Why Sweeteners For Diabetics?

While people with diabetes are told to control their intake of sugar, it is also true that they now have a wide variety of options in sweeteners available. There are natural sweeteners as well as artificial ones also known as sugar substitutes. The best artificial sweeteners for diabetics are those that have little or no calories or carbohydrate. These will not affect the blood glucose levels and hence are considered safe.

Though you have diabetes, you need to control your sugar intake depending on your condition. It is not true that eating sweets or sweetened food items can give you diabetes. There are many factors playing a part in someone being diagnosed as diabetic, and these include heredity, age, body weight, race, and ethnicity, etc.

10 Best Artificial Sweeteners For Diabetics

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tested and approved the six artificial sweeteners mentioned below. These can either be used as tabletop sweeteners for tea, coffee, salads, etc. or can be used by food companies in place of sugar, especially when they intend to make products for people with diabetes. Since they are FDA-approved, these are reported to be the safest artificial sweeteners for diabetics.

All these artificial sweeteners are molecules that are manufactured chemically and not existing ones in nature.

1. Sucralose

Guide for Sucralose

This is one of the best artificial sweeteners for diabetics. It contains 600 times the sweetness contained in sugar. This is manufactured from Sucrose bringing in some molecular changes that make it sweeter than sugar. Sucralose is also heat stable and hence is mostly used in baked foods and is a preferred artificial sweetener for most food manufacturers. This one comes with the brand name Splenda.

2. Saccharin

Saccharin is an artificial sweetener that humans discovered as long back as 1879 and hence one of the oldest known artificial sweeteners. It contains anywhere between 200 to 700 times the sweetness of sugar. Approved as a special dietary sweetener, this one is commercially available as “sodium saccharin,” “acid saccharin” or “calcium saccharin.” The brand names are:

  • Necta Sweet
  • Sweet’N Low
  • Sweet Twin  

3. Aspartame

Said to be about 200 times as sweet as sugar, this artificial sweetener comes with a rider that it is not to be used by people with phenylketonuria (PKU), which is a rare genetic disorder. This artificial sweetener contains about four calories per gram, but it is not stable at baking and cooking temperatures, so its use is limited. This sweetener is available in brand names:

  • Nutrasweet
  • Equal
  • Sugar Twin

4. Acesulfame Potassium

Effect of sweetener

This artificial sweetener is also known as Acesulfame K or Ace K and it contains about 200 times that of the sweet found in sugar. This is often used in combination with other sweeteners. This can be found in many food products like candies, chewing gums, baked foods, dessert mixes, etc. and beverages like carbonated drinks and even alcoholic drinks.

This is also found in pharmaceutical and oral hygiene products. This sweetener contains no calories.Ace K is stable even below 400°F temperatures, and this is an advantage that it has over other sweeteners. This is also used in combination with other sweeteners. The brand names are:

  • Sweet One
  • Sunnet
  • Sweet & Safe

5. Advantame

With 20,000 times more sweetness than sugar, this one is approved by the FDA for general use in foods & beverages as an additive except in the cases of meat and poultry. It is also classified as recognized as safe (GRAS) by the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association for use in frozen desserts, dairy, beverages, and chewing gum. Since it is only used as an additive, there is no brand name associated with it as such.

6. Neotame

This is another powerful artificial sweetener that is said to be 7000 to 13000 times sweeter than sugar. This is composed of aspartic acid and phenylalanine. It has no calories. Currently available in brand name Newtame, its usage same as that of Ace-K and aspartame.

 7. Stevia Or Rebaudioside A

Stevia also called as steviol glycosides, Reb-A or rebiana comes from the leaves of the Stevia plant and is said to be a product that is highly purified. It is 200 to 400 times sweeter than sugar. Reb-A is recognized as safe (GRAS) to be used as a tabletop sweetener as well as a food additive. This product comes in brands like:

  • Sweet Leaf
  • PureVia
  • Truvia
  • Stevia in the Raw

8. Monk Fruit Extract

Monk Fruit Sweeteners

Also called as swingle fruit extract (Luo Han Guo) or Siraitia grosvenorii, this fruit is native to northern Thailand and southern parts of China. Its extract is said to be 300 times as sweet as sugar and has been used as an artificial sweetener for long in China.It is also grown widely in these parts as it is used in many traditional Chinese medicines.This is recognized safe (GRAS) for use as a sweetener.

Available brands include:

  • Monk Fruit in the Raw
  • PureFruit
  • PureLo
  • Nectresse

9. Psicose 

Psicose is also known as allulose or ribo-2-hexulose. This was first identified over 70 years ago in wheat and contains about 70% of sweetness as that of sucrose. Listed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe product, it is approved for use in many products. This contains zero or almost no calories. Available brand names:

  • Dolcia Prima
  • Allsweet

10. Cyclamate

Though still used as an artificial sweetener in many parts of the world, this one is banned in the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The banning was done after lab tests on rats showed that large quantities of this molecule could cause bladder cancer.

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