As part of a balanced diabetes diet, your best bet is to be eating minimal amounts of added sugars; however, sugar substitutes can be beneficial as they offer added sweetness while controlling your carbohydrate intake and blood glucose. With many sugar alternatives to choose from, this article will give you a taste of the best sweeteners for diabetes.
What are sweeteners?
Sweeteners are a substitute for sugar that provide a sweet taste to foods, but have virtually no calories. There are a number of sweeteners available today, all made from different compounds.
What are the benefits of sweeteners?
If you have diabetes, sweeteners might be a good choice for you instead of sugar. Besides being calorie-free, one of their biggest benefits for people with diabetes is that – unlike sugar – they have a very low glycemic index and have no effect on your blood sugar levels.This means, that sweeteners do not cause your blood sugar levels to spike, in the same way that sugar does.
What are the best sweeteners for people with diabetes?
Aspartame, sucralose, cyclamate and stevia are all excellent sweetener choices for people with diabetes.
|Sweetener||Brand names||Forms and uses||Sweetness index*|
|· Packets, tablets or granulated form
· Added to drinks, yogurts, cereals, low-calorie desserts andchewing gum
|· Available in packets, tablets, liquid and granulated form||40|
|· Available in packets or liquid form
· Added to drinks, breakfast cereals, yogurt, gum, baked goods and snack foods
|Sucralose||Splenda||· Available in packets or granulated form
· Added to packaged foods and beverages
*The sweetness index rates the sweetness of a substance in relation to table sugar, which has a sweetness rating of 1. The sweetness index of all other substances measured relative to this number.
Are there any health concerns with sweeteners?
At this time, there are no major health concerns associated with sweeteners. A few small studies have shown that some sweeteners may cause glucose intolerance. However these studies were performed on animals, not humans, so researchers don’t know if the effect would be the same in people.
Sweeteners are not completely harmless, though. If eaten in excess, they can cause undesired effects in some people, such as upset stomach and migraine headaches. As well, because artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar (see sweetness index above), consuming too much sweetener may leave your brain and your body craving more and more sweet foods, which may be disruptive to your diabetes diet.
Nonetheless, whichever one you choose, sweeteners provide a sugar-free, calorie-free and tasty alternative to regular sugars.