Glucose Tolerance Drink Ingredients, and Alternatives to the Standard Gestational Diabetes Screening


I’ve had the hardest time trying to track down the ingredients of the glucose tolerance drink for gestational diabetes screening! (I have several food allergies, including corn, so I wasn’t just going to blindly drink whatever the lab employee handed to me).

After a few phone calls and some waiting on hold, I finally was able to get the lab headquarters (Quest Diagnostics) to tell me exactly what’s in the glucose tolerance drink. I thought I’d share in case anyone else is looking for the ingredients list.

Orange/Fruit Punch/Lemon Lime flavors:

  • Dextrose from corn
  • Citric Acid from corn
  • Natural Flavoring corn
  • Sodium Benzoate
  • Yellow #6
  • Purified Water


Simply Pure flavor:

  • Dextrose from corn
  • Potassium Sorbate
  • Purified Water

Nope, you won’t find me chugging down that much corn. Not now, not ever.

My resourceful mama friends shared a handful of alternatives with me. Mama B of Birthed in Joy quoted a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which found that twenty-eight jellybeans are equivalent to 50g of the glucose solution. Obviously, eating jellybeans that won’t work in the case of a corn allergy, but it’s worth mentioning, as for most people it’s definitely a more desirable than drinking syrupy liquid!

There’s also the option of having a fasting blood draw, eating breakfast, and then having a subsequent blood draw a set amount of time afterwards. This route seems to be more widely accepted within midwifery practices than within traditional OB offices; but again, it’s worth asking your practitioner if this is a possibility for you. (My doctor is letting me do this). I’ve also heard of some practices offering two bananas in place of the jellybeans/glucose drink. And there’s always the finger-pricking glucometer route.

How about you — what were your experiences with the gestational diabetes screening?

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27 thoughts on “Glucose Tolerance Drink Ingredients, and Alternatives to the Standard Gestational Diabetes Screening

  1. Pingback: apparently, there is no medical billing code for eating real food «

  2. Thank you for posting. I too have a corn allergy and when I questioned the contents of the drink my dr. pretty much made up a fictitious explanation that dextrose was not a derivative of corn. Needless to say, she was incorrect (because it was stated on the ingredients list–she didn’t even read the darn thing) and unfortunately her ignorance of food allergies could have caused me and my baby great harm.
    In doing additional research, I also found that most IVs contain corn derivatives. Are there any official documents or websites that I can share with my new doctor and hospital so that they are informed as well?

    • So sorry to hear about your experience! I wish I could point you in the direction of an official PDF or a website listing the ingredients of the glucose drink (and IV solution, etc), but a scouring of the internet has turned up virtually nothing. That’s really what motivated me to post these ingredients — I couldn’t find them anywhere! My best advice is to directly contact the labs/manufacturers of the product in question, and ask them to send you a spec sheet. Unfortunately, I didn’t do that when I called Quest — I just copied down what she read to me over the phone. Let me know what you find out!

  3. thank you. I am really struggling with the disgustingness of the drink to begin with and now the corn. Seems I have developed a corn allergy (or it just got incredibly worse) just prior to conception. Do you know of a prenatal that does not contain starch? Mine does (and I’m afraid it is corn)

  4. Unfortunately, I went through the testing even though I had doubts. All my friends had done it and had no problem, but in my case, my body broke out in Hives from head to toe and it’s been going on for 4 days now. I’ve never had hives before, so there must be something in this drink that did not agree with my body. I ended up not passing the test and now have to go through a 7 day test where I poke my fingers four times a day. No one in my family ever has had gestational diabetes, so I don’t know why they made me do this. I wish they had given me the alternative. It seems that these days pharmaceutical companies run healthcare and train doctors. I have lost so much faith in modern medicine. Why isn’t anyone trying to stop this war on healthy people? Do they want us depended on chemical medicines all the time instead of healing the body with real foods? I know more kids these days allergic to stupid stuff than when I was a child. Something is happening to the pregnant women that cause so many cancers and other allergy problems.

