The 9 Best Sugar Replacements for Type 2 Diabetics

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Different sugar substitutes have different effects on blood sugar and weight control. Find out which choice best supports your health objectives.

Erythritol-vs-Xylitol

Everyone finds it difficult to manage their sweet tooth, but type 2 diabetics must be especially careful about how much sugar and other carbohydrates they ingest.

Sugar replacements provide sweetness while facilitating easier carbohydrate intake and blood sugar management (sugar). There are many sugar replacements to pick from, but not all of them are calorie-free, and they differ in how they affect blood sugar levels.

A study in the journal Diabetes Spectrum observed that there are two types of sugar alternatives to take into account when choosing which ones to use:

Nutritive are calorie-rich and may have an impact on your blood sugar.

Nonnutritive According to a review written in May 2018 for the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, these have little to no calories and won’t cause your blood sugar to rise. According to the aforementioned article in Diabetes Spectrum, they can be hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar).

However, even if you select a calorie-free sweetener, you should still consume sweets in moderation. Artificial sweeteners may modify your brain’s reaction to sweetness and interfere with your ability to experience satisfaction after ingesting sweet-tasting food or beverages, which increases your risk of overindulging, claims a study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior. In fact, the American Diabetes Association advises against relying on zero- or low-calorie alternatives to beverages that include sugar in the long run. Instead, they advise consuming as little sweetness as possible and increasing your water intake.

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See here are nine low- or no-calorie options to think about in light of this:

1. The Most Popular Sugar Substitute Is Sucralose (Splenda)

Splenda-a-sugar-substitute-for-people-with-type-2-diabetes

Those with type 2 diabetes should use this sweetener. Splenda is 600 times sweeter than sugar, however, Keri Glassman, RD, CDN, of Nutritious Life, a nutrition clinic with offices in New York City, explains that the tiny yellow packets have no impact on blood sugar.

Additionally, Splenda absorbs very little into the body and flows right through. According to a Physiology & Behavior paper from October 2016, these characteristics have contributed to it becoming the most widely used artificial sweetener globally.

Sucralose is permitted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which suggests an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 5 milligrams (mg) or less per kilogram (kg) of body weight each day. To attain that level, a 132-pound (lb.) person would have to consume 23 tabletop packets of artificial sweetener per day.

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2. The Oldest Artificial Sweetener is Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low).

According to the Sweet ‘N Low website, saccharin, the sweetener marketed under the brand name Sweet ‘N Low, is calorie-free and between 300 and 500 times sweeter than sugar. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, chemists accidentally discovered it as a coal tar derivative in 1879, making it the first artificial sweetener.

If you’ve been utilizing artificial sweeteners since the 1970s, you might be recalling an earlier label that had a cancer risk warning for saccharin. But don’t worry—secure. Its Animal studies were used in the research that led to the label, and subsequent research by the National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health came to the conclusion that saccharin shouldn’t be included on the list of probable carcinogens. The FDA has currently approved saccharin.

According to the FDA, 45 tabletop packets of artificial sweeteners would be required to meet the ADI of 15 mg of saccharin per kg of body weight per day for a 132-lb person.

sugar free

3. Low-Calorie Sweetener Aspartame Is Not Safe for PKU Patients

According to the FDA, aspartame is a nonnutritive artificial sweetener that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is available in blue packets under the trade names Equal and NutraSweet. Aspartame has an extremely low-calorie count even if it is not zero-calorie like some other artificial sweeteners.

Aspartame is safe to consume, according to the FDA’s analysis of the scientific literature, although Glassman points out that certain studies have produced contradictory findings of the safety of this sweetener. The majority of people who are concerned about their weight find its low-calorie reputation to be enticing, but Glassman notes that it has a number of unfavorable side effects. Some animal studies have demonstrated a connection to leukemia, lymphoma, and breast cancer, including one that was published in the journal Cytotechnologist in December 2014. Other research indicates a [potential] connection to migraines.”

