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 >>
How Artificial Sweeteners Are Linked To Diabetes And Obesity
A new study has added to the growing body of research that suggests sweeteners are not benign alternatives to sugar ( Shutterstock ) How artificial sweeteners are linked to diabetes and obesity A new study in rats adds to the evidence that artificial sweeteners may be bad for your health Many countries have introduced a sugar tax to improve the health of their citizens. As a result, food and drink companies are changing their products to include low and zero-calorie sweeteners instead of sugar. However, there is growing evidence that sweeteners may have health consequences of their own. New research from the US, presented at the annual Experimental Biology conference in San Diego, found a link with consuming artificial sweeteners and changes in blood markers linked with an increased risk of obesity and type two diabetes in rats. Does this mean we need to ditch sweeteners as well as sugar ? Six easy ways to reduce childrens sugar intake Sweeteners are generally non-nutritive substances meaning we cant use them for energy. Some of these compounds are entirely synthetic chemicals, produced to mimic the taste of sugar. These include saccharin, sucralose and aspartame. Others sweeteners are refined from chemicals found in plants, such as stevia and xylitol. Collectively, sweeteners are being consumed in increasing amounts with most diet or low-calorie food and drink containing some form of non-nutritive sweetener. Combating or fuelling the obesity crisis? Artificially sweetened foods and drinks have become popular largely due to the growing worldwide obesity crisis. As sugar contains four calories per gram, sweet foods and drinks are normally highly calorific. In principle, by removing these calories we reduce energy intake and this helps to prevent weight gain. Increasingl Continue reading >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Artificial Sweeteners: Sugar-free, But At What Cost?
By offering the taste of sweetness without any calories, artificial sweeteners seem like they could be one answer to effective weight loss. The average 12-ounce can of sugar-sweetened soda delivers about 150 calories, almost all of them from sugar. The same amount of diet soda—zero calories. The choice seems like a no-brainer. The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) have given a cautious nod to the use of artificial sweeteners in place of sugar to combat obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, all risk factors for heart disease. (You can read the full statement here.) “While they are not magic bullets, smart use of non-nutritive sweeteners could help you reduce added sugars in your diet, therefore lowering the number of calories you eat. Reducing calories could help you attain and maintain a healthy body weight, and thereby lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes,” said Dr. Christopher Gardner, an associate professor of medicine at Stanford University in California, in a press release accompanying the scientific statement. As with everything, there’s more to the artificial sweetener story than their effect on weight. To learn more about them, I spoke with Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity and weight-loss specialist at Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital. He has a keen interest in products designed to help people lose weight at keep it off. And what he has learned about artificial sweeteners worries him. All artificial sweeteners are not created equal The FDA has approved five artificial sweeteners: saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. It has also approved one natural low-calorie sweetener, stevia. How the human body and brain respond to these sweeteners is very complex. One concern is that Continue reading >>
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 >>
Artificial Sweeteners Raise Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes, Study Suggests
Artificial sweeteners, which many people with weight issues use as a substitute for sugar, may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to research. The study was small and the detailed results have not yet been published, but experts said its findings fitted with previous research showing an association between artificial sweeteners and weight gain. Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and rates of the disease are soaring around the world. Its complications, if it is not controlled, can include blindness, heart attacks and strokes. The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Adelaide, in Australia, who wanted to investigate whether large amounts of no-calorie artificial sweeteners altered the ability of the body to control the levels of glucose in the blood. Some of the 27 healthy volunteers who were recruited for the study were given the equivalent of 1.5 litres of diet drink a day, in the form of capsules of two different sweeteners, sucralose and acesulfame K. They took the capsules three times a day for two weeks, before meals. The others in the study were given a placebo. Tests at the end of the two weeks showed that the body’s response to glucose was impaired. “This study supports the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body’s control of blood sugar levels and highlights the potential for exaggerated post-meal glucose levels in high habitual NAS [non-caloric artificial sweeteners] users, which could predispose them to develop type 2 diabetes,” said the authors. They presented their findings at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon, Portugal. Some experts said the findings were in line with previous research, while others said they did not support the conclusion that sweeteners coul Continue reading >>
Sugars, Sugar Substitutes And Sweeteners: Natural And Artificial
