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What To Do When You’re Diabetic But Have A Sweet Tooth?

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Having diabetes doesn’t mean you cannot satisfy your sugar cravings. Sometimes you just need desserts, especially when some sugar can raise your spirits. With simple swaps and easy daily adjustments, you can consume desserts without increasing your blood sugar level. How? You need to control your daily sugar intake by thinking creatively about your food choices.

What Happens When You Consume Sugary Foods?

Foods rich in carbohydrates contain some form of sugar, fibres and starch. To digest sugar, our body breaks it down to glucose. This glucose is then transported to body cells to produce energy. This “transporter” is called Insulin – it moves glucose from the blood to body cells.

However, if you have diabetes, you do not have sufficient insulin. This increases glucose in the blood. Excess insulin can cause serious problems like heart disease, vision problems, kidney disease and stroke.

But there is a catch. The amount of sugar you are consuming depends on the amount and type of carbohydrates you are eating. Most sweets, cakes, candies and cookies have a high level of added sugars and unsaturated/unhealthy fats. Such foods can spike your blood sugar level. This is why you must avoid foods with extra sugar, unhealthy fats and high levels of sodium.

Can Patients with Diabetes Satisfy Their Sugar Cravings?

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), diabetics can consume sweets in a controlled way along with a well-balanced diet. Keep your body weight in check and regulate your everyday sugar intake. Regularly check your blood sugar level.

You cannot cut out sugar from your diet completely. If you do so, it would increase your cravings. So, plan a healthy diet and treat yourself with sweets intermittently. 

How Can Diabetics Indulge in Sweet Treats?

Here’s how you can regulate daily sugar consumption without setting off alarms:

  • Plan a healthy meal Consult a dietitian about what, when and how much you should eat.  Treat yourself with desserts sometimes, depending on how well you are managing your sugar in the diet. It is important to keep the total amount of carbohydrates intake in check. If you are planning for dessert, then you have to cut down on carbohydrates in your meal.
  • Take small servings – Take a small portion of cakes or cookies instead of having a large chunk. It will help you control your sugar consumption.
  • Mind intake of sugar-free food – There are sugar-free Jell-O, sugar-free sweets and sugar-free diabetic desserts available in the market. They seem like a healthy option to satisfy your sweet tooth. But, you should always mindfully choose them as they have sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners. They may end up increasing sugar cravings.
  • Swap for a healthier option – While choosing the food, always focus on health benefits, added sugars and the type of carbs present in it. For this, you may swap for a healthier version, such as:
    • Instead of refined flour, try multigrain flour, oatmeal flour or wheat bran flour.
    • Choose diabetic sweets instead of the traditional sugar and calorie-loaded sweets.
    • Instead of choosing sugar-loaded beverages, take the one with no added sugars. Do not drink alcohol, canned juices and soft drinks.
    • Eat vegetables with low starch, such as beans, spinach, broccoli, cabbage and carrots.
    • Choose diabetic desserts instead of cakes, candies and cookies with additional sugar.
    • Try salsa instead of ketchup, wheat pasta instead of regular pasta, cinnamon to sweeten the coffee, sweet corn and sweet potatoes for dishes. Go for low sugar frozen yoghurt instead of ice cream.
  • Eat more fruits – This is the healthiest option to manage your sweet tooth. Fruits have natural sugar and added health benefits as they contain fibres, vitamins and minerals. The fibres present in fruits take more time to digest and they don’t rapidly increase the sugar level in the blood. 
  • Chocolates – Flavonol in chocolates helps control blood sugar and improves the response of insulin. But, most chocolates have more added sugar and less flavanol. So choose chocolates with more levels of flavonol and no added sugar. You can go for dark chocolates instead of milk chocolates.
  • Try to avoid temptations – Focus on other things to satisfy your sugar cravings. Practice self-control, meditation and yoga. Don’t keep candies in front of your eyes. Ask your family members or friends to help by keeping sugary food out of sight.

Conclusion

A healthier portion of sweets and desserts for diabetics can be a part of a balanced diet, even for people with diabetes. But you must keep an eye on your daily sugar and meal carbohydrate intake. If you are having trouble controlling your daily sugar intake or have any doubts regarding it, consult a health care professional and a registered dietitian.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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