- Most of us consume about 20 teaspoons of sugar per day; be it in our beverages or the candies and chocolates that we munch on to satiate our sweet tooth. Our sweet cravings only seem sweet until they wreak havoc on our calorie intake and make our diet and fitness routine go for a toss or spike up the blood glucose levels. People with a family history of diabetes or those who are already diagnosed with diabetes have to be extra careful with the amount of sugar they consume each day. You might succeed in following the low-sugar diet and counting the spoons of sugar you consume each day, but the brownies and cupcakes from the dessert menu will always tempt you. So, is it possible to eat the cupcake without worrying about increasing glucose levels? Yes, it is, but only if the cupcake is made with less sugar or made with low-calorie sweeteners.
- According to the International Food Information Council, low calorie or artificial sweeteners are a safe and effective option for people with diabetes and for those who intend to consume fewer calories. They sweeten the food with lesser carbohydrates and lesser calories as compared to regular sugar, thereby making them a calorie-friendly and diabetes-friendly option. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the following six artificial sweeteners for food manufacturing companies to prepare bakery items, diet drinks, candy, chewing gums, frozen desserts and light yoghurts:
- Saccharin: This sugar substitute has been in use for more than a century. It is also available in a liquid form in the market. It is approximately 200 to 700 times sweeter than regular sugar. Saccharin is commonly used in making canned foods as well as in baking and cooking.
- Neotame: Neotame is mainly used by food manufacturing companies who manufacture food items in bulk quantities. This sugar is stable at high temperature and is 7,000 to 8,000 times sweeter than regular sugar.
- Aspartame: As compared to regular sugar, aspartame is about 200 times sweeter. It is used to make syrup bases for carbonated beverages. It is used in making gelatins, instant tea and coffees, fillings, toppings and puddings.
- Acesulfame potassium or acesulfame K: It is used as a flavour-enhancing and a general sweetening agent in food. This sugar is used in making candies, baked foods and frozen desserts.
- Advantame: This sugar is nearly 2,000 times sweeter than regular sugar. It is mostly used in making bakery food items as it can withstand high temperatures.
- Sucralose: As compared to regular sugar, sucralose is about 600 times sweeter. It is commonly used in making frozen dairy desserts, baked goods, gelatins and chewing gums. These sugars are available in the grocery stores for baking and cooking purposes. These are all at least 100 times sweeter than regular sugar. Therefore, remember to use them in small amounts.
Are Low-Calorie Sweeteners Advisable for People With Diabetes?
- People with diabetes need to keep a constant watch on their blood glucose levels as foods that contain sugar and carbohydrates might spike up their glucose levels. Artificial sweeteners are “free foods” (they contain less than 5 grams of carbs and less than 20 calories), which do not impact the blood glucose levels significantly. Thus, using artificial sweeteners or consuming food items prepared from artificial sweeteners instead of the regular soda cans and candies can be a healthy option for the sugar cravings of people with diabetes.
- Disclaimer: The other ingredients used in preparing the foods items might contain sugar, so weigh the ingredients accordingly or use their sugar-free alternative.
Things to Keep in Mind While Using Artificial Sweeteners
- Cooking or baking with low-calorie sweeteners will not give you the same look and taste in your foods. Here’s a list of changes that you might observe while using artificial sweeteners in your cooking:
- The texture of the food might change.
- You might have to cook your food for a longer or shorter duration.
- The food will not stay fresh for long.
- You might get a mild aftertaste with some sugars.
- The brownish tinge on your cakes will be lighter as compared to the browning of regular sugar.
- Breads, cakes and muffins might not have much volume (as regular sugars naturally have a bulking ability).
- Last but not the least, do not miss out on any special instructions given on the packaging of the sugars. If you experience any allergic reaction after consuming artificial sweeteners, visit your doctor.
- So now, you can forego the good old table sugar and opt for the better sweetening options to maintain normal glucose levels.
- To know more about calorie-friendly diets, diabetic meal plans and diet plans suitable for your health and body type, talk to expert dietitians and nutritionists on the HealthAssure app or log on to http://www.healthassure.in.
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