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How much sugar for a diabetic per day: 12 Ways Too Much Sugar Harms Your Body


Is Sugar-Free Candy Good for Diabetics? – Cleveland Clinic

If you have diabetes you may feel like sugar is your enemy. But when you have a hankering for something sweet, is sugar-free candy a healthy option?

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In this Q and A, registered dietitian Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD, CDE,answers our questions and discusses what you need to know about sugary treats and other foods that use sugar substitutes.

Q: Should people with diabetes eat candy with or without sugar?

A: About 90 percent of your diet should focus on healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, poultry and fish. There is wiggle room in a healthful diet for treats like sweets whether you have diabetes or not. That is where candy would fit.

You should enjoy your food — and food also has social, emotional and physical health benefits. Built into the recommended dietary guidelines is room for getting up to 10 percent of your calories from sugar every day.

Treats affect your blood sugar. So if you have diabetes, it’s important to focus on portion control and moderation when you select these foods.

In other words, you can eat treats even if you have diabetes. But you need to account for the carbohydrate and calorie content they provide in your diet whether they are sugar-free or not.

Q: How much sugar should you allow in your daily diet?

A: Everyone with diabetes is different, but here’s what the American Heart Association recommends:

  • No more than 25 grams of added sugar (about six teaspoons or 100 calories) daily for women
  • No more than 36 grams (about nine teaspoons or 150 calories) of added sugar per day for men

Q: How does sugar-free candy affect your body?

A: Some sugar substitutes contain carbohydrates, while others do not. All carbohydrates turn into sugar in the body, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. You have to read the nutrition facts label to know whether a product contains carbohydrates.

It’s true that sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, xylitol, and mannitol, don’t affect blood sugars as dramatically as other carbohydrates do. So sugar-free candy with most of the total carbs coming from these alcohols will typically have less impact on your blood sugar.

Many of those who have type 2 diabetes do well with an intake of 30 grams to 45 grams of carbs per meal (for women) and 45 to 60 grams per meal (for men), and snacks with no more than 20 grams of carbs. See a registered dietitian for individualized recommendations.

Q: What are some misunderstandings that surround sugar-free candy?

A: There are several, including:

  • Sugar-free means unlimited. Sugar-free candies and other treats may still contain carbohydrates. In addition, some sugar-free candy contains significant calories and is high in saturated or trans fats. Pay attention to serving sizes, strictly avoid trans fats and limit saturated fat to 6 percent (fewer than 13 grams) of total calories per day. For a 2,000 calorie per day diet, this would be about 13 grams.
  • Sugar-free means healthy. Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are examples of healthy foods. Candy doesn’t count as healthy, even if it is sugar-free. If you eat a lot of candy and aren’t ready to cut back, however, switching to sugar-free candy may help you better control your carbohydrate intake. The long-term goal, though, is to cut down on all candy.
  • It is only for people with diabetes. Those who have diabetes can eat sugar as part of their overall carbohydrate budget. Both kinds of candy can increase blood sugars, especially if portion and carbohydrate content are not considered. In addition, people with or without diabetes may choose sugar-free candy if they are trying to lower calories or decrease sugar intake.

Q: Are there benefits to choosing sugar-free candy?

A: There are several possible benefits, including:

  • When eaten in moderation, sugar alcohols don’t dramatically increase blood sugars.
  • It may contain fewer total carbohydrates than regular candy.
  • It obviously has less added sugar than regular candy.
  • It may have fewer calories than regular candy.

Q: Are there any problems with sugar-free candy?

A: Sugar alcohols can cause adverse gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, gas and diarrhea. So it’s a good idea to stick to the serving size recommendations.

Some studies suggest that certain zero-calorie sweeteners may also stimulate appetite, which can be counterproductive for someone who is trying to watch their weight.

The bottom line: Most people can enjoy treats — with or without sugar — as part of a healthy diet. If you have questions about sugar or carbohydrate intake, consult your doctor or a dietitian.

Get Smart On Carbs | ADA

Get smart on carbs.

When you eat or drink foods that have carbohydrate—also known as carbs—your body breaks those carbs down into glucose (a type of sugar), which then raises the level of glucose in your blood. Your body uses that glucose for fuel to keep you going throughout the day. This is what you probably know of as your “blood glucose” or “blood sugar.” When it comes to managing diabetes, the carbs you eat play an important role. After your body breaks down those carbs into glucose, your pancreas releases insulin to help your cells absorb that glucose.

When someone’s blood glucose—or blood sugar—is too high, it is called hyperglycemia. There are a few causes for “highs,” including not having enough insulin in your body to process the glucose in the blood or the cells in your body not effectively reacting to the insulin that is released, leaving extra glucose in the blood. A low blood glucose is known as hypoglycemia. “Lows” can sometimes be caused by not consuming enough carbohydrates, or an imbalance in medications. In short, the carbs we consume impact our blood sugar—so balance is key!

There are three main types of carbohydrates in food—starches, sugar and fiber. As you’ll see on the nutrition labels for the food you buy, the term “total carbohydrate” refers to all three of these types. The goal is to choose carbs that are nutrient-dense, which means they are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and low in added sugars, sodium and unhealthy fats. When choosing carbohydrate foods:

  • Eat the most of these: whole, unprocessed, non-starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes and green beans have a lot of fiber and very little carbohydrate, which results in a smaller impact on your blood sugar. Remember, these should make up half your plate according to the Plate Method!
  • Eat some of these: whole, minimally processed carbohydrate foods. These are your starchy carbohydrates, and include fruits like apples, blueberries, strawberries and cantaloupe; whole intact grains like brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta and oatmeal; starchy vegetables like corn, green peas, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and plantains; and beans and lentils like black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas and green lentils. If you’re using the Plate Method, foods in this category should make up about a quarter of your plate.
  • Try to eat less of these: refined, highly processed carbohydrate foods and those with added sugar. These include sugary drinks like soda, sweet tea and juice, refined grains like white bread, white rice and sugary cereal, and sweets and snack foods like cake, cookies, candy and chips.

Gestational Diabetes Treatment Plan | Yale Health

Many women with gestational diabetes have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies because they follow the treatment plan that their health care providers set up for them.

One of the most important things you can do to help ensure a healthy pregnancy is to make regular health care appointments and keep them.                

A general treatment plan to control gestational diabetes may include these items:

  • Knowing your blood sugar (also called glucose) level and keeping it under control  
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Getting regular, moderate physical activity
  • Maintaining a healthy weight gain
  • Keeping daily records of your diet, physical activity, and glucose levels
  • Taking medications as prescribed, you may need a medication if:
    • Your blood sugar level is too high.
    • Your blood sugar level is high too many times.
    • Your blood sugar level remains high, but you are not gaining much weight or are not eating poorly.
    • You cannot safely add physical activity to your treatment plan.

Know Your Blood Sugar Level and Keep it Under Control

The first step in this general treatment plan has two parts:

1) Knowing your blood sugar level—means you test to see how much glucose is in your blood; and

2) Keeping your blood sugar level under control—means you keep the amount of glucose within a healthy range at all times, by eating a healthy diet as outlined by your health care provider, getting regular physical activity, and taking medication, if needed.

Your blood sugar level changes during the day based on what foods you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat. Your level of physical activity and when you do physical activities also affect your blood sugar levels.

By getting to know your body and how it uses glucose during the day, you can help your health care provider to adjust your treatment program. Measuring your glucose level every day, and often during the day helps pinpoint when you need to eat, how much you should eat, and what kinds of foods are best for you.

As you get closer to your due date, your insulin resistance could increase. If that happens, you might need to take medication to help keep your glucose level under control. Knowing your glucose levels at specific times of the day will allow your health care provider to figure out the right medicine for you.

Follow your health care provider’s advice about when to test your glucose level. You will have to test your blood sugars four times a day and keep track of the numbers in a log book.

Even though your glucose level changes during the day, there is a healthy range for these levels.  The goal is to keep your glucose level within this range.  The following chart shows the healthy “target” range for each time you test.

Healthy Target Range for Glucose Levels

Time of Blood Sugar Test Healthy Target Level
Fasting glucose level (first thing in the morning before you eat) No higher than 95 mg/dl
One hour after breakfast, lunch and dinner No higher than 140 mg/dl

Talk to your health care provider about what to do if your glucose level is outside the healthy target listed here. You may have to adjust your treatment plan to get your levels into a healthy range.

Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet

Eating a healthy diet is an important part of a treatment plan for gestational diabetes. A healthy diet includes a balance of foods from all the food groups, giving you the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals you need for a healthy pregnancy. For women with gestational diabetes, eating a balanced diet also helps to keep blood sugar levels in the healthy target range. Following a meal plan and eating a healthy diet is a key part of managing gestational diabetes.  It is essential that you work with your health care provider to create a plan for your healthy diet. The information in this booklet is for women who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. These guidelines are not appropriate for all pregnant women.

