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Which Sweetener Is Best For Diabetics?

Alternative Natural Sweeteners For Diabetes

Alternative Natural Sweeteners For Diabetes

When it comes to meal planning, people with diabetes should focus on the quality and quantity of the carbohydrates they consume. In fact, the American Diabetes Association suggests that individuals with diabetes should be encouraged to replace refined carbohydrates and added sugars with whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. Sometimes, though, certain foods and beverages call for sugar. Replacing added sugars with sugar substitutes can help to increase weight loss and reduce blood sugars, however, there is a drawback. Most sugar substitutes, otherwise known as non-nutritive sweeteners, contain artificial ingredients. If you are looking to avoid artificial ingredients you can try a natural sweetener, but they aren't always healthier either. That's why it's important to be an informed consumer, weigh the pros and cons, and always practice portion control. Natural Sweeteners Contain Sugar and Carbohydrates Some natural alternatives to refined white table sugar still have as many or more carbohydrates than table sugar as well as a high glycemic index. Sweeteners like honey, corn syrup, brown sugar, and maple syrup can make your blood sugar spike and cause you to gain weight if eaten in excess. But, there are a few natural sweeteners you can try if they fit your dietary needs. Agave Nectar? Agave nectar comes from the Agave plant. It has been used for centuries as a sweetener, especially by the Aztecs. The nectar tastes sweet and has a consistency similar to honey. Agave is a popular natural sweetener because it is believed to have a lower glycemic index (GI) than table sugar or honey. The glycemic index of agave nectar is around 20 to 30, while regular sugar has a GI of 60 to 65. Foods that have a lower glycemic index tend to raise blood sugars at a slower pace. As Continue reading >>

Here’s The 8 Best And Worst Sugar Substitutes For Your Health

Here’s The 8 Best And Worst Sugar Substitutes For Your Health

Now that people are becoming more aware about the dangers of too much refined sugar, people are opting for “healthier” substitutes for the sweetener. Whether it’s sugar-free soda, a lighter Starbucks drinks, or sugar-free gum, artificial sweeteners have been popping up everywhere, and many are choosing these options over their sugar-filled counterparts, believing them to be the more nutritious option. Unfortunately, many of these sugar substitutes are actually worse for you than the real thing. Whether you’re into baking at home or trying to buy the right products at the grocery store, it’s important to know which sugar substitutes to choose and which to avoid. If you’re at a loss as to what sweeteners are the healthiest option, use the below guide for the worst and best sugar substitutes. Worst Sugar Substitutes 1. Equal This popular sweetener is made from aspartame, which can cause headaches, and even worse, an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Aspartame is found in thousands of foods, especially diet soda, and it accounts for 75 percent of the adverse food reactions reported to the FDA. 2. Splenda Splenda, also known as sucralose, has been found to have some harmful effects on the body, including reducing good gut bacteria, releasing toxic compounds during baking, and altering insulin responses and blood sugar levels. Research has also shown that consumption of sucralose is linked to type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. 3. Sweet N’ Low Sweet N’ Low contains saccharin, a white crystalline powder that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Studies from the 1970s show that rats who consumed the sweetener showed a higher risk of obtaining bladder cancer, and while the effect has not yet been shown on humans, the Center for Science in the Publi Continue reading >>

Artificial Sweeteners Or Natural Sugar: Which Is Best For People With Diabetes?

Artificial Sweeteners Or Natural Sugar: Which Is Best For People With Diabetes?

Here's what you need to know to understand the impact of sweeteners—both nutritive and non-nutritive—on your blood sugar. Walk down the supermarket aisles and you’ll find a dizzying array of sweeteners. Everything from ordinary (white) table sugar to newly-formulated sugars, sugar substitutes and more. Some claim benefits for people with diabetes that promise to have no effect on blood sugar. But with so many choices—from ordinary table sugar (aka cane, sucrose), maple sugar and agave to newer arrivals like coconut sugar, monk sugar and stevia, to nonnutritive sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, etc.)—how do you know which one is best for you and your blood sugar? It's important to know that use of the word natural is not a term regulated by the FDA, nor does it have a clear definition. These so-called “natural” sweeteners, also referred to as nutritive sweeteners, are a type of sugar (typically sucrose), which provide calories from carbohydrates. All nutritive sugars have about 14 calories per teaspoon and contain 5 grams of carbohydrates. Food companies seem to use the word “natural” as a marketing gimmick to give consumers a sense of additional health benefits. Popular nutritive sweetners include: brown sugar, honey, coconut sugar and agave syrup. But remember, sugar is sugar. Whether honey or table sugar, they all contain carbohydrates and will raise blood glucose levels. Having Sugar Knowledge is Important Contrary to popular belief, people with diabetes can consume sugar but it’s best when consumed in foods where it occurs naturally as it does in whole fruits. Understanding the type of sugar you consume and how much, is essential for successful diabetes management. People with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, don’t have the adequate insulin nee Continue reading >>

