Living with diabetes

Some sweet advice for people living with diabetes

Sugar on food labels

When you’re choosing foods and drinks, take a look at the Nutrition Information label but focus on the total carbohydrate number, not just the sugars. The amount of sugars (both naturally occurring and ‘added sugars’) are counted into the grams of total carbohydrate, but take note as there may also be carbohydrate grams coming from other ingredients (such as starches). Always look at the ingredients list to find out what particular sugars an item contains.

Added sugars you may want to limit include:

  • Sucrose
  • Maltose
  • Hydrolysed starch
  • Inverted sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Glucose or Glucose syrup
  • Brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Fruit juice concentrate

Many food manufactures and supermarkets now include a traffic light system on the packaging helping you to choose the healthiest option.

Look for foods that have more green colours on the pack to ensure you’re making the best choice. The tra c light system does not include total carbohydrate, only sugars in food so it may also be necessary to look at the nutrition information table on the back of the packet if you are counting total carbohydrate.



Sweeteners are a great alternative to sugar when baking or adding to drinks such as tea and coffee. They have the benefit of containing almost no calories and they will not significantly affect your blood glucose.

Are all sweeteners the same?

No, there are low calorie sweeteners such as SPLENDA® and there are sugar alcohols. Low calorie sweeteners are perfectly safe for people with diabetes and are a great substitute for sugar.

Find out more about the SPLENDA® range.

Sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and manitol are often used in foods labelled ‘Diabetic’. Diabetes UK recommends that diabetic foods are avoided as they can cause a laxative effect if consumed in high quantities.