Do You Have A Craving For Sugary Foods?
If you have diabetes, you ought to be careful with sweets in your meals. Of course, it is difficult to keep sweets for another day.
Do Something About Your Cravings
To help you lessen your urge for sweet foods, you can use artificial sweeteners to have your foods and drinks taste sweet.
Artificial sweeteners are used to make drinks and food taste sweet and they have lower calories and carbohydrates than the sugar they substitute. They are also known as low calorie sweeteners, non-nutritive sweeteners, or sugar substitutes.
However, carbs and calories are still found in artificially sweetened foods. For this reason, do read the food label to know the nutrition available.
Use only a small amount of artificial sweeteners as such sugar substitutes are about a hundred times sweeter than sugar.
Other than aspartame, the other sweeteners cannot be digested and they merely go through our body systems without providing any calorie.
The following are the only artificial sweeteners, five of them, which have been approved after being tested by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) :
- Acesulfame potassium (also known as acesulfame K)
Food companies use the above sweeteners in their production of frozen desserts, baked goods, diet drinks, candy, chewing gum, and light yogurt. They can be bought by you to add to coffee, tea or to sweeten any food.You can also buy some of them in “granular” versions for baking and cooking.
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What about Stevia?
Other names for stevia, which is taken from the stevia plant, are Rebaudioside A, rebiana, or Reb-A. According to the food industry, when stevia is compared to sugar, its sweetness is a few hundred times more when it is highly purified. In this form it is called Reb-A. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regard Reb-A as a safe food additive and a sweetener for home use. When the FDA recognizes it as safe, it means the public can safely use it in the proper quantity.
For further information, go to the Food and Drug Administration website: www.fda.gov
Sugar substitutes sold in stores
The brand names for each of the sweetener listed in the chart below are sold in stores.
For further information on any product given in the chart, go to the internet to find the website of the manufacturer.
Reducing Calories and Carbohydrates
Without carbohydrates and no calories, artificial sweeteners do not raise levels of blood sugar.
According to the experts, weight loss can be achieved by lessening calories through eating healthy meals and increasing the output of energy with sufficient exercises.
Artificial sweeteners can be helpful in weight control as they have fewer calories to add to foods and there is no need for deprivation.
You can lessen your input of calories by a lot if foods and drinks sweetened with sugar are replaced with those which are sweetened with artificial sweeteners.
Since such sweeteners have no carbohydrates, they do not raise blood sugar levels. So, using artificial sweeteners in foods and drinks is a wonderful way for diabetics to indulge in sweet favorites without the worry of increasing blood sugar.
Not Totally Calorie and Carb-Free¦
You can have large packages or as individual packets of artificial sweeteners from a store when you purchase them for home use.
Most probably, brand names such as Sweet N Low, Splenda, or Equal are known to you. There are stores which have their own brands that are less expensive.
To have these table top sweeteners look like sugar, particular ingredients, such as dextrose and maltodextrin, are mixed with the sweeteners to get certain volume and texture. Maltodextrin and dextrose will give the product added and calories and carbohydrate.
A serving consists of a packet or a teaspoon of artificial sweetener.
Diabetics can regard artificial sweeteners as a “free food” since they get at the most 5 grams of carbohydrate in each serving.
Comparisons of Sweeteners
Different brands of artificial sweeteners in packets are compared to regular sugar:
Regular sugar = 3 grams of carbohydrate and 11 calories in a packet
Equal = 4 or more calories in a packet
Sugar Twin = 3 or more calories in a packet
Splenda = 4 or more calories in a packet
So, why ‘No-Calorie’?
If a food product has less than 6 calories in each serving, it is said to have ‘no-calorie’. So, when the artificial sweeteners declare on their nutrition labels that they have no calories and carbohydrates, their labels are right although a small quantity of calories and carbohydrate come together with the ingredients added.
However, it must be remembered that when a bigger quantity of these sweeteners are used, the total amount of calories will increase. So, it is wiser not to use too much of the artificial sweeteners.
So many food items and drinks sold in a store have these labels:
- ‘no sugar added’
- ‘reduced sugar’
When sugar, a certain quantity or all, is taken away from such labeled products, artificial sweeteners are put in to make sure the products stay sweet.
So, whenever you come across such claims on their labels, do remember that the products are not totally carbohydrate-free.
It is not known for sure whether the foods have lower carbohydrates compared to the earlier products. It is possible that they can still increase the levels of blood sugar.
Now, many products claim that they use Splenda as a sweetener. They cannot be said to have no carbohydrates at all. They do have carbs and, perhaps, have lower calories.
The Confusing Nutrition Labels
Information on nutrition labels about sugar can confuse. Some claim no sugar added, reduced sugar, sugar-free, and so forth.
Although the quantity of sugar in foods with such labels are lower, you ought to be reminded that carbohydrates can come in the form of fiber, starch, or/and sugar alcohols, and sugar is merely one form.
Therefore, to know the facts, read carefully the nutrition label and find out the total content of carbohydrates.
Safety of Artificial Sweetener
Approval must be given by the US. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) before food companies as well as the public are permitted to use the sweeteners.
The sweeteners have to undergo a number of tests to ensure they can be used safely for their purpose before they are given approval. Such tests can be carried out by scientific organizations and the government.
Previous to this, such sweeteners were thought to be the cause of health conditions such as cancer. Many studies have found them to be safe, resulting in some being approved for use.
Be very careful! Although these artificial sweeteners have no carbs or calories in them, the foods which use them as sweeteners often contain lots of calories.
Here are examples of the use of sugar substitutes to reduce carbs and calories:
- Drink two diet sodas instead of two 12-ounce (oz) sodas a day so that you reduce your carbohydrate intake by 80g and calories by 300 since that is approximately what two 12-ounce (oz) sodas give you, for the diet sodas are acesultfame K and aspartame sweetened and they contain no carbohydrates or calories.
- Replace the yogurt you eat every morning with the same amount of artificially sweetened yogurt to reduce your day’s total carbohydrate intake by 10 grams and your calories by 32.
- Replace the sugar you put into your coffee with artificial sweetener to reduce your daily intake of carbohydrates by 10g and your calories by 32.
Some people find artificial sweeteners are bitter after tasting the food containing them. Those who are more sensitive to this bitterness can find it intolerable. So, you should try out all the artificial sweeteners to find the one which suits you. Of course, you may be one of those people who find no difference among them.