How many grams of sugar can a person with diabetes have per day?


In general, a woman with diabetes should have no more than 24 grams of added sugar a day, or 2 tablespoons, and a man with diabetes should have no more than 36 grams of added sugar a day, or 3 tablespoons. These recommendations are conservative when compared to the average American’s diet of 6 tablespoons or 72 grams of added sugar daily, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

Amy Campbell

Actually, the question to ask is, "How many grams of carbohydrate should I have at each meal?" Carbohydrate, a nutrient needed by the body for energy, is converted into glucose when it's digested. This, in turn, causes blood glucose levels to rise. So, someone with diabetes needs to control how much carbohydrate he or she eats. Sugar is just one type of carbohydrate; foods contain other sources of carbohydrate, too, like starch. If you only account for the sugar in foods, you'll miss out on other sources of carb, and that can affect your blood glucose. In general, most people aim for between 30 and 60 grams of carbohydrate per meal, and 15 to 30 grams of carb per snack. It's a good idea to meet with a dietitian to find out how much carb is best for you. In the meantime, start reading food labels for the serving size and the total carbohydrate grams (sugar is included in the total carb grams).

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.