You might have heard that, as a person with diabetes, you shouldn't have any table sugar. While some health care providers continue to promotethis, many -- realizing that the average person lives in the real world and will probably indulge in a bit of sugar every now and then -- have adopted a more forgiving view. Most experts now say that small amounts of sugar are fine, as long as they are part of an overall healthy meal plan. Table sugars do not raise your blood sugar any more than similar amounts of calories from starches, which is found in many foods that we consume. It is important to remember that sugar is just one type of carbohydrate.
When eating sugar, keep these tips in mind:
- Read food labels. Learn how to determine how much sugar or carbohydrates are in the foods that you eat.
- Substitute, don't add. When you eat a sugary food, such as cookies, cakes, or candies, substitute them for another carbohydrate or starch (for example, potatoes) that you would have eaten that day. Make sure that you account for this in your carbohydrate budget for the day. If it is added to your meal for the day, then remember to adjust your insulin dose for the added carbohydrates so you can continue to maintain glucose control as much as possible. In other words, readjust your medications if you do add sugars to you meals.
- Sugary foods can be fattening. Many foods that have a lot of table sugar are very high in calories and fat. If you are watching your weight (and many people with diabetes must), you need to eat these foods in moderation!
- Check your blood sugar after eating sugary foods and talk to your health care provider about how to adjust your insulin if needed when eating sugars.
- Ultimately, the total grams of carbohydrates -- rather than what the source of the sugar is -- is what needs to be accounted for in the nutritional management of the person with diabetes.