If you’re living with diabetes, or even if you’re not, you might think sweet foods are a barrier to your healthy, balanced diet. As a general rule,everyone should be eating less sugar– but sometimes, only something sweet will do. If want to lose weight, or you’re trying to keep your blood glucose levels stable, you may want to know whether artificial sweeteners could help. If you browse around your local supermarket, you’ll see a huge range of sweeteners on offer, so it can be baffling to know which, if any, to go for. So in this section we'll take you through: Sweeteners are ingredients that are added to food to enhance sweetness. They can be grouped in different ways: One way is to loosely group sweeteners as: sugar or sugar substitutes.Another way to group sweeteners is whether the sweetener is: natural or artificial. One of the most useful ways of grouping sweeteners is to look at those that have nutritive value, ie nutritive sweeteners, and those without nutritive value, ie non-nutritive or ‘low-calorie’ sweeteners. Nutritive sweeteners There are different types of nutritive sweeteners, but they all contain carbohydrate and provide calories. They are usually referred to as ‘sugars’ or ‘added sugar’, but they can also appear in the ingredient list of food packaging as: glucose fructose sucrose maltose honey and syrup, etc. Polyols One group of nutritive sweeteners is polyols, which are sugar alcohols, and include: erythritol isomalt maltitol mannitol sorbitol xylitol. They can be natural or artificially produced. Polyols contain carbohydrates and calories, but they have fewer calories and less of an effect on blood glucose levels than sucrose (sugar). Polyols and diabetes It’s not exactly clear how the polyols should be ‘counted’ by peopl Continue reading >>
Artificial sweeteners do not raise blood sugar levels. When used instead of sugar, artificial sweeteners help you keep within your carbohydrate goals when planning meals. Artificial sweeteners, or non-nutritive sweeteners offer the sweet taste of sugar, but have no carbohydrates or calories. Artificial sweeteners do not raise blood sugar levels. So when used instead of sugar, artificial sweeteners can help you keep within your carbohydrate goals when planning meals. And because artificial sweeteners have no calories, choosing foods made with artificial sweeteners may lower your calorie intake. Look for manufactured foods and sweeteners for the table that contain one of these 5 sugar substitutes approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration: Saccharin (Brand Name: Sweet and Low, Sugar Twin) Aspartame loses sweetness when cooked. Sucralose, acesulfame-K and saccharin can be used for baking. Look for special baking recipes for artificial sweeteners, as direct substitution for sugar might not give you the result you want. Or, try a combination of artificial sweetener and sugar in recipes to get your desired result while lowering the overall carbohydrate amount. Keep in mind that some artificial sweeteners can be sweeter than equal amounts of natural sugar. A little bit goes a long way. This naturally sweet herb has been used in other countries for centuries. It is not FDA approved for use as a sweetener, but it can be purchased as a dietary supplement in many health food stores. Stevia comes in powder, liquid and tablet form. It doesnt provide calories or impact blood glucose. The FDA has completed careful testing of all the artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners have been shown to be safe to eat. Despite rumors of cancer causing effects of artificial sw Continue reading >>
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 >>
Could Artificial Sweeteners And Diet Soda Also Lead To Diabetes?
Could Artificial Sweeteners And Diet Soda Also Lead To Diabetes? Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Does zero calories necessarily mean zero increase in diabetes risk? (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images) Artificial sweeteners mayhavezero calories, but do they offer zero additional risk for developing diabetes? Well, if you attended a presentation at the Experimental Biology 2018 conference in San Diego , you may say, rats, the risk may be far from zero. To be fair, nothing has zero health risk. Even though eating broccoli in general is quite healthy, you could still bludgeon yourself with broccoli, and eating huge amounts of broccoli could lead to obesity as well as some serious gas and loss of friends. However, the main advertised benefit of artificial sweeteners, such as those in diet soda, is thatthey don't contain the calories and the accompanying obesity, diabetes, and other health-related risks ofsugar. The study presented by Brian Hoffmann, George Ronan, andDhanush Haspulafromthe Medical College of Wisconsin suggested that things may not be that sweet for artificial sweeteners. They did a combination of in vitro (which essential means inside a test tube or similar equipment) and in vivo (meaning in a live animal) experiments usingrats that were specially designed to be moresusceptible to developing diabetes. For the in vitro experiments, the research team placed cells from the inside lining of the rats' small blood vessels into test tubes and exposed these cells to either sugar or a common artificial sweetener. Why the inside lining of blood vessels? Well, one of the effects of diabetes is to cause damage to small blood vessels, which then results in many of the complications of diabetes such as loss of eyesight, kid Continue reading >>
Artificial Sweeteners: Any Effect On Blood Sugar?
Can I use artificial sweeteners if I have diabetes? Answers from M. Regina Castro, M.D. You can use most sugar substitutes if you have diabetes, including: Saccharin (Sweet'N Low) Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) Acesulfame potassium (Sunett) Sucralose (Splenda) Stevia (Pure Via, Truvia) Artificial sweeteners, also called sugar substitutes, offer the sweetness of sugar without the calories. Artificial sweeteners are many times sweeter than sugar, so it takes a smaller amount to sweeten foods. This is why foods made with artificial sweeteners may have fewer calories than those made with sugar. Sugar substitutes don't affect your blood sugar level. In fact, most artificial sweeteners are considered "free foods" — foods containing less than 20 calories and 5 grams or less of carbohydrates — because they don't count as calories or carbohydrates on a diabetes exchange. Remember, however, other ingredients in foods containing artificial sweeteners can still affect your blood sugar level. More research is needed, but studies are increasingly finding that the benefits of substituting sugar-sweetened food and beverages with those that have been sweetened artificially may not be as clear as once thought, particularly when consumed in large amounts. One reason may be a "rebound" effect, where some people end up consuming more of an unhealthy type of food because of the misperception that because it's sugar-free it's healthy. Also, be cautious with sugar alcohols — including mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol. Sugar alcohols can increase your blood sugar level. And for some people, sugar alcohols may cause diarrhea. Continue reading >>