Artifical Sweeteners and Diabetes
Individuals with diabetes have to carefully control their sugar intake. In order to allow diabetics to enjoy desserts and other foods with sugar, a number of artificial sweeteners have become available. These sweeteners may allow diabetics to continue to eat foods that they enjoyed prior to becoming diabetic. In addition, they may help individuals stick to strict diet plans, since they are still able to have desserts and other favorite foods.
Types of Sweeteners
There are four types of alternative sweeteners that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The American Diabetes Association has added that these products can be used safely by diabetics in accordance with a healthy diet.
- Saccharin (Sugar Twin, Sweet N Low): Good for use in both hot and cold foods
- Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet): Good for cold items since heat can decrease its sweetness.
- Acesulfame Potassium (Sunett, Sweet One, Swiss Sweet): Good for baking and cooking
- Sucralose (Splenda): Good for beverages, baked good, and processed foods.
It is recommended that individuals try a number of these options, since some people prefer the taste and texture of one over another.
Advantages of Artificial Sweeteners
Low calorie sweeteners can be added to a diabetic diet without having to make any changes to daily allowances. Since they have very few calories and do not raise blood glucose levels, they do not have to be accounted for when doing exchanges. These sugar substitutes are released much more slowly into the blood stream, keeping blood glucose levels from rising. These products can all be used in place of sugar in recipes, allowing diabetics to enjoy the same foods as their friends and family.
Disadvantages of Artificial Sweeteners
Some people do not like the texture that artificial sweeteners add to food. This may be a problem if the sugar substitute is used on top of a food item or in a beverage. Since many types are available, a different artificial sweetener may prove to be more pleasing. Some individuals find that artificial sweeteners are too sweet for their tastes.
Many people are concerned about the health risks of artificial sweeteners and diabetes. However, no scientific evidence has been produced to suggest that these substitutes are dangerous. The Food and Drug Administration has approved all of these products for use by everyone, including pregnant women and children.