Sugary treats, desserts and diabetes: What you need to know?

May 6, 20170

Being told you have diabetes isn’t easy for anyone. The doctor’s tell you about blood sugar levels and the importance of a healthy diet and exercise routine. Then they’ll likely tell you to avoid alcohol and smoking if you were doing either. Soon, you’ll be explained about possible serious complications in the future if you aren’t careful now. Things like heart problems, high cholesterol levels, vision problems, nerve damage; stuff you didn’t really pay attention to is at risk.

But nevertheless, your medical team is boosting your morale and you keep your chin up deciding you can do this. But then you come home, and all your friends and family have one thing to say – no more sugar! Life can seem so unfair right. Well, we are here to tell you that sugar is not your enemy. And just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you can never enjoy a sweet treat again!

But what about keeping blood sugar levels in range?

The most common thought is a piece of dessert will cause a spike in blood sugar levels and thus no sweets at all. But the truth is a small piece of dessert is not a problem when had in moderation. What needs attention is the way it is consumed and balancing the rest of your carbohydrates.

Research has shown that a meal with high amounts of carbohydrates is more likely to impact your blood sugar levels than a small piece of dessert. Since all carbohydrates are broken down into sugar in the body, the amount of carbohydrates consumed in a meal or during the day will have a huge bearing on one’s sugar levels.

Now there are two types of carbohydrates processed by the body – sugar and starch. Did you know that they both impact the blood sugar levels in a similar manner? So eating one portion bread or white rice (starch) has a similar effect on blood glucose levels like a portion of dessert (sugar)!For example –a spoonful of sugar in your tea is only 4 grams of carbohydrates while a slice of bread has 15 grams. Similarly, one pancake has about 15 grams of carbohydrates which is half the amount found in a regular potato at 30 grams.

But this doesn’t mean you can replace all your meals with desserts – after all nutrition is important too! Also, keep in mind most sugary treats are also rich in fat and refined flour, making them quite unhealthy. This is also why on a whole it is advised to opt for whole grain and high fibre foods as they have a lesser impact on sugar levels.

Also, be careful of the type of dessert you choose. A small slice of regular cake occasionally or a piece of your favourite chocolate, should not be a problem if you balance the carbohydrates consumed during the rest of the day. However, indulging in a slice of triple cream layer chocolate cake is likely to send your blood sugar levels spinning.

So how should I deal with my sugar cravings?

Firstly be sure talk to your nutritionist about a balanced meal plan. Discuss your favourite desserts and how you can incorporate them in your diet without impacting blood sugar levels. Together you can draw up a meal plan which is healthy while allowing you an occasional treat.

Fruits are also a great source of natural sweetness! Snack on some sweet apples or a handful of berries for great health benefits and to satisfy sugar cravings. Also, you can opt for treats made with artificial sweeteners or stevia, but be careful not to overdo them as they are usually low in nutrition. Low sweet granola with yogurt is also a great option for many.

Overall keep in mind that portion size is very important. Avoid heavy calorific meals, but eat smaller lighter portions through the day. Focus more on the overall calories and carbohydrates rather than only on sugar. Follow a healthy lifestyle and you can be sure to reward yourself with a small treat occasionally.

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