Can People With Diabetes Have Dessert?

Key points

  • When it comes to managing diabetes, enjoying sweets may seem impossible.
  • With a little planning ahead, you can still enjoy desserts in moderation.
woman eyeing piece of cake

The dessert dilemma

You've heard the saying, "Life's too short, eat dessert first." With so many delicious options out there, it can be tempting. But living with diabetes can make indulging in your favorite sweet treat a little more complicated.

If you have diabetes, too many carbohydrates (carbs), found in sugary and starchy foods can spike your blood sugar. This may make it harder to manage diabetes, and increase your risk of developing complications. Many people believe that desserts are off limits if you're living with diabetes. But that's simply not true. With a few considerations, people with diabetes can have dessert.

Diabetes-friendly dessert tips

One thing most sweets have in common is their high carbohydrate content from sugar, flour, and dairy. But these diabetes-friendly tips can help:

Count your carbs.

Carb counting helps you keep track of your food and drinks throughout the day. This way, you can keep track of the carbs in your desserts and adjust the rest of your carbohydrate intake accordingly. For example, if you know you want a dessert, you can cut back on your carbs in other ways at lunch and dinner. When you plan ahead, you can avoid eating more than is healthy.

Portion yourself.

When you do enjoy desserts or sweets, do it in moderation. Eat slowly to savor and appreciate what you're eating. Having dessert with or right after a meal can help you eat a smaller amount without feeling deprived.

Try substitutions.

Some sugary treats will impact your blood sugar more than others. For example, dark chocolate is a richer, less sweet alternative to white or milk chocolate. Some people with diabetes enjoy fruit as a filling and nutritious substitute to satisfy a sweet craving. Fruits like mashed banana or applesauce can also be used to naturally sweeten baked goods. Just remember, all of these options still contain natural sugars that will impact your blood sugar, but they offer a healthier alternative.

Keep Reading: Carb counting