Updated 15 February 2017

Diabetics can eat some sugar

Gone are the days of banning sugar completely from the diet if you're a diabetic.

Gone are the days of banning sugar completely from the diet if you're a diabetic.

While your intake should still be carefully monitored, dieticians now know that small amounts of sugar can be tolerated by diabetics. Of more importance, is the glycaemic index (GI).

Small quantities OK
"Diabetics can use small quantities of about 25g of fructose for purposes such as baking, because this sugar helps to improve the colour of baked products," says Dr Ingrid van Heerden, registered dietician and Health24's DietDoc.

"If you believe that patients with diabetes may never eat a single slice of sucrose-free cake or have a teaspoon of sugar on their high-fibre breakfast cereal, you're being unrealistic," she notes.

Van Heerden says that diabetics may use sucrose and small quantities of fructose if these form part of a diet that has been worked out specifically for their circumstances by their dietician.

Fructose, or "fruit sugar", can be found in fruits, honey and in a commercially-produced powder form, while sucrose is just normal "table sugar".

Within limits, of course
Note, however, that "no one is saying that diabetics should eat heaps of sugar or that they may take three teaspoons of fructose in every cup of coffee or tea they drink during the day," she says.

"In any case, fructose is known to cause gastric upsets such as diarrhoea and cramps, so most people would not be able to eat large quantities of it anyway." - (Health24)


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