BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – According to one estimate, approximately 505,468 people in Louisiana, or 14.2% of the adult population, have been diagnosed with diabetes.

It’s common knowledge that most people with diabetes are cautious about how much sugar they consume. This is because the disease impacts the body’s ability to produce or respond to a hormone called insulin, which is key in regulating the metabolism of sugars and carbohydrates.

That said, experts say there are safe ways for people with diabetes to satiate sugar cravings.

Articles from sources such as Everyday Health suggest:

  • Allow yourself an occasional treat, but plan for it– According to registered dietitian Karen Lau, “Make sure the meal is balanced with other foods. Cut out carbs from the main dish, and save it for dessert instead.” This can mean skipping bread, pasta, or potatoes so you can eat a small serving of dessert.
  • Say ‘yes’ to fruit, in moderation– Instead of satisfying sugar cravings with processed foods, opt on fruit. That said, fruits do have carbohydrates, meaning you’ll still need to adapt your meal plan. But a small serving of fruit is typically feasible. One source suggests considering fruits with 15 grams of carbohydrates such as: one small apple, one small orange, one very small banana, 1/2 grapefruit, 3/4 cup of blueberries/blackberries/pineapple, one cup of raspberries or melon, 1 and 1/4 cup of whole strawberries.
  • Take a few bites and make them lastSome healthcare experts recommend splitting a piece of cake with a friend or having half of a large cookie instead of the whole thing. This works best when a person eats with mindfulness, meaning they eat more slowly and take the time to savor the tastes they’re enjoying.

Living with diabetes does not necessarily require assigning all desserts to a death sentence. Instead, by planning meals with care, swapping out processed sweets for fruits, keeping dessert portions small, and slowing down to savor each bite of the treat, individuals with diabetes may still be able to enjoy some of their favorite sweets.