You can eat anything, as long as you keep control of the calories you consume. Sweet snacks and desserts can increase blood sugar levels faster than other foods because they contain virtually no fibre; fibre slows the digestion of food and reduces its effect on blood sugar levels. Sugar is also almost entirely made up of calories, with little or no nutrients. However, there is a fundamental problem to which you should pay attention. Here are some tips to help you be safe when you have diabetes.
Sugar in prepared foods
Over the years, food manufacturers have never stopped adding sweeteners to our food. As a result, we now have difficulty appreciating foods that are already naturally sweet. This vicious circle is largely responsible for the ongoing obesity and diabetes epidemic.
- Over time, we have even gotten used to this kind of very sweet food, and few people know how to resist the call of cookies, donuts, cakes and soft drinks.
- You can occasionally enjoy a good slice of chocolate cake, but it should be a small treat included in a diet low in processed sweeteners.
- To help manage your diabetes, it would be wise to refrain from eating sweet foods in general to relearn how to enjoy natural flavours. Yes, you can still eat chocolate and cake. All you have to do is make smart choices!
What is xylitol?
You have probably heard a lot about the various sugar substitutes or sweeteners. A particular substance among the latter is xylitol, a sugar alcohol. It is one of a group of sweeteners most often added to products labelled “no sugar”, “no added sugar” or “dietary”. Sugar alcohols contain fewer calories than sugar and their effect on blood sugar levels is not as intense as that of other carbohydrates. They often do not have the aftertaste of other non-nutritive sweeteners. However, they are not without blame (you suspected that, didn’t you?). Sugar alcohols can upset your stomach and may have a laxative effect in some people. So go carefully until you know exactly how these sweeteners affect you.
Here is a list of other sugar alcohols:
- Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates
- The isomalt
- The lactitol
- The maltitol
What is Truvia?
Truvia is the brand name for a granulated product made from stevia.
- Stevia has a long history as a safe and 100% natural sweetener. Indigenous people in Paraguay and other South American countries where this plant grows use it to sweeten tea and other foods and beverages.
- Truvia contains not only stevia, but also erythritol, a calorie-free sugar alcohol.
Studies on the effect of stevia on blood glucose levels have produced mixed results. So this is not a good reason to consume it. If you like the taste of licorice and you are interested in the lack of calories, then you will have no problem tasting stevia and stevia-based products.