• Can you be diabetic and have a sweet tooth? Considering that a balanced diet is a big part of the treatment of the disease, it’s only normal to wonder. Let’s see if gluttony is a sin for diabetics or if it’s just a myth! How much dessert can you eat when you have type 2 diabetes?

    Carbohydrate Needs of a Diabetic Person

    The carbohydrate needs of people suffering from type 2 diabetes are the same as for everyone else. It is therefore recommended that energy levels supplied by carbohydrates range between 45% and 60%. A diabetic person should consume between 45 to 75 g of carbohydrates every meal, and 15 to 30 g for a snack, if necessary. 

    As for added sugars, a daily intake of 10% or lower is acceptable since no negative impact has been observed on glucose control. Of course, it’s important to adapt the quantity and the repartition of carbohydrate intake over the day according to each patient’s eating habits. 

    Type 2 Diabetes Can Be Controlled by Physical Activity

    Physical activity plays an important role in the treatment of diabetes. Many studies have shown that a regular practice of sports has beneficial effects on glycemia (blood sugar levels). Some people suffering from mild diabetes might only rely on physical activity to help combat adverse effects.

    While desserts are not prohibited for diabetics, they must pay special attention to the type and frequency of their intake.

    For example, homemade pastries, in which we can control the carbohydrate content, fruits, and dairy products are preferable to processed products such as cookies or shop-bought cakes. The latter can however be enjoyed in moderation and in reasonable portions. Regular physical activity is also important for an optimal glucose control.

    Simplified Method of Carbohydrate Counting  

    A diabetic person can use the simplified method of carbohydrate counting to ensure that they consume the adequate portion of carbs. This method is described as follows: 

    • Using a personalized meal plan with predetermined quantities of carbohydrates for each meal and snacks (Psst! The mobile app Swiitch helps you eat better with its flexible and personalized meal plan. It’s based on simple calculations of carbs that helps you manage your daily intake! To know more about it read this article).
    • Maintaining the same carbohydrate intake everyday.
    • Calculating portion quantities at each meal. 
    • Calculating carbohydrate quantities for each meal or snack (the Nutrition Facts table and the Diabetes Quebec exchange system are useful tools to do so). 
    • Meeting within 5 g the quantities of carbs determined in the meal plan.


    Therefore, a diabetic person following this method can eat dessert if they want to, but a certain management is necessary.

    Indeed, they must measure the quantity of carbs in their desserts carefully and ensure that the total number is respected. Sugars present in desserts must also be a replacement to other ingested carbohydrate foods rather than a supplement. 

    Thus, if you plan to eat a dessert, you can decide not to take bread with your meal, or water instead of juice. 

    Insulin Treatment for Diabetics 

    Some people suffering from diabetes must use insulin, an hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, to treat the disease. For them, a more flexible meal plan as to the quantity of carbohydrates consumed during meals and snacks is possible.

    No fixed number of carbs is necessary. Simply adjusting the insulin according to an insulin/carbohydrate ratio determined by healthcare professionals will do. This is the advanced method of carbohydrate counting.  

    People using this method don’t need to monitor their diet. And the good side is that they can eat just as many desserts as they wish. However, the insulin treatment doesn’t create healthy eating habits. 

    Preferred Desserts for a Diabetic Person

    Even though diabetics can eat desserts, some are still better options than others. It’s specifically important to take into account the glycemic index. This index is used to classify foods according to the increasing trend in blood sugar levels when consumed. 

    It’s therefore better to eat processed foods, such as cookies or shop-bought cakes, moderately or to avoid them altogether, since they have a high glycemic index. In contrast, foods with a low glycemic index and a good nutritional value, therefore rich in fibers, vitamins, and minerals, are preferable. 

    Here is a list of judicious choices:

    • Fruits
    • Low fat dairy products (yogurt and cheese)
    • A handful of unsalted nuts (almonds, Grenoble walnuts, cashews…)
    • Whole-grain cereal products (muffin, crackers…)
    • Homemade pastries (cookies rich in fibers such as oat or raisins, desserts made from fruit compote as a substitute to sugar…).