food mythbusters

Before you moan over how your diabetes condition prevents you from eating and drinking your favourite foods and beverages, there are some truths you need to know:

1. Sweets like candy and cake are not completely off-limits to people with diabetes.

Sweet indulgences – candies, pies, cakes, pastries – were once prohibited food items for diabetics. Now that’s no longer the case.

Research has shown that starches like potatoes and white bread affect your blood glucose levels much like sugar does, sometimes triggering dangerous spikes in blood sugar. Carbohydrates found in most vegetables or whole grains don’t affect blood sugar as much.

 So today, counting carbs and choosing the healthiest amongst them has become substantially more important than eliminating sugar altogether from a person’s diet. An occasional sweet treat is fine – at the very least, have a very small slice of cake. For the sugar-conscious, just substitute your glucose intake with another starchy carb, like a small potato or a piece of white bread.

If you really have a sweet tooth, choose desserts, candy, and sodas made with sugar substitutes. Many artificial sweeteners contain no carbs or calories, so you don’t need to count them in your meal plan. The ones that do typically have carbohydrates that are absorbed into your blood more slowly than table sugar, so they don’t pose a threat to your blood sugar levels.

2. A glass of wine with dinner is fine for people with diabetes.

Of course, everything in moderation, alcohol is fine. Experts say that women can safely have 1 drink a day; 2 drinks for men. However, please keep the amounts small. 4 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer equals a serving and just 1.5 ounces of hard liquor also equals to one serving.

There are exceptions for certain conditions though: People whose blood sugar levels are not under control – or who have nerve damage from diabetes – shouldn’t drink alcohol. It is not recommended at all by professionals.

3. Foods high in fiber, such as beans, can help lower your blood sugar levels.

A high fiber diet (more than 50 grams per day) has been proven to help lower blood sugar levels. Your body digests fiber-rich foods more slowly, which means glucose is absorbed into your blood gradually, thereby helping to moderate your blood sugar levels.

But you have to eat a very high fiber diet to attain this effect!

This special diet can help cholesterol levels, lose weight, and feel fuller. Some of the food choices containing fiber include: fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grain bread and crackers, and bran cereal. HOWEVER, always remember to check food labels for carbohydrates. Many high-fiber foods have sugar added to help them taste better.

Please consult with a doctor or a nutritionist to confirm whether this diet is optimal for your meal requirements.

4. Artificial sweeteners are safe alternatives for people with diabetes.

With low-calorie sweeteners, you can have sweetness that tastes as good as sugar, without the extra calories! Artificial sweeteners like saccharin and aspartame have no calories or carbohydrates, so they can be added to your meal plan rather than substituted for other carbs.

In fact, for people who bake but are conscious of sugar usage, some new sugar substitutes, like lactitol, are great for baking. They have the same “bulk” that regular sugar has. Yet they have half the calories of sugar, and they don’t raise blood sugar levels rapidly like sugar does.

So there you have it, folks! 4 unlikely things you may not have known has revealed possible alternatives in your daily diet.

Please note that these are not recommendations from an actual medical professional. Before engaging in any dietary exceptions, please consult with your doctor whether you can afford to do so as the restrictions of diabetes differ from person to person.