    • “Something is happening to the pregnant women that cause so many cancers and other allergy problems.”

      Hi Layla, you are right, but its not just to pregnant women. Look into our food supply, GMO’s specifically.. The corruption within Monsanto (the makers of Genetically Modified foods, which it’s big offenders are Corn & Soy, plus a few others, but those two alone are in almost everything) I wish I had known more about all of this years ago, its very sad what is being allowed to happen for the sake of money in their pockets. Here are a few links to help get you started…

      http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/about-gmos.html

      http://seedsofdeception.com/store/dvdcd?product_id=124

      http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-education

      http://www.responsibletechnology.org/buy-non-gmo/dine-out-non-gmo

      There is a lot of information out there to be found that will help enable you to make wise decisions for not only yourself, but your loved ones as well.

      & Thank you for the information about the Glucose test ….& even the IV’s, didn’t realize corn was in there as well. :/

      • Thank you for your reply. I was put on insulin because my blood sugar counts were higher at fasting and after breakfast. The rest of the day, it’s fine, but at fasting it’s between 95-105 and after breakfast it spikes to 150. Then the rest of the day it’s OK. So, I tried the insulin. A shot in the morning and one at night. It did not agree with me either, made me totally non-functional. Could not concentrate, could not drive, was always sleepy, irritable and depressed. So, after four days, I refused to take it. It’s important to mention that during the four days I took the insulin, my blood sugar results did not change. I just felt like I had a hangover all the time.
        I think a little high sugar in my case may be OK; it’s my body adjusting to the pregnancy, otherwise if it was real diabetes, the insulin should have made me feel better not worse.
        It’s a battle with the doctors these days to refused some medicines, I don’t mean to be disrespectful but I know my body much better than a doctor who has known me for only half an hour.
        Now I’m going through the fetal non-stress test twice a week to make sure the baby is fine, and she is. The amniotic fluid is just right, baby’s size just right, her movement and heartbeat is good, my weight and size just right and low blood pressure, so non of the things there were worried about with GD is happening to me. I know my next appointment they would want me to go back on insulin at least at night time, but I’m planning to refuse that as long as the baby and myself are doing well otherwise. I also refused flu shot, and wooping cough shot as well. I hardly ever get a cold and have not had the flu for years, so I don’t see the reason to get these vaccines. They are about 60% effective anyway, so to me it’s not worth the risk.
        I am 42 and naturally pregnant, so they keep referring to my age as high risk. Almost like they are looking for something, because they don’t believe someone can naturally conceive at 42 and have a healthy baby. I have a feeling I will prove them wrong. :)
        The next battle is delivery – I don’t want artificial inducers, so if the baby is not coming out naturally 12 hours after my labor starts or my water breaks, I will ask for a C-section. I think Inducers put a lot more stress on the baby and mother than a C-section. Plus if the labor has not started, then the baby is not ready to come out. In my experience talking to others, almost half of the inducers don’t work and Mothers end up in emergency C-section, after 24 hours of labor. I wouldn’t want to exhaust myself and the baby like that.
        Thank you for the links and the information you provided.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I am 24 weeks pregnant and was discharged from my doctor’s office today for “not complying” with/to the gestational diabetes screening. It was horrifying. I never ever put anything into my body without fully knowing what the ingredients are. Now that l know it’s just made from corn (they kept telling me it is safe and I would be fine and that there were no alternatives… And that I could sue them!!!) and other crap, I feel that I absolutely made the right decision. Again, thank you so much.

    • You were DISCHARGED from the doctor’s office?! How awful! And ridiculous. I hope you are able to find a new care provider who honors and respects your right to make your own choices as a patient. Congratulations on your new little one on the way!

