Using sweeteners or sugar substitutes is a very safe way to eat something sweet for diabetics and maintain control of blood sugar levels.
They sweeten without having calories, for this reason it does not affect blood sugar. They are ideal for the management of diabetes.
Next, we’ll talk about everything you need to know about diabetic sugar substitutes, so you know how they work and which ones you can use.
What are natural and artificial sweeteners?
The Food and Drug Administration of the United States (FDA) defines sweeteners as common substitutes for sugar or alternatives to sugar because they provide a small amount of calories when added to foods.
With this we must infer that honey, agave syrup or sugar (refined or not) do not fall into the category of sweeteners.
Although it is claimed that honey and agave syrup do not affect your blood glucose levels in the same way as sugar, in fact they can do so when they are not consumed properly.
Sweeteners have had a very bad reputation throughout history, but with more than 45 years of existence and research, no evidence has been found that demonstrates the damage they can cause to a person if they are not used properly.
While it is true that these sugar substitutes contain little or no nutritional value, they fulfill their function of satisfying a sweet tooth and can be used safely by people with diabetes.
Sugar substitutes that can affect your blood sugar levels
Syrup or agave nectar
This product has been marketed as a healthy food, even for diabetics. But in reality it is basically a high fructose corn syrup disguised as a natural product.
Although agave syrup may have a low glycemic index compared to honey or sugar, it is still up to 90% liquid fructose.
Honey is very delicious; however, it is essentially sugar in liquid form, since 82% of honey is glucose, while the rest is composed of small amounts of pollen and water.
In a study published in October 2015 in the Journal of Nutrition revealed that there was no noticeable difference in blood sugar levels of patients who took sugar cane, honey or corn syrup with high fructose content.
A benefit of taking honey, with respect to blood glucose levels, is that it is usually a little sweeter, so you can use a smaller amount and achieve the same sweetness.
However, this does not make honey a better choice for sugar for people with diabetes.
Perhaps honey and agave nectar are better from a nutritional perspective, but are not really healthy alternatives because, in the end, both are still essentially sugar.
Sugar substitutes for diabetics
It is a series of natural and artificial sweeteners that you can easily get and will not affect your blood sugar levels.
Recommended sweeteners for diabetics
None of the sweeteners mentioned below will affect your blood sugar levels aggressively.
As long as the manufacturer has not added anything else in the product; I refer specifically to artificial flavors or fillings.
Your body will not be able to break down any of the sweeteners, with the exception of aspartame, so these will not impact the level of sugar in your blood.
On the contrary, they will pass through your digestive system without being digested and without providing your body with extra calories.
This fruit comes from a plant native to Thailand and southern China. Besides not affecting your blood sugar levels, your extract can be up to 300 times sweeter than normal sugar.
It does not cause caries and can also help you control cholesterol and reduce the symptoms of certain allergies. It has a slightly fruity flavor, so this will depend on your taste.
It is an excellent alternative if you are looking for a natural sweetener but you do not like the taste of Stevia.
When you buy your monk’s fruit extract, look closely at its nutritional label, because some companies may combine the fruit of the monk with other sweeteners such as erythritol or even with molasses and sugar.
Stevia for diabetics is stevia sugar good for diabetics?
This natural sweetener is one of the most famous sweeteners in the world and its use is safe for people suffering from diabetes.
Many people think that Stevia is a sweetener full of chemicals, when the truth is that it is a natural product because it is an extract from the leaves of a plant species known as Stevia rebaudiana.
You can find it in most supermarkets or grocery stores in the form of extract, powder or liquid Stevia extract.
There are even sweeteners similar to sugar but based on stevia. Given its glycemic index, which is 0, its consumption is very safe for diabetics.
Extract of tevia
I recommend you buy this type of Stevia because compared to the one that comes in powder; the extract is pure and also has a more intense flavor, only without any added impact on your sugar levels or extra calories.
It is perfect to sweeten your coffee or oatmeal in the morning because you will use a minimum amount of product.
Sugar substitutes for diabetics
The stevia was approved by the FDA in 2008, but it is important to understand that to achieve this approval there is a long previous process.
The safe amount of stevia per day is 4 mg per kilo of weight, per day. Its sweetening power is significantly higher than sugar: 300 times higher.
If you want to know the benefits of stevia click here .
If you want to know the contraindications of stevia click here .
Watch out! Avoid using too much
Although Stevia powder is still a good option for diabetics and can be obtained very easily in any supermarket, it is preferable to mix it with other ingredients to give it a shape and taste similar to sugar.
This does increase your calorie impact and has a minimal effect on your blood sugar levels if consumed in large quantities.
But the ingredient label will show you that it is a calorie-free product and this is only possible because the FDA allows foods containing less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving to be categorized as sugar-free.
For this reason it is not so good to use too much Stevia powder, unless you use it for baking because it reacts very well to high temperatures.
