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April 26, 2000

Meal Planning, Food and Diet

Question from Puerto Rico:

Can children with diabetes consume foods with sugar added, like Fructose, Sorbitol , polydextrose and maltodextrine, etc? If they can, when we read the ingredients in the nutritional labeling in which position they should be? Example: Ice cream (no sugar added with Aspartame) in the ingredient list has polydextrose and maltodextrine. Also fructose in first position is very common in products for diabetic like pancake syrup, cookies, etc It is necessary to restrict juices 100% to bedtime snacks in order to avoid a rise in blood sugar levels during the day and prevent hypoglycemia during the night?

Answer:

Looking at the label for the total carbohydrate content of the food is a good place to start. Knowing what sugars the food has in it will help you determine how each food affects your child.

There really are no absolutes when it comes to food. Some children do fine with sugar, fructose, polydextrose, etc, and some may have high blood sugars when they are consumed. Testing the food is the best way to know and using the foods that make the blood sugar go higher when your child is more active may help you keep a variety of foods in your child’s diet without it seeming too restrictive. Children should not feel like “food and a blood sugar” so if you know how the food affects your child you can be ready to use it when it is most appropriate. Juices tend to affect the blood sugar of smaller children more than older children, but they should be included in a healthy diet in moderation. They may be best mixed with a meal rather than offered as a single snack. They do not last long in the system as a general rule and should not be used alone as a bedtime snack.

JM