There are always questions asked as to what a diabetic patient should or should not include in his or her daily diet. Diabetes is complicated and as such, it is very natural to be skeptical about adding a particular food product in your meal plan. Today’s discussion revolves around the inclusion of the so-called sugar-free candies in the meal plan of a type 1 diabetic patient. So, join in for the article “Can Type 1 Diabetics Eat Sugar-free candy?”
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Meaning of Sugar-Free
To start with, it is imperative we know the very meaning of the term sugar-free. According to the Food and Drug Administration, sugar-free means something that has less than 0.5 grams of sugar in one serving. In sugar-free foods, the sugar is substituted with either the artificial sweeteners or the sugar alcohols.
Typically, most of the artificial sweeteners are sweeter than even sugar but they do not break down in the body and hence, have no effect on the levels of blood glucose in most of the cases. Sugar alcohols, on the other hand, are less sweet than sugar and have an effect on our blood sugar levels as they are partially absorbed in our body. Let us learn more about sugar-free candies and their effect on the patients suffering from type 1 diabetes.
Can Sugar-Free Candy Raise Your Blood Glucose?
The question “Can Sugar-Free Candy raise Your Blood Glucose?” has become very common and the answer to the same is a Yes, it can. Let us understand how the same can happen:
When you say, sugar-free, it does not necessarily mean that the candy has no form of sugar or calories. There are a lot of things that have gone to make the sugar-free candy sweet after all. One such component is sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are very low on their total calorie count. As compared to normal sugar which contains around 4 calories per gram of sugar, these sugar alcohols contain only around 1.5 to 3 units of calories. Having said that, their high carbohydrate content can increase the blood glucose levels in a person suffering from diabetes.
Things You Should Know About Sugar-Free Candy
When you are incorporating sugar-free candy in your daily diet and you are suffering from type 1 diabetes, there are a few things that you should be aware of:
- Sugar-free candy does not mean that it does not contain carbohydrates or calories. Besides calories and carbohydrates, starch, fiber, and sugar alcohols are the different products that are mostly present in these candies and you should be aware of the total intake of each of these in your diabetic meal plan.
- Besides, there are sugar alcohols present in the sugar-free As per the American Diabetes Association, the effect of the sugar alcohols on the blood glucose level is different for different patients. Hence, you should see how eating any of these sugar candies effect the level of blood glucose in your body.
- It is also known that the sugar alcohol which is present within the sugar candies have an “osmotic effect.” Sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, maltitol, amongst others tend to create bloating as well as adversely affect the digestive tract.
- A few sugar-free candies may be sweetened by using non-caloric substances namely acesulfame potassium, saccharin, or even sucralose. A few of these non-caloric substances do not contain carbohydrate. However, there are other which shall contain both calories as well as carbohydrates
- Also, the sugar-free candies do not have any nutritional value and hence, extreme care must be taken while you eat the same.
Hence, eating these candies do pose a risk to type 1 diabetes patient. However, you need not eliminate them completely. Following a few basic guidelines will enable you to consume the sugar-free candies once in a while without getting adversely affected.
Guidelines to Follow if You are Including Sugar-Free Candies in Your Diet
If you are a type 1 diabetes patient, you can enjoy a sugar-free candy once a while. However, you should keep the following tips in mind while you include the candy in your daily diet:
- You should continue to count the total carbohydrate intake. When you are eating candy, make sure that you balance out the total carbohydrate that you are taking. Do not eat more carbohydrates than that is recommended by your doctor and make the candy a part of your overall meal plan.
- As mentioned above, different sugar alcohols in candies react differently on different individuals. You must clearly watch the effect on your blood glucose levels when you are eating candy.
- As per the American Diabetes Association, when you are including sugar-free candies in your diet, in order to cover up for the added carbohydrates, you should indulge in more physical activity or exercise. This will help to bring any raised blood glucose level in the body down.
- You can include sugar-free candies in your diet but only in moderation. Remember to not over indulge in the same. This is important because we do not want the sugar to break down into glucose and cause high blood glucose level in the body.
We hope that the above post has been helpful in helping you to understand the relationship between type 1 diabetes patients and the effect of sugar-free candies on the disease. Having everything in moderation is fine as long as you follow a few basic guidelines and follow the steps as laid down by your medical expert.