  • Carbohydrates are part of a healthy diet for a woman with gestational diabetes.
  • Carbohydrates are nutrients that come from certain foods, like grains, milk and yogurt, fruits, and starchy vegetables.
  • During digestion, your body breaks down most carbohydrates into simple sugars, which is your body’s main source of energy.
  • Eating carbohydrates increases your blood sugar level. If you eat a small amount of carbohydrate at a meal, your blood sugar level goes up a small amount. If you eat a large amount of carbohydrate at a meal, your blood sugar level goes up a large amount.
  • You need to find a balance between eating enough carbohydrates to get the energy and glucose you need, and limiting the carbohydrates you eat to control your blood sugar level.  The best way to do this is to spread them throughout the day.
  • Your health care team will come up with a healthy diet for you that includes the right amount of carbohydrates to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
  • Women with gestational diabetes usually need to avoid foods that are high in sugar, like sweets and desserts, in order to keep their blood sugar level in control.
  • Not getting enough carbohydrates can also cause problems. You should follow the meal plan provided by your health care provider.
Balancing your diet
  • All foods contain some combination of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Fat and protein affect your blood glucose over many hours, but carbohydrate affects it much faster. For this reason, you will need to regulate your intake of foods that are rich in carbohydrate (“carbs”). Your healthcare provider will show you how and your meal plan will help you stay on track.
  • It is important to make healthy food choices. Nutritious foods support your baby’s growth and development, help control your gestational diabetes, and keep you feeling well.
  • Controlling your gestational diabetes requires controlling the pattern of your eating. Your meal plan gives you targets for when to eat and how much to eat.
Steps to get started
  1. Begin Counting Carbohydrates.  To manage your blood sugar you will learn a technique called “carbohydrate (“carb”) counting”.  This system helps you balance your meals and snacks throughout the day.  Begin by reading the Nutrition Facts labels for “Total Carbohydrates”.  Your target for will likely be 30-45 grams for meals and 15-30 grams for snacks. Details about Carbohydrate Counting.
  2. Eat smaller amounts of carbohydrates at each meal.  Rather than eating a large amount of carbohydrate at a single meal, spread out your carbohydrates throughout the day. Eating carbohydrates directly affects your blood sugar level, so eating a smaller amount of carbohydrate at regular intervals through the day will help keep your blood sugar from rising too high after a meal
  3. Eat small, frequent meals and snacks. Eat about every 2 to 3 hours. Because you are eating fewer carbohydrates at your meals, you will needs to eat more frequently in order to meet your daily nutritional needs.  Plan at least 3 meals and 3 snacks a day.
  4. Include protein at meals and snacks. You protein needs increase during your last trimester.  Protein may help even out your blood glucose. It may also help you feel more satisfied throughout the day.
  5. Eat a very small breakfast, with a similar mid-morning snack about 2 hours later. Blood glucose levels tends to be higher in the morning. To offset this, your meal plan will probably include fewer carbs at breakfast than at lunch or dinner.  
  6. Have a nighttime snack. It is good to eat a snack before you go to sleep to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level overnight. Some examples of healthy snacks include: a Greek yogurt, an apple with peanut butter or whole grain crackers with cheese.Choose high-fiber foods. Good sources include whole-grain breads and cereals, fresh and frozen vegetables, and beans. Fruits can also a good source of fiber — most plans include fruit in afternoon or evening meals and snacks.
  7. Watch out for sugar and concentrated sweets.
    • Do not drink fruit juice.  Plan to get your fruit servings later in the day (not at breakfast). Although fruits are a healthy source of carbohydrate, their carbs are easily absorbed and tend to raise blood glucose levels quickly.
    • Avoid regular soft drinks, fruit juice and fruit drinks. High-carbohydrate drinks like these raise your blood glucose quickly.
    • Limit desserts such as ice cream, pies, cakes, and cookies. These foods often have large amounts of added sugar, honey, or other sweeteners.
    • Read labels carefully and check them for total carbohydrates per serving.
  8. Be careful about fat
    • Consume lean protein foods, such as poultry and fish. Avoid high fat meats, lunch meat, bacon, sausage, and hot dogs.
    • Remove all visible fat by removing the skin of poultry and trimming fat from meat.
    • Bake, broil, steam, boil, or grill foods.
    • Avoid frying. If you do fry foods, use nonstick pans, vegetable oil spray, or small amounts (1 to 2 teaspoons) of oil.
    • Use skim or low-fat (1%) milk and dairy products.
    • Limit or avoid adding extra fat, such as butter, margarine, sour cream, mayonnaise, avocados, cream, cream cheese, salad dressing, or nuts.
    • Limit convenience foods. These are often higher in carbohydrate, fat, and sodium.
    • Avoid instant noodles, canned soup, instant potatoes, frozen meals, and packaged foods.

16 Subtle Symptoms You’re Eating Too Much Sugar — Eat This Not That

You’ve finally kicked the ice-cream-after-dinner habit. There’s no way you’re eating too much sugar, right? Not so fast. While nixing obvious sugar bombs like candy and cake is a huge step toward a healthier diet, there are lots of other sneaky foods where sugar hides. That includes everything from high fructose corn syrup found in salad dressings to fruit juice added to “all-natural” protein bars.

The average American consumes 17 teaspoons of sugar per day, which is the equivalent of 270 calories, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. And that’s a major problem because added sugars contribute extra calories to your diet and have no essential nutrients to help your body function at its best.

Some preliminary research has suggested that a high-sugar diet raises your blood sugar, increasing free radicals and compounds that boost inflammation. Over time, too much sugar ups your risk of obesity, increasing your risk of diabetes, and may even on its own increase your risk of conditions like certain cancers and chronic illnesses like heart disease, says Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, CDN.

Before we get to the subtle signs to look out for that you’re consuming too much sugar, let’s delve into what sugar exactly is and how it affects your body.

What is sugar?

Sugar is a carbohydrate in its simplest form. There are many types of sugars, from maple syrup to high fructose corn syrup. Regardless of the type, your body breaks down these sugars into glucose, your body’s preferred form of energy.

There are two main sources of sugar: natural and processed.

  • Natural sugar is found in whole, natural foods. You likely associate fruit as the food group closely linked to natural sugar, but vegetables such as carrots, beets, squash, zucchini, and onions also contain some natural sugar. Examples of natural sugar include the sugars found in dairy products, fruit, and vegetables.
  • Processed sugar is sugar that’s been tinkered with in some way and extracted from its natural source. Examples of processed sugar include white cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and agave.

Why is added sugar bad for you?

It’s important to note that when we talk about too much sugar, we’re talking about added sugar, not naturally-occurring sugar in food.

The main difference between sugar and added sugar is simply whether or not the sugar is added to a food or it’s naturally found in that food. For example, honey is simply called sugar if eaten on its own. Once you use honey to sweeten a product, whether it’s yogurt or cookies, the honey is considered “added sugar.” Added sugar can be either natural or processed sugar, explains Karen Ansel, RD, author of Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging.

When it comes to the natural sugars found in a whole sweet potato or an apple, “most of us don’t come even close to overdoing it,” says Zeitlin. Experts aren’t worried about the sugar content because you’re getting so many other benefits, like vitamins and fiber to slow down and how your body absorbs and uses sugar. As a general guideline, she suggests limiting yourself to about two cups of whole fruit a day.

What happens to your body when you eat sugar?

While your body can’t tell the difference between these types of sugars, that doesn’t mean they all get treated the same way.

Simple sugar alone moves to your bloodstream quickly, causing your body to spike the production of insulin to transfer glucose into your cells. “We’re finding out more all the time about the negative health effects of too much insulin in our bloodstreams,” says Ansel.

Complex carbs like whole wheat, on the other hand, are made from long chains of glucose that take your body longer to break down. This longer digestion time gives you more sustained energy and helps you to avoid blood sugar and insulin spikes.

Another difference is in the dosing. “You don’t find foods in nature that have the insane amounts of added sugar found in processed foods. Putting that much sugar into your system is unnatural, and your body isn’t built to digest it,” says Ansel.

What foods have added sugars?

Ultra-processed foods—foods with added flavors, colors, sweeteners, emulsifiers, and other additives—contribute to nearly 90 percent of our sugar intake, according to a BMJ Journal study. The main sources of added sugars in ultra-processed foods are:

  • soft drinks
  • fruit drinks
  • milk-based drinks (chocolate milk)
  • cakes, cookies, and pies
  • bread
  • desserts
  • sweet snacks
  • breakfast cereals
  • ice cream and ice-pops

As you can see, sugar-sweetened drinks are the top three sources of sugar in our diet. In fact, almost half of the added sugars in our diets come from drinks like soda and fruit drinks.

Check both the nutrition label and ingredients to find added sugar foods. “Just because a label says ‘no added sugar,’ you still want to read the label and see how many grams of sugar there are in that item per serving,” says Zeitlin.

How much sugar is too much?

When it comes to how much added sugar to eat per day, the answer isn’t so clearcut.

