How Much Sugar Should People With Diabetes Have a Day?

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It’s not clear exactly how many grams of sugar a person with diabetes should eat in a day because everyone is different. Some general guidelines for sugar consumption can tell you how much is too much for anyone. But having diabetes means you’ll likely need to consume less than that.

Only your healthcare provider can give you the ideal maximum number of grams of sugar you should consume in a day.

This article explains how sugar affects blood glucose (glucose) levels. Read on to learn tips on identifying sugar sources, how much sugar a diabetic can consume, and how to work with your healthcare provider to maintain a friendly diet. with diabetes.

How much sugar per day is safe?

A national survey published in 2016 found that the average American adult consumes at least 77 grams of added sugar per day. Children were found to eat a surprising 82 grams. To put things in context, 4 grams of sugar is equivalent to 1 teaspoon.

These numbers are much higher than the daily limits recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA):

  • Man: 36 grams (9 teaspoons or 150 calories)
  • Women: 25 grams (6 teaspoons or 100 calories)
  • Children from 2 to 18 years old: less than 24 grams (6 teaspoons or 100 calories)
  • Children under 2 years old: Do not recommend adding sugar.

If you have diabetes, your healthcare provider will likely recommend that you eat less sugar than this because sugar is dangerous for people with diabetes.

In diabetes, your body doesn’t properly use insulin, the hormone that helps you absorb sugar in your blood so it can be turned into energy or stored for later. Unable to process sugar, you develop high blood sugar, which causes inflammation throughout the body.

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When a person with diabetes consumes too much sugar, many body parts, including the cells that produce insulin, are affected. Often there is too much sugar, and over time, these cells wear down, so your body won’t be able to make insulin. This leads to more inflammation. Ultimately, this inflammation can damage the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys.

The exact amount of sugar that is safe to consume varies depending on your particular situation. However, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) advises people with diabetes to avoid added sugar in drinks and limit foods prepared with added sugars, replacing them with healthy options. than.

Identify hidden path

It is often difficult to realize how much sugar is hidden in packaged foods and drinks. Even if you’re disciplined about reading food labels, you may not know that sugar can go by other names.

Names to look out for on food labels include:

  • Agave nectar
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • honey
  • Fructose
  • Maltose
  • Molasses
  • Rice syrup
  • Sucrose

Different types of sugar can affect your blood sugar more or less. The idea that “natural sugars” are better for you isn’t necessarily true either, as you can still overdo it on foods that contain them. Both natural and processed sugars are broken down into glucose and fructose.

  • Glucose sugar Sugar is the type of sugar that is used to provide energy to every cell in the body.
  • Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver, turning it into a type of fat (triglyceride) that can increase insulin resistance and stimulate more insulin production. In the long term, this effect can cause fatty liver and other complications.

Common sources of added sugars

There’s a lot of added sugar in cookies, soft drinks, jams, and sugary breakfast cereals. However, many “healthy” foods also have sugar. They may even contain more sugar.

Here are a few examples:

  • Flavored Yogurt: 26 grams per 6 ounces
  • Granola bar: 7 to 12g on a 70g bar
  • Thick spaghetti sauce: 11 grams per half cup
  • Peanut butter: 5 grams per tablespoon
  • Protein bars: 23 to 30g on 80g bar
  • Russian salad dressing: 3 grams per tablespoon
  • Sweet apple juice: 39 grams per 12 ounces
  • Vanilla almond milk: 14 grams per cup

Luckily, many of these foods come in sugar-free versions so you can enjoy them without worry. But don’t confuse the terms “low-fat” with “low sugar” or “no added sugar.” Low-fat foods and natural ingredients may still have added sugar.

Choose Better Carbohydrates

Verywell / JR Bee

You consume sugar through carbohydrates. The two main forms of carbohydrates are:

  • Simple Carbohydratesor simple sugars, including fructose, glucose and lactose
  • Complex carbohydratescalled starch; has three or more sugars linked together and is found in starchy vegetables, rice, breads, cereals, and whole grains

Thankfully, there are a few ways to include sugar in your diet without going overboard.

First, track your daily carb intake. Choose foods with a lower glycemic index (GI). The GI measures the impact of different foods on your blood sugar.

The ADA recommends that people with diabetes eat low- or medium-GI carbohydrates, such as fresh vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Fresh fruits, such as bananas, can also be part of a diabetes-friendly diet, but should be limited because they are high in natural sugars.

Even if you drink unsweetened juice, the amount of sugar in the juice or smoothie can have the same blood sugar impact as a can of soft drink.

Calculate your daily allowance

If you have diabetes, it is important to work with your healthcare provider to determine what your daily sugar intake should be.

For someone without diabetes, 50 grams of sugar per day on a 2,000 calorie per day diet may be acceptable. Although the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends half of them.

If you’re under control of your diabetes, a lower percentage of your total coverage The exact percentage depends on a number of factors. For example, your healthcare provider will help you adjust if you are obese and need to cut calories or if you are underweight and need to increase your calorie intake.


Having diabetes doesn’t mean you can never eat sugar again. However, that means you have to know the hidden sugars and what percentage of your daily calories should come from sugar. This will involve reading food labels, choosing high-fiber, low-sugar carbs, and making deliberate food choices to keep your blood sugar under control.

frequently asked Questions

  • How many grams of sugar are in a teaspoon?

    One teaspoon of table sugar is measured to have 4 grams of sugar. One teaspoon of honey has 6 grams of sugar. Maple and agave syrup each have 5 grams of sugar per teaspoon.

  • Does your body need sugar?

    Right. Sugars and carbohydrates are converted into glucose, which provides energy for your cells to maintain life and normal functioning. Both low and high blood sugar can complicate this process.

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