Considerations about artificial sweeteners and diabetes as they relate to an individual.
One major question someone new to their diagnosis of diabetes will be concerned with will be whether or not they can eat sweets. With the artificial sweeteners that are available on the market the answer to that question is a definite “yes”. Multiple questions will plague the mind of each person as they make the choice to use artificial sweeteners and learn how to properly use them. Many brands are on the current market making the choice a difficult one, exactly which artificial sweeteners for diabetics should you choose.
Precisely what is an artificial sweetener?
Various names are used to describe sweeteners, such as reduced or low calorie, or simply just sugar. Yet only a portion of those sweeteners is considered to be artificial.
The form of sweetener that is known as sugar is a carbohydrate that occurs naturally. Those examples are honey, molasses, cane sugar, brown sugar, fructose, and confectioner’s sugar each of those not only have the potential to increase your blood glucose levels but they all contain calories.
Sweeteners that fall into the category of reduced-calorie varieties are what is known as sugar alcohols. While they contain a separate type of carbohydrate and approximately half the calories of regular substances they still can raise blood sugar. These types of sweeteners are found in sugar-free gum and candy in the form of maltitol, xylitol, sorbitol, isomalt, and mannitol.
As far as those sweeteners that fall in the artificial category are the low-calorie varieties. The term artificial simply puts means that they are formed in a lab as opposed to being a natural food source. These sweeteners have absolutely no calorie intake and are useful in the blood sugar control that diabetics require.
Types of Artificial Sweeteners and Diabetes Type 2 Patients:
Approved by the FDA as a potential sweetener best recommended for diabetics the low-calorie variety are chosen for the nutrition choices of those wishing to control their blood sugar. Various brands have been approved by the American Diabetes Association and considered safe for use by the public.
One type of the low-calorie sweetener is the Sugar Twin or Sweet ‘N Low variety that is saccharin and can be used in both cold or hot food sources. However, as with most low-calorie substances it should be avoided if breastfeeding or pregnant.
Then there is the substance called aspartame that is found in the brands Equal as well as NutraSweet and are useful in both warm or cold foods. Aspartame can possibly lose partial amounts of it’s sweet flavor at higher temperatures. If you suffer from phenylketonuria you should avoid the use of this substance.
Sunett, Sweet One, and Swiss Sweet contain the substance acesulfame-K or acesulfame potassium, widely used in cooking or baking. This sweetener is perfect to use whether it is in hot or cold foods.
Last on the list of brands of low-calorie sweeteners is the sucralose brand called Splenda, also a wonderful choice for both hot or cold baking needs. Many processed low-calorie foods on the market contain sucralose.
The list of low sugar, no added sugar, naturally sweetened, or simply no sugar products that you will encounter on a grocery visit will sometimes overwhelm even the most informed shopper.
Learning to identify the various products and the way in which foods are sweetened will be a huge bonus in your fight to control your blood sugar levels.
- Sugar-Free – When a product states it is sugar-free, that will mean it contains no sugar. However, it may still contain a number of artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols instead.
- All Natural – The statement on a package that declares it is all natural means there are not artificial ingredients added. Even though it still could contain sugar alcohol or sugar, which are both natural sweeteners.
- No Added Sugar – When the label states that it has no added sugar that is the simple statement that there has been no sugar added. It still has the potential of containing artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohol.
While some labels will state they are diet foods, that can mean a variety of things from no sugar to simply reduced calories. The best way to know for sure what is in the item is to carefully read the nutrition label. That nutrition facts section of the label will tell you for sure which type of sweetener is in the product if any. Carbohydrate amounts are listed on the label as well showing how many carbohydrates are in the forms of sugar alcohol or sugar. The ingredients list on the product will also give you additional information on the quality of diabetic nutrition that is contained.