If you have developed diabetes, completely removing anything sweet from your diet can be a challenge. Not to say that people who grew up with diabetes wouldn’t like something sweet as well. So can you combine diabetes and artificial sweeteners in your life?
So can I use artificial sweeteners?
A lot of sugar substitutes have been produced so far. Generally speaking most of them are safe for people with diabetes. Furthermore some can be used to reduce both calorie and carbohydrate intake. As well as satisfy the cravings you have for something sweet.
Artificial sweeteners are an ingredient in many diet drinks, baked goods, frozen desserts, candy, light yogurt and chewing gum. You can also find them as separate sweeteners for coffee, tea, cereal and fruit and some are available for cooking and baking. When using a sweetener remember that a little goes a long way as they tend to be a lot more concentrated than sugar.
FDA approved sweeteners
There are six artificial sweeteners which have been either approved by the FDA or placed on the “Generally Recognized As Safe” list.
- Acesulfame-potassium (Ace-K): It is usually blended with other sweeteners and remains stable under heat. This makes it appropriate for baking and can also maintain a long shelf life.
- Aspartame (“the blue packet”): Aspartame is a source contains phenylalanine, and should be avoided by people with phenylketonuria (PKU). Unlike Ace-K, it is not stable when heated and so it is not the best choice for baking and cooking.
- Neotame: This is the champion of artificial sweeteners as it has 7000-8000 times the sweetening strength of sugar. Although it too contains phenylalanine the minute quantities used are not threatening to people with PKU.
- Saccharin (“the pink packet”): Saccharin is stable when heated and often used in cooking and baking. It usually come in liquid form and has been used for almost a century now. It was once accused for causing bladder cancer but since then this has been dismissed by the FDA as it didn’t affect humans.
- Stevia (“the green packet”): Read the product labels of stevia products as they are not all intended for cooking and baking. Stevia in many products is characterized as a dietary supplement and not a non-nutritive sweetener.
- Sucralose (“the yellow packet”): Together with saccharin they are the most heat stable and therefore easy to use in baking and cooking.
Read packages carefully for specific instructions on the best way to substitute sugar with a low-calorie sweetener.