Diabetics need to control their blood sugar as much as possible so limiting sugar intake is a universal management for diabetes. However, since diabetics also need sweeteners for their foods, artificial and non-sugar based sweeteners were developed. With a lot of sugar substitutes that are now in the market, various news and studies apparently are discouraging most people to use sugar substitutes because of the alleged side-effects such as headache and being a carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) among others. Well, all of these are just allegations and according to facts, research has still not supported that sugar substitutes are in fact dangerous. Besides, most sugar substitutes are made from natural herbs so diabetics should be more cautioned on the use of various drugs than using artificial sweeteners.
Sugar substitutes are generally as sweet as sugar or even sweeter than the regular table sugar, but have calorie-free formulations. Sugar sweeteners are also not absorbed fully so you don’t really need to be alarmed of possible hyperglycemia or increased glucose blood levels. Because of being non-sugar based, natural and do not affect the blood sugar levels, sugar substitutes are safe for use by diabetics and have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use by the general population and people with diabetics.
Approved and Safe Sugar Substitutes
As of this time, the FDA has approved six sugar substitutes including:
• Saccharin- Saccharin was the first artificial sweetener that has been developed way back 1879. Saccharin is actually up to 700 times sweeter than sugar. Saccharin is now widely used by companies making diet sodas. Saccharin is also available in packets for cooking and others. Saccharin is safe for use in diabetics and research conducted by the National Cancer Institute has not seen a cause and effect relationship with saccharin and bladder cancer. However, pregnant women are discouraged to use it.
• Sucralose- Sucralose or Splenda is used for baking and cooking purposes. The Food and Drug Administration as well as the American Diabetes Association approved sucralose for use by people with all types of diabetes.
• Aspartame- Aspartame is 600 times sweeter than table sugar. It is used in packs, but rarely used for cooking purposes because of being heat sensitive. Aspartame has also been approved by the FDA, American Diabetes Association and American Medical Association for use by all types of diabetics. However, it should not be used by people with PKU or Phenylketonuria.
• Neotame- Neotame has been recently approved and to manufacturer’s and user’s surprise, Neotame is 8,000 times sweeter than table sugar so you don’t need much of it to sweeten your foods and drinks. Neotame is derived from aspartame and it has undergone additional chemical process so people with PKU can use it.
• Acesulfame- It is also another new sugar substitute, which is 200 times sweeter than table sugar. More than 90 Studies have proven the safety of acesulfame for use by diabetics.
• Stevia- Stevia is the newest sugar substitute derived from the stevia plant. It was once believed to cause reproductive problems, but in 2008, the FDA has approved its safety.
Research indeed has supported the use of sugar substitutes because of being safe. Nevertheless, if you are still sceptical to use them, you may want to use natural sweeteners such as blueberries for oatmeal. Also, moderation is the key for everything so even if these are non-sugar based, make sure not to consume them in excess.