Are late-night snacks OK for people who have diabetes?

Answer From M. Regina Castro, M.D.

If you have diabetes, late-night snacks aren't necessarily off-limits — but it's important to make healthy choices.

Late-night snacks add extra calories, which can lead to weight gain. And, if you snack after your evening meal — especially on foods with carbohydrates — you may wake up the next morning with a high blood sugar level.

If you're feeling hungry after dinner, try drinking a glass of water first. Sometimes thirst mimics hunger. If you're still feeling hungry, your best bet is a low-carbohydrate, low-calorie snack, preferably one that's high in protein or fiber, such as Greek yogurt or a small handful of nuts.

Other options include:

  • A sugar-free frozen pop
  • One light cheese stick
  • One tablespoon of peanut butter (15 grams) and celery
  • A hard-boiled egg
  • Five baby carrots
  • Light popcorn, 3/4 cup (approximately 6 grams)
  • Salad greens with cucumber and a drizzle of oil and vinegar

If you take insulin or other diabetes medications, you may sometimes need to snack before bedtime to treat or prevent low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) during the night. If this happens frequently, talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend adjusting the dose of your medications to prevent the need for a late-night snack.


M. Regina Castro, M.D.

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June 17, 2021 See more Expert Answers

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