Should People with Diabetes Avoid Eating Sugars and Sweets?

woman refusing donuts

It was once thought that people with diabetes needed to avoid all sugars and sweets. Like everyone else, those with diabetes should avoid added sugars. These can be found on the Nutrition Facts label. Also like everyone else, those with diabetes should avoid drinking sugar-sweetened beverages. Examples of those to avoid are:

  • Fruit punch or fruit drinks
  • Energy or sports drinks
  • Regular soda
  • Sweet tea

If you do like sweets and have diabetes and are using a carbohydrate counting meal plan, it is important to count the total grams of carbohydrate in a sweet food as part of your total carbohydrate allowance for the day and the meal. Just look at the “Total Carbohydrate” on the Nutrition Facts label to find out how many grams of total carbohydrate a sweet food contains and work these carbohydrates into your meal plan.

It is also important to consider the total calories in a sweet food. Added calories can lead to weight gain, which makes it more difficult to control blood glucose levels. This would be important if you are using MyPlate or other meal plan.

It is also better to eat a small dessert with a meal than by itself. This will cause blood glucose levels to raise less and more gradually than they would if a dessert is eaten by itself.

There is usually no benefit to buying “diabetic” jellies, jams or cookies and desserts. These all have calories and carbohydrates and are not “free” foods.