plan ahead a lot of “candy” is essentially identical to glucose tabs. Look for something where the first ingredient is dextrose. The quote below was copied from this short Q&A.
The reason glucose tablets and gels work so well is that they contain DEXTROSE, the same stuff given by IV when somebody is unconscious from a low. Dextrose is glucose in its purest form (2 glucose molecules linked together), and thus raises blood sugar the fastest.
Many candies are made with mostly dextrose, and will also work very quickly. These include Smarties (called Rockets in Canada), Sweet Tarts, Nerds, Runts, Spree, Bottlecaps, and a bunch of others. Many are branded under the name “Wonka” candies. Just check the ingredient list: if dextrose is the first thing listed, it should be a winner!
The other thing which can really help with hypos is CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring). I realize it’s damn expensive & difficult to get coverage. However, one of the reasons insurance companies will pay for it is if you can document that you are having problems with frequent hypos and/or hypo unawareness.
If you were to get one tomorrow my impression is that you’d probably want to go with Dexcom. This may change with time and Medtronic’s CGM is not that bad. It’s just Dexcom appears to be (much?) better at this time both in terms of usability & accuracy. (Or is that accuracy & usability?)
T1 LADA since ~1978; first pump Minimed 507 ~1996
currently: Minimed Paradigm 723 (Apr 2013) + CGM (Dec 2014)