However, the American Cancer Society points out that regulatory bodies in the United States and Europe have, respectively, determined that aspartame is “safe” and that there is no evidence to support a rise in the risk of cancer in people.

However, the NHS advises against consuming this sugar replacement if you have phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare disorder that prevents you from metabolizing phenylalanine, a vital aspartame ingredient. Aspartame is safe to consume if you don’t have PKU.

According to the FDA, a 132-lb person would have to eat an astounding 75 tabletop packets of artificial sweetener each day to attain the ADI of 50 mg of aspartame per kg of body weight each day.

4. Stevia, an Alternative Natural Sweetener (Truvia or Pure Via)

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You can sate your sweet tooth without causing your blood sugar levels to become unstable by using sugar substitutes.

Everyone finds it difficult to manage their sweet tooth, but type 2 diabetics must be especially careful about how much sugar and other carbohydrates they ingest.

Sugar replacements provide sweetness while facilitating easier carbohydrate intake and blood sugar management (sugar). There are many sugar replacements to pick from, but not all of them are calorie-free, and they differ in how they affect blood sugar levels.

A study in the journal Diabetes Spectrum observed that there are two types of sugar alternatives to take into account when choosing which ones to use:

Nutritive are calorie-rich and may have an impact on your blood sugar.

stevia sugar replacement

Nonnutritive According to a review written in May 2018 for the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, these have little to no calories and won’t cause your blood sugar to rise. According to the aforementioned article in Diabetes Spectrum, they can be hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar).

However, even if you select a calorie-free sweetener, you should still consume sweets in moderation. Artificial sweeteners may modify your brain’s reaction to sweetness and interfere with your ability to experience satisfaction after ingesting sweet-tasting food or beverages, which increases your risk of overindulging, claims a study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior. In fact, the American Diabetes Association advises against relying on zero- or low-calorie alternatives to beverages that include sugar in the long run. Instead, they advise consuming as little sweetness as possible and increasing your water intake.

5. A Low-Calorie Option for Sweetening Your Fare: Sugar Alcohols

The natural fibers found in fruits and vegetables are the source of sugar alcohols, also known as polyols, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center. According to the International Food Information Council Foundation, several so-called “sugar-free” desserts, candies, and gums employ the following sugar alcohol sweeteners:

  1. Xylitol
  2. Sorbitol
  3. Mannitol
  4. Isomalt

Although sugar alcohols have fewer calories than carbohydrates and are better for blood sugar levels, the FDA warns that some people may have bloating, diarrhea, and indigestion as a result of them. The FDA mandates that sorbitol and mannitol-containing products have a label stating that excessive consumption may have a laxative effect.

According to Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDE, a medical reviewer for Everyday Health headquartered in Prescott, Arizona, sugar alcohols are not entirely absorbed in the digestive tract, which results in gastrointestinal symptoms. She explains that the big intestine is where unabsorbed carbs from these sweeteners end up where gut bacteria digest them to make gas. Before adding them to your regular diet, try a modest amount to see how you react to it.

Additionally, bear in mind that sugar alcohols might impact blood sugar levels because they are nutritive sweeteners and do include some carbohydrates.

According to Grieger, it’s crucial for diabetics to study the nutrition information label to determine the overall amount of carbohydrates and make appropriate plans. Remember that a nutrition facts label’s information is based on one serving, and it’s simple to consume more than one serving of items that contain sugar alcohols, which can raise the number of total carbohydrates consumed. According to the University of California, San Francisco, if you are counting carbs to manage your diabetes, a general rule of thumb is to deduct half of the number of sugar alcohol carbs mentioned on the nutrition label from the total amount of carbs listed.

6. A Sugar Alcohol with Fewer Side Effects than Other Alternatives is erythritol.

Another sugar alcohol sweetener is erythritol, but unlike the others, it has fewer calories per gram, according to the International Food Information Council Foundation, and it has little impact on blood sugar levels, according to the American Diabetes Association. It is marketed as Swerve and is a component of the stevia-derived sweetener Truvia. Swerve can be used in baking and cooking recipes that call for sugar, and it measures cup for cup like sugar.

