Is Ketchup or Tomato Sauce OK for Diabetes? 7 Safer Alternatives

Last Updated on January 6, 2021 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD

As a diabetic patient, you must avoid tomato sauce because it contains a large amount of hidden salts and sugars. People mostly use too much of it or put it on everything, so it is recommended that you avoid this.

There are many options in food items to add to your diet, which are nutritious and healthy. We understand that sometimes variety is necessary so you can eat these food items by trying other recipes.

There are varieties of other tasty recipes available on the internet, which are suitable for diabetic patients and tasty. The good news is that you can add tomato sauce in your food but only in a minimal amount.

Whole tomato is a healthy option for diabetes, as it contains an antioxidant called lycopene in it, which prevents the cells from damage. So, it is suggested to eat a whole tomato, instead of using it as ketchup or sauce, as the latter contains a high amount of sugar and salt.

Veggie causing Diabetes

Types of sauces available in the market

  • Tomato sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Mustard sauce
  • Barbeque sauce
  • Garlic sauce
  • Eggplant pepper sauce
  • Marinara sauce

Tomato sauce

There are many other types of sauces available in the market other than the ones mentioned above. Always check whether they are safe to eat for diabetic patients before purchasing.

Tomato sauce is people’s favorite option, so it is necessary to know more about the ingredients and nutritional benefits. You can also make a homemade tomato sauce, which will be way better than the sauce available in the market.

Note – tomato sauce contains protein, fat-saturated fat and trans fat, carbohydrate – fiber and sugars, cholesterol, calories, and sodium.

For any diabetic patient, here’s a tip – try your recipe. Instead of eating tomato sauce from the market, make it on your own. There are tons of recipes for making tomato sauces.


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Try them all in small batches and then look at what suits your taste buds. Remember, tomato sauce, which is available in the market are full of sugars and salts.

7 Safer Sauce Alternatives, if you have Diabetes

  • Hot sauce
  • Mustard sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Salsa
  • Herb or any spice
  • Olive oil
  • Any extracts


These are the healthy option to add in any dish, salad dressing, or any other thing. Make sure that you consult your nutritionist first. These are 100% safe options but eat them in a moderate amount, or you can just ask your dietitian.

Easy recipe of tomato sauce for diabetic patients –

Tomato sauce


  • Calories – 75
  • Saturated fat – 1g
  • Fat – 3g
  • Fiber – 3g
  • Protein – 2g
  • Sodium – 19mg
  • Carbohydrate – 12g

Ingredients – 

  • Plum tomato – 1kg
  • Finely chopped onion –
  • Extra – virgin olive oil – 1 tbsp
  • Sugar – ½ tbsp (optional)

Note – Make sure you ask your dietitian before adding sugar)

  • Finely chopped garlic cloves – 1 large
  • Chopped fresh/dried oregano – 1 tbsp
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Salt
  • Chopped fresh/dried basil 1 tbsp

Directions – 

  1. First of all, peeling tomatoes is mandatory so, boil the tomatoes until their skin gets cracked.
  2. After it gets cracked, let them cool.
  3. After it gets chilly, peel off their skin and remove the pulp and seeds carefully.
  4. Chop the tomatoes finely.
  5. In a large pot, put some oil and let it heat.
  6. Add onion and stir it occasionally. Let it cook for 3 minutes.
  7. Add some garlic in it and stir occasionally.
  8. Stir the mixture until the onion starts to change its color.
  9. After the color changes, add tomato and oregano.
  10. Cook it for 15 minutes uncovered.
  11. Add basil. Taste the sauce, and if it’s acidic, then add sugar in it.
  12. Cook the tomatoes until it comes to your taste. Cook it for 15 minutes for thick sauce and 10 minutes for a chunkier sauce.

This is the easy recipe for making a homemade tomato sauce, which will help you keep healthy and nutritious. Make sure that you ask your nutritionist whether to add sugar or not.

Extra-virgin olive is mandatory because it is the only oil that reduces the risk of heart diseases and has way more health benefits than others. This is undoubtedly a better health option for you to add to your diet.

Make sure that you eat tomato sauce in a moderate amount, even if it’s homemade. You can also eat as much as you can, but it’s always better to stand on the safe side.

If you still choose to but the product from the market, then strictly avoid the sauces and gravies which are packed or canned, these products contain a high amount of sodium in it.

A high amount of sodium is the main reason for high blood pressure. Check the label before buying sauces and gravies and check the ingredients and nutritional facts on the label.

When it comes to condiments, then are excellent when you use it in a moderate amount. They are used to add flavor to the food items. If you use them in more than a moderate amount, then the carbohydrates, sugar, and calories can be added quickly, which can be harmful to your health.

Before buying the product, make sure you read the label carefully and measure the carbohydrate level. There is some safety amount of carbohydrates that are necessary for every diabetic patient to follow.

Safety limits are –

  • In ketchup, there should be 4g of carbohydrate in one tablespoon.
  • One tablespoon of salsa must contain 3g of carbohydrate.
  • Two tablespoons of barbeque sauce must contain 9g of carbohydrates.
  • ½ cup of tomato sauce should contain 7g of carbohydrates.

