Sugar and artificial sweetener’s
There are two types of sugar:
- Natural sugar found in milk and fruit.
- Table sugar and concentrated sources like fruit juice.
It’s easy to know how much sugar you are consuming when you add it to your food or bake with it, but what about the increasing level of sugar that manufacturers are adding to food, even savoury foods? Compared to the simple beet sugar that we were all familiar with we are now faced with labels showing terms that we may not associate with sugar.
The following list gives the titles of some types of sugar:
- Agave nectar
- Anhydrous dextrose
- Barley malt
- Beet sugar
- Blackstrap molasses
- Brown rice syrup
- Brown sugar
- Cane crystals
- Cane sugar
- Coconut palm sugar
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- Corn syrup solids
- Crystalline fructose
- Evaporated cane juice
- Fruit juice concentrates
- Fruit nectars
- Grape sugar
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Malt syrup
- Maple syrup
- Pancake syrup
- Powdered sugar
- Rice sugar
There are a bewildering number of artificial sweeteners available and they are also showing up in processed foods, sometimes labelled ‘natural sweetener’. As they are all highly processed, the term ‘natural’ isn’t accurate. If I need sweetener in a recipe I use regular sugar or honey. I reduce the amount of sugar where possible and use butter and nuts which slow down the absorption rate of the sugar. Here is a list of some artificial sweeteners:
- Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K)
- Luo Han Guo fruit extracts
- Steviol glycosides
You will find some of the names above on many food labels and some foods contain several different types of sugar and artificial sweetener, which is a bit deceptive (you many only recognise one or two). I find that eating foods with additives (all the names on the lists above) interfere with the control of my diabetes, even though they are ‘sugar free’.
I find regular table sugar or honey, used in baking etc. responds as expected to insulin but that other types don’t always give the expected results. I use the rule of thumb that the shorter the ingredient list the better and buying single ingredients is best.
Years ago having type 1 diabetes meant eliminating sugar completely, but with medical advances T1’s can eat sugar in moderation. As long as we give the correct amount of insulin for the sugar consumed and eat a healthy diet, a small amount of sugar shouldn’t have any effect on our overall control.
Here are a few ideas on reducing the amount of sugar in your diet:
- Replace sugar loaded yogurt with probiotic or natural yogurt. Add berries or nuts and seeds if liked.
- Sprinkle cinnamon on porridge and hot milky drinks instead of sugar.
- Replace sugary or artificially sweetened fizzy drinks with sparkling water and a slice of fruit or some herbs.
- Replace jars of Bolognese type sauces with homemade sauces. You can make enough for 2 meals and freeze some.
- Bake instead of buying processed baked goods. There are lots of healthy recipes with only a small amount of sugar and lots of fibre or protein which slows down the absorption of the sugar.