Sugar and Diabetes

Sugar and Diabetes


Glycemic index:


Calories per 100 g:

387 kcal

Many people worry that eating sugar might induce diabetes since high blood sugar levels mark the condition. However, while it's true that eating a lot of added sugar raises your risk of diabetes, sugar consumption is only a small cog in a large wheel. Your diabetes risk is also influenced by various other factors, including diet, lifestyle, and heredity.


This article discusses the relationship between sugar and diabetes and looks at how much sugar is optimal for a diabetic.


Nutritional value

  • Protein 0 g
  • Carbohydrate 100 g
  • Fat 0 g
  • Fiber 0 g
  • Sugar 99.8 g
  • Cholesterol 0 g

Nutritional Value of Sugar


According to the USDA, a teaspoon of granulated sugar offers 16 calories and 3.98 g of carbs. However, it is devoid of protein and fiber, meaning it is not beneficial for weight loss.


Moreover, the calories in sugar are referred to as "empty calories" since they provide little to no nutritional value. That's why the current USDA dietary guidelines propose limiting added sugar to no more than 10% of daily calories.


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What’s the Fuss With Sugar Intake and Diabetes?


Between 1980 and 2008, the global prevalence of diabetes became more than twice its original figure. There is a strong correlation between excessive sugar consumption and the risk of diabetes, and several studies attest to this.


According to research involving over 175 countries, the chance of acquiring diabetes increases by 1.1% for every 150 calories of sugar ingested (about one soda can) each day by a person. People who drink sugar-sweetened beverages, such as fruit juice, are more likely to develop diabetes, according to other studies.


How Much Sugar Should You Take?


In a bid to reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity—two prevalent diabetes risk factors and complications— the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends women take no more than six teaspoons (25 g) of sugar daily. At the same time, men should limit their daily sugar intake to a maximum of nine teaspoons (36 g). However, the average adult consumes about 17 teaspoons daily, making sugar-associated risks all the more prevalent.


The Risks of Sugar Consumption for a Diabetic


There are several ill benefits associated with excessive sugar intake, as we will see below.


Increases Your Risk of Weight Gain


Obesity rates are on the rise worldwide, and added sugar is regarded as one of the leading causes. Sugar-sweetened beverages like sweet teas, soda, and juices contain high levels of fructose. An abnormally high fructose intake may lead to leptin resistance, a satiety hormone that informs your brain when to quit eating. As such, you’re prone to eat more and add weight, predisposing you to diabetes.


Increased Stress Levels


The intake of high-sugar foods results in heightened energy levels (sugar rush), followed by a drop in blood sugar levels (crash). This rapid energy surge and blood sugar decline cause increased cravings, mood swings, and tiredness, terminating in the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This results in unanticipated anxiety, anger, and even shakiness — making it difficult for diabetics to go about their routine blood sugar management activities.


Poses Heart Risks


High-sugar diets have been linked to an increased risk of various ailments, including heart disease, a major diabetes risk factor and complication. According to research involving 11,733 people, those who had 17–21% of their calories from sugar had a 38% higher risk of dying from a heart condition than those who had only 8% of their calories from sugar.


A Review of Research on Sugar and Diabetes


Numerous studies have established a relationship between sugar and diabetes. Sugar, according to several researchers, increases diabetes risk both directly and indirectly. One 2015 meta-analysis says those who consume sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) regularly have a 30% higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Another meta-analysis claims SSB consumption increases your type 2 diabetes risk by 5–25%, depending on a host of factors.


Furthermore, countries with the highest sugar intake also have the highest incidence of type 2 diabetes, whereas countries with the lowest consumption have the lowest rates.




Excessive levels of added sugars are linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, owing to harmful effects on the liver and an increased risk of obesity. However, insulin resistance and pancreatic failure remain the core causes of type 2 diabetes, and the contemporary diabetes epidemic is due to an overall dietary pattern rather than sugar alone.


In light of this, the assertion that "consuming sugar promotes diabetes" is not entirely accurate. Nonetheless, avoiding added sugars is a practical step that should be performed in addition to, and not to replace, a healthy plant-based eating pattern.

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