Sugar Substitutes – Best alternatives for Diabetic Patients
Posted: Aug 18, 2016
To prevent a rise in blood sugar level, people with diabetes mellitus are restricted from eating sugars whether it is from natural foods or artificially added by choice to bring out the taste of sweetness. It is important that they need to understand their sugar levels and plan diet accordingly to keep their diabetic condition under control. Well, it is tough to completely cut down on sugars, but can balance its intake by using natural or artificial sugar substitutes. Even though some natural nutritional sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, agave nector etc are considered as good for health, diabetic patients are not recommended to have them because of active sugars present in these foods. Hence plant or chemical based sugar substitutes with low or zero calories are advised to mix with food or drinks if needed to enhance their taste.
Sugar substitutes – Natural and Artificial
Most of the diabetic patients struggle in planning a healthy diet as they have very little awareness on the blood glucose management and calorie intake. Because of this reason, now-a-days many of them are depending on artificial sugar substitutes like aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, and neotame that has specified acceptable daily intake. This becomes easy for patients to analyze themselves how much quantity they have to consume every day. If not they can also consult a doctor, who can recommend them proper usage instructions based on their diabetic test results.
Besides many artificial sweeteners, there are some natural sugar alcohols (Polyols) that are safe to use with half the calories of table sugars (Sucrose). Some energy bars, puddings, candies etc that are available in the super markets with sugar free labels contain these natural sugars with fewer calories. Foods with sugar alcohols are extremely useful for people who are on diet or very much concerned about gaining weight, but not fully recommended for diabetic patients as they still have some amount of calories and carbohydrates. Hence, if you are really looking for total sugar free versions, better check the nutritional facts before buying these food products.
Concerns on using sugar substitutes
One of the most common questions that generally arise in individuals mind is – will there be any side effects with prolonged usage? Apart from many health benefits, many express their concern about the prolonged usage of sugar substitutes in their diet, because of some misconceptions of linking it to possibility of cancer and heart disease. There are no evidences to prove this fact, but studies have shown that people with certain genetic health condition called phenylketonuria (PKU) are restricted from using aspartame as they have very less capacity to metabolize one of its internal component called phenylalanine.
Some people switch themselves from regular to diet foods and drinks, and consume them in high quantities, thinking that artificial sweeteners do not add up any calories to their bodies. Studies have shown that people using sweetners for over the years are at higher risk of gaining weight, coronary heart disease and may even sometimes develop Type 2 diabetes. Hence, as long as it is within the daily recommended range, sugar substitutes are safe to consume in food products.
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