Sweet as: The lowdown on sugar alternatives
Sugar alternatives are a hot topic in the type 1 community, as they can allow people with type 1 to enjoy sweet treats without having a major impact on their blood glucose levels. There are many sweeteners available on the market – some natural, and some artificial. Different sweeteners have different uses, levels of sweetness, pros and cons. The addition of non-sugar sweeteners to food and drinks in Australia is regulated by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), and the sweeteners discussed in this article are generally regarded as safe by FSANZ. In this Clinic Chat, I researched the sweeteners you can find in everyday foods and on supermarket shelves and compiled what I discovered into handy tables, so you know what you’re getting when you reach for a sugar alternative. And to make it really easy, I've included a downloadable to print and keep, which you'll find at the end! With such a variety of sweetener options available, it's important to consider what use you'll put a sweetener to before choosing which one to use. I generally use stevia, erythritol and xylitol in my cooking, but I consider the recipe, the cooking method, the level of sweetness I need and any adverse effects before I pick a product. From a health perspective, sweeteners provide no beneficial nutrition. Their primary benefit to a person with type 1 is that they add sweetness with far fewer carbohydrates than sugar, making blood glucose easier to manage if you have a sweet treat. The Family Centre's Sugar Alternatives Comparison Chart is only a click away - jump across to the Recipes and Resources page on our website to download!