Artificial Sweeteners And Diabetes

Artificial Sweeteners And Diabetes

Is it possible to eat sweets when you have diabetes? The answer is "yes." But when you’re trying to satisfy your sweet tooth, it can be hard to know what to reach for at the grocery store (sugar-free this or low-calorie that). So, use this primer to help you choose wisely. The Sweet Facts When you’re comparing sweeteners, keep these things in mind: Sugars are naturally occurring carbohydrates. These include brown sugar, cane sugar, confectioners’ sugar, fructose, honey, and molasses. They have calories and raise your blood glucose levels (the level of sugar in your blood). Reduced-calorie sweeteners are sugar alcohols. You might know these by names like isomalt, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. You'll often find them in sugar-free candy and gum. They have about half the calories of sugars and can raise your blood sugar levels, although not as much as other carbohydrates. Artificial sweeteners are considered "free foods." They were designed in a lab, have no calories, and do not raise your blood sugar levels. Types of Artificial Sweeteners Artificial low-calorie sweeteners include: Saccharin (Sweet'N Low, Sugar Twin). You can use it in both hot and cold foods. Avoid this sweetener if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal). You can use it in both cold and warm foods. It may lose some sweetness at high temperatures. People who have a condition called phenylketonuria should avoid this sweetener. Acesulfame potassium or ace-K (Sweet One, Swiss Sweet, Sunett). You can use it in both cold and hot foods, including in baking and cooking. Sucralose (Splenda). You can use it in hot and cold foods, including in baking and cooking. Processed foods often contain it. Advantame can be used in baked goods, soft drinks and other non-alcoholic bev Continue reading >>

Diabetes Management & Nutrition Guide: Best Sweeteners For People With Diabetes

Diabetes Management & Nutrition Guide: Best Sweeteners For People With Diabetes

Today's Dietitian Vol. 19, No. 7, P. 48 Research suggests there's no one sweetener that's best for people with diabetes, but dietitians can advise patients to use a variety of nonnutritive sweeteners to reduce intake of added sugars. The prevalence of diabetes and obesity has increased substantially over the last few decades, and with it has come an increase in consumption of nonnutritive sweeteners.1 As defined by the American Diabetes Association, nonnutritive sweeteners, also known as very low-calorie sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, noncaloric sweeteners, and intense sweeteners, have a higher intensity of sweetness per gram than caloric sweeteners such as sucrose, corn syrups, and fruit juice concentrates.2 Because they provide virtually no calories or carbohydrates, people with diabetes frequently use them to provide a sweet taste without affecting blood sugar. Currently, there are seven nonnutritive sweeteners that either have been FDA approved, given GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status, or simply allowed for use in the United States: acesulfame K, aspartame, monk fruit (luo han guo fruit extract), neotame, saccharin, stevia, and sucralose. To be clear, while all artificial sweeteners are nonnutritive sweeteners, not all nonnutritive sweeteners are artificial sweeteners (eg, stevia and monk fruit). But are any of these nonnutritive sweeteners better than others for people with diabetes? Safety While some studies have suggested that consumption of nonnutritive sweeteners, especially artificial sweeteners (eg, acesulfame K, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, and sucralose), contributes to cancer, infertility, cardiovascular disease, and, ironically, increased appetite, ultimately the FDA and Health Canada have determined they all are safe.3 In addition, the Eur Continue reading >>

The Best Sugar Substitutes For People With Diabetes

The Best Sugar Substitutes For People With Diabetes

With a low to no calorie sugar count, artificial sweeteners may seem like a treat for people with diabetes. But recent research suggests that artificial sweeteners may actually be counterintuitive. Especially if you’re looking to manage or prevent diabetes. In fact, the increased consumption of these sugar substitutes may correlate to the increase of obesity and diabetes cases. The good news is that there are sugar alternatives you can choose from. You’ll still want to count your intake for glucose management, but these options are far better than the marketed “sugar-free” products. Stevia Stevia is a FDA approved low-calorie sweetener that has anti-oxidant and anti-diabetic properties. Unlike artificial sweeteners and sugar, stevia can suppress your plasma glucose levels and significantly increase glucose tolerance. It’s also technically not an artificial sweetener. That’s because it’s made from the leaves of the stevia plant. Stevia also has the ability to: increase insulin effect on cell membranes increase insulin production stabilize blood sugar levels counter mechanics of type 2 diabetes and its complications You can find stevia under brand names like: PureVia Sun Crystals Sweet Leaf Truvia While stevia is natural, these brands are usually highly processed and may contain other ingredients. For example, Truvia goes through 40 processing steps before it’s ready to be sold, and contains the sugar alcohol erythritol. Future research may shed more light on the health impacts of consuming these processed stevia sweeteners. The best way to consume stevia is to grow the plant yourself and use the whole leaves to sweeten foods. What’s the difference between Truvia and stevia? » Tagatose Tagatose is another naturally occurring sugar that researchers are s Continue reading >>

