Snacks can help curb hunger and add a nutritious energy boost to your day. When you are a diabetic, planning your snacks/meals is important for managing the disease. But, what about sugar free foods?
What you may not be aware of is that sugar-free does not necessarily mean carbohydrate or calorie free. Some sugar substitutes tend not to add calories, but it is the carbohydrate that has the greatest effect on blood glucose.
If you have diabetes, you know that by cutting sugary foods out of your diet does not manage your condition. What is necessary is to count the carbohydrates and calories in the food as part of your overall meal plan.
If you eat foods with sugar replacements such as: sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, or isomalt, (all sugar alcohols), although they do not contain sugar, they are high in carbohydrates. These foods will affect your blood glucose just as a sugar-containing food would.
However, consuming foods sweetened with aspartame or other non-caloric sweeteners like saccharin, acesulfame, potassium or sucralose do not contain carbohydrates and should not cause your blood glucose to rise.
When it comes to snacking, people often think of foods that are high in sugar or added fats, but there is a great deal of other options. Snacks can help curb hunger and add a nutritious energy boost to your day.
Experts have recommended that people with diabetes choose “free foods” as part of their daily meal planning. “Free foods” are those foods and/or drinks that have less than 20 calories per serving and no more than 5 grams of carbohydrate per serving and are proven to be a better food option for diabetics.
Some examples of free foods are:
- Asparagus, cooked
- Beans, green, cooked
- Broccoli, cooked
- Lettuce, iceberg
- Olives, canned ripe
- Peppers, sweet red
- Spinach, cooked
- Tomato juice
- Macadamia Nuts
When planning your meals, try to fit in another serving of whole grains, fruits or vegetables. These foods are healthier than salty snacks and sweets. They, also, fill you up and give you the energy you need to sustain a long day.
Snack time and meal planning can be time consuming for diabetics, but is worth the result. Working with a dietitian can lessen the stress of meal planning and is beneficial when learning about the different types of foods you can eat at each meal and/or snack. If you would like to meet with a dietitian to discuss your diabetes and meal planning, please call Jamaica Hospital Medical Center at 718-206-6023 for an appointment with a Nutritionist.