Diabetes Home > Healthy Desserts for People With Type 2 Diabetes

Some people think having type 2 diabetes equals a lifetime ban on dessert. Fortunately, that's not the case -- but you still have to take precautions to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Start by learning the carbohydrate counts of your favorite treats. When you want to indulge, watch your portion sizes and keep the rest of the meal low-carb. If you like to bake, use healthy substitutions for the high-fat, high-sugar ingredients.

Does Type 2 Diabetes Mean No Desserts?

While your diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can feel like the walls are closing in on you with all the restrictions, it doesn't mean that you have to give up all of life's pleasures -- including dessert!
It may seem logical to think that since type 2 diabetes is a condition involving high levels of sugar in your blood that it means you can't eat extra sugar. However, people with type 2 diabetes can eat desserts, sugar, and nearly any food that has caloric sweeteners, such as honey, maple syrup, and molasses.
While this may seem to defy logic, type 2 diabetes management is focused on counting carbohydrates. These carbohydrates can come from starches (like potatoes) or sugar products (like candy). After you eat, your blood glucose levels will be determined primarily by the total amount of carbohydrates you ate, regardless of the source of the carbohydrates eaten.
There are two types of carbohydrates that raise your blood sugar levels: starch and sugar. For the purpose of counting carbs, starches and sugar are equal. Both of these will elevate your blood sugar levels by similar amounts, with small differences due to fiber or other components that slow down the sugar rise.
For instance, ½ cup of regular ice cream and 1½ cups of cooked broccoli both contain 15 grams of carbohydrates. For the purposes of carb counting, these two are equal.
However, this does not mean that your meals should consist of ice cream and chocolate. While sugar and desserts can be worked into a type 2 diabetes meal plan, they are still considered "treats" and should be eaten in limited amounts.
It is essential that those with type 2 diabetes eat a healthy and balanced diet to help maintain overall blood sugar levels and control their weight. Although desserts are not off-limits, there are ways to enjoy these treats by incorporating them into your meals every now and then and making some healthier modifications.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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