Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Diabetic Helps

My Aunt Patty found out that she has Type II diabetes and I wanted to help her out. I have been using most of these alternatives to sugar for quite some time. So I compiled a list off the top of my head and found some information to go with it. There are several recipes in my recipe blog that take sugar into consideration. I'm going to start the list here of some alternative sweeteners, and I will add to it as I find them.

Stevia is a great and safe alternative to sugar, there are limitations though to it's use. First of all a lot of stevia brands that are out there have a bitter aftertaste. But I have been able to put it in quite a few things.
Here is a link to the Body Ecology Diet's info on Stevia...

Birtch Sugar/Xylitol

Be careful here, although Xylitol can be helpful to have in your diet, not only as a sugar substitute but also for strengthening your teeth and fighting yeast infections. It also has a laxitive effect and kills off yeast quickly which could leave you feeling odd. So although I have used it for baking and chewing gum I don't recommend consuming a lot of it. One other note is that some xylitol is produced from corn cobs and therefore can be a GMO. So try to stick with Xylitol from birtch bark.

Malitol- Claims that malitol is a "sugar free alternative" are misleading, watch your step with this one as well. It can be used in limited amounts but don't use it regularly.

Maple Syrup - Flavorful and natural it doesn't get much more unrefined than this.

Black Strap Molasses: Black strap molasses is a nutritional powerhouse. The "By" product of producing sugar, it consists of the minerals and vitamins that the refining process leaves behind. I love to eat it on my Gluten Free oatmeal in the morning. It is high in Iron, calcium, copper, maganese, magnesium, Vit. B6 and Selenium. It is low in calories and loaded with flavor so a little goes a long way. Make sure to use "BlackStrap" Molasses however because dark molasses is a no no.

Palm Sugar: I just barely got my hands on some palm sugar and I love the smoky, carmel flavor of it. It is said to be a good choice for diabetics because it is low in glucose. It is expensive in the health food store but you can find it in Asian markets. However manufacturers often mislabel it so you might end up with something besides the palm sugar. Here are some links to info on palm sugar.

Succanat: Is a lesser refined version of cane sugar. I love the taste of succanat and you can often find it in the bins at the health food store.

Sucanat (Sugar Cane Natural) is sugar in a more natural form. It is extracted from the sugar cane and the freshly squeezed juice is evaporated by a special Swiss process. Only the water is removed. This process preserves all of the molasses. Sucanat is organically grown with no added preservatives and additives.

Some sweeteners, including date sugar and less refined, dark brown sugars, showed potential for managing Type 2 diabetes and related complications − information that could help Type 2 diabetics make better dietary choices.

“Depending on their origin and grade of refining, many sweeteners contained significant amounts of antioxidants, which have the potential to control diabetes-linked high blood pressure and heart disease,” says Shetty, who adds that these were in vitro laboratory studies performed outside of living organisms. “Several types of sweeteners also showed an interesting potential to inhibit the action of a key enzyme related to Type 2 diabetes, which is also the target of drugs used to treat this condition.”

*Warning* Against Splenda

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