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Cara Reed posted a picture to her Instagram account and tagged @QuestNutrition. Many of our fans like to share their recipes, Quest Bar photos and gym faces with us and we welcome every single mention. But Cara’s photo wasn’t of a beautiful mountain vista with her holding a Quest Bar or her sharing her Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar fresh out of the microwave. She posted a crude looking graph next to a couple of boxes of Beyond Cereal Bars. It’s not the kind of image you’d stop your rampant Instagram scrolling to double tap. However, we pay attention to what all of our fans and dissenters are saying about us, and to our delight, the caption of Cara’s post read as follows:

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“Holy shit @questnutrition. You have NO idea what a game changer your new #beyondcereal bars are for my girl. Look at that twelve hour line and try to tell me when she ate the protein bar with NO INSULIN GIVEN. Do you know what Claire eats for no insulin? Air, water & sugar free jello. I CAN SEND A PRE PACKAGED SNACK TO SCHOOL AND NOT WORRY. These are worth every damn penny.”

We hope you excuse her cursing like we did. This is why we do what we do. We create foods that help people along the way, no matter what they’re pursuing.  One of the unforeseen benefits we’ve heard from many people with type 1 and 2 diabetes is that they are able to enjoy the Beyond Cereal Bar without blood sugar spikes. This isn’t true for everyone, and it should be noted that you should always check with your doctor before taking on any new diets or eating habits, especially if you’re a diabetic. But for Cara and her daughter Claire, it was a risk they were willing to take.

Quest CEO Ron Penna saw the message and emailed it to the entire company. Immediately upon seeing it, I sent Cara a Facebook message letting her know I’d love to talk to her about her post. I was under the impression that her daughter had type 2 diabetes, but after a brief minute on the phone, Cara informed me that her 9-year-old daughter has type 1 diabetes.

What’s the difference? Type 1 diabetes is when your body completely lacks and doesn’t make insulin. Type 2 diabetes is when the body isn’t able to properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas and it’s what transforms carbohydrates into energy. Since our bodies cannot use sugar for energy, insulin is created, attaches itself to signal cells in your bloodstream and allows that process to take place. When someone with type 1 diabetes eats anything that turns into glucose (sugars, carbs, etc.), massive blood sugar spikes take place and insulin must be administered or the patient becomes hyperglycemic which can lead to coma or even death. This is a daily fear for Cara and her family.

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“Up to eight times a day we’ve had to give Claire insulin, even if she has the slightest amount of sugar.” Cara explains over the phone. I’m speaking to her and her husband, Chase. Together they’re part of a Facebook Group called TypeOne Grit. Their focus is on a low carb, high protein diet for diabetes management. In what would seem the ultimate irony, Chase, 34, is a nutritional pharmacist, so a high carb, sugar-laden diet wouldn’t even be on the menu, regardless of Claire’s Type 1 status. Chase describes every hour of every day as a constant battle against counting carbs, giving insulin, monitoring blood sugar and walking a tightrope with every meal. In short, he sums up daily life as a “nightmare.”

People with Type 1 Diabetes don’t have the ability to even eat complex carbs. Chase jumps in and explains the daily challenges of something as simple as eating. “We have to go through and try everything. Every protein bar, every drink, every morsel of food she eats can cause a spike in blood sugar.” Which is why when they tried the Beyond Cereal Bar, they were hesitant to put their hopes in the product. “It tasted really good, ridiculously good, like carbs. So we thought for sure that it would trigger a response in her body. An hour passed and no rise and then two and then we realized we found something that works.”

Suddenly, Cara’s text from her Instagram post is put in perspective. “I can send a pre-packaged snack to school and not worry.” Cara informs me that it’s been over a year since Claire has had any kind of pre-packaged food. Something most people take for granted, or actively avoid, is a ray of hope for Claire and her family.

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Claire, for all her hardships with Type 1 diabetes, doesn’t let it slow her down. She’s a trooper. In fact, she is a competitive cheerleader – Cara explains to me that one of her main focuses is to not let diabetes stop Claire from accomplishing her goals. Meaning she’s pure Quest – always aspirational, ready to tackle the hardships of life, even at such an early age.

It seems silly to think something as trivial as a protein cereal bar can have such an impact on someone’s life, but that’s one of the side benefits to working at Quest – one of our main goals is to impact the world of fitness and nutrition and at least for one tiny cheerleader, we’ve accomplished that goal. It was a pleasure talking to Cara and Chase about their experience with Beyond Cereal bars and please, share yours with us if you have similar tales!

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