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Healthier Sugar Alternatives for Diabetics

Conditions & Diagnosis | September 24, 2015

healthy sugar alternativesThe combination of having both a sweet tooth and diabetes can be a very bad thing. Sweet treats with loads of sugar will spike your blood sugar levels and can pack on the pounds or inches to your waistline. If you have diabetes and still want to enjoy dessert from time to time, luckily today there are some healthy sugar alternatives you can substitute to satisfy that sweet tooth without the harmful carbohydrates associated with sugar.

Healthy Sugar Alternatives to Enjoy Daily

Most artificial sweeteners have been around for decades and are considered good sugar alternatives for diabetics. They are generally calorie-free while offering a concentrated dose of that sweetness you crave. The few calories they may contain aren’t fully absorbed by the body, so they won’t affect your blood sugar levels. This means sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners are ideal for managing your diabetes.

Some of the healthy sugar alternatives for diabetics approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) include:

  • Aspartame: You’ll recognize aspartame in brand names like NutraSweet and Equal. It’s about 200 times sweeter than sugar and is sold in packets or in bulk. It’s considered safe for those with diabetes, and researchers have not found that it poses any health risks to humans in general.
  • Saccharin: Saccharin is one of the oldest artificial sweeteners, marketed most commonly as Sweet N’ Low in those little pink packets. It was developed in 1879 and was previously associated with cancer risk, due to the fact that it seemed to cause bladder tumor growth in laboratory animals. More recent studies have proven that it poses no risk of cancer to humans.
  • Sucralose: This sweetener is actually derived from the sugar plant and is sold under the brand name Splenda. It’s great for baking too, as it can be directly substituted for sugar in your favorite recipes.
  • Stevia: The basis of this all-natural sweetener is the stevia plant, and it’s commonly sold under the brand names Truvia, SweetLeaf, and PureVia. Studies are still being conducted on this sugar alternative, but the FDA did approve the purified part of the stevia leaf as an additive in our food products. Those who enjoy stevia report less of an aftertaste than with some other artificial sweeteners.
  • Neotame: Not widely used throughout the United States yet, this sweetener is similar to aspartame and is 8,000 times sweeter than sugar.

Natural sweeteners like agave nectar, raw honey, date sugar, etc. can also be safe sugar alternatives for diabetics. These sweeteners are still laden with calories though, so they’re safest when used in moderation.

If you have diabetes, you should always contact your doctor before you start using any sugar substitutes. Labeling can be confusing, so make sure you choose the healthy sugar alternative that’s best for you. When in doubt, try to get by without artificial sweeteners at all. Use naturally sweet substitutes like adding fruit to your breakfast or drinking flavored sparkling water instead of diet soda.

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