To make sure your body gets the most nutritious foods sweets and desserts should only be taken on special occasions only. If there is a craving for something sweet, take a fruit salad or a fresh fruit instead of a sweet. If it is a dessert you wish to add to your meal, use only a small portion.
Despite suffering from diabetes, you can still have some pumpkin pie or birthday cake. With some planning, you can still enjoy a small portion of the dessert you crave for every now and then, and still have your diabetes under control.
The Hype about Sugar
Most people believe that diabetes is caused by sugar. This myth is difficult to overcome. In fact, type 1 diabetes is not caused by the consumption of sugar. Genetics is one of the causes. There are also some unknown factors that cause the disease to develop.
One of type 2 diabetes’ major risk factors is being overweight and excessive calories from all sources that lead to additional weight. Nevertheless, studies have found that taking sugary drinks is connected to type 2 diabetes and it is the recommendation of the American Diabetes Association that the consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks be reduced to avoid diabetes.
Previous to this, diabetics were told not to take sugar at all. Experts then believed that consumption of sugar will increase the blood glucose levels too much.
Studies indicate that although simple carbohydrates causes blood sugar levels to rise faster than complex carbohydrates, it is the total quantity of carbohydrates consumed, and not so much the type, that affects blood sugar levels. Today, experts concur that you can replace carbohydrate foods in your meal plan with a little sugar and still be able to have blood sugar levels under control.
However, you still have to limit the amount of sugar taken as there is a big quantity of carbohydrates in a small amount of sugar. So, you still have to ensure the amount of sugar taken is small.
The healthiest way to consume food is to pay attention to your meal plan to ensure that it contains foods with the most nutrients like fish and lean meats, non-fat dairy, fruit, whole grain, beans and vegetables. Save those sweets and sugary foods for particular occasions only.
If you have a problem keeping your hands off sweets, do not purchase any. Plan to eat desserts only when you have to leave your home behind. Share the dessert with someone so that you will not be eating too much of it.
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Including Sweets into Your Meal Plan
Many sweeteners contain carbohydrates and calories. Examples of sweeteners are:
- Powdered sugar
- Confectioners sugar
- Agave nectar
- Cane sugar
- Maple syrup
- Brown sugar
- Beet sugar
- Sugar cane syrup
- Cane sugar
- Raw sugar
- Corn sugar or high fructose corn syrup
- Brown rice syrup or rice syrup
- Table sugar or white sugar and it is sometimes called sucrose
The way to have your blood sugar levels in the safe range is to replace those foods in your snacks and meals which contain carbohydrates with small servings of sweeteners or sweets.
Below are some of the foods which contain carbohydrates:
Most people need approximately 45 – 60 grams of carbohydrates in each of their meals. The size of the serving is important. To have sweets in one of your meals, you reduce the foods which contain carbohydrates in that one meal. For instance, if you wish to eat cookies with one of your lunches, you just have to replace some of the carbohydrate foods for that lunch. If that lunch is a piece of turkey sandwiched between two bread slices, the following steps ought to be taken for the replacement:
- Identifying the carbohydrate food is the first step. The bread in your lunch is a carbohydrate.
- You make the decision to replace the two white bread slices with two low-calorie bread slices which contain half the carbohydrates of the white bread slices and add in the cookies which are also equivalent to half the carbohydrates of the two slices of white bread.
- The amount of carbohydrate for your lunch has not changed. Only the foods have changed.
Understanding Nutrition Facts Label
The Nutrition Facts Label on any food you purchase can be a useful guide. The serving size is the first information to look into. Next is the total amount of carbohydrate which informs you the amount of carbohydrate in each serving.
Carbohydrates can still be found in foods with claims of diabetic, reduced sugar, no sugar added, and sugar-free. There are many types of carbohydrates and sugar is just one of them. Any type of carbohydrate can affect blood sugar levels. To find out the quantity of carbohydrates, read the Nutrition Facts Panel. Do not depend upon the claims seen on the box.
Sugar on the label
The amount of sugar is printed below the Total Carbohydrate sub-heading in the label on nutrition facts. Remember that the carbohydrate stated comes from sugar naturally found in the foods like the sugar in raisins and added sugars.
Sugar alcohols, which are in a product, are not included in the amount of sugar given on its label. It is not compulsory for the manufacturers to indicate the amount of sugar alcohols in their food products on the labels. So, sugar alcohols are listed on labels by some manufacturers only. If it is not listed under sugar, you can, perhaps, find it under ingredients. Search for ingredients that end in “ol”. However, sugar alcohols are included in the total carbohydrate of the food.
Carbohydrate is What You Must Look For
If you are a diabetic in a hurry, the most important ingredient in the label you are reading is the total carbohydrate. Sugar alcohols, sugar, fiber and starch are included in the total carbohydrate. The amount stated under total carbohydrate will help you in to decide on the number which you can use in carbohydrate counting.
Knowing the total carbohydrate is better than knowing the sugar content. The starch in your food is not included in the sugar amount but both sugar and starch are accounted for under total carbohydrates