Is It Possible To Live Without Sweets? What to Do When You Are Diagnosed With Diabetes?
Diabetes is a common chronic health condition that people suffer from that causes an excessive rise in their blood glucose levels. People suffering from this condition have to manage their diet carefully. The common idea that’s propagated is for these people to stay away from sugar and sweet treats. However, incorporating sweet treats occasionally to make a healthy diet will not do much harm.
Carefully monitoring your sugar and carbohydrate intake is crucial when you are managing diabetes because it has the potential to affect your blood sugar or glucose levels. Unfortunately, the misconception is that diabetes patients have to stay away from sugary and sweet foods.
In reality, having diabetes does not mean that you can’t eat cakes, sweets, chocolates, and other sugary foods. You only have to ensure that they are part of your healthy diet plan.
In this article, we will be discussing how sugars and sweets can be a part of a healthy diet for people with diabetes and some substitutes to sugar if you decide to live without it.
How sweets and sugary foods can be part of a healthy diet for a diabetes patient
The amount of sugar and carbohydrate that someone with diabetes can consume depends on several factors such as:
- Their activeness or level of activity
- Whether they are trying to maintain their healthy weight or they want to lose weight.
- If they wish to reduce their blood sugar level
A release from the American Diabetes Association mentions that people with diabetes don’t have to avoid chocolates, sweets, and other sugary foods totally. However, they have to combine it with regular exercise and make sure that it’s part of their healthy diet plan.
According to the association, a healthy meal plan for diabetes patients must:
- Have a limited amount of saturated fat.
- Contain a moderate amount of sugar and salt.
- Include whole grains, healthy fats, fruits, non-starchy vegetables, and lean protein.
So, you do not have to live without sweets and sugary foods completely. However, you have to be cautious in how you consume them. It’s more ideal to eat them in tiny portions or save them for the occasional treats.
When you choose your food choice as a person with diabetes, it is crucial that you first understand how it affects your blood sugar level. This is why it is essential to learn to read nutritional labels on food packages. This makes it easy for you to keep up with your sugar requirement. Some foods claim not to have added sugar or are “sugar-free.” However, they may still contain some calories in them or some types of carbohydrates capable of impacting the blood sugar levels of a diabetes patient. Again, that is why it is essential to learn to read nutrition labels.
While you do not have to avoid sugar totally, you can make that decision and decide to use sugar substitutes instead. Thankfully, there are lots of them.
These are no or low-calorie alternatives to sugar. As a result, they usually do not have as much impact on blood glucose levels as sugars.
Manufacturers often add them to foods, especially those branded as “low calorie,” “reduced sugar,” or “low sugar.” However, these products may have ingredients that still add carbohydrates or calories to the total intake. So, you should read the nutritional label for these details before you buy a product with reduced sugar.
Sugar substitutes may make a person consume large quantities of food. However, they are also capable of altering an individual’s sense of taste and making them lose their appetite for naturally sweet foods.
These are some common sugar substitutes:
- Artificial sweeteners
They are also called nonnutritive sweeteners. They are synthetic sugar substitutes with very few or zero calories in them. Six artificial sweeteners are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as stated on the American Diabetes Association website. These are:
- Acesulfame potassium
You can buy these artificial sweeteners and use them to substitute for table sugar and use them in baking and cooking.
This is also known as a GRAS sweetener and is generally regarded as safe. However, it is also known as Reb-A, Rebaudioside, or rebiana, and manufacturers have to extract the sweetener and purify it with a chemical process from a Stevia rebaudiana plant.
Stevia does not have any calories or sugar in it, and many manufacturers use it as a sugar substitute, adding it to different drinks and foods. They may be described as naturally sweetened products and are available as tabletop sweeteners.
- Monk fruit
This fruit, also known as Luo Han Guo, is a native plant to Southeastern Asia. The monk fruit has extremely sweet juice – about 150 to 250 times sweeter than the average table sugar. As a result, manufacturers use it as a sugar substitute and add it to a different range of drinks and foods.
Like Stevia, the extract from monk fruit is a GRAS sweetener and has no calories or sugar. It is also one of those products that can be described as naturally sweetened, and it is also available as tabletop sweeteners.
The popular conception that people with diabetes should stay away from sugars and sweet foods is misleading to describe it mildly. In reality, people with diabetes can still consume sugars and sweet foods.
They only have to make sure that it’s part of their healthy food plan and not spontaneous, and they have to combine it with exercise. The best way to enjoy it, though, is in small portions and as occasional treats.
If you have diabetes, you may not have to avoid sweets, but you must learn to read nutritional labels. This ensures that you can pay attention to the number of carbohydrates you are consuming that can affect your blood sugar level.