Why Can't Diabetics Drink Cranberry Juice?

Cranberry juice is a popular beverage in the United States. The consumption of cranberry juice is not prohibited on a diabetic diet. According to the American Diabetes Association, no food or beverage is off-limits to diabetics based on the diagnosis of diabetes alone. However, cranberry juice is higher in sugar than other foods and beverages and should be consumed by diabetics with careful observance of portion size and in accordance with any medication regimen as prescribed by a physician.

Cranberry juice is higher in sugar than many beverages. (Image: Eric Hood/iStock/Getty Images)

Types of Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice is available as a pure juice or as a juice cocktail. Pure cranberry juice should not contain any additional fruits or added sugars, whereas cranberry juice cocktail or juice blends often contain additional fruit juices and added sugars. Per serving, cranberry juice cocktail may contain more than twice the amount of calories and carbohydrates of pure cranberry juice. Light cranberry juice cocktails made with artificial sweeteners have entered the market that contain less sugar and calories per serving than regular cranberry juice cocktail.

Serving Size of Cranberry Juice

The American Dietetic Association food exchange list for diabetics defines one serving, or exchange, of unsweetened fruit juice as equal to 1/2 cup, or 4 fluid ounces, and one serving of sweetened fruit juice and juice blends as 1/3 cup, or 2.7 fluid ounces. One serving of fruit juice contains approximately 60 calories, zero grams of fat and 15 g of carbohydrate.

Health Benefits of Cranberry Juice

Pure cranberry juice is rich in disease-fighting antioxidants that have been associated with the prevention of urinary tract infections, heart disease, and certain types of cancers. Resveratrol, an abundant antioxidant in cranberries, has received much attention from the diabetic research community for its ability to improve insulin resistance in diabetic animal models.


Cranberry juice may be enjoyed on its own or mixed with other drinks. Sparkling water with a splash of cranberry juice is a healthier, low-calorie alternative for diabetics who enjoy the taste of cranberry juice but want to avoid its naturally rich source of sugar. Cranberry juice is also used as an ingredient in a variety of dishes, including salads and desserts.

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