The most recent dietary guidelines recommend that added sugars make up no more than 10 percent of your daily calories. That equates to 38 grams (10 teaspoons) for women on a 1,500-calorie diet or 50 grams (13 teaspoons) for men on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Both the American Heart Association and World Health Organization are more conservative, recommending about 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day of added sugar for women and 36 grams (9 teaspoons) per day for men.

RELATED: The easy guide to cutting back on sugar is finally here.

What are the symptoms of eating too much sugar?

So how do you know you’re eating too much sugar? What are the symptoms? Here are 16 signs you’re eating too much sugar and exactly what to do if you think you are overdosing on the sweet stuff. And if you’re looking to make more changes, be sure to check out these 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.


Some research suggests that sugar might decrease the diversity of healthy bacteria in your gut within as little as a week, making your digestive system sluggish. “Too much white sugar won’t help you if you’re trying to promote healthy bacteria in your system,” adds Zeitlin. Foods naturally high in fiber have a positive impact—and people eating lots of sugar generally aren’t eating a lot of fiber, says Ansel.


While experts say that severe acne has nothing to do with diet for the vast majority of people, some studies have linked breakouts to eating too many sugary foods. In theory, says Ansel, sugar increases the production of hormones—particularly androgens—that are linked to inflammatory hormonal acne, which usually appears around the jawline and the mouth, says Bruce Robinson, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.

“If you’re struggling with breakouts and don’t know why, it can be helpful to cut out added sugars in your diet,” says Ansel.

Some studies have linked sugars to mood disorders like depression. In addition to blood sugar swings, sugar can mess with the neurotransmitters in your brain that regulate your moods. Sugar, in particular, causes a spike in the feel-good hormone serotonin. “Because we know carbs affect neurotransmitters, it only follows that when you upset your carb balance by having so many entering your body at an unnatural rate it might make you feel better at first. But what goes up comes down, and they may make you feel worse in the long run,” says Ansel. Result: You feel cranky and tired.

Zeitlin says the best way to stabilize your blood sugar and mood is to eat more foods that take longer to digest, like whole grains, fiber, and protein.


Eating a cookie or cupcake with loads of added sugar too close to bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep, at least in the short-term. “It will give you a boost of energy by spiking your blood sugar, which always makes going to bed harder when you’re trying to wind down,” says Zeitlin. It might have the opposite effect shortly thereafter because sugar triggers the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which makes you feel relaxed and even sleepy, Ansel adds. But even if it is easier to nod off, the sleep you get probably won’t be as satisfying. “You might not wake up feeling as good, because your blood sugar dips during the night,” says Ansel.

A good rule of thumb, says Zeitlin: Stop eating entirely—especially sugary foods—two hours before bedtime, so you don’t get indigestion and sugar has time to make its way through your system—and you can relax and get into sleep mode.


A high-sugar diet has been shown to speed up skin aging. That’s because too much dietary sugar reacts with proteins in your bloodstream and forms advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs), damaging the structural proteins in skin collagen and elastin that make your supple and bouncy. “A high sugar diet can definitely make your skin wrinkle faster, making you look older. Limiting sugar can make difference,” says Ansel.


This one’s a no-brainer, but sugar is a major cause behind tooth decay, according to the American Dental Association. When sugar sits on your teeth, it feeds plaque bacteria that are already naturally there, producing acids that wear away at your tooth enamel (the hard surface of your teeth), which leads to cavities. “The worst is a combo of sugar and acid, which you get from sports drink or soda, since both destroy tooth enamel,” says Ansel. “People who drink lots of these drinks tend to have lots more dental problems.”

Solution: Swap the soda for sparkling or mineral water infused with your favorite fruit and/or herbs, like watermelon and basil or blackberries and mint.


The more sugar you eat, the more likely you are to crave it. “Sugar boosts feel-good hormones. Because your brain feels good, it will want that high again,” says Zeitlin. “You’re also having peaks and dips in your blood sugar, which leads you to want to eat more.”

An after-dinner sugar habit can be one of the toughest diet pitfalls to kick. “Habits can be as powerful as hunger in steering food choices. After a meal, you should technically feel full, but if you’re in the habit of treating yourself to dessert every night your body becomes conditioned to want it,” says Ansel. If this is the case for you, a lot of people find it easier to avoid sugar altogether than having less of it, she says.


“If sugar doesn’t have fiber or protein with it, it won’t fill you up,” says Zeitlin. That’s because sugar causes your blood sugar to spike and quickly dip, so you feel hungrier and crave more sugar to bounce back. “If you eat the bread basket before your meal, it will make you feel full initially, but by the time dinner rolls around you’ll feel hungrier,” she says.

Instead, pass on the rolls and wait to fill up first on a salad or serving of salmon, chicken, or lean steak. Foods with fiber, healthy fats and lean protein fill you up, so you have a better grasp on whether or not you really want that slice of bread.


Some research has linked regularly having sugary drinks to rheumatoid arthritis in women, possibly due to inflammation. Other research found that people who have five or more sweetened beverages a week—including fruit juice—are more likely to have arthritis. Ansel notes that these studies only found an association, which doesn’t necessarily mean that sugar directly causes arthritis.


While sugar in and of itself doesn’t necessarily in and of itself make the pounds pile on, it can keep you from losing them or maintaining a healthy weight. Weight gain, of course, happens when you eat too much of anything. “But the amount of research linked to sugar and weight gain is undeniable,” says Zeitlin. Food with loads of white sugar make you feel less satisfied, so you’re more likely to eat more calories per meal.

On the other hand, complex carbs (like whole grains, fruits, and veggies), healthy fats (like nuts and seeds), and lean protein (like fish and chicken) take your system longer to digest, keeping your blood sugar levels stable and you feeling fuller faster and for longer. “If you have a candy bar at 4 p.m., you’ll feel full for short while, but in a couple of hours you’ll feel hungrier than if you had an apple,” says Ansel.


Your whole body—including your brain—uses carbs, including sugar, as its main fuel source. So when blood sugar drops after a high-sugar meal, that can result in brain fog. “When your blood sugar drops, your energy is dropping, so your ability to stay focused and alert can drop too,” says Zeitlin. Swapping the cookie for an apple with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter will give you sustained energy to face down a 3 p.m. slump.


Salty foods are known for causing bloat, but foods high in sugar can also cause your tummy to bulge. But once you take control of your sweet cravings, you can kiss the bloat goodbye. It’s also important to note that if you have a sensitivity to sugars such as fructose (sugar in fruit) and lactose (in dairy), your belly might experience bloating and other common IBS symptoms.


Researchers found a link between refined sugar and age-related muscle loss due to sugar inhibiting the body’s ability to synthesize protein into muscle. Additionally, an animal study noted that sugar-fed rats lost more lean body mass and retained more fat mass than complex-carb-fed rats. Once you start to curb your sweet cravings and limit your consumption of sugar, you’ll start to see a difference in your workouts and feel stronger.


Sugar is worse for your blood pressure than salt, according to a study in the journal Open Heart. Just a few weeks on a high-sucrose diet can increase both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Another British Journal of Nutrition study found that for every sugar-sweetened beverage, the risk of developing hypertension increased eight percent.


Consuming too much sugar can make you gain weight in many ways, but the weirdest way is that it can reduce actual physical activity. In one University of Illinois study, mice that were fed a diet that mimicked the standard American diet–i.e., one that was about 18 percent added sugars—gained more body fat even though they weren’t fed more calories. One of the reasons was that the mice traveled about 20 percent less in their little cages than mice that weren’t fed the sugary diet.


Eating sugar too frequently—including adding sugar or even sugar substitutes like Splenda to certain foods—can alter what your taste buds interpret as sweet. “A bowl of strawberries is sweet on its own, but if you sprinkle sugar or Stevia on it, your baseline for sweet is so much higher than the fruit on its own,” says Zeitlin. “It changes your expectation of how a dessert should taste.” Cutting out added sugars and fake sweeteners as often as possible helps reteach your body to enjoy the natural sweetness of the fruit.

How Much Should I Eat Daily To Control My Blood Sugar Levels With Diabetes?

The types of food you eat, when you eat them, the timing of medications and even physical activity levels can all affect blood sugar levels.  A good component to type 2 diabetes management is keeping your blood sugar levels under control as best as possible.  The road to management can be a challenging and winding one.

The day-to-day efforts you put in trying to ensure you maintain your target blood sugar levels, can sometimes seem like minute-to-minute efforts.

You’ve learned how to check your blood sugar, what medications you should take, recommendations on what you should eat, but have you learned what foods work best for you and your blood sugar levels.  Blood sugar levels are the one consistent factor in diabetes management that everyone, including doctors can agree require more information on how to manage them more effectively.

What’s The Big Deal on Blood Sugars?

Type 2 diabetes happens when your body is no longer sensitive to the insulin, or it begins to develop a delayed response to the way insulin is secreted to change your blood sugar levels.

