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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I include the occasional sweet treats in my diet if I have type II diabetes?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 7


    Jessica is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) who incorporates a holistic and mindful approach to helping people achieve health and wellbeing. She has a particular … View Profile

    All food is good in moderation; therefore you can definitely enjoy an occasional sweet treat, if it is a part of a balanced, healthy meal plan. When eating your sweet treats, eat them mindfully. That means being present to the experience of eating without judgment. This will help you feel more satisfied as you are allowing your mind and body to connect. The sweet treats are no more off limits to people with diabetes than they are to people without diabetes.

  • 5


    Ellen Moran

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Ellen Moran is an Accredited Practising Dietitian who promotes credible nutrition information, tailored to your personal health goals and needs. She has a special interest … View Profile

    You’ve already got halfway there with mentioning ‘occasional’; the other half is all about PORTION size. Type 2 diabetics needn’t ban chocolates or sweets for life, but they do need to limit consumption for good blood sugar control. A handy guide is to limit your sweet treat to once or twice a week, keep the portion to approximately what would equal 500kJs of that food (for example, 4 squares of chocolate, 1 tim tam or 2 scoops of ice-cream), and try to have it earlier rather than later in the day, so you are more likely to be active and using that extra burst of sugar you’ve just consumed. 

  • 1




    Mr Dean Spilias

    Upper GI Surgeon (Abdominal)

    Dean graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1997 and went on to surgical training at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. During his residency he had … View Profile

    An occasional sweet is OK. However, as a type II diabetic, your body will not cope with additional sugar - or even excess starch, which the body quickly converts into sugar - as effectively as if you were not diabetic. In addition to limiting how often you have sweets and how much you consume, here are some strategies to help deal with this: 

    - Diabetic-formulation foods use artificial sweeteners, or natural sugars that the body does not absorb, to give a sweet taste with very little change in your blood sugar level. Diabetic chocolate is a good example.  

    - Naturally lower-sugar versions of the same product - such as very dark (70-85% cacao) chocolate, which has half the sugar of milk chocolate and which is so intense that one square is often enough. 

    - Low-sugar fruits such as strawberries - 3.8g of sugar per 100g of fruit, compared to grapes, 15.5g sugar per 100g of fruit.  

    - Decreasing the carbohydrate content of the rest of your meal when having sweets afterwards. Avoid high-GI, high-starch foods such as white rice, bread or potato if you would like to have a sweet dessert. 

    - Make sweet tastes only for special occasions, to enhance the sweetness of special-occasion foods - avoid sweet drinks, gradually eliminate sugar or sweeteners from your coffe or tea. 

  • 3


    Dr Kevin Lee

    Endocrinologist, Nuclear Medicine Physician

    Consultant Physician in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Nuclear Medicine. I am on Twitter @dr_kevinlee. I am on Facebook I help patients with obesity, diabetes, thyroid, … View Profile

    Many excellent posts already, thank you.

    I also reiterate that ‘sweet ’doesn't necessarily have to mean calorie or carbohydrate load.
    There are many sweetners out there that can give you the sweet taste without calories.

    Another way to combat the rise in blood glucose after eating sweet treats is to literally walk it off!
    Physical exercise is known to reduce post-meal glucose increase.

    One study showing 60min of walking 2 hours after dinner has more favourable effect on blood glucose than pre-dinner exercise ( )

    Dr Kevin Lee
    Consultant Physician Endocrinologist

  • 3


    Kirsty Woods

    Exercise Physiologist

    Hi I’m Kirsty Woods,I would like to use my experience, expertise and passion to help you reach your weight, energy and health goalsI have been … View Profile

    Great question, there are some alternatives which will minimize the impact on glycaemic control including:

    • Sweetening with natural stevia
    • Substituting flour for almond meal

    You may wish to look at these: 

  • 4


    Leah's mission is quite simply to help others take steps to walk their life journey. We have four primary 'parts' creating our life experiences. The … View Profile


    I agree with all the other suggestions, and will add one more idea.  Are you testing your blood sugar levels regularly?  This is powerful information if you know how to interpret it.  For instance, if your sugars are already high, say 7mmol/L and above, then, it would be more useful to go for a walk, or clean the house a bit, or gardening for instance to burn up some of the sugar that is already in the blood.  

    There is a danger in adding sugars into the body from 'sweets', breads, starchy vegetable etc when your blood sugar is already higher.

    On the contrary, if you blood sugars are on the normal side - less than 6mmol/L then, it is certainly safer to indulge that little bit, and enjoy the food that is there. 

    As Dr Spilias mentioned, it is possible to look at the total carbohydrate in a meal,and adjust to meet the needs at the time, especially if it is a special occaision and is to be celebrated - Christmas for instance. 

    If you are not sure about these or the other points, then I strongly suggest seeing an Accreditited Dietitian who can help guide you through what and amounts of carbohydrates, and how to make the most of your food to feed and treat you. 

    Good luck, enjoy the next couple of weeks, with moderation, check your sugars and choose wisely, walk, dance or play cricket to burn off the extras, and celebrate your life. 

    To your health. 


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