How much sugar in PB&J sandwich? How to eat less?

A common PB&J sandwich has between 15 and 30 grams of sugar. Just a sandwich may have more sugar than the maximum safe dose! But, you can eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with less than 5 grams, which is ideal for people who want to lose weight, people on keto, and people with type 2 diabetes.

How much sugar in a common PB&J sandwich?

A typical peanut butter and jelly sandwich has about 15 grams of sugar:

  • peanut butter has about 9.3 grams of sugar per 100g. A tablespoon has about 1.5 grams of sugar.
  • white bread has in average 1.5 grams of sugar per slice. So, 2 slices have about 3 grams of sugar.
  • jelly is the main source of sugar in a PB&J sandwich, though. Jelly has about 7–10 grams of sugar per tablespoon!

However, you should be very cautious with portion sizes. It’s rather common to add too much peanut butter or jelly to our favorite sandwich.

A PB&J sandwich with sugar-rich white bread, made of 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of jelly, may have up to 30 grams of sugar!

How to eat a PB&J sandwich to consume less sugar?

If you want to consume the minimum amount of sugar, you should prepare a PB&J sandwich with whole grain bread and a high-quality, sugar-free jelly. This PB&J sandwich can have less than 5 grams of sugar! It has 67% less sugar than a common PB&J sandwich.


Whole grain bread has less sugar than white bread. But, we should eat it because it has significantly more fiber than white bread. Fiber keeps us full for hours and prevents spikes of blood sugar, as it delays the digestion of sugar!

If you want to eat a PB&J sandwich with the minimum carbohydrate content, prepare it with just a slice of bread. This snack can have only 3 grams of sugar per serving!


Above all, using a high-quality, sugar-free jelly is key for eating a PB&J sandwich low in sugar. About 70% of total sugar content of a common PB&J sandwich comes from jelly.

In many cases, natural, low-glycemic sugar substitutes, such as monk fruit or stevia, are used. Actually, many of the top 10 bestseller jams and jellies on Amazon have no added sugar. Always check the nutrition facts label of packaged products, though.

Eating 1–2 tablespoons of high-quality, sugar-free jelly or jam a day, as part of a well-balanced diet, is good for weight loss! A tablespoon can have only 15 calories!

Moreover, you could prepare a jelly sandwich with tahini, instead of peanut butter. Tahini has no sugar. Most noteworthy, tahini is a super food! It’s packed with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Tahini supports weight loss, as it has a much greater nutritional value than peanut butter.

What type of sugar is in a PB&J sandwich?

The main type of sugar in bread is fructose. Typical white bread consists of:[1]

  • 45% fructose
  • 25% glucose
  • 30% maltose

But, a common PB&J sandwich is mainly sucrose. Jellies and jams are made of granulated sugar, which is 100% sucrose.[2]

Sucrose, which is a scientific name for table sugar, is composed of glucose and fructose.[3]

What’s the Glycemic Index of a PB&J sandwich?

Actually, a common PB&J sandwich with white bread has a pretty high glycemic index.

White bread is one of the common foods with the highest glycemic index. It’s between 80 and 95, depending on the amount and type of added sugar and processing method!

How to eat your favorite PB&J sandwich to consume 80% less sugar?Pin

A common sugar-rich jelly has a pretty high glycemic index as well. It’s between 50 and 76.

On the other hand, peanut butter can attenuate the glycemic response of a PB&J sandwich. Fiber, protein, resveratrol and other compounds in peanut butter prevent spikes of blood glucose levels.[3,4]

What’s the glycemic index of a PB&J sandwich low in sugar?

A healthier PB&J sandwich with whole grain bread and a sugar-free jelly has a much lower glycemic index.

Firstly, whole grain bread has a significantly lower glycemic index than white bread. It can be less than 50!

A sugar-free jelly or jam also has a low glycemic index. It can be less than 55.

Is sugar in a PB&J sandwich too much?

Too much added sugar is unhealthy. It has been linked to obesity, metabolic syndrome, decreased insulin sensitivity, type 2 diabetes, and other inflammatory diseases.[5]

Added sugar refers to sugar that is added to food, drinks, or the sugar which is naturally present in fruit juices, honey, jams, jellies, or syrups.[6]

The maximum safe intake of added sugar is 25 grams a day. However, most people who follow the standard American diet consume much higher amounts.[7]

A typical PB&J sandwich contains 60% of the maximum recommended daily intake of sugar. If you add too much sugar-rich jelly, you can consume more sugar than the maximum safe dosage!

On the other hand, a PB&J sandwich with whole grain bread and sugar-free jelly contains only 20% of the maximum recommended daily intake of sugar.

Can people with diabetes eat a PB&J sandwich?

According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes should eat whole, minimally processed carbohydrate foods, while they should limit the consumption of refined, highly processed carbohydrate foods with added sugar.[8]

Hence, the common PB&J sandwich is unhealthy for people with diabetes.

However, people with diabetes could eat a PB&J sandwich with whole grain bread with no added sugar and a high-quality, sugar-free jelly. This healthy snack contains no more than 5 grams of sugar.

In fact, a PB&J sandwich may be a healthy snack between meals for people with diabetes and people who want to lose weight, as peanut butter and berries are high in resveratrol. This powerful polyphenol has many health benefits to people with diabetes. For instance, resveratrol may help stop complications in people with diabetes, such as damage to blood vessels, caused by high levels of blood glucose.[9]

Only a few foods contain resveratrol. It’s naturally present only in peanuts, berries, grapes, and red wine.

Always consult your physician before changing your diet.

Can people on keto eat PB&J sandwich?

Even people who follow a ketogenic diet can eat a PB&J sandwich with a slice of brown bread and a sugar-free jelly. People on keto typically consume between 20–50 net grams of carbs a day.[10]

Also, people on keto or people with diabetes who want to cut down carbs to the minimum could prepare a PB&J sandwich with keto bread. Instead of wheat or any other grain, keto bread is mainly made of almond or coconut flour, which are low in carbs.

Can I eat a PB&J sandwich a day while dieting?

Actually, yes! A PB&J sandwich is the ideal snack for weight loss. The best time to eat it is between meals. Fiber and protein in PB&J sandwich provide a feeling of fullness for hours with less than 300 calories!

Also, you can eat PB&J sandwich after exercise. It’s an excellent, easy to make, post-workout snack.

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