Beyond the complications associated with diabetes, high blood sugar levels can gradually do damage to all the blood vessels in the body. Over a longer period of time, these elevated blood sugars and damage can lead to a bigger problem of the loss in sensation throughout the body, particularly in the legs and feet.

This condition is known as neuropathy. Deterioration of your eyesight, reduced kidney function and an elevated risk for heart disease are also potential complications.

For more information read these guides:

Episodes of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar put those with type 2 diabetes at just as high of a risk for complications. Loss of consciousness, confusion, risk of seizures and potential brain damage when levels are too low for too long, are all serious threats to your health.

The good news is, through proper control and management, these potentially dangerous side effects and complications of blood sugar fluctuations are at a reduced risk.

So, the question remains, what can you do to ensure proper management and control?

Talk to Your Doctor

The first and most important step is to discuss with your doctor what steps you should take to ensure proper blood sugar control. One of these first steps that your doctor may recommend is to determine the best target range for your blood sugar levels. While there are some ‘basic’ recommendations, everyone is different, so these common targets may not necessarily be the target level for you.

Check Frequently

Once you’ve determined your target range, the best way to ensure you are hitting these goals is to test frequently. Your doctor or diabetes care team will discuss with you their recommendation on how many times daily you should be testing. By testing frequently, and logging your blood sugar numbers, you and your doctor can take a look at how good medications, diet and activity levels help in the process of your management.

Food’s Role in Management

We’ve already discussed how blood sugar levels and learning to detect a more consistent pattern can help you, along with your doctor, determine a ‘target’ or goal range for management.

So what is food’s role in all this?

Well, food plays a HUGE role in the management of type 2 diabetes. Virtually everything you eat has calories. Calories are one piece of the bigger picture when it comes to determining the types of foods that are more beneficial to the management and control of your blood sugar levels.

Honestly, I really don’t like the term ‘diet’ thrown around when it comes to type 2 diabetes management.

To say you have to go on a diet, seems to be very restricting. Learning how to develop meal plans for your management are more of ‘lifestyle changes’ rather than ‘diets’. To really understand what types of meal plans and foods can help, you need to first get a more detailed picture of what is expected.

Let’s Discuss Calories

People with type 2 diabetes are generally recommended to consume no more than 1,500 to 1,800 calories per day. This type of ‘lifestyle change’ helps to promote the maintenance of a healthy weight and food consumption for the management of their blood sugar levels.

Your recommended calorie total may vary from these averages depending on many different factors such as weight, overall health, and other concerns from your doctor. If your doctor has recommended you work towards losing weight, they will help to determine with you and possibly a nutritionist, who is a member of your diabetic care team, what caloric total is best so that you don’t lose too much weight too quickly.

I also suggest you read the following:

Men typically require more calories than women due to their increased muscle mass. Muscle burns many more calories each hour than body fat, so this is another factor that your doctor may take into consideration.

The total number of calories you need each day, as discussed will vary, based on many different factors.

A couple of the biggest factors are your gender, age, activity level, and weight goals. On average the following can be a good starting point when determining the total number of calories needed each day:

  • Active Men & Women – 15 calories per pound
  • Sedentary Men & those over the age of 55 – 13 calories per pound
  • Sedentary Women & Overweight Adults – 10 calories per pound
  • Pregnant & Breastfeeding Women – 15 to 17 calories per pound

What About Carbs?

You’ve probably have become familiar with carbohydrates since your diagnosis.

Carbohydrates are what the body converts into glucose in the blood stream after they are consumed. Almost 100% of the carbohydrates consumed are converted into glucose within 90 minutes.  They can increase the levels in your blood sugar, so it’s important to understand how they affect your body and what they mean in terms of your new way of eating.

Understanding how the different types of foods and nutrients in those foods affect your blood sugar level usually make it much easier in gaining control and working to manage your levels within your recommended target range.

One of the first steps in accomplishing these goals is to do some ‘homework’. A good rule of thumb, when you are really trying to understand how foods work, is to record nine different meals, your blood sugar levels before each meal and 2 hours after. These nine meals should include 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners.

Use a notebook to record the following:

  • The foods you eat
  • The amounts
  • The carbohydrate totals in each meal
  • The fat totals in each meal

This homework, allows you to see the connection between the foods you are eating and what your blood sugar response is to them. The ‘pre’ meal and ‘postprandial’ (2-hr) blood sugar levels help to guide what portion sizes, fat totals and carbohydrate totals you should be adhering to with each meal for the best results.

How Can This Help?

Review your food log for the nine meals. You will then evaluate them to find the average pre and post meal levels for the three separate meal categories (breakfast, lunch and dinner). From here you will want to find the average for the total carbohydrates consumed as well as the total fat.

The information from these averages allow you to determine whether or not the carbohydrate and fat intake should be reduced to improve blood sugar control.  Your carbohydrate intake will vary with each meal. The time of the day, your activity levels and the potential insulin resistance all play a role in determining your blood sugar levels. With this given information you can learn to create a meal plan with your dietary needs for each meal to produce the best results.

It’s important to note that while an initial meal plan with carbohydrate, fat and caloric intake may work in the beginning, there is a good chance that this meal plan will need to be reevaluated as time goes on to help ensure consistency in blood sugar management.

Postprandial Blood Sugar Levels

Postprandial blood sugar levels are very important when it comes to your overall diabetes management and control. Higher fluctuations within the 2-hour mark after a meal is consumed often times cause increased a1C levels.  Based on the blood sugar numbers you are seeing for postprandial results, you may have to consider altering how many calories, carbohydrates, protein, or even fat totals you are consuming with each meal. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula that can help pinpoint totals with precision accuracy. Diabetes is so unpredictable on any given day that it takes a lot of trial and error to find out what foods work best for your body.

Losing Weight

If you are looking to lose weight, this should be taken into consideration when it comes to finding the best foods for long-term diabetes management. You will still want to keep track of what you are eating, as this will be a valuable tool for both you and your doctor in determining your meal plan. From here, your doctor may make recommendations on the types of foods and their totals that you should try to stick to for not only the best blood sugar results, but also the best weight loss results as well.

The Sugar Myth

Many people, when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are under the impression that they must avoid ‘sugar’ completely.

However, the homework above will teach you that this is NOT the case. Instead, learning to read nutrition labels for carbohydrate, calorie and fat totals can help you manage your diabetes better than restricting your body from sugar (carbohydrates). Your body still needs carbs to convert into energy. Without consumption of carbs, your body will instead start to take from other cells in the body, causing an acidic state known as diabetic ketoacidosis.

This condition is potentially life threatening if not handled immediately. While uncommon in type 2 diabetes, DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) is still a possibility without the proper nutrition.

Portion and Serving Size

During the process of keeping track of the foods you eat, remember to include the portion size as well. This can help you to learn how the portions of foods you are eating compare to the recommendations by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Take a look at the list below and compare your portions to it to see how you shape up.

Food Group ADA Recommended Portion Size
Fish, Poultry & Meat 3 ounces
Milk, Fresh Vegetables & Yogurt 1 cup
Dry Cereal ¾ cup
Cheese 1 ounce
Bread 1 slice
Potatoes or Corn ½ cup
Pasta (cooked) or Rice 1/3 cup

When you compare your portion sizes, at first you may notice that yours are much larger than the recommendations and that’s alright. Now is the time to make the change gradually by starting with learning how to measure and weigh your foods with each meal to ensure you have the exact portion. After a while of doing this, you may start to notice that ‘eyeballing’ the sizes are much easier.

Timing of Meals

Also include in your homework the times you eat your meals. This will help you to see if you are on a consistent eating schedule or if a change is needed. By scheduling your meals on a consistent schedule (around the same time each day) this will help you to better learn how foods are affecting your body and blood sugar levels. The time of day, surprising enough is also another factor that can affect your levels. By keeping a consistent schedule, this will allow you to maintain optimal levels as best as possible.

Meal Planning for Diabetes Management

Your diabetes meal plan will be your guide on how much and what types of foods you should be eating for meals and snacks. It’s important to ensure your meal plan fits in with your schedule and also your eating habits. You can also download our diabetes management guide to get started.

The three most important tools used in meal planning are:

  • Carbohydrate & Calorie Counting
  • Food Recording
  • Plate Method

A healthy diet is the first line of defense against unwanted diabetes complications and ensuring control over your blood sugar levels, but what is a healthy diet made of? A Healthy diet includes a large selection of foods from the following food groups:

  • Whole grains
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Leaner Meats
  • Reduced Fat Dairy Products
  • Fish & Poultry

Like everything else, diabetes related, there is no perfect meal plan or perfect foods.

The key to a healthy diet is to make choices from each of the food groups to ensure you are getting a wide range of vitamins and nutrients into your daily diet.  While this list is just a brief summary of the types of foods that may be more beneficial to managing your blood sugar levels, here you will find an indexed food list, information on the glycemic index and glycemic load and much more.

