Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

The Truth About Sweets and Diabetes

1. Sweets like candy and cake are off-limits if you have diabetes.

FALSE

Sweet treats -- like candies, pies, cakes -- were once off-limits for people with diabetes. Not anymore.

In fact, research has shown that starches like potatoes and white bread affect blood glucose levels much like sugar -- causing sometimes dangerous spikes in blood sugar. Carbohydrates found in most vegetables or whole grains don't affect blood sugar as much.

Counting carbs and choosing the healthiest of them is more important than eliminating sugar altogether. A little sweet treat is OK. If you're at a wedding, for instance, you can have a small slice of cake -- very small. Just substitute it for another starchy carb you might eat, like a small potato or a piece of bread.

If you really have a sweet tooth, choose desserts, candy, and sodas made with sugar substitutes. Many artificial sweeteners have no carbs or calories, so you don't need to count them in your meal plan. Others have carbohydrates that are absorbed into the blood more slowly than table sugar, so they don't pose a threat to your blood sugar levels.

But once you come off sugar and sweeteners for a few weeks, your body and taste buds will adapt, and you won’t need or crave as much sweetness. Fruits and other natural foods will taste sweeter and more satisfying.

 

 

2. A glass of wine with dinner is fine for people with diabetes.

TRUE

 

Within limits, alcohol is OK. But there are exceptions. You shouldn't drink if your blood sugar levels aren't under control or if you have nerve damage from diabetes.

If you do drink, keep portions modest: up to one drink a day for women, or up to two drinks a day for men.

Remember, one serving is:

  • Four ounces of wine, or
  • 12 ounces of beer, or
  • 1.5 ounces of hard liquor

 

 

3. Foods high in fiber, such as beans, can help lower blood sugar levels.

TRUE

A high-fiber diet (more than 50 grams/day) can lower blood sugar levels. How? Your body digests fiber-rich foods slowly -- which means glucose (a form of sugar) is absorbed into the blood gradually, helping to control blood sugar levels.

You have to eat a very high-fiber diet to attain this effect.

High-fiber diets have also been shown to help lower cholesterol levels, lose weight, feel fuller, and stay regular.

Fiber-rich foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grain bread and crackers, and bran cereal.

Always check food labels for carbohydrates and sugars. Many high-fiber foods have sugar added to them.

 

 

4. High-protein diets are risky for some people with diabetes.

TRUE

A high-protein diet can be a problem if you have kidney problems.

How much protein is too much? If you have kidney problems, the American Diabetes Association suggests you get just 15% to 20% of your calories from protein. And do your heart a favor: Choose protein such as beans, fish, or chicken more often than fatty cuts of meat.

If you want to lose weight, eat a balanced diet that cuts calories by 500 calories a day. You should be able to lose 10% of your body weight without putting your kidneys at risk.

WebMD Medical Reference

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Woman holding cake
Slideshow
feet
Slideshow
 
man organizing pills
Slideshow
Close up of eye
Slideshow
 

Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article