Sugar swaps

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate. It either occurs naturally in the food and drink we consume such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose), or is added to a wide range of foods such as soft drinks, cakes and biscuits during the preparation process, or added at the table (sucrose).

There is a common misconception that if you have diabetes you should exclude sugar from your diet. Glucose, which is the simplest form of sugar, is a vital component of our diet since our body uses it as a fuel for energy. It is important to be aware of the amount and frequency of sugar you consume and, if you are on insulin, to know how to adjust it appropriately. As a general guide, sugar intake should not exceed 10% of our total daily dietary intake.

Food labels provide information on the total amount of sugar in packaged food and drink. You can look for the ‘Carbohydrates (of which sugars)’ figure on the food labels. More recently, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) introduced the Traffic Light Labelling system, which can be used as a quick guide to the sugar content of food and drink. Red light represents high sugar, amber light represents medium and green light represents low sugar content. A high sugar content is anything above 15g sugar per 100g, and a low content is 5g sugar or less per 100g.

Food and drink that has a lot of added sugar may contain lots of calories, and can cause a steep rise in blood glucose levels with the added risk of tooth decay.


Cola (284ml) = 31g Carbs, 118 Kcals, 31g Sugar

Chocolate Chip Cookie (74g) = 48g Carbs, 351 kcals, 23.3g Sugar

You can swap these, with lower-sugar foods that release glucose at a slower rate and are less calorific.


Orange (115g) = 7g Carbs, 30 kcals, 5.9g Sugar

Greek Yoghurt (85g) = 4g Carbs, 113 Kcals, 4g Sugar

Information supplied by Carbs&

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