Just because you have type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean you have to eat differently than the rest of your family. You can still eat the same types of foods everyone else loves, you just have some additional work and planning to do first.

Learning more about each of the food groups and the foods in them will help you to avoid overeating in one group versus the other, as well as how foods affect your blood sugar levels.

The Plate Method

The plate method is an effective tool in managing your blood sugar levels, and to help those looking to lose weight. You will want to fill up your plate with way more “Non-starchy” vegetables and much smaller portions of starchy foods as well as protein. With this method of meal planning, there is no counting necessary.

However, it’s important first to discuss with your doctor or diabetic care team members if this method of meal planning is right for you.  Include a low calorie drink such as water or even unsweetened ice tea to complete your meal.


Learning what to eat when you have type 2 diabetes can be challenging at first and sometimes overwhelming.

This is why it is very important to develop a support network such as friends, family members or medical professionals to help you get through and answer any questions you may have. You will notice that the further along you get and more familiar you become with everything, the easier planning your meals is. Hope you learned more about blood sugar in this article.

TheDiabetesCouncil Article | Reviewed by Dr. Sergii Vasyliuk MD on May 20, 2020

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Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes


OBJECTIVE—The objective of this study was to determine whether cinnamon improves blood glucose, triglyceride, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—A total of 60 people with type 2 diabetes, 30 men and 30 women aged 52.2 ± 6.32 years, were divided randomly into six groups. Groups 1, 2, and 3 consumed 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon daily, respectively, and groups 4, 5, and 6 were given placebo capsules corresponding to the number of capsules consumed for the three levels of cinnamon. The cinnamon was consumed for 40 days followed by a 20-day washout period.

RESULTS—After 40 days, all three levels of cinnamon reduced the mean fasting serum glucose (18–29%), triglyceride (23–30%), LDL cholesterol (7–27%), and total cholesterol (12–26%) levels; no significant changes were noted in the placebo groups. Changes in HDL cholesterol were not significant.

CONCLUSIONS—The results of this study demonstrate that intake of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon per day reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes and suggest that the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

The incidence of cardiovascular diseases is increased two- to fourfold in people with type 2 diabetes (1). Although the causes of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are multifactorial, diet definitely plays a role in the incidence and severity of these diseases. The dietary components beneficial in the prevention and treatment of these diseases have not been clearly defined, but it is postulated that spices may play a role. Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, and turmeric display insulin-enhancing activity in vitro (2,3). Botanical products can improve glucose metabolism and the overall condition of individuals with diabetes not only by hypoglycemic effects but also by improving lipid metabolism, antioxidant status, and capillary function (4). A number of medicinal/culinary herbs have been reported to yield hypoglycemic effects in patients with diabetes. Examples of these include bitter melon, Gymnema, Korean ginseng, onions, garlic, flaxseed meal, and specific nutrients including α-lipoic acid, biotin, carnitine, vanadium, chromium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B3, E, and K (5).

Rashwan (6) reported that supplementation of the diet of rabbits with fenugreek decreased total serum lipid level. In rats, curry leaf and mustard seeds decreased total serum cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and VLDL cholesterol and increased HDL cholesterol levels (7) and reduced cholesterol, triglycerides, and phospholipids in aorta, liver, and heart (8). The LDL and VLDL fractions were also decreased and the HDL fraction was increased. Coriander seeds fed to rats consuming a high-fat diet led to decreased LDL, VLDL, and total cholesterol and increased HDL cholesterol (9). Zhang et al. (10) reported that turmeric may also have a role in reducing the risk of atherosclerosis.

Aqueous extracts from cinnamon have been shown to increase in vitro glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis and to increase phosphorylation of the insulin receptor; in addition, these cinnamon extracts are likely to aid in triggering the insulin cascade system (11,12). Because insulin also plays a key role in lipid metabolism, we postulated that consumption of cinnamon would lead to improved glucose and blood lipids in vivo. Therefore, this study was designed to determine whether there is a dose response of cinnamon on clinical variables associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in people with type 2 diabetes.


This study was conducted in the Department of Human Nutrition, NWFP Agricultural University, Peshawar, Pakistan and was approved by the Ethics Committee and Human Studies Review Board of the University of Peshawar. Selection criteria for the study included the following for people with type 2 diabetes: age >40 years, not on insulin therapy, not taking medicine for other health conditions, and fasting blood glucose levels between 7.8 and 22.2 mmol/l (140–400 mg/dl). A total of 60 individuals with type 2 diabetes, 30 men and 30 women, were selected for the study. The mean age of the subjects was 52.0 ± 6.87 years in the placebo groups and 52.0 ± 5.85 years in the groups consuming cinnamon. The duration of diabetes was also similar: 6.73 ± 2.32 years for the placebo group and 7.10 ± 3.29 years for the cinnamon groups. There was also an equal number of men and women in the placebo and cinnamon groups. All subjects were taking sulfonylurea drugs, i.e., glibenclamide; medications did not change during the study.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) certified by the Office of the Director, Research and Development/Non-Timber Forest Products, NWFP Forest Department, Peshawar, Pakistan, was used in this study. Cinnamon and wheat flour were ground finely and put into capsules (Mehran Traders Pharmaceutical Suppliers, Peshawar, Pakistan). Each capsule contained either 500 mg of cinnamon or wheat flour. Both the cinnamon and placebo capsules were packaged in plastic bags containing 40 capsules (1 g or two capsules per day for 20 days), 120 capsules (3 g or six capsules per day for 20 days), or 240 capsules (6 g or 12 capsules per day for 20 days) and prepared for distribution to the subjects. When subjects finished testing after the first 20 days, they were given the second package of capsules. Compliance was monitored by capsule count and contact with the subjects. Compliance was considered excellent and all capsules were consumed.

The study was conducted for 60 days with 60 individuals with type 2 diabetes divided randomly into six equal groups. Group 1 consumed two 500-mg capsules of cinnamon per day, group 2 consumed six capsules of cinnamon per day, and group 3 consumed 12 capsules of cinnamon per day. Groups 4, 5, and 6 were assigned to respective placebo groups, which consumed a corresponding number of capsules containing wheat flour. Subjects consumed their normal diets and continued their medications throughout the study. From days 41 to 60, no cinnamon or placebo was given. The 1-g dose of cinnamon and placebo was spread over the day as 0.5 g (one capsule) after lunch and 0.5 g after dinner. The 3-g and 6-g doses of cinnamon and placebo were spread over the day as 1 g (two capsules) and 2 g (four capsules) after breakfast, lunch, and dinner, respectively. The subjects were instructed to take the capsules immediately after meals.

On days 0, 20, 40, and 60, ∼5 ml of fasting blood was collected from each subject. Blood samples were transferred to sterilized centrifuge tubes and allowed to clot at room temperature. The blood samples were centrifuged for 10 min in a tabletop clinical centrifuge at 4,000 rpm for serum separation. Serum samples were stored in a freezer at 0°C for later analyses.

Glucose level was determined using an autoanalyzer (Express Plus; Ciba Corning Diagnostics, Palo Alto, CA). Triglyceride levels were determined by the enzymatic colorimetric method of Werner et al. (13) using an autoanalyzer (Express Plus; Ciba Corning) and an Elitech kit (Meditek Instrument, Peshawar, Pakistan). Cholesterol levels were determined by enzymatic colorimetric method of Allain et al. (14) using the same autoanalyzer. Chylomicrons, VLDL, and LDL were precipitated by adding phosphotungstic acid and magnesium ions to the sample. Centrifugation left only the HDL in the supernatant (15). LDL cholesterol was calculated by dividing the triglycerides by 5 and subtracting the HDL cholesterol (16).

Two-way ANOVA and randomized complete block design were used for statistical analysis (17). Values are means ± SD.


The addition of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon to the diet led to significant decreases in serum glucose levels after 40 days. Values after 20 days were significantly lower only in the group receiving 6 g of cinnamon (Table 1). At the levels tested, there was no evidence of a dose response because the response to all three levels of cinnamon was similar. Decreases ranged from 18 to 29%. After the subjects no longer consumed the cinnamon for 20 days, glucose levels were significantly lower only in the group consuming the lowest level of cinnamon. Glucose values in the three placebo groups were not significantly different at any of the time points.

The consumption of cinnamon also led to a time-dependent decrease in serum triglyceride levels at all amounts of cinnamon tested after 40 days (Table 2). Values after 20 days were significantly lower only in the group consuming 6 g of cinnamon per day. Decreases after 40 days of cinnamon consumption ranged from 23 to 30%. These data indicate that consumption of cinnamon for >20 days was more beneficial than shorter use for reduction of triglyceride levels in people with type 2 diabetes. The mean fasting serum triglyceride levels of the subjects who consumed 1 g or 3 g of cinnamon per day for 40 days followed by 20 days of not consuming cinnamon were still significantly lower than the mean fasting serum triglyceride levels of the same groups at the beginning of the study. Decreases in the 6-g group were no longer significant. There were no changes in triglyceride levels in any of the three placebo groups (Table 2).

