How do steroid medications affect blood sugar?

Steroid medications can decrease the body's ability to use its blood sugar for energy. This can cause increased blood sugar (glucose). This condition is called hyperglycemia, or steroid-induced diabetes.

Avoiding concentrated carbohydrates will help decrease the side effects of steroid medications.

These foods are high in simple sugars and should be avoided:
  • Sugar
  • Canned fruit or juice with added sugar or syrup 
  • Honey 
  • Chewing gum with sugar 
  • Molasses 
  • Soft drinks 
  • Syrup 
  • Sweetened mineral water 
  • Sugary pies 
  • Cookies, candy 
  • Doughnuts and sweet rolls
  • Sweetened condensed milk 
  • Fruited yogurt 
  • Ice cream 
  • Jams, jellies, marmalades 
  • Sherbet 
  • Puddings 
  • Fruit Ice 
  • Frozen fruit or juice with added sugar or syrup 
  • Jell-O
If you develop hyperglycemia, your diet may need to be changed to include the following guidelines:
  • Eating three meals per day are recommended, consumed at regular and evenly-spaced times.
  • Limiting fruit to one serving per meal, and eating fresh or water-packed canned fruit only (no syrup or added sugar). 
  • Reading food labels to avoid foods with sugar, honey, sucrose, dextrose, or corn syrup listed as the first or second ingredient.

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.