Tips to Safely Enjoy Sweets
Creativity is the key to enjoying good food while still managing your diabetes. It's all a matter of substituting small portions of sweets for other carb-containing foods in your meals and snacks. Carbs are found in a variety of foods including bread, cereal, corn, crackers, fruit, juice, milk, pasta, potatoes, rice, and yogurt. Having about 45 to 60 grams of carbs at meals is about right for most people with diabetes. Including dessert or sweets as a part of your meal is as simple as a substitution.
If you're craving cookies, for example, here's what to do. First, identify the carbs in your meal-and determine if you can substitute something with lower carbs, or if you can eliminate it all together. After either substituting or removing that carb, you now have room to work with. However many carbs you saved is how much you can add. Your total amount of carbohydrate intake remains the same for the meal.
The American Diabetes Association suggests building a comprehensive health care team, which includes a dietician. Coordinating with your physician and dietician will help you understand the parameters within which you have to operate with regard to carbohydrate consumption. After you've arrived at your optimal carb count, do a little math and have a little fun.
Sweeten the Deal
Don't ditch the artificial sweeteners. Low calorie sweeteners do not count as carbs, so they can be added to the meal rather than substituted.
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of the following low-calorie sweeteners:
- Saccharin can be used in both hot and cold foods to make them sweeter. You may recall that some studies which gave very large quantities of saccharine to rats raised concerns that saccharin could cause cancer. But many studies and years of use have shown saccharin to be safe in the quantities used by consumers.
- Aspartame is another low-calorie sweetener. Because high temperatures can decrease its sweetness, check the manufacturer's Web site or call their toll-free number for guidelines when using aspartame in recipes.
- Acesulfame potassium is acesulfame potassium, also called acesulfame-K. This sweetener is heat-stable and can be used in baking and cooking.
- Sucralose is the newest low-calorie sweetener on the market. It's is not affected by heat and retains its sweetness in hot beverages, baked goods, and processed foods.
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