When it comes to sugar, it’s all in how it’s packaged. Sugar-containing foods in their natural form, whole fruit, for example, tend to be highly nutritious—nutrient-dense, high in fiber, and low in glycemic load. Refined, concentrated sugar consumed in large quantities is undesirable for diabetics and for obese individuals. Non-caloric and sweeteners are available as sugar substitutes. Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes are found in a variety of food and beverages marketed as “sugar-free” or “diet,”
An ideal sweetener is as sweet as or sweeter than sucrose, has a pleasant taste with no aftertaste, is colourless, odorless, readily soluble, stable, functional and economically feasible. It also is nontoxic, does not promote dental cavities and is either metabolised normally or excreted from the body unchanged without contributing to any metabolic abnormalities.
The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) have given a cautious nod to the use of artificial sweeteners in place of sugar to combat obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, all risk factors for heart disease.
Reducing calories could help you attain and maintain healthy body weight, and thereby lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Natural Sweeteners other than Sugar include:
- Fruit juices and nectars
- Maple syrup
- Sugar Alcohols
Natural sweeteners have a variety of uses at home and in the food industry. Some times they are called as added sugars, as they are added to the food during food processing.
Artificial sweeteners aren’t carbohydrates. So unlike sugar, artificial sweeteners generally don’t raise blood sugar levels. One concern is that people who use artificial sweeteners may replace the lost calories through other sources, or have that food item in larger quantities.
Artificial sweeteners are widely used in processed foods, including:
- Soft drinks, powdered drink mixes, and other beverages
- Baked goods
- Canned foods
- Jams and jellies
- Dairy products
Artificial sweeteners are also popular for home use. Some can even be used in baking or cooking. Artificial sweeteners which are used are Cyclamate, Alitame, Acesulfame – K, Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose, etc. They are many many times (even 2000) sweeter than the regular sugar so can be used in very limited quantity.
Can Diabetic patients use sugar substitutes?
Over time, there have been many sugar substitutes, and which one to use is a personal choice. They are safe for people with diabetes, and they can be used to reduce both your calorie and carbohydrate intake. Sugar substitutes also can help curb those cravings you have for something sweet. Artificial sweeteners are many times sweeter than sugar, so it takes a smaller amount to sweeten foods.
What amount of sweetener is safe to eat?
As part of the approval process for each non-nutritive sweetener, an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) level is set. The ADI is the estimated amount per kilogram of body weight that a person can consume, on average, every day, over a lifetime without risk. ADIs are set 100 times less than the smallest amount that may cause health concerns, so it’s extremely difficult for most people to reach the ADI.
|Name of the Sweetener||Sweetness||ADI (in mg per kg of body weight)|
Explanation of the above table:
Column 1: Name of Sweetener.
Column 2: Sweetness compared to sugar.
Column 3: ADI is the Acceptable Daily Intake in mg of the substance per Kg of body weight.
Artificial sweeteners are thought to be beneficial for diabetics or obese where refined sugar can be a problem. These low-calorie sweeteners are seemingly safe to use, provide sweetness without calories, and provide a choice of sweet foods to those who otherwise cannot take refined sugars.