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From Patiala, Punjab, India

I am 18 years old, have had diabetes for the last three years, and I take four shots of insulin and a tablet of Alrid (an allergy medication) daily. Recently, I've started consuming sugar-free items like chocolates, chewing gums, candies, jams, etc. Should I consume such kind of things? What precautions should I take? Are they really harmful?


There are some effects of some sugar-free products. Products with sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, may cause gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea or gas. Other products such as sucralose and aspartame may have little or no side effects. These tend to be individual. My suggestion is, however, to keep the sugar-free items in the same category as regular sweets as they contain very few nutrients except fat and should be considered in the top part of the Food Guide Pyramid.


Additional comments from Betty Brackenridge, diabetes dietitian:

I would add that it is important to remember that "sugar-free" does not mean "free" from the standpoint of diabetes nutrition management. You still need to count the carbohydrates in sugar-free foods. If they have calories, they have carbohydrate. In fact, some of the sugar-free foods have just as much or more carbohydrate as the regular sweets they're designed to replace. Check your blood sugars after eating them to determine their effect on blood sugars. Many people with diabetes now just use regular sweets and count the carbs. The nutritional value (as Joyce pointed out) is not great for either category of sweets, but the "real" ones often are far less expensive and usually taste better than the "sugar-free" kind. After all, sweets are a treat, eaten occasionally for enjoyment - so when you do eat them, really enjoy them!


Original posting 1 Jan 2001
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:18
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