Artificial Sweeteners And Diabetes

Artificial Sweeteners And Diabetes

It is a myth that people with diabetes can’t have any sugar at all. As well as cutting back on sugar, using artificial sweeteners is one solution for people with diabetes and a sweet tooth. What is an artificial sweetener? You may hear many names for sweeteners: sugars, reduced-calorie sweeteners, low-calorie sweeteners. Only some of these sweeteners are "artificial." Use this list to compare sweeteners: Sugars are naturally occurring carbohydrates. They contain calories and raise your blood glucose levels -- the level of sugar in your blood. Examples are brown sugar, cane sugar, powdered sugar, fructose, honey and molasses. Reduced-calorie sweeteners are sugar alcohols. These sweeteners have about half the calories of sugars and are considered a separate type of carbohydrates. They can raise your blood sugar levels, although not as much as other carbohydrates. Examples include isomalt, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol. You'll often find these reduced-calorie sweeteners in sugar-free sweets and chewing gum. Low-calorie sweeteners are "artificial." This means they were created in a lab rather than found naturally. Low-calorie sweeteners are considered "free foods." They have no calories and do not raise your blood sugar levels. Types of artificial sweeteners for diabetes patients Five non-nutritive sweeteners are approved for use in the UK. They are: aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame potassium (acesulfame K), cyclamate and sucralose. Diabetes UK says they don’t affect blood glucose levels or cause tooth decay and "they can be helpful for people who are trying to manage their weight to sweeten drinks or as a table sweetener on cereal for example." Finding artificial sweeteners for diabetes patients in prepared foods No sugar, low-sugar, naturally sweetened, no Continue reading >>

5 Best And Worst Sweeteners: Your Dietitians Picks

5 Best And Worst Sweeteners: Your Dietitians Picks

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy Sugar and artificial sweeteners are addictive and will hijack your health and metabolism, says Brigid Titgemeier, MS, RDN, LD . They stimulate your appetite, encourage your sweet tooth and pack on the pounds. And they place you at risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and fatty liver. But youre human so you probably wont be quitting all sweeteners tomorrow. So weve polled our dietitians to highlight the worst and best options. Most people should step away from artificial sweeteners.With one exception: If you have prediabetes or diabetes, artificial sweeteners and stevia are preferable to real sugar. Real sugar will immediately raise your blood sugar. Artificial sweeteners will not, says Emily Bostin MS, RDN, LD . But sugar substitutes can cause you to crave more sweet and sugary foods, notes Kate Patton, Med, RD, CSSD, LD . Studies link artificial sweeteners, considered safe in moderation, with a higher risk of glucose intolerance, a precursor to prediabetes and diabetes. Theyre also associated with changes in gut bacteria and lead to increased fat storage. And who wants that? The worst of the worst is aspartame, which caused cancer in three independent animal studies, says Ms. Titgemeier.Adds Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD : I steer clear of any sweetener made in a lab. Table sugar is inflammatory, high in calories and offers no nutritional benefit. Plus, its already hiding in many of your favorite foods. Most flavored granola bars, yogurts and cereals already contain around 12 grams (1 tablespoon) of added sugar per serving, says Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD . And sugary drinks contain Continue reading >>

Is Agave Syrup The Best Sweetener For Diabetes?

Is Agave Syrup The Best Sweetener For Diabetes?