This can be a better choice for you if other sugar alcohol sweeteners upset your stomach. According to prior studies, only 10% of the erythritol you take makes it into your colon, which reduces the likelihood that it may cause the gas, bloating, and diarrhea that results from fermentation by gut bacteria. The remainder is expelled from the body through urine.

brown sugar stevia

Erythritol doesn’t have an ADI, but the FDA hasn’t questioned manufacturer notifications that the sweetener is “generally recognized as safe.”

7. Another natural option for sweetening your food is monk fruit sweetener.

This non-nutritive sweetener is derived from a plant that is indigenous to southern China and goes by the names Luo Han Guo fruit extract and Siraitia grosvenorii Swingle fruit extract. The extract is 150–200 times sweeter than sugar and has zero calories per serving, according to the International Food Information Council Foundation and the FDA. Lakanto and Monk Fruit in the Raw are two well-known brands. Manufacturers of monk fruit sweeteners have stated that their extract is “generally recognized as safe,” and the FDA has not questioned such statements. An ADI is not provided by the agency for monk fruit sweetener.

8. Popular Sugar Substitute Acesulfame Potassium in Diet Soda

This nonnutritive sweetener also referred to as Ace-K, is 200 times sweeter than sugar and is FDA-approved. Although it is also offered under the trade name Sweet One for tabletop use, producers frequently blend it with additional sweeteners. It can also be found in some of your favorite diet sodas, including Diet Mountain Dew and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. An ADI of 15 mg or less of Ace-K per kilogram of body weight per day is advised by the FDA.

To meet that level, a 132-pound person would need to ingest 23 tabletop packets of artificial sweeteners each day.

9. A New Artificial Sweetener Called Allulose (Dolcia Prima) Is No Longer Viewed as Added Sugar

The FDA states that allulose, also known as D-allulose or D-psicose, is a very low-calorie sweetener that is found naturally in small amounts in wheat, raisins, dried figs, brown sugar, and molasses. It is sold under the trade name Dolcia Prima and is produced by Tate & Lyle, the company that develops Splenda. It is 70% sweeter and contains 90% fewer calories than sucrose.

Dolce Prima can be found in the online-only Magic Spoon Cereal, and you can soon expect to find it in drinks, pastries, candies, yoghurt, and other goodies. Allulose received a significant boost from the FDA in April 2019 when the organization said going forward it could be removed from the total and added sugars specified on nutrition labels.

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According to Susan Mayne, Ph.D., head of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, “the current data suggests that allulose is different from other sugars in that it is not digested by the human body in the same way as table sugar.” It contains fewer calories, only slightly raises blood sugar or insulin levels, and does not cause tooth damage.

Instead of the prior caloric value of 4 calories per gram, producers may now use a caloric value of 0.4 calories per gram to determine the total amount of calories in each serving of allulose. The indicated total carbohydrates must still account for the sweetener. Allulose isn’t on the list of sweeteners that the FDA has approved, but the organization hasn’t questioned manufacturer notifications that the sweetener is “generally recognized as safe.”

However, according to a 2019-04-02 Food Manufacture article, neither Canada nor the European Union has authorized allulose for use as a sweetener. Research on its efficacy for regulating blood sugar is also limited to tiny studies, such as a small randomized, double-blinded trial funded by Tate & Lyle that was published in June 2018 in the journal Nutrients. Small dosages of allulose (5 or 10 g) did not significantly affect blood glucose levels when given together with a typical glucose tolerance test, according to the authors, who nevertheless suggested bigger sample sizes for future research.

One Final Point Regarding Sugar Substitutes and Type 2 Diabetes

As you can see, there are numerous artificial sweeteners available to support you in achieving your blood sugar targets. Just keep in mind that if you exercise moderation and refrain from overindulging in sweet-tasting foods and beverages, maintaining them will be simpler. In order to become used to the naturally sweet flavor of food, Grieger advises cutting back on all sweeteners, including sugar alternatives, in your diet. If your body is telling you something is enough, listen to it.

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