    • I’m glad you stood up for what you believe. There are other ways to check for Gestational diabetes, as I went through because of my allergic reaction to the Orange Glucola at the one hour test. It is sad that they did not give me the alternate option even though it was available.
      I’ve been poking my fingers, 4 times a day and was put on insulin for a while, which made me sick, so they kept changing the dosage. After 8 weeks of this ordeal, I’ve been in the lowest dose of night insulin. The doctor said if my fasting numbers stay below 95, then they will take me off of it all together. She said it is not unusual for the body to adjust and correct Gestational diabetes at around 35 weeks. I am 33 weeks now. I’ve been doing well the last three days, so hopefully I will be done with it by next week.
      By the way, this was the only reason, they wanted to induce me at 39 weeks. Which I’m fighting as well. I want to give my baby time until she is ready to come out as long as it is within the 41 weeks.
      People tend to forget that during pregnancy the body goes through a lot of changes and eventually can correct itself. It’s been doing this for thousands of years. I’m not against modern medicine, but sometimes they look too close and eventually find something to treat you for. It is not always necessary, so it is important to stay involved in the decision making. Always, always get a 2nd or 3rd opinion from multiple doctors. Just like any other profession, there are some that are better than others.
      Good luck and do your research on everything, especially during pregnancy.

  6. At my midwives office we are offered the choice of eating breakfast with 2 pancakes or waffles, a glass of 100% juice, 1/4c maple syrup, and a bit of protein if we want in place of the drink. This is what I did during my last pregnancy and what I will be doing tomorrow for this pregnancy.

  7. Hi, Just a little FYI
    I’m 35 weeks now and my so called “gestational diabetes” went away by 34 weeks. One doctor said it is not unusual for the body to adjust around 35 weeks. So, I no longer need to take insulin to control my blood sugar. At this point, I think I would have been find if we just left it alone. The pregnant body goes through a lot of changes and most of the time fixes itself. Our bodies are smart, so pay attention to the details. I’m not saying this happens for everyone the same, but it’s worth paying attention to. Good Luck to all!

  8. Hi Gina,
    Thank you so much for writing this post. It is how I found you. I am newly pregnant with #3, after having had 2 c-sections. I recovered horribly from the last one and I am working towards a VBA2C. My last recovery sent me on a healing journey that helped me discover hidden food allergies. I will be in the hospital in case a rcs is needed. Do you know anything about spinal blocks and the ingredients. I would like to request a spinal block free of corn, wheat, dairy, and soy if possible on my plan-b birth plan. But since the ingredients are never shared, I have no idea what would be going into by body. I would love to do all that I can ahead of time to make sure the safest medicines will be available to me if needed.

  9. Hi Nicole, so sorry you’ve had to go through all that! Re: spinal block ingredients, this is what I recommend. Find out from your doctor, your doctor’s office, or your hospital which laboratory/company manufacturers all the spinal blocks used in your hospital. This will likely take many phone calls. They will tell you they don’t know or there is no way to find out, which obviously isn’t true, because the purchasing department of the hospital knows exactly who manufactures the spinal blocks — they order them! Once you find out who makes the spinal block, call the manufacturer/laboratory directly (you should be able to get the number from their website). Ask them for a full list of ingredients. Tell them you have severe allergies and there could be big trouble if you don’t know the ingredients, you won’t be hanging up until you find out, etc etc. This might take several phone calls and a lot of waiting on hold, but if you persist someone will finally read you the label/package insert. It’s how I found out the ingredients of the glucose drink! Good luck!

  10. I have my bottle with me and am trying to find a substitution. Here are the ingredients listed:
    Active Ingredient: 5.0g glucose per fl. oz. (29.6mL). Contains: Water, dextrose (d-glucose; source: corn), natural flavoring, citric acid, sodium benzoate, FD&C Yellow No. 6 and FD&C Red No. 40 as color additives.

    YUCK! I don’t normally consume anything remotely similar to this crap; why would I do it now???

