Exchange list: Sweets, desserts and other carbohydratesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Your diabetes diet can include sweets and desserts. Just remember the ground rules:
- You can substitute food choices from this list for other carbohydrate-containing foods, such as those from the starches, fruit or milk exchange lists.
- Eat sweets and desserts as part of your meal. If you choose to eat sweets or desserts, do so in moderation and as part of your meal. This may prevent your blood sugar from rising as rapidly.
- Don't overdo it. Sweets and desserts often lack the vitamins and minerals found in fruits, milk products and other carbohydrates.
- Eat sugar-free or low-carb candy with caution. Some sweetening agents in sugar-free or low-carb candy still contain calories and must be counted in your daily totals. These foods may be high in fat, too.
Here's a guide to common sweets, desserts and other carbohydrates. Remember to include the exchanges in these products as part of your daily allowance. It's also a good idea to talk to your dietitian about how to fit these foods into your meal plan.
|Type||Food||Serving size||Exchange value|
|Energy drink||1 can (8.3 fluid ounces)||2 carbohydrates|
|Hot chocolate, regular||1 envelope added to 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) water||1 carbohydrate plus 1 fat|
|Hot chocolate, sugar-free or light||1 envelope added to 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) water||1 carbohydrate|
|Lemonade||1 cup (8 fluid ounces)||2 carbohydrates|
|Soda, regular||1 can (12 fluid ounces)||2 1/2 carbohydrates|
|Sports drink||1 cup (8 fluid ounces)||1 carbohydrate|
|Brownies, cake and cookies|
|Angel food cake, unfrosted||1/12 of cake (2 ounces)||2 carbohydrates|
|Brownie, small, unfrosted||1 1/4-inch square, 7/8-inch thick (1 ounce)||1 carbohydrate plus 1 fat|
|Cake, frosted||2-inch square (2 ounces)||2 carbohydrates plus 1 fat|
|Cake, unfrosted||2-inch square (1 ounce)||1 carbohydrate plus 1 fat|
|Chocolate chip cookies||2 (2 1/4 inches across)||1 carbohydrate plus 2 fats|
|Cupcake, small, frosted||1 (1 3/4 ounces)||2 carbohydrates plus 1 to 1 1/2 fats|
|Gingersnap cookies||3||1 carbohydrate|
|Vanilla wafers||5||1 carbohydrate plus 1 fat|
|Pie and pudding|
|Fruit pie, commercially prepared, two crusts||1/6 of 8-inch pie||3 carbohydrates plus 2 fats|
|Pudding, regular, made with reduced-fat milk||1/2 cup (4 ounces)||2 carbohydrates|
|Pudding, sugar-free or sugar- and fat-free, made with fat-free milk||1/2 cup (4 ounces)||1 carbohydrate|
|Pumpkin pie||1/8 of 8-inch pie||1 1/2 carbohydrates plus 1 1/2 fat|
|Doughnuts, muffins and sweet breads|
|Banana nut bread||1-inch slice (1 ounce)||2 carbohydrates plus 1 fat|
|Cake doughnut, medium, plain||1 medium (1 1/2 ounces)||1 1/2 carbohydrates plus 2 fats|
|Doughnut, glazed||3 3/4 inches diameter (2 ounces)||2 carbohydrates plus 2 fats|
|Muffin, large||1/4 (1 ounce)||1 carbohydrate plus 1/2 fat|
|Sweet roll||1 (2 1/2 ounces)||2 1/2 carbohydrates plus 2 fats|
|Ice cream and other frozen desserts|
|Frozen pops||1||1/2 carbohydrate|
|Frozen yogurt, fat-free||1/3 cup||1 carbohydrate|
|Frozen yogurt, regular||1/2 cup||1 carbohydrate plus 0 to 1 fat|
|Fruit juice bar, 100 percent juice||1 (3 ounces)||1 carbohydrate|
|Ice cream, fat-free||1/2 cup||1 1/2 carbohydrates|
|Ice cream, light or no sugar added||1/2 cup||1 carbohydrate plus 1 fat|
|Ice cream, regular||1/2 cup||1 carbohydrate plus 2 fats|
|Sherbet, sorbet||1/2 cup||2 carbohydrates|
|Candy bar, chocolate and peanut||2 "fun-size" bars (1 ounce)||1 1/2 carbohydrates plus 1 1/2 fats|
|Chocolate Kisses||5 pieces||1 carbohydrate plus 1 fat|
|Hard candy||3 pieces||1 carbohydrate|
|Spreads and syrups|
|Chocolate syrup||2 tablespoons (1 ounce)||2 carbohydrates|
|Fruit spreads, 100 percent fruit||1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce)||1 carbohydrate|
|Honey||1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce)||1 carbohydrate|
|Jam or jelly, regular||1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce)||1 carbohydrate|
|Pancake syrup, light||2 tablespoons (1 ounce)||1 carbohydrate|
|Pancake syrup, regular||1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce)||1 carbohydrate|
Modified with permission from "Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetes." American Diabetes Association and American Dietetic Association; 2008. While designed primarily for people who have diabetes and others who must follow special diets, the exchange lists are based on principles of good nutrition that apply to everyone.
- Daly A, et al. Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetes. Alexandria, Va.: American Diabetes Association and American Dietetic Association; 2008.
- Sugar and desserts. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/sweeteners-and-desserts.html. Accessed June 20, 2012.
- Weigel SE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 17, 2012.