Some natural health advocates suggest that people with diabetes can substitute agave syrup for table sugar and other traditional sweeteners. For those with a sweet tooth, the promise of a better sweetener might seem too good to be true. Unfortunately, that's exactly what it is. Agave is not a good alternative sweetener for people with diabetes. Is agave a good alternative sweetener? Agave is a group of succulent plants that grow in warm climates, particularly the southwestern United States and Mexico. Although it can be used as a sweetener, blue agave is high in carbohydrates, and produces nectar that is high in a type of sugar called fructose. Some people in the alternative health community have turned to agave as a potential alternative to table sugar and other sweeteners. Support for agave stems from it being a vegan sweetener as well as its glycemic index (GI). The higher a food's GI, the more it increases levels of glucose in the blood. Agave boasts a lower GI than most other sweeteners, which means that it is less likely to cause blood sugar spikes. GI, however, is not the only - or the best - way to assess whether a food is healthful for people with diabetes. A 2014 study suggests that low-GI foods may not improve how the body responds to insulin. For people already eating a healthful diet, the study also found that low-GI foods produced no improvements in cardiovascular health risk factors, such as levels of fats called triglycerides in the blood. Agave contains higher levels of fructose than table sugar and most other sweeteners. The body releases less insulin in response to fructose. This means that blood sugar may remain higher after eating agave than other sugars. A 2014 study of mice suggests that agave syrup might be a healthful alternative to table sugar. Continue reading >>

5 Sugar Substitutes For Type 2 Diabetes

5 Sugar Substitutes For Type 2 Diabetes

1 / 6 A Small Amount of Real Sugar Is Best, but Sugar Substitutes Can Help If you think that people with diabetes should always avoid sugar, think again — they can enjoy the sweet stuff, in moderation. "The best bet is to use a very minimal amount of real sugar as part of a balanced diabetic diet," says Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, of Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City. That being said, sugar substitutes offer sweetness while controlling carbohydrate intake and blood glucose. There are many sugar substitutes to choose from, but they’re not all calorie-free and they vary in terms of their impact on blood sugar. "The major difference between the sugar substitutes is whether they are nutritive or non-nutritive sweeteners," says Melissa Mullins, MS, RD, a certified diabetes educator with Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Va. "Non-nutritive sweeteners provide no calories and no changes in blood glucose levels, which is perfect for people with diabetes.” Here are six sweet options to consider. Continue reading >>

Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe For People With Diabetes?

Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe For People With Diabetes?

As diabetes educators, we are frequently asked if sugar substitutes are safe and which ones are best. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy Over time, there have been many sugar substitutes, and we always tell people that the one you use is a personal choice. They are safe for people with diabetes, and they can be used to reduce both your calorie and carbohydrate intake. Sugar substitutes also can help curb those cravings you have for something sweet. Youll find artificial sweeteners in diet drinks , baked goods, frozen desserts, candy, light yogurt and chewing gum. You can also find them as stand-alone sweeteners to add to coffee, tea , cereal and fruit. Some are also available for cooking and baking. Its important to remember that only a small amount is needed since the sweetening power of these substitutes is (at least) 100 times stronger than regular sugar. There are currently six artificial sweeteners that have been tested and approved by the FDAor placed on the agencys Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) list. Numerous scientific studies have been performed on each of them to confirm they are safe for consumption. The FDA has established an acceptable daily intake (ADI) for each of the products. This represents the amount of a food ingredient that can be used safely on a daily basis over a lifetime without risk.Here is a current list of sweeteners that have been approved by the FDA. 1. Acesulfame-potassium, also known as Ace-K This is generally blended with another low-calorie sweetener. Brand names include Sunett and Sweet One It is stable under heat, even under moderately acidic or basic conditions, allowing it to be used as Continue reading >>

How Natural & Artificial Sweeteners Affect Blood Sugar

How Natural & Artificial Sweeteners Affect Blood Sugar

I have wanted to write a post about sweeteners for a while now. Mainly because I get a little frustrated when reading or hearing outright incorrect claims about how some of the natural and artificial sweeteners affect your blood sugar. As a person with diabetes, I want to know exactly what will happen to my blood sugar when I eat or drink something, and I don’t take kindly to half-true marketing claims. I’ve decided to focus on how natural & artificial sweeteners impact blood sugar rather than on whether they are healthy or not, since I think that is somewhat out of my domain and because plenty of others have already covered that. What are natural & artificial sweeteners? FDA defines sweeteners as: “…commonly used as sugar substitutes or sugar alternatives because they are many times sweeter than sugar but contribute only a few or no calories when added to foods”. This means that regular sugar, honey, and Agave nectar/syrup don’t fall into the sweetener category. However, I do want to address these shortly before moving on to the real artificial sweeteners, since I’ve seen claims of how honey and agave won’t impact blood sugar in the same way as sugar. Honey and agave nectar Let’s start with honey because, let’s face it, it’s sugar in liquid form. It’s delicious, but an October 2015 study in the Journal of Nutrition found that when subjects were given honey, cane sugar, or high-fructose corn syrup, they saw no notable difference in blood sugar increase. As for agave, I think that the corporate marketing machine has been very clever when declaring this a health food, for as Dr. Jonny Bowden points out“..It’s basically high-fructose corn syrup masquerading as healthy food.” Agave nectar may have a lower glycemic index than sugar or honey, but Continue reading >>

