Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sugar Free is not Carbohydrate Free

People with diabetes do not need special foods. In fact, the foods that are good for you are good for everyone. The diabetic aisle in the grocery store can most likely be avoided. Special foods are not only costly, but labels are sometimes deceiving. If you are taking insulin, the prescribed amount will cover your daily carbohydrate intake, no matter what the form; including sugar.
Foods labeled as sugar-free, no sugar added, reduced sugar, and dietetic may still contain carbohydrate. Sugar is only one type of carbohydrate that affects blood glucose levels. Sugar free puddings, for example contain starch, which is a more complex carbohydrate. If you are carb-counting, look at the Nutrition Facts Panel instead of relying on claims on the front of the box.
If you don’t have a lot of time when reading labels, simply look at the total carbohydrate in a food. The total carbohydrate includes starch, fiber, sugar, and sugar alcohols. Using the amount of total carbohydrate will give you a pretty good number to use for carbohydrate counting. It is more helpful to check the total carbohydrate because it includes both sugar and starch. If you only look at the sugar content, you are not accounting for the starch in a food.
~American Diabetes Association~

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