You can still use it in your day to day for coffee or tea and always in moderation. Low levels of powdered Stevia have a minimal and almost imperceptible impact on your blood sugar levels.
Liquid tevia extract
If it is hard for you to take only natural water or you feel it is boring, you can try the Stevia drops to give it a sweet touch.
Just add a few drops to your water and you will notice how it improves its flavor, but without the negative effect on your blood sugar levels.
Artificial sweeteners approved by the FDA
The FDA (the United States regulatory body for food and medicine) has the following approved sugar substitutes:
None of them will affect your blood sugar level, although there is a lot of controversy about whether consuming them can affect your long-term health or not.
1.Aspartame ( Nutrasweet, Equal )
It was created in 1965 and approved by the FDA in 1981. You can recognize it by its light blue box and it is marketed under many brands such as Equal and Nutrasweet .
Each package contains only a net carbohydrate and a glycemic index of zero. When it warms up, it loses a little of its sweetness.
Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar and provides very few calories.
Perhaps it is one of the most studied sweeteners, since many problems have been assigned to it.
However, it has not been possible to demonstrate a causal relationship between the consumption of aspartame and any pathology, as long as it remains within the range of safe consumption, is that up to 40 mg per kilo of weight per day.
What is absolutely proven is that people with phenylketonuria should not consume aspartame or anything that contains it.
It is the other sweetener that uses Coca Cola Zero.
If you want to know more about aspartame click here .
2.Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sugar Twin and Sweet Twin)
Sodium saccharin or benzoic sulphonamide has existed since the end of the 19th century in 1879 and gained its popularity in the 1960s as the first artificial sweetener for sale. It is well known for its characteristic pink package.
Each package contains three grams of carbohydrates and a zero glycemic index. It is excellent for sweetening both cold and hot foods.
This makes it an excellent option to consider as a substitute for sugar for diabetics.
3.Sucralose ( Splenda )
It is sold under the brand splenda. Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar. It is not caloric, but as it is not easily metabolized, it does not produce weight gain and obviously does not increase glycemia.
This is one of the sweetest artificial sweeteners on the market and, like Stevia, enjoys worldwide fame.
There are different brands of sucralose, all with their yellow envelope. This artificial sweetener was approved by the FDA as a food additive in 1998 and as a general sweetener one year later.
Is Splenda sugar good for diabetics?
Yes, since it does not increase the glycemic index, it becomes a great ally for your meals. However, always try not to exceed the recommended dose.
Sucralose contains less than one gram of carbohydrates per pack and a zero glycemic index. It serves to sweeten hot and cold foods.
Since its approval by the FDA in the late 1990s, dozens of studies were published on its safety. It can be affirmed that its use is safe provided that it consumes up to 5 mg per kilo of weight.
Given its high sweetening power, the average daily consumption does not usually exceed one fifth of that amount.
If you want to know the potential damages of Splenda or sucralose click here .
4.Acesulfame potassium (Sunett & Sweet One )
Potassium AccesulfameThis sweetener is 200 times sweeter than sugar and stays very stable at high temperatures, making it another sweetener suitable for use in cooking preparations.
The safe use is 15 mg per kilo of weight per day.
To better graph that amount, in case of being a person of approximately 70 kilograms, and use the product to sweeten beverages significantly, you should drink more than 8 liters per day of that beverage to pass the safety limit.
In other words, up to 8 liters per day is safe, which is also certain is that it is not at all likely that someone will drink that amount.
It is one of two sweeteners that use Coca Cola Zero.
Also known as acesulfame K or Ace-K
Potassium acesulfame was discovered in 1967 and approved as a general food additive in 2003. You can get it as a tabletop sweetener under various brands.
Acesulfame potassium has a unit of carbohydrates per pack and a glycemic index of zero.
It does not lose its sweetness when heated, but it is commonly mixed with other sweeteners to compensate for its characteristic bitter taste.
You can get the acesulfame K through online stores, in health food stores or at many national pharmacy chains, including Wal-Mart.
5.Advantame (Truvia , Steviva , PureVia), the new sweetener for diabetics
Advantame is a non-caloric artificial sweetener approved by the FDA for general use in beverages and foods, except poultry and meat. It was approved by the FDA in 2014, is synthesized from aspartame and isovanillin.
Studies of the sweetener in animals have not shown evidence that it can cause cancer or problems during development.
Although it is marketed as 20,000 times sweeter than sugar, it is not as popular as other artificial sweeteners.
Neotame is the sugar substitute with the best sweetening capacity. To have a clearer idea: it is 13,000 times sweeter than sugar.
It does not leave bitter aftertaste, as it happens with several of the sweeteners, and it is very stable in the face of high temperatures so it allows cooking without problems. The safe consumption is 2mg per kilo of body weight per day.
Artificial sweetener made by NutraSweet , who claim is eight thousand and up to thirteen thousand times sweeter than sugar.
Resists moderate heat without losing sweetness and does not represent a risk for those who suffer from phenylketonuria by not metabolizing phenylalanine.
