Can You Eat Sweet Treats with Diabetes?

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You’re hungry for something sweet. Maybe a cookie, candy bar, ice cream, or soda. Do you indulge and hope for the best? Or swear off all sweets and hope you’ve got enough willpower to resist?

It's common knowledge that  that people with diabetes need to manage blood sugar levels by eating a balanced diet. But is there any room in a Diabetic-Friendly Diet for treats or dessert?

Of course. But that’s not a free pass-go endorsement to eat like a ravenous kid after a night of Halloween night of trick-or-treating. Don’t do that, OK?

If you have diabetes, you can enjoy sweet treats in moderation. A cookie after dinner. A piece of cake at a birthday party. A square of dark chocolate after lunch.

One sweet treat now and then may elevate blood sugar levels. But as long as what you eat most of the time includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fiber-rich foods, lean proteins, and not a lot of saturated fat, you can make this work.

Low-sugar or sugar-free options

Eating sweets in moderate amounts to manage blood sugar levels is one way to satisfy your sweet tooth when you have diabetes.

But it’s not the only way. Some foods and recipes are low in sugar or sugar-free like cookies sweetened with applesauce (check out this no-sugar oatmeal cookie recipe) or a drink or dessert made with an artificial sweetener. The website Eating Well has a whole section devoted to diabetic-friendly dessert recipes.

Too much sugar, too many carbs?

When you have diabetes, you may measure your blood glucose levels several times a day. It’s a great way see when your blood sugar levels fluctuate the most, pay attention to what you eat, and make better food choices.

But sweet treats and sugary foods aren’t necessarily the enemy. Even too many foods high in carbohydrates (especially simple carbohydrates like white bread from refined grains) are digested rapidly and converted to glucose.

Not sure how a food is going to impact your blood sugar levels? Read the food label, or look up nutrition info online to find out. If you want to keep your blood sugar levels under control, regular exercise can help. Maintain a healthy weight, or lose weight if you need to. Follow a Diabetic-Friendly diet. And have a sweet treat once in a while.