Are sugar free marshmallows OK for diabetics?

Quick Answers

Sugar free marshmallows can be an option for diabetics in moderation, but they are not necessarily “free foods.” Here are some quick answers about sugar free marshmallows for diabetics:

  • Sugar free marshmallows still contain carbohydrates that can impact blood sugar levels.
  • Portion control is important, even with sugar free sweets.
  • Check the nutrition label for sugar alcohols and carbohydrate content.
  • Pair marshmallows with protein or healthy fats to help manage blood sugar response.
  • Opt for brands with no sugar added rather than “sugar free” claims.
  • Consult your doctor or dietitian about appropriate treats for your diabetes management plan.

Are Sugar Free Marshmallows Completely Free of Sugar?

Not exactly. While sugar free marshmallows do not contain regular added sugar, they typically contain sugar alcohols as a replacement sweetener. Some common sugar alcohols used include:

  • Xylitol
  • Maltitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Erythritol
  • Isomalt

Sugar alcohols provide a sweet taste with fewer calories than regular sugar. They also do not spike blood sugar as dramatically as regular sugar. However, sugar alcohols can still impact blood glucose levels, especially if eaten in large amounts.

Some people may also experience gastrointestinal side effects from sugar alcohols like bloating, gas, and diarrhea when consumed excessively.

So while sugar free marshmallows are lower in sugar than regular varieties, they are not completely sugar-free foods. The sugar alcohols still provide carbohydrates that get absorbed and can affect blood sugar regulation.

Carbohydrate Content in Sugar Free Marshmallows

In addition to sugar alcohols, sugar free marshmallows contain other carbohydrates like maltodextrin that can impact blood glucose levels.

Here is the nutrition breakdown for a typical 1 oz (28g) serving of miniature sugar free marshmallows:

Nutrition Facts Amount
Calories 60
Carbohydrates 15g
Sugar Alcohols 10g
Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 0g

As you can see, even though the marshmallows are labeled as “sugar free,” they still provide 15g carbohydrates in a typical serving.

For comparison, regular marshmallows contain about 24g carbohydrates per serving, so the sugar free variety cuts the carbs by about a third.

However, diabetics still need to be mindful of portion sizes with sugar free marshmallows to keep their overall carb intake in check. Consuming multiple servings can quickly add up in carbs.

Tips for Incorporating Sugar Free Marshmallows Into a Diabetes Diet

Here are some tips for diabetics on how to incorporate sugar free marshmallows into your diet in moderation:

  • Practice portion control – Stick to a single serving size within your meal plan carb limits.
  • Read nutrition labels – Check labels for sugar alcohols and total carbohydrate content.
  • Pair with protein or fat – Eat marshmallows alongside nuts, cheese, or Greek yogurt to blunt blood sugar impact.
  • Account for carbs – Subtract marshmallow carbs from other carb servings at the meal.
  • Go for “no sugar added” – Choose brands with no sugar added over “sugar free” claims.
  • Choose miniature size – Mini marshmallows have smaller serving sizes to control portions.
  • Skip the s’mores – Be wary of sugar free marshmallows in desserts with other carbs.

The key is moderation. As an occasional treat, a serving of sugar free marshmallows can fit into an overall healthy diabetes diet when paired with a balanced meal. But they should not be viewed as a free food.

Glycemic Response of Sugar Free Marshmallows

The glycemic index (GI) is a scale that ranks carbohydrate-containing foods by how much they impact blood glucose levels.

Pure sugar has a GI value of 65. Regular marshmallows made with corn syrup have a GI around 87, which is considered high.

Sugar free marshmallows made with sugar alcohols instead of regular sugar would be expected to have a lower GI value. However, specific GI testing has not been done.

Some research on the GI impact of sugar alcohols shows:

  • Xylitol has a GI around 7-13.
  • Maltitol has a GI around 35-52.
  • Sorbitol has a GI around 9.

So sugar alcohols generally have a low to moderate impact on blood sugar compared to regular sugar.

However, the total carbohydrate content matters too. Eating a lot of a low GI food can still raise blood sugar. Portion control is key.

Overall, sugar free marshmallows likely have a lower glycemic impact than regular marshmallows. But diabetics should still account for their carbohydrates when making room for them in their meal plan.

Best Sugar Free Marshmallow Brands

Here are some recommended brands of sugar free marshmallows suitable for diabetics:

Sweet & Sara

Sweet & Sara makes sugar free marshmallows sweetened with malitol syrup. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, Non-GMO, and Kosher. Flavors include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and peppermint.

Nutrition per serving (30g):

  • 60 calories
  • 0g sugars
  • 15g total carbs


These sugar free marshmallows use erythritol as the sweetener. They come in flavors like chocolate chip, strawberry, and pumpkin spice.

Nutrition per serving (30g):

  • 35 calories
  • 0g sugars
  • 8g total carbs


Sixlets are sugar free chocolate covered marshmallow candies sweetened with maltitol. Serving is slightly higher at 40g.

Nutrition per serving (40g):

  • 100 calories
  • 0g sugars
  • 18g total carbs

Russell Stover

Russell Stover makes sugar free marshmallow treats in flavors like chocolate mallow cups, peanut butter mallow cups, and mallow pops. Sweetened with maltitol and sucralose.

Nutrition varies by product, around:

  • 60-100 calories
  • 0g sugars
  • 15-18g total carbs per serving


Campfire Marshmallows are advertised as “no sugar added” rather than specifically “sugar free.” They are sweetened with maltodextrin.

Nutrition per serving (30g):

  • 60 calories
  • 0g sugars
  • 15g total carbs

When choosing sugar free marshmallows, prioritize options with no sugar added, lower calorie counts, and lower net carbs per serving. Also consider added processed ingredients.

Healthier Homemade Sugar Free Marshmallows

Adventurous cooks can also try making their own healthier sugar free marshmallows at home. This allows you to control the ingredients.

Some recipe ideas include:

Chocolate Marshmallows


  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup powdered erythritol
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Bloom gelatin in ice water for 5 minutes.
  2. Mix in erythritol, cocoa powder, and vanilla.
  3. Whisk over double boiler for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Pour into parchment-lined pan to set.
  5. Cut into squares and enjoy.

Strawberry Marshmallows


  • 1/4 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 packet gelatin
  • 1/4 cup erythritol
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Puree thawed strawberries.
  2. Bloom gelatin in water.
  3. Mix gelatin with puree, erythritol and vanilla.
  4. Whisk over double boiler 8-10 minutes.
  5. Pour into baking dish to set.
  6. Cut into pieces and enjoy.

Experiment with extracts and spices to customize flavors. Let marshmallows set overnight before cutting. Store in sealed container for up to 1 week.

Homemade marshmallows allow full control over the ingredients. Portion into single servings and enjoy as an occasional treat within your healthy diabetes diet.

The Bottom Line

Sugar free marshmallows can be a better choice compared to regular versions for people with diabetes. But they are still a sugary treat that requires caution.

Check labels for sugar alcohols and carbohydrate content. Practice portion control and account for carbs in your meal plan. Pair marshmallows with protein or healthy fats. And select quality brands with no added sugar.

Enjoy sugar free marshmallows occasionally in moderation as part of an overall balanced approach to diabetes management. Consult your dietitian or doctor for guidance on appropriate sweet treats to fit your unique dietary needs.

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