  11. Hey I wanted to say while doing your research on spinal blocks (if you still need to, don’t know how far along you are) look at rxlist.com. They list all the active and inactive ingredients in all medicines, including what goes into an epidural, etc. I’ve found that an epidural is out for me because all of them contain dextrose and citric acid to help the body “properly absorb” the medicine at a sustained rate. So, I’m going all natural and having my doctor and nurses prep medicines dextrose free (in a saline solution for IV injections) in case something happens and I need a c-section, which for me also means I’ll need to be completely knocked out for it, not partial. Also make sure you request a saline only IV, dextrose comes standard in all IVs unless you ask for the saline solution. Hope this helps!

  12. I’m so happy I found this! But shocked at the lack of respect some of you have been shown! My doctor had no problem finding me an alternative to the glucose drink due to my corn allergy. After a little research she found that 12 sugar cubes is equivalent and I will be dissolving all 12 in a glass of water for the test…even if I didn’t have a corn allergy is prefer this more natural option. But I had no idea about dextrose was standard in IVs…THANK YOU! I’ll be talking to my doc about prepping dextrose free meds in case of emergencies for me as well. Much appreciated.

  13. So glad I found this site, thanks for your stories! Sulfites?? – I had a terrible reaction at the OGTT. I felt nauseous, body tired, barely able to lift my head and walk. I wanted to be sick. Dizzy. Headache. This went on for two days. I could not go to work, I could not get out of bed. I was scared to drive home from the women’s hospital after the OGTT I was so sick.

    I was given no warnings that some people have adverse reactions to the drink or test! I wrote a letter to the hospital afterwards (Royal Hospital For Women, Randwick Australia) and did not even receive a response to my letter. I told the midwives clinic about my experience, but as they do not run the test, they did not take any action. At the time, I put it down to the fact that I do not ingest much sugar in my diet – I don’t drink soft drinks or fruit juices, I home bake and reduce the amount of sugar in recipes. I don’t eat junk or fast food.

    I have just been diagnosed as sulfite sensitive, after years of minor symptoms (body fatigue after a glass of wine, puffy eyes, indigestion, bloating, flushed cheeks, irritability – no hives, rashes or anaphylaxis, though this can happen to others).

    I now wonder if my terrible response to the drink was due to hidden sulfites??

    Citric Acid and Dextrose are in fact often high in sulfites, but as they are added ingredients, the manufacturers are not required to list the sulfites.

    Has anyone else any information on the sulfite connection?

  14. I failed my first gestational diabetes screening and was sent for the fasting glucose tolerance test. I ended up having a reaction half an hour after drinking the solution and ended up in the emergency department then up to maternity to get hooked up to the fetal monitors for a non stress test. Not fun, thankfully I passed the second screening, would not do that again! They said maybe I had a reaction to the dye as there wasn’t anything else to react to, but they didn’t tell me what the other ingredients were.

  15. I have a friend that was able to drink a bottle of Naked Juice’s Red Machine in lieu of the jelly beans or glucose drink. Since my test is coming up in the next couple of months, I mentioned this to my midwife at my last appointment to see if she would OK it, and was surprised that she challenged me with this question: “Oh, what is it about jelly beans that you want to avoid?”

    My answer? “Everything.”

    She said she’d look into it. I’m not sure what she’ll come back with, and I don’t think I’d REFUSE the test, but I don’t think I’m going to give in that easily. And if her initial answer is no, I still don’t think I’m going to back down.

  16. Oh my gosh! Wish I would have researched prior to my test!…
    I had mine done a few days ago..and my face broke out in red bumps…well seeing whats in it now I know why…corn!!!!i have allergies to corn!! What a gross drink!…
    Thanks for the info!
    .. :)

  17. My Naturopath found an alternative for me and my regular Medical Doctor was open to it and okay’d it. I guess I was lucky. (my medical doc couldn’t find an alternative).
    I ate a gluten free bagel, large glass of OJ, and 2 small sausages.
    Thank you for all the info on this site and in the comments :)

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