Best Sweetener For Diabetics

Best Sweetener For Diabetics

Sugar, sugar, sugar…sweet, sweet, sweet…it's just human nature to love it. In fact believe it or not even studies show young babies and infants have a preference for sweet tastes. So how can we help it, right? But when it comes to having sweets I'm not a sugar advocate at all. So I wanted to write up some info on the best sweetener for diabetics, and point you in the right direction so you can manage your blood sugar and still enjoy your sweets Why cut out sugar? The main reason for cutting out sugar is that sugar provides zero nutritional value! One reason why we eat is to provide fuel to our body in the way of nutrition, vitamins, minerals and so forth. Sugar doesn't contain any of these things. So although we might like the taste of it, it's deplete of anything valuable as far as nutrition goes. And here are a few more reasons to cut it out: Sugar is also easy to overconsume Sugar is a refined product Sugar contains too many (empty) calories – no nutritional value = empty calories The fructose component of sugar is problematic – fructose gets metabolised entirely by the liver and converted directly into fat (not a pretty picture) Sugar does result in sharp rises to blood sugar levels We don't need it Is that enough reason for you? I hope so. So what is the best sweetener for diabetics? Let's dig in and work our way through a few different things. Sugar & Sweeteners: Nutritional Comparison When it comes to choices, white sugar is definitely the worst type of sugar. This includes castor sugar and icing sugar as these are all highly refined. The whiter it is, the worse it is. Following closely behind white sugar is brown sugar and raw sugar. Though they are brown or ‘raw' they are still processed and refined. All the types of sugars I've just mentioned is what Continue reading >>

The Relationship Between Diabetes And Sweeteners

The Relationship Between Diabetes And Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are always a “hot topic” and many people tend to have strong feelings about them, one way or another. It seems like every other month we get a report on the latest study on what artificial sweeteners do or don’t do to us. The data alternates between saying artificial sweeteners are good for us or they are going to kill us – so which is it? It can be hard to know what to believe and what to do, especially if you have diabetes and see artificial sweeteners as a healthy alternative. They seem like a great option for lowering calories and carbohydrates, but are they too good to be true? Let’s look at some of the claims, myths and facts related to artificial sweeteners. We’ll start with the basics. The Background and the Basics Artificial sweeteners, also called sugar substitutes, were originally created to help people lose weight and manage diabetes. They were thought to be a great alternative. Saccharin was the first artificial sweetener, accidentally discovered by scientists at John’s Hopkins. Eventually there were concerns over the safety of saccharin based on studies done in rodents. Even though the FDA was leaning toward banning it, but they didn’t, and it was partially because of consumer uproar over that possibility. The final ruling was that saccharin was only required to have a warning label about cancer, but could remain on the market. In 2000, the warning label was removed because they could only prove its carcinogenic affect in rodents and not in humans. You will still find saccharin “the pink packet” on the market today. Now, we have a total of 8 sugar substitutes. There are two different kinds, nutritive and non-nutritive. Nutritive means it adds to the caloric value of food and it contains more than 2% of the amount o Continue reading >>

What You Should Know About Sugar Substitutes

What You Should Know About Sugar Substitutes

The Facts About Sugar Substitutes Some of the most frequent questions we receive at Diabetic Living are about sugar substitutes. The topic is polarizing: some of you love them, some of you hate them. Some of you are concerned about their safety, and some of you want tips for how to use them more. For many people with diabetes, sugar substitutes -- which include artificial and natural sweeteners -- provide solutions for cutting out excess calories and carbohydrate while still being able to enjoy sweet treats. Sugar substitutes are among the world's most scientifically tested food products, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed them "generally recognized as safe." The one sweetener that still carries a warning on its label is aspartame (the sweetener in Equal Classic and NutraSweet) because a small group of people -- about 1 in 25,000 in the United States -- has a genetic condition that prevents the metabolizing of phenylalanine, an amino acid in aspartame. While there is still a lot of testing to be done as new products enter the market, we know a lot more about sweeteners now than we did when the first sugar substitute, saccharin, was discovered more than 100 years ago. Q. Is it better for a person with diabetes to use real sugar or sugar substitutes? A. It depends. Both can fit in a healthful eating plan, but you should limit your intake of both as well. In terms of heart health, short-term studies suggest diet soda is better than regular soda, says Kimber Stanhope, Ph.D., RD, at the University of California, Davis. Recently, a small study in Denmark found that healthy people who drank about 4 cups a day of sugar-sweetened cola for 6 months had significant increases in belly fat, cholesterol, and triglycerides compared with those who drank aspartam Continue reading >>

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