Diabetes affects millions of people worldwide. According to the WHO, about 422 million people across the globe live with diabetes. 
Diabetic patients must keep their blood sugar in check to live healthy lives. Any tasty and filling snacks they try mustn’t cause a blood sugar spike. One snack they may wonder about is the classic fig newton cookie.
Do fig newtons fit into a diabetic diet?
It is a question many have asked. So we will take a look at the facts in this article.
We will examine the nutritional facts of fig newtons and see if they are a healthy snack for people with diabetes. So, join us as we dive into the details of this beloved cookie and its impact on blood sugar levels.
Nutrition Info of Fig Newtons
Fig Newtons have relatively low fat and calorie content. One cookie (14.5 grams) contains about 50 calories and very little fat (0.2 grams).  The below infographic shows the nutritional contents of Fig Newtons.
However, given that Fig Newtons come in several varieties, diabetic patients should check the nutrition labels to see if they fit into their meal plan. Several things they should look for while reviewing the nutritional information.
To start with, people with diabetes should avoid eating anything with frosting or other sweet toppings.  Although Fig Newtons cookies have added sugars, the sugar content in one or two cookies is not harmful. But to be on the safe side, they shouldn’t eat cookies with an extra layer of sugar, like frosting or sugary topping. Otherwise, more glucose will enter their bloodstream.
Diabetic patients should then check the cookies’ flour content. They should avoid Fig Newton if the label lists processed white flour as an ingredient. However, if the cookie uses whole grain flour, they should choose it because it helps control blood sugar levels. 
The fat content in Fig Newtons can tell us how healthy it is. If the cookie’s label includes trans fat, diabetic patients should avoid it. Trans fat raises the level of bad cholesterol in the body and can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. 
If the package lists the sodium content, they should check if it qualifies as a low-sodium food choice by the US FDA. The agency recommends that people with diabetes or high blood pressure should avoid foods that contain more than 140 mg of sodium per serving. 
Diabetic patients should also look at the fibre content in each cookie when checking the nutritional value of Fig Newtons. The US Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming at least 25-30 grams of fibre daily. Fibre keeps the blood sugar steady throughout the day by slowing the overall digestion process. So fewer spikes or dips in blood sugar will occur after meals. 
Will Fig Newtons Spike my Blood Sugar?
Yes, they sure can!
Carbs in Fig Newtons can affect the blood sugar levels of diabetic patients. But the extent to which the cookie does so can vary based on several factors, including the serving size, the type of carbohydrates it contains, and if someone eats it alone or as part of a meal.
Like all foods containing carbohydrates, eating a lot of Fig Newtons cookies will cause blood sugar levels to rise. So diabetes patients need to eat the cookies in moderation. They must have self-control over their intake of sugary foods. The more carbs they consume, the higher their blood sugar levels will be. Diabetic patients thus need to limit the number of cookies they eat. 
To get an accurate understanding of how Fig Newtons may affect their blood sugar levels, diabetic patients should consult with a healthcare provider. They can help diabetics to create a balanced eating plan that fits their health needs and condition.
Problems of Eating Fig Newton
Snacking on store-bought Fig Newtons is not the best option for those with diabetes. These cookies usually have high sugar content. And the ingredients do not always include healthy or natural alternatives. So diabetics should limit processed snacks like Fig Newtons for overall health.
Here are some potential problems of eating Fig Newtons.
- High sugar content: A Fig Newtons cookie has only 50 calories, but over 80% of these come from carbohydrates (11 grams).  Sugars account for about 6 grams of these carbs, with 2 grams being “added sugars.” These refined sugars can cause secondary health problems like high triglycerides or low HDL cholesterol. Both can increase the risk of getting heart disease. 
- Processed ingredients: Fig Newtons contain refined flour, preservatives, and other processed ingredients that may not be as nutritious as whole foods.
- Blood sugar spikes: Eating a lot of Fig Newton cookies can cause blood sugar levels to rise. This undue spike can pose a problem for those with diabetes.
- Limited nutrients: Fig Newtons do contain some nutrients like fibre. But compared to whole foods, it lacks essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
Can Diabetics Eat Fig Newton?
Yes, they can!
Fig Newton fits well within the dietary guidelines of diabetic patients. They can definitely include it in their diet. But they should eat it in moderation and with other nutrient-dense foods.
Most Fig Newtons varieties contain about 11-21 grams of total carbohydrates. To enjoy the cookie, diabetics should limit their carbohydrate intake to 45 to 60 grams per meal or snack.  And if they eat Fig Newtons alongside other nutrient-dense foods, they won’t have to worry about blood sugar spikes.
Some low-carb varieties of Fig Newtons are also available for those with diabetes. These varieties typically contain 4-7 carbs per serving. So diabetic patients can enjoy the cookies while keeping their blood sugar in check.
Homemade Diabetic-Friendly Recipe Recommendation
Store-bought Fig Newtons aren’t healthy for those with diabetes due to their high sugar and carbohydrate content. For those who love chewy fig bars, this can be discouraging. The good news is they can make a healthier version of the cookie themselves at home.
The key is to balance macronutrients and use low-calorie ingredients so that people with diabetes don’t exceed their daily limits for carbs, proteins, and fats.
Here are five suggestions for creating diabetic-friendly fig newtons recipes:
- Coconut Oil Fig Newton Bars – This recipe uses whole grain flour and coconut oil instead of white flour and butter, providing healthier fats. We can also add walnuts for flavour and crunch.
- Gluten-Free Fig Newtons – This recipe is for those who are sensitive or allergic to gluten. Its main base ingredient is gluten-free oats. It also uses coconut oil, chia syrup, and cinnamon powder.
- Oatmeal Fig Bars – Whole wheat oats provide additional fibre while honey provides sweetness without spiking blood sugar levels like refined sugars would do.
- Chunky Date & Honey Fig Bars – These bars are delicious. They primarily consist of dates, honey, and walnuts. Dates offer natural sweetness and are rich in fibre. Honey sweetens the recipe without having the same effect as added sugar. Walnuts add the crunch the recipe needs.
- Sugar-Free Mini Fig Newtons – Not only are these cookies free of refined sugars, but they also contain no grains at all! Almond meal substitutes for white flour, while egg whites replace both butter and eggs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can Diabetics Eat Fresh Figs?
Yes, they can!
Fresh figs can serve as a fantastic snack or dessert option for people with diabetes. Figs are low in calories but high in fibre and potassium. These two nutrients are essential for diabetics. Also, eating fresh figs can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes-related illnesses like heart disease and stroke. 
Do Fig Newtons have Fibre?
Yes, Fig Newtons are rich in fibre content.
But the fibre content in Fig Newtons may not have the same health benefits as other dietary fibres. Most of it comes from refined flour, which has very little dietary fibre. So we can’t claim that flour products like Fig Newtons have a lot of healthy fibre.
Are Fig Newtons Fattening?
The answer depends on several factors, such as the amount of sugar, the servings per package, and the nutritional facts of the selected Fig Newtons variety.
In general, it’s unlikely that eating a few Fig Newtons cookies now and then will result in weight gain. But if someone regularly eats too many of them, they can lead to gain weight. So diabetic patients should eat them in moderation as part of a healthy diet.
Fig Newtons are a better snack choice than other cookie varieties due to their low-calorie content. If eaten in moderation and combined with a protein source, fig newtons can be an ideal snack for those with diabetes.
Diabetic patients should consult with a healthcare provider to get personalized advice on how Fig Newtons and other snacks can fit into their diet and lifestyle.
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