Diabetes Home > Sugar Substitutes and Type 2 Diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, you may have thought sugar was off your list of approved foods. In fact, sugar in moderation is okay, and artificial sweeteners are certainly an option too. The FDA has approved five different types; natural sugar substitutes like agave and organic honey are also an option. If you are concerned about the risks sugar substitutes might present, talk to your healthcare provider or diabetes educator.


If I Have Type 2 Diabetes, Are Sugar Substitutes Safe?

If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be wondering if those pink, blue, or yellow packets of artificial sweetener are better than plain sugar. Which one do you choose? What's the safest type of sugar substitute for those who have type 2 diabetes?
So many questions and concerns come up with sugar and sugar substitutes, even for those who don't have type 2 diabetes. So let's take a look at what you need to know about the safety of these products and when and how to use them.
First of all, when used appropriately, sugar is not a forbidden food for those with type 2 diabetes. Foods with sugar can fit into your eating plan, as long as you stay within your carbohydrate goals. Although deciding which type of sugar to use is a personal decision, we're going to give you all the information you need about the available types of sugar and sugar substitutes to help you make that decision.

A Closer Look at Sugars

It's important to understand that while sugar is allowed as part of a diabetic diet, it is not a particularly healthy addition to your diet. It may add some flavor and take up a good percentage of your daily carbohydrate and caloric intake, but sugar will not provide you with any vitamins, minerals, or fiber.
In general, sugar can be divided into two main categories: "naturally occurring" (such as the fructose in fruit) and "added" (such as the sucrose in a cupcake). At this time, there is no scientific evidence to show that our bodies make a distinction between these two categories. They're still carbohydrates and can be substituted for other carbohydrates in your total daily food plan (see Healthy Desserts for People With Type 2 Diabetes).
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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