Authorities such as the FDA in the United States, the Food Regulatory Authority of Australia and New Zealand, as well as the Ministry of Health in Mexico have approved its safety as an artificial sweetener for food and beverages.
Other low calorie sweetener alternatives
Sweeteners that are often used in foods and diet drinks (which are labeled with the phrase “without sugar,” including sugarless gum) are actually sugar alcohols.
Sugar alcohols are a little lower in calories than regular sugar, do not cause sudden increases in blood glucose or promote the development of tooth decay.
The types of sugar alcohols that are regularly used are Sorbitol, Erythritol, Maltitol, Isomalt and Xylitol.
Sugar alcohols or polyols such as mannitol, erythritol, sorbitol and xylitol
Also approved by the FDA. These compounds have half the ability to sweeten sugar, but you have to take into account that they provide calories.
This can be confusing because the products that contain it say “sugar free” or “sugar free”, which is true, but also provide calories.
It is even more complex: they have some capacity to increase glycemia, so its use in diabetics has its restrictions.
Another questionable point is that they have a certain laxative capacity, especially at high doses. But it is not very high doses, so consumption must be very careful to also avoid this problem.
If you want to know more about xylitol, click here.
If you want to know more about erythritol, click here.
Do not overdo it! Have side effects
They are excellent alternatives to sugar because they affect to a lesser extent the blood glucose levels.
However, the biggest problem with sugar alcohols is that they also act as laxatives, which means that they will cause gas or intestinal inflammation.
You can eat them in small amounts, but certain types of sugar alcohol may react badly to your system.
Sugar alcohols provide approximately 2.5 calories per gram, in contrast to the 4.0 calories per gram provided by sugar. By using them, you can reduce the impact of glucose in your blood by half.
However, it is likely that the side effects of sugar alcohols are not worth it.
What type of sweetener is best for people with diabetes?
There is really no reason not to use natural sweeteners that do not affect sugar levels in your blood at all, including Stevia or the fruit of the monk.
Both are ideal for people who suffer from diabetes and have different flavors, so you can choose the one you like the most.
For baking I recommend you use Stevia extract because it retains its sweetness and acts more like sugar when heated.
While sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners are not as bad as sugar, they have possible side effects such as digestive problems, for that reason, avoid using them when you have natural alternatives available.
Natural sugar substitutes such as honey and agave nectar are essentially similar to sugar, so choosing them will not make much difference.
What are the best brands of sugar for diabetics?
Daily, new commercial names and brands of sweeteners arise that make it difficult for us to choose which one really suits us.
The American Diabetes Association, put together a list of the best and most popular brands available almost anywhere in the world, we attach it to you below:
What are the brands of sweeteners for diabetics in Mexico?
The Mexican Diabetes Federation published a list of food brands for diabetics endorsed and recommended for use. These are:
- Stevia (METCO)
In another publication, mentioned the list of sweeteners found in the market, noting that although they approve its use, it is not recommended to exceed its consumption because there are not enough studies to ensure their safety to the health of the kidneys.
Here the list:
- Equal Sweet
- Nutra Sweet
- Canderel Nature
- Pure Via
- Sweet Max
- Sweet & Low
Is there sugar for diabetics natural?
Of course, in addition to Stevia, there are natural sugars highly recommended for diabetics because their glycemic index is very low or close to zero. Next we will talk about these.
What sugar can diabetics consume?
The following are natural sugars that diabetics can consume, in addition to sweeteners.
Derived from milk protein, tagatose is a natural sugar, with a very low glycemic index close to zero. It is widely recommended for diabetics since it also has only 1.5 kcal / gr.
It is obtained from the coconut flower, by passing it through a process of dehydration through heat. It is similar to brown sugar with a slight caramel flavor.
Its glycemic index is 35, a lower value compared to cane sugar to which we are accustomed.
It is obtained from the bark of the European tree, the birch. As for appearance, it is very similar to traditional cane sugar.
However, it has a glycemic index of 7; therefore people with diabetes can use it.
What is the best milk for diabetics?
The American Diabetes Association recommends the daily consumption of milk and yogurt as a healthy source of protein and calcium. However, it points out the importance of including the following types:
- Skim or low fat milk (1%)
- Low-fat yogurt (regular or Greek)
- Fortified soy milk.
Greek yogurt has more protein than regular yogurt, however, they have approximately 12 grams of carbohydrates per 6 ounces.
Some studies mention that camel milk has effects that counteract diabetes mellitus type 2.
Alternatives to sugar substitutes
If you do not want to use sugar and are concerned about the use of artificial sweeteners, you could do the following:
- Do not drink diet sodas, drink water
- Use raspberries with artificial sweeteners, in moderation.
- Read the labels to avoid foods high in sugar.
If you are following a diabetic diet it is necessary that you know the sugar substitutes for diabetics so that you can choose the best one for your taste and lifestyle.
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