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5 Diabetic Foods to Enjoy

As a diabetic, are you destined to eat broccoli and cooked fish? Is there no way you can enjoy your sugar-free food so much?

One goal of diabetes treatment is to keep your blood sugar within reasonable limits. But patients and doctors alike have forgotten that it's not just about numbers. The goal is to live a longer, more fulfilling life.

As a diabetic you need a healthy diet, but like everyone else, you want to enjoy your diet. Can you eat one gallon of ice cream and maintain a healthy blood sugar level? Maybe not. However, non-diabetic patients have consequences to consider as well: weight gain, high blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.

In recent years many foods have been developed for people aimed at reducing their sugar intake - both diabetic and diabetic.

Here are 5 diabetic foods to enjoy that will not send your sugar through the roof.

1. No extra ice cream. Alcohol sugar has been around for decades, previously used mainly in sugar-free gum. For example, Sorbitol does not cause tooth decay like regular sugar. In recent years, the use of these sugars in alcohol has been extended to other foods as well, as they do not release blood glucose like table sugar. Half a cup without sugar adds about 100 calories of ice cream, slightly more than a piece of wheat bread. Skip the fried potatoes or dinner bread and enjoy some berries with a spoon without extra ice cream. Keep in mind that excess can exceed your daily calorie requirements and can cause diarrhea too.

2. No sugar added sugar. Big name candy manufacturers (Whitman, Russell Stover, London, Werther, and others) have jumped on the diabetic candy band booth. Also sweet with alcoholic sugar, these treats have the same amount of calories as regular candy, but do not increase blood glucose levels quickly. If you have a desire for chocolate you can't deny it, skip the beans and have a piece or two after dinner.

3. No sugar added sugar. Both restaurants and frozen food manufacturers have begun to tackle diabetes, offering dessert drinks with alcohol sugar. The standard restaurant that serves pies (1/6 pie) contains about 500 calories, either sweet with regular sugar or alcohol sugar. The difference is that alcohol sugar does not release your blood glucose quickly. But 500 calories is more than most diabetics need for dessert. Cut your calories in half by either eating just enough (no one ever said you need to eat crust) or eating just half the size - if you skip the toast you'll be out though.

4. Sweets without sugar. Everyone has room for Jello - or the saying goes. Sugar-free sugars, even in large portions, add a bit of calories to their diet, but they do taste like real dessert. Tied with whip cream, the large bowl has about the same calories as a piece of bread. Skip the bread or corn and enjoy a light but satisfying dessert.

5. Sugar-free yogurt. A typical cup of sweet yogurt holds about 250 calories, while sugar-free yogurt has 80 to 120 calories per serving. While it can be enjoyed on your own, why not dress it up with a little granola or some fresh, cooked fruit? Many types of frozen yogurt and yogurt are sweetened with artificial sweeteners or alcohol sugars, or a combination of both. Whether served as breakfast or dessert, sugar-free yogurt can satisfy sweet tooth and provide calcium and small amounts of protein as well.

If your doctor does not enjoy candy, he or she may not be thinking about informing you about the dessert options you may still enjoy.. But I have sweet teeth, and knowing how many people share this trait, I think it's important to educate the diabetic population about the foods they can take without ignoring the risk of hyperglycermia. Of course, portion size remains important, and it's not advisable to spend all your daily calories on candy. But everyone needs to take care of it now and then, and a few hundred calories of sugar-free dessert, when substituted for other carbohydrates, will do little harm to your blood sugar and much good for your spirits.

Copyright 2010 Cynthia J. Koelker, M.D.


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