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December 29, 2001

Meal Planning, Food and Diet

Question from North Carolina, USA

I use the carbohydrate counting method when planning my meals and currently eat unsweetened applesauce, which contains 16 grams of CHO [carbohydrate] per serving (one-half cup), but I would like to switch to sweetened applesauce as I like the taste of this much better. The sweetened applesauce contains 23 grams of CHO per serving (one-half cup) so I believe I would need to count this as one and a half carbs. I am concerned with switching to the sweetened applesauce because the second ingredient is high fructose corn syrup. I have found this to be the true for fruit juices vs fruit drinks. I eat the applesauce two to four times a week and juices two to three times a day. I would really like to switch over to the sweetened products. Is there reason to be concerned?

ANSWER:

Total amount of carbohydrate is more important than the source of the carbohydrate (i.e., fructose vs sucrose). You are right that one-half cup serving of sweetened applesauce is about one and a half servings of carbohydrate. There's no reason why you couldn't have the sweetened as opposed to the unsweetened applesauce -- just work it in to your meal planning. You may have to give up an extra one-half carb serving that you might have had if you went with the unsweetened applesauce, but for the taste difference, it's probably a half carb well spent. Keep up the good work with your carbohydrate counting. JMS Additional comments from Dr. Phillip S Ledereich: Consider trying the unsweetend applesauce, and add some Splenda (sucralose) or Equal (aspartame) to it. We had bought for my son some no-carb flavorings for sweetening his milk, and I have used it for coffee flavoring, applesauce, and even in cottage cheese (I think the flavorings make them taste like ice cream). PSL Additional comments from Lois Schmidt Finney, diabetes dietitian: I do not know if you are on insulin, but if you are on insulin, this extra carbohydrate may make a difference. If you are not on insulin, the half carb is not much to worry about. Anyway, if you want other options, you could try: using a smaller portion (i.e., take out 2 tablespoons) of the sweetened applesauce so it is still only 1 carb serving use a small amount of an artificial sweetener with the unsweetened applesauce combine the 2 applesauces and see how that tastes. If it tastes good, you might wish to just use that and I would then count 1/2 cup of that mixture as 15 grams carbohydrate, even though it is closer to 18 or 19 The use of the high fructose corn syrup will not matter in the control of your blood glucose since it is the total amount of carbohydrate. LSF