September 19, 2016
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All around us, we see a big fad about ‘sugar-free’ foods. But next time you get tempted to buy these so-called healthy options please note that although ‘sugar-free’ they do not necessarily mean carbohydrate-free or calorie-free! Except for some sugar substitutes, many of them do add calories and more importantly, the carbohydrates – the biggest worry for blood sugar.
For people living with diabetes, it is really hard to stay away from tempting sweets, chocolates etc. especially during festive days of Navratri and Diwali. However, controlling the blood sugar levels even during the festive season is mandatory. Eating sugar-containing foods as a part of your customized meal plan is appropriate provided you account for the carbs and calories in the food as part of your overall meal plan.
Many ‘sugar-free’ foods often replace the sucrose (sugar) with other sweet tasting ‘sugar alcohols’ viz. mannitol, sorbitol, isomalt, xylitol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates etc. which technically are not ‘sugar’ but food made from these sweeteners may contain high amounts of carbohydrates. Polydextrose, fructose, maltodextrin are other sweetening agents found in ‘sugar-free’ foods, which also contain extra calories & carbs. Similar to sugar-containing foods, all these substances affect blood glucose adversely. Stomach discomfort, diarrheas are also commonly seen adverse effects if one eats large portions of foods containing sugar alcohols.
Aspartame or other non-caloric sweeteners such as saccharin, sucralose, acesulfame potassium don’t contain carbs but checking the food label to know the quantity of carbohydrate in each serving is always recommended. Aspartame-sweetened sodas and other such foods sweetened with non-caloric sweeteners contain no carbs and won’t have any effect on blood sugar levels. However, aspartame-sweetened yogurts still contain carbohydrates (from milk products in yogurt or fruit). These type of products usually contain a combination of caloric as well as non-caloric sweeteners.
Our team of expert dietitians, diabetes educators, and diabetes specialists at Advanced Diabetes Centre works with you to plan your meals, snacks that are customized to suit your likings, cultural and social preferences. We use the established tools like carbohydrate counting and guide you on the amount of carbohydrates that you can consume at each meal, snack. We also handhold you and help you to choose the right kind of products for your daily consumption, teach you how to interpret the food labels.
If you wish to know more about ‘sugar-free’ foods and want to plan your meals, snacks during the festive season, give us a missed call on 7227000100 or call Advanced Diabetes Centre on 0261 2600100.
Tags: blood sugar, calorie, carbohydrate, Diabetes Educators, diabetes specialists, expert dietitians, foods, fructose, healthy, Meal plan, sugar-free, sweeteners