Type 2 Diabetes: Can You Eat Sweets?

From everydayhealth.com 3 Comments Tags: sweet tooth carbohydrates stevia food nutrition labels type 1 type 2 pre-diabetes

A type 2 diabetes diagnosis does not mean you must forgo sweets forever. Careful carbohydrate counting, a sugar substitute or two, and changes in portion sizes can keep your sweet tooth happy.

Many people assume a diabetes diagnosis means they must starve their sweet tooth. But a careful approach to designing your diabetes diet means you don’t have to kiss sweets goodbye.

But to be able to enjoy that cookie or cup of cocoa without guilt while keeping your blood sugar levels in check, you need to know:

What you are eating:

How much you are eating (portion size):

Carbohydrate, sugar, and calorie contents of everything you consume.

After that, do the math.

Your decision to go with a natural sugar or a sugar substitute will depend on your overall carbohydrate and calorie counts as well as your personal taste preference. Carbohydrates are important because they affect your blood sugar control, and many people with diabetes are watching calories in order to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Natural Sugars:

Natural sugars are those that come from plant or animal sources. For example, sugar comes from sugar cane, beet sugar comes from beet roots, and honey is made by honeybees. Other types of natural sugars include:

Maple syrup or sugar
Turbinado sugar

All these sugars contain carbohydrate and calories — and they all can affect your blood sugar levels. Another sweetener, high-fructose corn syrup, is classified by some as a "natural" sugar because it is made from corn, but it is highly processed to give it a longer shelf life.

Occasionally you will find natural sugars in products, but they may have names that are unfamiliar to you. If you are reading labels (and you should be!) sugars often appear in the ingredient list with names ending in -ose. When you see a list including sucrose or fructose, you know you are looking at added sugar.

Sugar also occurs naturally in certain foods, such as fruit and even milk. The key is to know your numbers — count the carbs and calories.

According to Amy Kranick, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with the adult diabetes program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn, there are two sweet treats you should always avoid: fruit juice (even without added sugars) and regular sodas. These both have too much sugar per serving. Instead, try a piece of whole fruit or a diet drink.

The only naturally occurring source of sweetness that doesn’t contain calories or carbohydrates is commonly called stevia or rebiana. This is a sweetener from the leaves of the stevia plant, a plant native to Central and South America. You may have seen reports suggesting that using stevia as a sweetener could help blood sugar levels and could have beneficial effects on blood sugar.


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