There were also significant decreases in serum cholesterol levels in all three groups consuming cinnamon, and no changes were noted in the respective placebo groups (Table 3). Decreases were significant after 20 days, and values were similar after 40 days, except in the group consuming 3 g per day, which continued to decrease. These decreases in serum cholesterol level ranging from 13 to 26% were maintained even after not consuming additional cinnamon for 20 days (Table 3, last column).

Decreases in LDL were significant in the 3- and 6-g groups after 40 days with decreases of 10 and 24% (Table 4). Decreases in the 1-g group were not significant after 40 days but continued to decline during the washout period and were significant after 60 days (Table 4, last column).

There were nonsignificant changes in HDL in the subjects consuming 1 or 6 g of cinnamon for 40 days. Decreases in the 3-g group were significant after 20 days. These values remained relatively unchanged after the 20-day washout period.


This study demonstrates effects of low levels (1–6 g per day) of cinnamon on the reduction of glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels in subjects with type 2 diabetes. The study design serves to replicate the results because there were similar effects at the three doses tested. It is not clear whether even less than 1 g of cinnamon per day would also be beneficial. The data are also reinforced by the observation that there were no significant changes in any of the placebo groups. There were also no problems with compliance or problems associated with the consumption of ≤6 g of cinnamon per day.

The mechanism of the effects of cinnamon on glucose and blood lipids must be determined. Symptoms of insulin resistance include decreased stimulation of muscle glycogen synthesis as well as defects in glycogen synthase activity and glucose uptake (18). In addition, altered enzymatic activities, such as an increased phosphatase activity and/or seryl phosphorylation of the insulin receptor substrate by glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3), have also been shown to be involved in some cases of type 2 diabetes (19,20). Dephosphorylation of the receptor β-subunit is associated with the deactivation of its kinase activity and, therefore, is associated with insulin signal downregulation (21). Maximal phosphorylation of the insulin receptor is associated with increased insulin sensitivity, which is associated with improved glucose and lipid levels. Extracts of cinnamon activated glycogen synthase, increased glucose uptake, and inhibited glycogen synthase kinase-3β(11,12). Extracts of cinnamon also activated insulin receptor kinase and inhibited dephosphorylation of the insulin receptor, leading to maximal phosphorylation of the insulin receptor (12). All of these effects would lead to increased insulin sensitivity. We have shown that extracts of cinnamon also function as potent antioxidants, which would lead to additional health benefits of this substance (unpublished data). Dhuley (22) showed that cinnamon displays antioxidant activity in rats fed a high-fat diet.

The maintenance of lower serum glucose and lipid levels, even when the individuals were not consuming cinnamon for 20 days, denotes sustained effects of cinnamon, indicating that cinnamon would not need to be consumed every day. The levels of cinnamon tested in this study, 1–6 g per day, suggest that there is a wide range of cinnamon intake that may be beneficial and that intake of <1 g daily is likely to be beneficial in controlling blood glucose and lipid levels.

In conclusion, cinnamon reduced serum glucose, triglyceride, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Because cinnamon would not contribute to caloric intake, those who have type 2 diabetes or those who have elevated glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, or total cholesterol levels may benefit from the regular inclusion of cinnamon in their daily diet. In addition, cinnamon may be beneficial for the remainder of the population to prevent and control elevated glucose and blood lipid levels.

Table 1—

Effects of cinnamon on glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes

Table 2—

Effects of cinnamon on triglyceride levels in people with type 2 diabetes

Table 3—

Effects of cinnamon on cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes

Table 4—

Effects of cinnamon on LDL levels in people with type 2 diabetes


This project was funded, in part, by the University Grants Commission/NWFP Agricultural University, Peshawar, Pakistan.


  1. Raza A, Movahed A: Current concepts of cardiovascular diseases in diabetes mellitus. Int J Cardiol 89:123–134, 2003

  2. Khan A, Bryden NA, Polansky MM, Anderson RA: Insulin potentiating factor and chromium content of selected foods and spices. Bio Trace Element Res 24:183–188, 1990

  3. Broadhurst CL, Polansky MM, Anderson RA: Insulin-like biological activity of culinary and medicinal plant aqueous extracts in vitro. J Agric Food Chem 48:849–852, 2000

  4. Bailey CJ, Day C: Traditional plant medicines as treatments for diabetes. Diabetes Care 12:553–564, 1989

  5. Shapiro K, Gong WC: Natural products used for diabetes. J Am Pharm Assoc 42:217–226, 2002

  6. Rashwan AA: Effects of dietary additions of anise, fenugreek and caraway on reproductive and productive performance of New Zealand White rabbit does. Egypt J Rabbit Sci 8:157–167, 1998

  7. Khan BA, Abraham A, Leelamma S: Biochemical response in rats to the addition of curry leaf (Murraya koenigii) and mustard seeds (Brassica juncea) to the diet. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 49:295–299, 1996

  8. Khan BA, Abraham A, Leelamma S: Influence of spices—Murraya koenigii and Brassica juncea—on rats fed atherogenic diet. J Food Sci 35:66–68, 1998

  9. Chithra V, Leelamma S: Hypolipidemic effect of coriander seeds (Coriandrum sativum): mechanism of action. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 51:167–172, 1997

  10. Zhang WL, Liu DW, Wo XD, Zhang YH, Jin MM, Ding ZS: Effects of Curcuma longa on proliferation of cultured bovine smooth muscle cells and on expression of low-density lipoprotein receptor in cells. Chinese Med J 112:308–311, 1999

  11. Imparl-Radosevich J, Deas S, Polansky MM, Baedke DA, Ingebrutsen TS, Anderson RA, Graves DJ: Regulation of phosphorylase phosphatase (PTP-1) and insulin receptor kinase by fractions from cinnamon: implications for cinnamon regulation of insulin signaling. Horm Res 50:177–182, 1998

  12. Jarvill-Taylor KJ, Anderson RA, Graves DJ: A hydroxychalcone derived from cinnamon functions as a mimetic for insulin in 3T3–L1 adipocytes. J Am Coll Nutr 20:327–336, 2001

  13. Werner M, Gabrielson DG, Eastman G: Ultramicrodeterminations of serum triglycerides by bioluminescent assay. Clin Chem 21:268–271, 1981

  14. Allain CC, Poon LS, Chon CSG, Richmond U, Fu PC: Enzymatic determination of total serum cholesterol. Clin Chem 20:470–475, 1974

  15. Lopes-Virella MF, Stone P, Ellis S, Coldwell JA: Cholesterol determinations in high density liproproteins separated by three methods. Clin Chem 23:882–884, 1977

  16. Friedewald WT, Levy RI, Fredrickson DS: Estimation of the concentration of low density lipoprotein cholesterol in plasma without the use of the preparative ultracentrifuge. Clin Chem 18:499–502, 1972

  17. Freed RD: MSTAT-C With MGRAPH. Version 2.00. East Lansing, MI, Michigan State University, 1997

  18. Cline GW, Oetersen KF, Krssak M, Shen J, Hundal RS, Trajanoski Z, Inzucchi S, Dresner A, Rothman DL, Shulman GI: Impaired glucose transport as a cause of decreased insulin-stimulated muscle glycogen synthesis in type 2 diabetes. N Engl J Med 341:240–245, 1999

  19. Begum N, Sussman KE, Draznin B: Differential effects of diabetes on adipocyte and liver phosphotyrosine and phosphoserine phosphatase activities. Diabetes 40:1620–1629, 1991

  20. Nadiv O, Shinitzke M, Manu H, Hecht D, Roberts CT, LeRoith D, Zick Y: Elevated protein tyrosine phosphatase activity and increased membrane viscosity are associated with impaired activation of the insulin receptor kinase in old rats. Biochem J 298:443–450, 1994

  21. Eldar-Finkelman H, Krebs EG: Phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1 by glycogen synthase kinase 3 impairs insulin action. Proc Natl Acad Sci 94:9660–9664, 1997

  22. Dhuley JN: Antioxidant effects of cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) bark and greater cardamom (Amomum sabulatum) seeds in rats fed high fat diet. Indian J Exp Biol 37:238–242, 1999

Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar From Insulin


Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) occurs in people with diabetes when the sugar (glucose) level in the blood drops below what the body needs to function normally.

  • If your blood sugar drops below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), you may have symptoms, such as feeling tired, weak, or shaky.
  • If your blood sugar drops very low (usually below 20 mg/dL) and you do not get help, you could become confused or drowsy or even lose consciousness and possibly die. If you are pregnant, your baby could be harmed.
  • Low blood sugar can develop if you take too much insulin, do not eat enough food or skip meals, exercise without eating enough, or drink too much alcohol (especially on an empty stomach).
  • You can usually treat mild—and sometimes moderate—low blood sugar by eating something that contains sugar.
  • You should teach your friends and coworkers what to do if your blood sugar is very low.

