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I recently asked How to mark beverage cans in a cooler for a blind person? on a sister site.

One of the answers made this unreferenced claim.

The last thing you want to do close to hypoglycaemic shock is to expend the calories for heating a drink to body temperature and have your stomach cramp up and not let it pass.

I googled some, but did not find any references or studies on how beverage temperature might impact glucose uptake during hypoglycemia.

Does the temperature of a sugar beverage have any impact on how quickly the the low blood sugar is corrected.

FYI - Insulin dependent type 1 diabetic as the consumer.

  • In general, cold beverages pass through the stomach slower because the stomach needs to warm them to the near body temperature before letting them through. So, it will take longer for glucose from a cold beverage to reach the small intestine, where it will be absorbed. Cooling slows absorption for some "minutes." Does this answer the question or you need more details or a reference? – Jan Aug 12 '19 at 13:49
  • @Jan more detail and references please. – James Jenkins Aug 12 '19 at 13:51
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Effect of meal temperature on gastric emptying of liquids in man (Gut, 1988):

The initial rate of gastric emptying of the cold drink was significantly slower than the control drink…

The slower the gastric emptying of a drink, the slower delivery of glucose to the small intestine, where it is absorbed.

So, glucose from a cold drink will be absorbed slower than glucose from a room temperature drink, which may delay the treatment of hypoglycemia, but probably not more than for several minutes.

Glucose from a hot drink will be also absorbed slower, because the stomach needs to cool it down to body temperature before letting it through. So, theoretically, the ideal temperature of a glucose solution to drink to treat hypoglycemia is 37 °C (body temperature).

Some say the beverage temperature does not signifficantly affect gastric emptying, though:

Fate of ingested fluids: factors affecting gastric emptying and intestinal absorption of beverages in human (Nutrition Reviews, 2015):

Beverage temperature that differs markedly from normothermia has little effect on gastric emptying as intragastric temperatures rapidly equilibrate.

After checking several articles about treatment of hypoglycemia in diabetics, no one mentions the temperature of a drink, which suggets that this may not be that crucial.

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  • +1 you found some good references there. Between the two, it seems like you have an option a large (600CC) bolus of room temperature fluid is best, but there does not seem to be a significant difference. Volume seems more important than tempature for speed. – James Jenkins Aug 12 '19 at 14:47
  • Yes, volume of a drink is a strong stimulator of gastric emptying. Next, glucose will be absorbed faster from a pure glucose drink (dissolved glucose tablets maybe) than from a fruit juice or soda, which are usually mixtures of glucose + fructose. – Jan Aug 12 '19 at 14:51

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