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The Myth About Sugar Free Foods

Aug 17, 2007
If you suffer from Diabetes then you know that keeping track of the sugar in foods you consume is critical to your health. It is a daily process of controlling blood sugar levels. There are many processed snacks such as cookies, soda, and chewing gum that you want to eat, but are unable to due to your diabetes. Many food companies have created sugar free foods as a substitute for people with diabetes. If you think that these sugar free foods will have no effect on your blood sugar level then think again!

The alarming news is that sugar free foods may have the same effect as sugar foods. How can this be true? Food manufacturers use sugar alcohol instead of sugar in an attempt to minimize the effect of the food on your blood sugar level. Sugar alcohol is a sugar substitute that has roughly 50% fewer calories than regular sugar. Sugar alcohols are derived from natural foods including fruits.

Sugar alcohols help lower blood sugar levels because they are converted to glucose at a much slower rate. Therefore, they don't cause a spike in your blood sugar level like sugar. Plus, sugar alcohols can be metabolized with very little insulin, if any at all.

Many people with diabetes are often confused by the sugar free labeling on processed foods. They automatically assume that they can eat this food because it won't affect their blood sugar level. They do not understand that sugar free means that the product has sugar alcohols and is still a significant source of carbohydrates. Therefore, if they consume this product they will have trouble lowering their blood sugar levels.

Another negative side effect of sugar free foods is that you can experience bloating and diarrhea as sugar alcohols can mimic the effects of laxatives. These negative effects are amplified when you over indulge in these sugar free foods.

The key is to be able to read the food labels on the sugar free food products. The food label contains valuable information that diabetes sufferers need to examine to help control their blood sugar levels. The food label will list Nutrition Facts. First, it is critical to note the serving size. Serving sizes can differ and if you only focus on the calories, fat, etc. you may have a false perception of the food.

The key areas to examine are the Total Carbohydrate and sugar alcohols as these have the most profound effect on your blood sugar levels. Sugar free foods will list the sugar alcohols used. Examples of sugar alcohols include: sorbitol, mannitol, isomalt, xylitol, lactitol, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates. A free food is one that has fewer than 20 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrate. Check to see if the food fits these guidelines to help you determine how it will affect your blood sugar level and how much you should consume.

Essentially every person with diabetes should realize that sugar free foods may have a similar effect on their blood sugar levels as that of sugar foods. Be informed and read the food labels to ensure that you are controlling your blood sugar levels.
About the Author
Julia Hanf author of 'How to Play the Diabetes Diet Game and Win'. Visit http://www.yourdiabetescure.com/adtrackz/go.php?c=articlej
and find out what you can do to start defeating diabetes
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