How to deal with low blood sugar emergencies

Here are some ways you can manage low blood sugar.

Be prepared

Always be prepared for the possibility of having a low blood sugar level.

  • Keep some quick-sugar foods with you at all times. If you are at home, you will probably already have something close at hand that contains sugar, such as table sugar or fruit juice. Carry some hard candy or glucose tablets with you when you are away from home. Quick-sugar foods are foods you need to eat to raise your blood sugar.
  • Know the symptoms of low blood sugar, such as sweating, blurred vision, and confusion. Post a list of the symptoms where you will see it often, and carry a copy in your wallet or purse. Add any symptoms you have noticed that may not be on the list. Be sure that your partner (and others) knows your early symptoms, including the signs of low blood sugar at night.
  • Wear medical identification. Always wear medical identification, such as a medical alert bracelet, to let people know that you have diabetes. In case your blood sugar drops very low and you need help, people will know that you have diabetes and will get help for you if necessary.
  • Keep glucagon on hand. If you become unconscious when your blood sugar is very low, someone may need to give you a shot of glucagon to raise your blood sugar. Be sure someone knows how to give you the shot. Have the person practice by giving you your insulin shot once or twice a month. This will help the person be confident if he or she has to give you a shot of glucagon in an emergency. Keep the instructions for how to give glucagon with the medicine. Also, check the expiration date on your glucagon. Most kits need to be replaced every 6 months.
  • Teach others (at work and at home) how to check your blood sugar in case you cannot check it yourself. Have instructions for how to use your blood sugar (glucose) meter to check your blood sugar with the meter so the person can review the instructions.
  • Teach other people (at work and at home) what to do in case your blood sugar becomes very low. Post information on emergency care for low blood sugar in a convenient place at home and at work. Go over with others the steps they need to take when your blood sugar is very low.
  • Take precautions when you are driving and do not drive if your blood sugar is below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

Treat low blood sugar early

Treat low blood sugar levels as soon as you (or someone else) notice the symptoms.

  • Check your blood sugar often. If you have had diabetes for many years, you may not have symptoms until your blood sugar is very low. Checking your blood sugar regularly and also whenever you think it may be low will take the guesswork out of treating low blood sugar levels.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions for dealing with low blood sugar when you first develop your symptoms of low blood sugar or when your blood sugar level is below 70 mg/dL. Encourage others to tell you if they notice you are developing signs of low blood sugar.
  • Keep a record of low blood sugar levels. Write down your symptoms and how you treated your low blood sugar. Look for patterns in when and what you ate, your activity (especially if more than usual), and medicine that could have caused the low blood sugar.
  • Notify your doctor. Let her or him know if you are having low blood sugar problems. Your insulin dosage may need to be adjusted.


Other Works Consulted

  • American Diabetes Association (2017). Standards of medical care in diabetes—2017. Diabetes Care, 40(Suppl 1): S1–S135.
  • Beaser RS (2010). Using insulin to treat diabetes: General principles. In RS Beaser, ed., Joslin’s Diabetes Deskbook: A Guide for Primary Care Providers, 2nd ed., pp. 263–296. Boston, MA: Joslin Diabetes Center.


Current as of:
August 31, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD – Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD – Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD – Family Medicine
David C.W. Lau MD, PhD, FRCPC – Endocrinology

Current as of: August 31, 2020

Healthwise Staff

Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD – Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD – Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD – Family Medicine & David C.W. Lau MD, PhD, FRCPC – Endocrinology

90,000 What is the norm of blood sugar and why should it be measured

To stay healthy and not give up sweets, it is important to keep your blood sugar level. Arterium Corporation and The First Online Diabetes School tell you how to measure your blood sugar and what to do if your blood sugar is high or low.

What is sugar and is it really scary

Sugar is a carbohydrate found in various foods. Carbohydrates, along with proteins and fats, are essential nutrients for the body to function and to feel good.Carbohydrates give us energy.

When we eat sugar, it breaks down into glucose and fructose – simpler forms of sugar called monosaccharides. Glucose is involved in the production of insulin, a hormone that delivers sugar to cells. And fructose turns into glucose or directly into fats.

If you eat a lot of sugar, the excess glucose is stored as fat. This can lead to excess weight, heart and vascular problems, and type 2 diabetes.

How much sugar can you eat without harm to health

You need to “give” sugar no more than 10% of all your food per day.We are talking about added sugar, that is, about that which is not found in natural products – fruits, vegetables, cereals. The exception is honey.

If your norm is 2 thousand kcal per day, sugar should be no more than 200 kcal, this is about 12 flat teaspoons, or 50 grams. If you have diabetes or just want to be healthier, your sugar should be reduced to 5% of your total calories: six teaspoons, or 25 grams per day.

Food packages often write how much sugar they contain. This can be viewed in the section where the amount of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the product is indicated. You will see the words “sugar” or “including sugar” with grams.


What is the norm of blood sugar and why should it be measured

The norm of blood sugar in a healthy person is 3.3–5.5 mmol / l. Starting from 6.1 mmol / L, the doctor may suspect the development of diabetes mellitus and send you for additional tests. With such indicators, diabetes can be prevented and prevented from developing.If the sugar level is above 7 mmol / l, the diagnosis is diabetes mellitus.

Sources to photo

To measure your sugar level, you need to pass an analysis in a laboratory or use a special device – a glucometer. A blood glucose meter is needed for home blood sugar control. But if you suspect you have diabetes, it is better to get tested in a laboratory.


You can only measure your sugar level on an empty stomach.Even a healthy person’s glucose level rises during meals. Therefore, high blood sugar during the day is not necessarily a sign of diabetes.

When to measure sugar

Symptoms that may indicate diabetes mellitus are:

  • headache and vision deterioration;
  • Feel faint or dizzy
  • Constantly thirsty and dry mouth;
  • 90,050 have gained or lost weight dramatically;

    90,050 noticed cuts and wounds were healing more slowly

  • the skin is peeling and itching.

If you find yourself in one or more of them, get tested or immediately contact your family doctor.

How to maintain the sugar rate

If you don’t have a problem with your blood sugar and just want to maintain it, pay attention to what you eat. In order not to calculate the grams of sugar in each product, you can remember which food increases sugar and which decreases it.

Foods that strongly increase sugar levels:

  • pure white sugar and products with it: baked goods, sweets, chocolate, juices, sweet carbonated drinks;
  • 90,050 vegetables with a lot of starch: beets, potatoes;

  • canned vegetables, fish and meat;
  • 90,050 sausage and fatty meat;

    90,050 hot sauces;

    90,050 fruits and berries with a lot of carbohydrates: bananas, cherries, persimmons, grapes;

  • dried fruits;
  • honey.

Almost all food raises blood sugar, so you cannot say that there are foods that lower it. But there are those that insignificantly affect its level:

  • white and green vegetables: cabbage, cucumber, onion, turnip, asparagus, broccoli and others;
  • 90,050 sour fruits and berries: currants, green apples, citrus fruits;

    90,050 any cereals, except semolina and rice;

    90,050 lean meat and fish;

    90,050 nuts;

    90,050 water, green tea and sugar-free chicory.

What to do if sugar level drops

There is also the opposite state, when sugar drops sharply below the norm – this is called hypoglycemia. It occurs mainly in people with diabetes, less often in healthy people. Hypoglycemic symptoms:

  • weakness and drowsiness;
  • 90,050 dizziness and headache;

    90,050 speech impairment;

    90,050 double vision.

In case of hypoglycemia, you need to drink or eat something sweet: sweet water or tea, fruit juice, lollipop.It is important that the sweets contain only carbohydrates. Fats slow down the absorption of sugar, so chocolates won’t raise your glucose overnight.

If you have diabetes, be sure to consult with your endocrinologist what to do when your blood sugar is low.


How to maintain normal sugar levels

In addition to proper nutrition, a healthy lifestyle will help maintain sugar levels:

  1. Add some activity. If you have a sedentary job, exercise can help you be healthier. It is not necessary to go to the gym, it is enough to move at least half an hour a day. This can be brisk walking, cycling, or active games. This will reduce your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  2. Be less nervous. When you’re stressed, your blood sugar rises. Therefore, it is important to “remove” it correctly: you can meditate, do breathing exercises, do yoga or something else that helps you cope with stress.
  3. Give up cigarettes and alcohol, or at least reduce their number. High blood sugar and diabetes increase the risk of cardiovascular and other diseases. High blood sugar can damage blood vessels, and high blood pressure in diabetes can damage arteries. Cigarettes and alcohol also provoke these diseases, therefore it is better to refuse them. Even one cigarette a day negatively affects health and increases the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease.There are safe drinking guidelines for alcohol. These are two standard doses of 14 ml of pure ethanol. For example, this is 300 ml of wine or 700 ml of beer per day.
  4. Get tested. If you are completely healthy, before the age of 50, it is recommended to undergo a full examination every three years, if you are over 50 years old, it is recommended to be examined once a year.

