It is a common understanding that persons with diabetes should not eat anything sweet, including fruits. This article examines this belief.
Can Diabetes Patients Eat Sweets?
Yes, diabetes is not a disorder of sweets. It is a metabolic disorder. That means eating sweets does not cause diabetes, and diabetics do not have to avoid sweets. Sweet foods contain carbohydrates which give them their sweetness. But all carbs are not bad. Hence, all sweets are not bad.
Does the Body Need Sweets or Sugars?
Yes, carbohydrate family, which contain different types of sugars like glucose, fructose, lactose, etc., are fuel for the body. Without it, we cannot work. When we eat carbohydrate-rich food, sugars are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, and from the blood, they are transported to different organs, tissues, and cells to provide energy. Therefore, to live and work, we need sugars.
Which Are Good and Bad Sugars?
Sugars are essential, as mentioned above. But the quality of sugar that we take with our food is important. It decides if we will have diabetes or not. Wrong types of refined and processed sugar which comes in the form of white table sugar, refined wheat flour and all stuff made of it, white rice products and processed milk and packed snacks can cause metabolic disorders in the body, which can lead to diabetes, and other metabolic disorders like obesity, fatty liver, high cholesterol, hypertension, etc.
Which Kind of Sugar Is Safe for Diabetics?
All natural, unprocessed sugars are safe in diabetes. Especially fruits, which contain a type of sugar known as fructose. Fructose is a simple sugar like glucose. However, it acts very differently as compared to glucose, and it does not mix with blood, as glucose does, and is stored in the liver. Fructose acts as stored sugar and not as instant sugar like glucose. Some fruits also contain glucose, but it is present in much lower quantity, which is not responsible for increasing the blood glucose level. Remember, glucose is the energy or fuel for the body, and even diabetic patients need it. But certainly not in excess.
Also, diabetics should take whole grains in moderation like whole wheat flour, unpolished rice (brown rice/red rice, etc.), millets like pearl millet (bajra), sorghum (jowar), finger millet (ragi), etc. are better alternatives.
All sugars are not bad, only foods containing refined and processed sugar need to be avoided. Whole fruits, vegetables, and grains, as provided by nature with minimal human intervention are the best foods to have.
Diabetes patients must not hesitate to eat all types of seasonal fruits, which having fructose, do not increase the level of blood glucose. Because of this, fruits are not only safe for diabetics, but they also help in lowering the level of glucose. Fruits also come packed with so many essential vitamins and minerals that maintain the nutritional balance of the body. Moreover, fruits provide a good dose of soluble fiber which helps in lowering the level of glucose in the blood.
White sugar must be completely avoided. Healthier sugar alternatives are organic jaggery powder, honey, and date syrup.
Therefore diabetics can safely have the right sweets and foods, avoiding wrong types and can keep their sugar levels in control.
Last reviewed at:
29 Sep 2018 - 2 min read
Diploma in Holistic Nutrition, Diploma in Sport & Exercise Nutrition
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