Jelly beans as an alternative to a fifty-gram glucose beverage for gestational diabetes screening

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Nov;181(5 Pt 1):1154-7. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(99)70099-2.


Objective: This study tested the hypothesis that a standardized dose of jelly beans could be used as an alternative sugar source to the 50-g glucose beverage to screen for gestational diabetes mellitus.

Study design: One hundred sixty pregnant women at 24 to 28 weeks' gestation were recruited for a prospective study to compare 2 sugar sources for serum glucose response, side effects, preference, and ability to detect gestational diabetes mellitus. Patients were randomly assigned to consume 50-g glucose beverage or 28 jelly beans (50 g simple carbohydrate). Serum glucose values were determined 1 hour later. The test was later repeated with the other sugar source. Finally, a 100-g 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test was performed. Participants completed a questionnaire recording subjective outcome variables. American Diabetes Association criteria were used to interpret all test results.

Results: Among 136 participants completing the study no significant differences were found between 1-hour serum glucose values (116.5 +/- 27 mg/dL with 50-g glucose beverage, 116.9 +/- 23.6 mg/dL with jelly beans; P =.84), frequency of discrepant results (P =.47), sensitivity, specificity, or predictive value. Jelly beans yielded fewer side effects (38% with 50-g glucose beverage, 20% with jelly beans; P <.001) and were preferred by 76% of participants (P <.001). Five cases (3.7% incidence) of gestational diabetes mellitus were diagnosed, 3 with 50-g glucose beverage alone, 1 with jelly beans alone, and 1 with both sugar sources.

Conclusions: Jelly beans may be used as an alternative to the 50-g glucose beverage as a sugar source for gestational diabetes mellitus screening. The 2 sources provoke similar serum glucose responses. Patients report fewer side effects after a jelly bean challenge than after a 50-g glucose beverage challenge.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Beverages* / adverse effects
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Candy* / adverse effects
  • Diabetes, Gestational / blood
  • Diabetes, Gestational / diagnosis*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / ethnology
  • Female
  • Glucose / administration & dosage*
  • Glucose / adverse effects
  • Glucose Tolerance Test / methods*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucose