Recent studies have shown that simple sugars like table sugar (sucrose) do not raise your blood sugar higher or faster than other types of carbohydrates. According to the American Diabetes Association:

It is important, however, to follow how your own blood sugar responds to sugar-containing foods. Here are some important facts about sugar:

  • Sugar is a carbohydrate.
  • Foods that are high in sugar tend to be less nutritious.
  • Sugar is listed on a food label under the total carbohydrates.

Artificial sweeteners, also called low-calorie sweeteners, contain no sucrose (sugar). They are usually low in calories and most DO NOT affect your blood sugar level. The Food and Drug Administration has approved their use and the American Diabetes Association considers them to be safe.

Here are some examples of artificial sweeteners:

  • Sucralose (Splenda)
  • Acesulfame K (Sweet One)
  • Aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal)
  • Saccharin (Sugar-Twin, Sweet n' Low, Sucaryl, Featherweight)

Other calorie-containing sweeteners are sugar alcohols, like sorbitol and mannitol. These may have a smaller effect on your blood sugar levels than table sugar. These are included on the nutrition label as carbohydrates. Count them as part of your total carbohydrate intake and remember that they contain calories.

"Dietetic or Sugar-Free" labels can be very deceptive. These foods are not calorie or carbohydrate-free and some have more calories than the non-dietetic variety. Often there are other carbohydrates in the ingredients, which may raise your blood sugar levels. Don't be fooled by sugar-free pies or cookies.

The bottom line is don't pay too much attention to the advertised message on the front of the food package. Checking labels for calories and carbohydrates gives you the information you need.

 

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Review Date: 5/1/2006

Reviewed By: Alan Greene, M.D., F.A.A.P., Department of Pediatrics, Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine; Chief Medical Officer, A.D.A.M., Inc.


The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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