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Curbing Your Sugar Intake with Artificial Sweeteners

Often times when suffering from diabetes and you crave real sugar, it can be really easy to indulge. Artificial sugar substitutes do offer a low caloric intake to help appease the sugar tooth that so many diabetics struggle with.

Given the high intensity of sweetness that some of these artificial sweeteners bring, only a small amount should be used since a highly sweet flavor is achieved easily since artificial sugar is about one hundred times more intense on the ‘sweetness’ scale.

These artificial sweeteners work because our bodies do not have the necessary enzymes to break down the molecules in order to be digested and absorbed by our digestive system. As such, the artificial sugar simply passes through our bodies and is excreted without the calories becoming a factor.

Many food and drink companies market their product in such a way so as to make the consumer think ‘no sugar added’ means the item does not contain sugar which is a big mistake. The laws under which these companies operate are a bit ambiguous as to what they can label ‘sugar free’, ‘reduced sugar’ or ‘no sugar added’. When strolling along the supermarket aisle, it is easy to be fooled by these labels, diabetics should be extra careful. It is always important to actually look at the nutritional facts and judge the product based on that information. For instance, if a food item normally has 30 gr of carbohydrate (remember, sugar is a type of carbohydrate) but its ‘reduced sugar’ variation has 20 gr, you can hardly think of it as low sugar right?! Yet labels like these often bamboozle diabetics and other consumers alike. Always check the nutritional facts label!

The following are the only artificial sweeteners endorsed by the FDA:

–  Advantame

– Saccharin

– Aspartame

– Neotame

– Acesulfame K

– Sucralose

The above artificial sweeteners are used for a variety of food and drink items, soda, coffee, candy, yogurt, gum and baking goods just to name a few.

Recently, a new artificial sweetener called Stevia is under FDA approval. Stevia is many hundred times sweeter tasting than regular sugar. The FDA conducts many tests and scrutinizes new products very carefully and their experts agree that Stevia is a safe product to consume.

Like any food or drink, the use and quantity of artificial sugar consumed should not be abused. Other studies have shown the adverse effects of artificial sugar if not consumed in appropriate amounts. In fact, some studies suggest that the improper intake of artificial sweeteners may adversely affect the metabolism of glucose, possibly exacerbating diabetes or by giving it the needed momentum to fully appear. Always keep in mind that consuming anything in exaggeration will in all likelihood result in grief.

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