As the rate of diabetes increases so has the awareness that sugar is usually the culprit. Artificial sweeteners have therefore made it to the forefront of many diabetes-diets.
Excess sugar consumption has not only been linked to increased risk of insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes but has also been linked to mild cognitive impairment and increased risk of kidney damage and obesity.
However, the obvious truth is that sugar can be difficult to avoid because it’s in found in all the foods people like to consume, from decadent sodas and dessert to processed foods that are loaded with sugar and other additives.
But as most people living with diabetes know, it is very important to keep an eye on their sugar consumption to make sure their blood sugar levels are regularly kept in a balance.
There are lots of sugar substitutes available on the market today, ranging from natural to artificial sweeteners to help you cut down the amount of sucrose you eat in your diet.
You may be forced to ask if honey is okay to use as substitutes for sugar. Honey and sugar are not better than themselves as both of them will affect your blood sugar levels. As a matter of fact, honey contains more carbohydrate and more calories in one teaspoon than the same amount of granulated sugar does.
Below are 10 sugar-free alternatives you can consider as a diabetic to help you preserve your blood glucose levels:
Splenda is the brand name for sucralose. It is an artificial sweetener people living with type 2 diabetes often use. Even though Splenda appears to be much sweeter than sugar, it doesn’t cause your blood sugar levels to rise.
Stevia is a high density, novel sweetener derived from the leaf of stevia plants. Since this plant extract is calorie-free, it has no impact on blood sugar or obesity, thus making it a perfect choice for people living with diabetes. Because it’s much sweeter than sugar, only a little of it is required to produce the same sweetness as sugar, and it is often used in foods and beverages.
#3: Coconut Sugar
Similar in taste to brown sugar because it’s unrefined, coconut sugar contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which are lacking in white table sugar. Though the same in calories, it has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar, and so does not cause unnecessary fluctuations in insulin and blood sugar levels.
Aspartame is a non-nutritive artificial sweetener that is much sweeter than sugar (up to 200 times sweeter). Though not zero in calories, Aspartame still has a very low-calorie content, and it also doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels. However, this sugar-alternative has been identified to have some side effects on people with Phenylketonuria where they are unable to metabolize the phenylalanine in Aspartame.
#5: Date Paste
Date paste is a natural sweetener and an easy alternative to sugar. This sugar-free alternative for people with diabetes is great for keeping the blood sugar steady while still enjoying the good sugary sensation in your foods. And another thing is that it’s easy to make at home.
This is no doubt, the oldest artificial sweetener that has been used for decades as sugar alternatives by diabetics because of its sugary and zero-calorie properties. However, few studies have recorded Saccharin to be associated with weight gain.
#7: Pure Organic Maple Syrup
The organic maple syrup is also another great natural alternative for sugar, as long as it is not the type packed with corn syrup in a bottle which is often served with pancakes. The pure maple syrup does not only help maintain a steady blood glucose levels, but the numerous antioxidants present in it can help improve the skin, fight cancer, and prevent bloating.
Therefore, because you are living with diabetes, it doesn’t mean you can’t satisfy your sweet tooth. You only need to substitute your sugar with these alternatives and thus, help yourself stay healthy and alive.
1. Mayo Clinic. “Diabetes foods: Is Honey a Good Substitite?” Accessed April 24, 2018. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/expert-answers/diabetes/faq-20058487
2. Mastering Diabetes. “What Causes Insulin Resistance? Lipid Overload” Accessed April 24, 2018. https://www.mangomannutrition.com/causes-insulin-resistance-lipid-overload-2/
3. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Sugary Drinks and Obesity Fact Sheet.” Accessed April 24, 2018. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sugary-drinks-fact-sheet/