Take the test and make sure you are healthy

This material is not editorial. This is the personal opinion of its author. The editors may not share this opinion.

“I am a diabetic, I inject insulin five times a day and still enjoy my life!” – People

Diabetes mellitus is a serious chronic disease that affects more than 400 million people in the world. Many of them have to constantly measure their blood glucose levels and inject insulin. The RIAMO in Lyubertsy correspondent talked with diabetics from Lyubertsy and learned how the disease affects their daily life.

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Alexander Kuzmin (surname has been changed), 52 years old, in the reserve:

I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 2014.The disease has put some restrictions on daily life. I have to inject myself with insulin every day to survive. You have to inject three times a day, if you miss it at least once, it gets bad.

Every day I measure my sugar level. This should be done two hours before breakfast. The next check is two hours after breakfast. Same principle before and after lunch and dinner. When sugar levels are high for a long time, the body gets used to it. The normal level is –5.5 – 5.9, and my level is 12. If it rises a little or drops a lot, then I feel bad.

In diabetes, it is important to eat right, follow a diet. You need to eat a little 4-5 times a day. You can not eat flour, sweet, except for dark chocolate. Chocolate should always be with you in case of a sharp drop in blood sugar.

I do not go in for sports, only in the village I have a vegetable garden. But in summer I feel bad – there is increased sweating, fatigue, I constantly want to sleep.

I once had a bad accident. There was a sharp spike in sugar and I passed out while driving a car.He rammed the trees, fortunately, he did not knock anyone down. He escaped with a slight concussion and a broken forehead. The car had to be scrapped.

To feel good, you need to take medications on time, follow your diet, avoid physical labor or limit it. And the disease does not interfere with work. There are almost 5 million diabetics in Russia, and many live long lives, following all the doctor’s recommendations.

Diabetics always carry the necessary medicines with them. At the slightest deterioration in health, we know what to do.

Diabetes is inherited. Therefore, those with immediate family members also need to monitor their blood sugar levels and not gain weight. Excess weight provokes the onset of diabetes, as well as high cholesterol levels.

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Svetlana Vasneva, 41 years old, accountant:

Doctors diagnosed me with diabetes in April 2003. I have type I, insulin dependent.

If the sugar level is high, then an insulin injection must be given. But before you raise or lower your sugar level, it must be measured with a glucometer. The state of the body can be deceiving: you think your blood sugar is high, but the glucometer shows that everything is normal. This means that the reason for the bad state is something else.

I inject insulin five times a day. Five! The disadvantage is that you are not always at home, and you have to look for where to get the injection. Most often you have to do it in public toilets.

Diabetes imposes severe dietary restrictions. It is necessary to moderate or completely eliminate the consumption of sweet, quickly digestible carbohydrates, baked goods, bananas, potatoes.

Participation in extreme activities or sports increases adrenaline levels, and with it blood sugar levels. I refuse all of this. I just do light gymnastics and try to walk a lot. By the way, playing sports lowers sugar.

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I feel good, but I get tired very quickly.I take breaks at work. If I forget to inject or eat on time, then I feel very bad.

Once I helped a man on the street. He sat on a bench and said that he felt bad, that his sugar dropped. I called an ambulance, explained the situation and stayed with him until the doctors arrived.

My main advice to diabetics: you need to monitor your sugar level, as your well-being depends on it. You need to build your lifestyle so that you feel comfortable. People with diabetes can live up to 80-90 years.Many famous Russian stars live with this disease.

And I also have advice for healthy people: check your sugar level more often. You also need to reduce your stress levels. All diseases “sit” in our body, and under severe stress they can “break out” out.

Diabetics are people like everyone else. They also have fun, lead an active lifestyle, find happiness. If you have been diagnosed with such a diagnosis, do not despair. We must continue to live and enjoy life!

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Margarita Asonova, 26 years old, hairdresser:

I was diagnosed a year ago.It was scary, I almost sobbed in the doctor’s office. He looked at me sternly and said something in the spirit: rejoice, this is not cancer. And I calmed down. Indeed, the disease is serious, but not fatal with the right treatment and lifestyle.

My grandmother on my mother’s side had diabetes, but then there was no such medicine as it is now. I followed a diet, did a little sports – that’s all.

I am not insulin dependent. In this I was very lucky. I won’t go into a coma if I forget to inject the medicine.

The doctor developed a diet for me, I still follow it very strictly. There were no breakdowns, because my well-being depends on nutrition.

I have been involved in sports for five years already, I go to fitness. I’m not going to quit, because diabetes is not a contraindication to sports. I just always carry a meter with me, as well as some chocolate and water.

I appeal to all people with diseases, not only diabetics: please be happy! Live, try not to think bad. Love your body, it’s not easy for it anyway.

How much and what can you drink?

09 November 2019

The debate about whether it is possible for diabetic patients to drink alcohol is still ongoing. On the one hand, there is the detrimental effect of ethyl alcohol on sugar levels and the unpredictable reactions of the body to what you drink. On the other hand, there is the emotional side of the issue, because a strict ban can cause stress, which diabetics are also advised to avoid. Is it possible or not? If so, how much and what? We will answer these questions in our article.

First of all, it is worth distinguishing between the types of diabetes mellitus, because the use of alcohol will directly depend on this. An obligatory item is the measurement of blood sugar levels immediately before the start of the feast. If you have type 1 diabetes and the meter showed a reduced result, then it is better to refuse alcohol, or take glucose tablets, or eat something sweet. In any case, alcohol is consumed only after a snack.

If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and the numbers on the glucometer are higher than 10 mmol / L, then move the drink further.With high sugar, you can not drink.
It is necessary to forget about alcohol forever in case of decompensated diabetes mellitus, when the blood sugar level is above 12 mmol / l.

Type 1 diabetes mellitus

In type 1 diabetes, the effects of alcohol on the body will mix with the effects of insulin injections. The load on the liver increases, glycogen is not secreted, and sugar levels drop. Thus, we can say that alcohol helps to reduce blood glucose levels.

As a rule, this does not happen immediately, but after 7-8 hours. Especially when it comes to large doses and strong drinks. Such a feast can lead to delayed hypoglycemia – an attack occurs at night or when the patient is not at all ready for it.

Feeling of panic, palpitations, bouts of aggression and severe hunger, tremors, sweating and headache – these are the signs by which hypoglycemia can be determined. At the same time, the diabetic experiences weakness and vision problems, the head may spin, and speech becomes incoherent.Symptoms can easily be confused with drunkenness itself. However, in the case of a sharp drop in sugar, the more you drink, the longer it will take before symptoms appear. Therefore, it is recommended to always carry medical documents confirming the diagnosis with you, so that people around you do not confuse a diabetic with an alcoholic and have time to provide the necessary assistance.

In order to avoid critical situations, it is better to halve the dose of insulin administered. This must be done on the day of the planned consumption of alcohol.During the feast, it is necessary to measure the blood sugar level several times. The most important indicators: before starting, as mentioned above, and after the celebration, before bedtime, to prevent an attack of delayed hypoglycemia at night. By the way, the use of glucagon in alcoholic hypoglycemia is ineffective.

In type 1 diabetes, alcohol should be avoided altogether after sports or other physical activities, as they also reduce the amount of glycogen in the liver. And it is always worth remembering the measure, because diabetes is an accurate calculation of the drugs administered.Excessive drunkenness can play a cruel joke on you.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus

As we have found, alcohol lowers blood sugar levels. However, it cannot completely replace hypoglycemic drugs. In addition, the harm from alcohol is still more than good. Therefore, rare and very moderate use is allowed for type 2 diabetics. For example, a glass of dry wine or a glass of vodka at the festive table. Liqueurs, liqueurs, champagne and sweet wines should be avoided by type 2 diabetics, otherwise the sugar will skyrocket.It is also not recommended to mix different types of alcoholic beverages.

Alcohol should be treated with extreme caution in those taking metformin. The action of the drug combined with the influence of ethyl alcohol leads to lactic acidosis – one of the most severe complications of the disease.

As in the first case, you should not drink alcohol after exercise. If you are having a drink, keep your stomach a little full and choose bread or potatoes as a snack.These foods slow down the absorption of alcohol and insure against sudden fluctuations in sugar.

Unpleasant consequences

In addition to affecting sugar levels, alcohol also affects internal organs. The nervous and cardiovascular systems suffer most from alcohol. Thanks to ethyl alcohol, cholesterol plaques appear on the walls of blood vessels, which means that atherosclerosis develops. With frequent use, the pancreas is disrupted. For a diabetic patient, this is especially dangerous as the disease begins to progress.

In addition, alcohol is high in calories and, if consumed consistently, leads to obesity. Another unpleasant side effect of alcoholic beverages is increased appetite. As a result, the diabetic loses the ability to control carbohydrate intake and overeats.

What kind of alcohol can you drink about diabetes?

Low-carb alcohol is considered the safest for diabetics. These are vodka, cognac, as well as dry and semi-dry wines.