Cranberry juice is a popular drink with a sweet and tart taste.

Like most juices, it’s high in sugar, which may be a concern for people with diabetes.

This article explains whether cranberry juice is a good option if you have diabetes.

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Cranberry juice and cranberry cocktail are commonly mistaken for one another.

Pure cranberry juice is made from the pressed juice of cranberries and contains no other ingredients. One cup (236 mL) contains around 30 grams of naturally occurring sugar, as well as nutrients like potassium and vitamins C and K (1).

What’s more, it contains disease-fighting antioxidants like proanthocyanidin and anthocyanin. These have been linked to reduced levels of inflammation, a lowered risk of chronic disease, and a decreased frequency of urinary tract infections (UTIs) (2, 3).

Meanwhile, cranberry cocktail contains added ingredients like colors, flavors, and sugar — for example in the forms of high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar. Still, the overall sugar content is similar to that of pure cranberry juice with around 30 grams per cup (236 mL) (4).

While cranberry juice and cocktail contain similar amounts of carbohydrates from sugar, pure, unsweetened cranberry juice is a better option since it has more nutrients and fewer additives.

Summary

Both cranberry juice and cranberry cocktail contain around 30 grams of sugar per cup (236 mL). Pure cranberry juice contains more nutrients and fewer added ingredients.

If you have diabetes, you can still enjoy most foods — as long as you’re mindful of your carb intake and portion sizes.

Though cranberry juice contains many nutrients, it lacks dietary fiber. This means that when you enjoy a refreshing glass of this beverage, its sugar is rapidly absorbed by your body, which can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels (5).

Generally, it’s best to consume whole fruits instead of fruit juices. Whole fruits contain more nutrients and fiber, meaning they will affect your blood sugar levels to a lesser extent.

If you choose to enjoy some pure cranberry juice, stick with no more than half a cup (125 mL). According to the diabetes food exchange list, this is considered a single serving, and it provides roughly 15 grams of carbs from sugar (6).

Alternatively, opt for light cranberry juice, as this usually contains around half of the calories and sugar of regular cranberry juice. It’s typically made with artificial sweeteners like sucralose and may increase your blood sugar to a lesser extent (7).

That said, each person may tolerate cranberry juice differently. If you have diabetes and had a glass of cranberry juice, it’s advised that you carefully monitor your blood sugar levels. Speak with your diabetes educator if you have any concerns about managing your blood sugar levels.

Summary

If you choose to enjoy cranberry juice, opt for pure, unsweetened cranberry juice or a light version. Stick to a 1/2-cup (125-mL) glass, which provides roughly 1 carb serving.

Cranberry juice is a nutritious beverage that many people enjoy. That said, it’s high in sugar and can cause a blood sugar spike, which can be a concern if you have diabetes.

Opt for pure, unsweetened cranberry juice and stick with a 1/2-cup (125-mL) serving, which provides around 15 grams of carbs from naturally occurring sugar. Alternatively, choose a light, unsweetened cranberry juice for less sugar and calories.

Though you can enjoy cranberry juice in moderation with diabetes, it’s still important to pay attention to your blood sugar levels. If you have any concerns about managing your blood sugar, speak with your healthcare professional.

Like most foods, cranberry juice in small amounts can be a part of a healthy diet, even for those with diabetes.