Make sure that you add ketchup or a homemade tomato sauce in your daily diet and avoid fast food. It’s unnecessary to follow a strict diet but eat the recommended food items to avoid any risk of increased blood sugar level.

Food that you should avoid –

  • Whole wheat bagels or pretzels
  • Dried fruits. (avoid dried unsweetened fruits too)
  • Trans fats and margarine
  • Low-fat peanut butter
  • Fat-free salad dressing
  • Sauces and condiments ( you can eat but in moderate amount)
  • Sugar-free food
  • No-added sugar food
  • Fried and battered food
  • Sweetened beverages
  • Rice
  • White bread
  • Pasta
  • Fries

Dried fruits

These are the food items that every person with Diabetes should avoid as they are unhealthy, and they can also increase the blood sugar level.

Eating pizza can be a better option for type 2 diabetic patients but order a thin-crust pizza with vegetables on the top instead of extra cheese and high-fat meats. But it’s recommended to prepare a homemade pizza made of the ingredients which are healthy to add.

There are huge chances for an insulin spike after some hours of eating a pizza. There are some of the worst options which are highly suggested to avoid all time.

Food to avoid for people with Diabetes

  • Refined flour and sugars
  • White rice
  • Potatoes
  • White pasta
  • Bagels
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Energy bars
  • Fruit juices
  • Low-fat sweetened yogurt


Instead of these food items, there are varieties of options that you can choose to get over Diabetes. Some of them also have some magical nutritional effects that can skip your medications.

You can eat asparagus, green veggies like spinach, kale, onions, cucumbers, etc. These are only some of the options with excellent nutritional benefits.

Best fruits for Diabetes –

  • Berries
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Apricots
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Kiwi
  • Pear


These are fruits that have great nutritional benefits, which help improve your blood sugar level and have a low glycemic index. These fruits are rich in fiber, antioxidants, etc.

Fact – fruits are not safe in Diabetes is a myth.

According to the research, fibers present in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains help you feel full, prevent overeating, and curb unhealthy cravings. Fibers help in diabetes management, and hence proper weight management improves insulin sensitivity.

Avoid fruit juices as much as possible, as they can tend to an instant increase in your blood sugar levels. Instead of juices, you can try whole fruits like apples, apricot, and the fruits given above.

These fruits will help you in maintaining your good health as well as reduce inflammation, help in blood pressure, etc. Make sure that you keep track of the carbohydrates.

Overeating any type of fruit, vegetable, or other things can spike insulin, so do not overeat any food item. Portion size is the primary key in every diabetic patient that helps in maintaining proper health.

Note–Berries are known to be the superfood in Diabetes as they have a low glycemic index and rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and fibers.

Cherries are rich in antioxidants and have a low glycemic index. It helps to reduce the risk of any heart disease, cancer, and another disease. Cherries are available in the market in many types of packing, like canned, packaged, and fresh.

Before buying packaged or canned cherries, make sure that you read the labels because the cherries inside them contain sugar. So try to purchase the fresh cherries and avoid packaged.

Check the labels if you buy the packaged one. On the other hand, peaches are also the best option because it is a diabetes-friendly fruit. It contains potassium, fiber, vitamin A and C.

You can also eat peaches by trying various easy diabetes snack recipes. They will be the tastier and more natural way of getting nutrition. They help in boosting metabolism.

Apricots are the summer fruits that are rich in vitamin A and fibers. One apricot contains only 4g of carbohydrates and 17 calories, which is considered healthy for adding in the diabetic meals.

Apples are god options like a daily snack. Avoid peeling their skin as they contain maximum antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of getting diseases. These are the rich sources of vitamin C and fiber.

Oranges are rich in vitamin C, but do you know that it contains folate and potassium? Yes, they contain these. They help to normalize your blood pressure and have a low glycemic index.

Pears are rich in fibers and vitamin K, making a wise choice to add it to the meal. Vitamin K helps to clot the blood on the injuries.

Kiwis are a rich source of potassium, vitamin C, and fibers. They are highly nutritious and reduce the risk of many diseases.

Note – the fruits given above are all suggested by the professionals for every diabetic patient and contain no harm to health.

Remember, fruits are not suitable for a diabetic patient is a myth. Don’t believe such statements and make a wise choice. These fruits will also help you to reduce the medications that are given in people with Diabetes.

Some guidelines suggest you avoid the worst food choices and add healthy food items in your diet to maintain your health. Avoid eating ketchup. You can eat it in a moderate amount, but it’s been suggested to avoid by many nutritionists.

If you love ketchup in your diet, then you can make the homemade tomato sauce and add it. There is a healthy easy diabetes-friendly tomato sauce recipe given above, which you can try. If you are not satisfied with the taste, then you can try other recipes too.

Make sure that you add healthy ingredients only. Avoid adding the regular oil and add extra virgin olive oil while making the sauce. There is no harm in adding the other oil, but the extra virgin olive oil reduces the risk of heart disease.

It also helps to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of stroke. There are many other options instead of ketchup, which can add a taste in your meal, so try them and choose a healthy diet.

Remember, precautions are better than cure, so stand on the safe side and avoid eating ketchup.



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