Get answers to your nutrition and healthy eating questions. Visit www.eatrightontario.ca or call us toll-free at 1-877-510-510-2.
Get answers to your nutrition & healthy eating questions.
Call us toll-free† at 1-877-510-510-2 to speak directly with a Registered Dietitian.
Most people enjoy the taste of something sweet. Many foods are naturally sweet. Other foods are made with sugar to add a sweet taste. Here is what you need to know about sugar and sweet foods if you have diabetes.
Sugar is a type of carbohydrate. It breaks down in the body to become a source of energy called glucose. There are two categories of sugar found in foods:
No. All types of added sugar will affect your blood glucose levels in the same way and are digested in the same way.
People with diabetes can eat foods that have added sugar. But it is important to eat small amounts of these foods to help manage your blood glucose levels.
If you have diabetes, up to 10 percent of the calories you eat can come from added sugar. That’s about 12.5 teaspoons or sugar (50 grams) in a 2000 calorie diet. This amount may be higher or lower than the amount that is ok for you.
Ketchup (1 Tbsp)
Coffee with sugar (2 tsp)
Granola bar (35 g)
Jam (1 Tbsp)
Sweetened breakfast cereal (30 g)
Chocolate bar (58 g)
Pop (355 mL can)
Blueberry muffin (168 g)
Jelly beans (1/4 cup)
Yes. Fresh, frozen or canned fruit (packed in water or its own juices) are healthy choices. Fruit contains vitamins, minerals and fibre that are important for overall health. The naturally occurring sugar in fruit (called fructose) is not part of the 10 percent of added sugar described above.
Your dietitian can help create a meal plan that will include the amount of fruit that is right for you.
Below are other names for added sugar. If these names are listed in the first few ingredients on a food package, the food is likely high in added sugar. Naturally occurring sugars are not listed in the ingredient list.
Cane sugar or evaporated cane juice
Concentrated fruit juice
Dextrose or dextrin
High fructose corn syrup
Hint: Ingredients ending in "ose" are likely sugars.
The Nutrition Facts Table lists total sugars only. It does not show naturally occurring and added sugars separately.
Read Decoding the Nutrition Label: Tips for people with diabetes for more information.
If you enjoy sweet foods, a small amount of added sugar can be part of your diet, but it’s important to limit these foods so they do not replace healthier food choices. Your dietitian can help create a meal plan that’s right for you.
Remember, diabetes is not just about sugar. All sources of carbohydrate affect blood glucose levels.
Do you have more questions about sugar and diabetes? Call 1-877-510-510-2 to speak with an EatRight Ontario Registered Dietitian or send an email
Facts on artificial sweeteners
Diabetes Menu Plan for Prevention and Management
Diabetes Recipe Booklets for different cultural backgrounds
Recipe Makeover: Reducing sugar in the kitchen
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Dietitians of Canada acknowledges the financial support of EatRight Ontario by the Ontario government. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Province.