Americans consume nearly 15% of their calories from added sugar. That is 14 teaspoons of sugar if you consume 1500 calories per day and over 18 teaspoons if you eat 2000 calories a day. That is a lot of empty calories!
People with diabetes can eat sugary food, but only if they count those carbohydrate grams as part of their total carbohydrate for a meal or snack. However, no one should be eating a lot of sugar. Someone who is larger or more active sometimes can afford to eat more sugar.
Sugar in food often comes with other ingredients like white flour that also contain carbohydrate. Sweet foods can also have a lot of fat than can add up the calories. So even if the dessert has the same amount of carbohydrate as a piece of bread, it may be higher in calories due to the fat.
How do you solve this problem?
- Find out how many carbs and calories are in your favorite sweet foods. Then plan to only spend your carbs and calories on sweet foods you truly love. Choose what food in your eating plan you will replace with the sugary carbohydrates. You may also need to balance the calories through reduction of fat calories that day.
- Decide how much sugar you can eat while keeping a good blood glucose and balanced meals. To decide, check your blood glucose two hours after eating a sugary food to see if your blood sugar is on target.
- Then plan when and how often you will indulge. For most people, it may be only on a special occasion.
- Then try it a few times to see how it affects your blood glucose and weight. Keep good blood glucose records and weigh yourself weekly to see patterns.
This is an experiment. Everyone is different. You may find that a small bowl of cobbler at the buffet fits into your diabetes plan, but a sundae does not. Or you can see you can have a small slice of pie if you take a 30-minute walk later. Only by knowing how much carbohydrate you consume and checking your blood glucose will you know what works for you.
A free subscription to DIABETES LIFE LINES is available from the UGA Cooperative Extension, College of Family and Consumer Sciences.
Questions??? Call me in Columbus at 706.653.4200.
By Joanne Cavis