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What Are Some "Diabetic" Foods?


"Diabetic" foods are easily available in many supermarkets and shops, and are carbohydrate modified products. Usually one of the alternative sweeteners is used instead of sucrose to provide the sweet taste. Certain adjustments in ingredients may also be necessary to achieve a more palatable and presentable sugarless product, to compensate for other properties of sugar.


These products cannot be classified in the "free food" group (i.e. foods which contain negligible calories to be eaten without limitation, for example, spices and leafy vegetables). Diabetic foods contain calories, and in some cases more calories than the usual sugared product. They also tend to be more expensive.


Diabetic jams are popular especially among those requiring fat and salt restriction, thus limiting the use of other spreads like cheese, marmite or peanut butter. There are different types of diabetic jam, some are fruit concentrates using only the fructose naturally present in the fruit without adding any other sweetening agent, others alternative sweeteners, for example, use aspartame or sorbitol as a sweetening agent. Remember that sorbitol has a laxative effect.


Sugar, apart from its sweetening properties, acts as a preservative and gives color from caramelization. Thus some of these reduced sugar jams may contain added food coloring and preservatives, or may suffer from poor keeping quality once the jar is opened.


Diet Soft Drinks


Diet soft drinks may be taken by diabetics who relish a fizzy low calorie drink; some contain only 1 Kcal/can. Soda water or fizzy mineral water is also allowed.


Unsweetened Fruit Juice


Unsweetened fruit juice is available in large tetrapacs. They are allowed with a high fiber meal, but not on an empty stomach, because the carbohydrate from these drinks is rapidly absorbed when drunk on their own. When mixed with other foods, absorption is slowed to some extent. The natural sugar present in the drink must be calculated as part of your carbohydrate allowance. A fruit eaten as a whole would be a wiser choice.


Diabetic Chocolates and Sweets


Diabetic chocolates and sweets are allowed especially in children who may feel deprived when other children are indulging in sweets and candies. Modifications needed to improve the texture of diabetic chocolates may require an increase in fat, and thus in calories. Sorbitol is frequently used as a sweetening agent and over-indulgence may cause diarrhea.


Tabletop Sweeteners


Tabletop sweeteners are available in tablet, sachet or liquid form. Each serving has the equivalent sweetness of 1-2 teaspoons of sugar.


These "diabetic" products are really not necessary for any diabetic person; they may be used to add variety to make people feel less deprived and to add a sweet taste now and then. They should be used sparingly.



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