Sugar Substitutes For Diabetics

Sugar is responsible for many health problems, from diabetes to tooth decay to weight gain or obesity. But our life is difficult without sugar as we tend to add sugar in coffee, tea, and endless number of food items. And industry is only too happy to add sugar in too many food products as added sugar.ID-10064269

In US, average person eats about 160 pounds of added sugar every year. Use of sugar substitutes also increasing as a result, as many companies are promoting sugar substitutes as answer to your sugar problems and many substitutes are hundred times sweeter than ordinary sugar. But, take this “with a pinch of salt”, because not all sugar substitutes are healthy, and some can actually be harmful. There is big doubt about the health aspect of sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners. Here are some commonly used artificial sweeteners:

Honey:

Honey is certainly one of the best sugar substitute. There is no question about health benefits of honey. It can always be used as sugar substitute, without worry about health hazards and in fact honey is very healthy food. Honey is commonly used in baked foods, tea and along with cereals. Blood sugar rise after eating honey is slow compare to eating sugar, which is beneficial in diabetes. Honey also contain several minerals, vitamins and other medicinal properties. But, honey does contain calories and we need to watch calorie count of honey. Honey is certainly a very good alternative to sugar for diabetics as well as non-diabetic individuals.

Sucralose:

This is FDA approved (in 1998) artificial sweetener. It is considered safe as sugar substitute, although in one study it was reported that it has negative effect on immune system, although several subsequent studies found no such correlation. Studies did not find it carcinogenic and it is considered safe for diabetics and for individuals who are dieting, because it does not contain any calorie. Hence, it does not cause raise in blood sugar level after consumption.

Aspartame:

It is extensively studied sugar substitute and accused to cause many health problems ranging from obesity to cancer. However, several studies done by FDA, WHO (World Health Organization), and the American Dietetic Association did not find any such truth and all these organizations consider that moderate intake of aspartame is safe for health. Aspartame is does not contain any calorie and commonly found in yogurt, cough drops, drinks and many other items. If you suffer from phenylketonuria (an inherited genetic disorder), avoid it.

Saccharin:

This is one of the most sweet food item. It was being used for very long time. However, it went through lots of controversy and currently it is approved artificial sweetener and commonly used in candy, beverages and canned products. Some studies have shown that, saccharin can cause bladder cancer in rats. However, it was not found to cause cancer in humans. It should be consumed in moderation only. It contains no calories, hence do not cause rise in blood sugar level in diabetics.

Acesulfame potassium:

This was approved by FDA in 1988 and it has more than two decades of track record, with little complaints. However, pre-market studies were inadequate. However, moderation is advised. It contains no calories and commonly used in soft drinks, gelatins, chewing gum, frozen desserts.

Image courtesy of [piyato] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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