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Diabetic: help with sugar-free products

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

Living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes necessitates maintaining optimal blood sugar levels throughout the day, although treatment approaches may differ. However, determining whether products and medications are truly sugar-free can be challenging. To navigate this issue, individuals must familiarize themselves with the various labels found on food items and medications. It is important to note that while excessive sugar consumption can lead to blood glucose spikes, other food groups can also contribute to this effect.


Liquid preparations often lack explicit indications regarding suitability for diabetics, occasionally mentioning sugar-free properties. Pharmacists employ a straightforward method of identifying sugar-free liquid medicines by checking for the presence of three ingredients: fructose, glucose, or sucrose. If a liquid medicine does not contain any of these components, it can be classified as sugar-free.

Key differences in food


Products labeled as sugar-free contain a negligible amount of sugar, rendering them suitable for individuals with diabetes.

No-added sugar

Food items marked as no-added sugar indicate the absence of additional sugars. They solely contain natural sugars derived from the food source. However, this designation does not automatically imply suitability for diabetics. Reviewing the nutritional information and ensuring they align with a balanced diet is essential.

No artificial sweeteners added

This label signifies the absence of artificially added sweeteners or sugar in the food. These products solely incorporate natural sugars and sweeteners. Similar to items with no-added sugars, it is imperative to consult the nutritional information to confirm compatibility with a balanced diet for individuals with diabetes.

Healthwords pharmacists' top tips

To make mindful choices and promote a balanced diet, consider the following suggestions from Healthwords Pharmacists:

  • Opt for healthier snacks such as unsweetened yogurts, unsalted nuts, and fruits and vegetables containing natural sugars and no-added sugars, rather than indulging in sugary snacks.
  • Experiment with recipes by reducing sugar content. In most cases, recipes can be adjusted without compromising taste. Explore the use of sweeteners as alternatives to sugar, including when enjoying hot beverages.
  • If you typically consume sugary soft drinks, consider opting for diet fizzy drinks instead. To enhance flavor without adding sugar, try incorporating natural elements like lemon slices or mint.
  • Remain vigilant about fat-free products, as manufacturers often compensate for altered taste by adding extra sugar. Awareness is crucial in making informed choices.

By understanding sugar-free product labeling and implementing these tips, individuals with diabetes can effectively manage their blood sugar levels and embrace a healthier lifestyle.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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