Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Late-night eating: OK if you have diabetes?

Are late-night snacks a no-no for people who have diabetes?

Updated: 12-16-2010

Answer

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

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

If you're hungry after dinner, choose a "free" food, such as:

  • A can of diet soda
  • A serving of sugar-free gelatin
  • Five baby carrots
  • Two saltine crackers
  • One vanilla wafer

Or swap the snack for a piece of gum or hard candy. These "free" foods have few, if any, carbohydrates and calories, so they won't contribute to weight gain or increased blood sugar.

If you take insulin or other diabetes medications and must snack before bedtime to prevent low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) during the night, talk to your doctor. He or she may adjust the dose of your medications to prevent the need for a late-night snack.

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