Artificial Sweeteners and Diabetes: A Risky Combination

As diabetes is a complicated disease, the patients are always looking for various substitutes that can help reduce the complications while they can enjoy food without getting harm. One such substitute is that of sugar which is known to carry a lot of calories and most of the diabetes patients stay away from it. We are talking about the various artificial sweeteners found in diet drinks, frozen and processed foods, amongst others that are today available in the market. In this article, we shall explore the relationship between diabetes and these artificial sweeteners and try to understand if these are healthy or not for the patients who suffer from diabetes. So, come and join in for the article “Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe For Diabetics?”

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Connection Between Diabetes and Sweeteners

People with diabetes always have the misconception surrounding them that they cannot intake sugar at all. However, sugar in a limited amount is not harmful to the diabetes patients. Real sugar, if used in a minimal amount forms a part of a well-balanced diet. As such, people rely on a number of artificial sweeteners in order to fulfill their sugar cravings. There are various types of research that have been conducted in this direction. While a few types of research conclude that artificial sweeteners are good for health, there are various others which vote against the use of these sweeteners.

In the following paragraphs, we shall explore more about the inclusion of artificial sweeteners in the diet of a diabetes patient:

Do Artificial Sweeteners Raise Risk of Diabetes?

Artificial Sweeteners and Diabetes

There are two types of artificial sweeteners. Nutritive artificial sweeteners are the ones that contain more than 2% of the total quantity of calories found in the similar quantity of sugar. Non-nutritive artificial sweeteners which do not amount to the total calories intake as they contain less than 2% of the total quantity of calories found in the similar quantity of sugar.

Hence, it is often thought that the diabetes patients can have them without thinking twice. However, the same is not true and the use of artificial sweeteners are known to cause a lot of harm to the diabetes patients. These are known to increase the weight of the patients as well. A few other disadvantages of artificial sweeteners for diabetes patients include:

People with a regular habit of taking in artificial sweeteners are known to be more resistant towards the hormone insulin.

  • It is known to increase the level of blood glucose
  • It increases cholesterol levels as well as the blood pressure in the individuals
  • Also, it is a known fact that the gut bacteria are altered due to the intake of the various types of artificial sweeteners and as a result, the body is more prone to getting several types of diseases
  • A few studies also claim that the different side effects that are known to arise in a patient with diabetes due to the intake of artificial sweeteners include thyroid problems, immunity problems, reduced sperm count, various types of cancers, etc.

Hence, as is clear from above, artificial sweeteners are not considered to be a very healthy option for those suffering from diabetes.

What are the Best Sugar Substitutes for Diabetics?

Following are a few sugar substitutes that you can try. These are the ones that have found approval by the renowned diabetes associations in different parts of the world:

1. Stevia

This sweetener is known to have both antioxidant and anti diabetic properties. The other benefits of the sweetener include:

  • Improvement in the production of insulin
  • The blood glucose levels are kept under control

You can find the sweetener under different names such as sweet leaf, Truvia, Purevia, etc. You need to be extremely careful while taking stevia and an expert advice is highly recommended.

2. Splenda

This sweetener also known as sucralose is considered good for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. This artificial sweetener passes in the body without too much of absorption and that is why in spite of being too sweet it is considered good for diabetes.

3. Aspartame

This sweetener is sold under the names Equal and NutraSweet. It is very low in calories and that is why it is considered a good substitute for sugar as diabetes patients can have this to lose weight. Having said that, this artificial sweetener has a number of possible side effects and an expert advice is absolutely recommended. Some of the adverse effects of Aspartame includes diseases like leukemia or breast cancer. hence, you need to be extremely careful while consuming the same.

4. Tagatose

  • The drug is known to improve the sensitivity of the body towards insulin
  • This also lowers the blood sugar level
  • The drug is also known to assist in the reduction of weight and is also anti-diabetic

Having said that, this sugar substitute is still a subject of study and researchers are trying to find out more about it.

5. Saccharin

Although sweeter than sugar, saccharine is calorie free and this is what makes it a reliable substitute for sugar in diabetes. However, the sweetener can lead to weight gain and therefore you need to see how your body responds to these sugar substitute.

Hence, as seen above, there are various sugar substitutes that can limit the absorption of carbohydrates and help in stabilizing the levels of blood glucose. Having said that, these substitutes may yield different side effects and as such, you need to consult your doctor to see how your body reacts to these substitutes.

Things You Should Know When You Are Using Sugar Substitutes in Cooking

You should know the following when you are using artificial sweeteners for cooking and baking:

  • When you are baking something by using a sugar substitute, the color may be a little different than the original
  • Texture of the food is also quite different when artificial sweeteners are used
  • When you bake using these sweeteners, expect a lower volume
  • The food may not stay for too long when cooked using the artificial sweeteners
  • Some of the above-mentioned artificial sweeteners also leave an after taste due to which the taste may be a little altered.

We hope that the above post has been helpful in improving your understanding of the relationship that exists between diabetes and the artificial sweeteners. Although you can include these artificial sweeteners in your daily diet, they are not free from the side effects and it is imperative you consult a medical expert before intaking them in your diet!

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