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5 foods for diabetics to enjoy

As a diabetic, are you doomed to a broccoli and grilled fish diet? Is there no way to enjoy food without the sugar spiking?

One of the goals of treating diabetes is to keep blood sugar levels within reasonable limits. But patients and doctors alike forget that it’s not just about numbers. The goal is to live a longer and more satisfying life.

As a diabetic, you need a healthy diet, but like everyone else, you want to enjoy your meals. Can You Eat A Gallon Of Ice Cream And Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels? Probably not. But a non-diabetic also has consequences to consider: weight gain, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol.

In recent years, many foods have been developed for people with the goal of reducing their sugar intake, for both diabetics and non-diabetics.

Here are 5 diabetic foods to enjoy that won’t get your sugar going through the roof.

1. Ice cream without added sugar. Alcoholic sugars have been around for decades, and were previously used primarily in sugar-free gum. Sorbitol, for example, doesn’t cause cavities like regular sugar. In recent years, the use of these alcoholic sugars has expanded to other foods as well, because they do not increase blood glucose as table sugar does. Half a cup of unsweetened ice cream has only about 100 calories, little more than a piece of wheat bread. Skip the mashed potatoes or muffin and enjoy some berries with a scoop of no sugar added ice cream. Be aware that overdoing it can exceed your daily calorie requirement and can also cause diarrhea.

2. Candies without added sugar. Big name candy makers – Whitman, Russell Stover, London, Werther’s and others – have jumped on the bandwagon of diabetic candy. Also sweetened with alcoholic sugars, these delicious snacks have about the same number of calories as regular sweets, but they don’t raise your blood glucose as quickly. If you have a chocolate craving that you can’t deny, skip the baked beans and eat a slice or two after dinner.

3. Cake without added sugar. Both restaurants and frozen food manufacturers have begun catering to diabetics, offering desserts sweetened with alcoholic sugars. A standard serving of restaurant cake (1/6 of a cake) contains about 500 calories, either sweetened with regular sugar or alcoholic sugar. The difference is that the sugar in alcohol will not raise your blood glucose as quickly. But 500 calories is more than most diabetics should have for dessert. Cut your calories in half by eating just the filling (no one ever said you have to eat the crust) or eat just half a normal-size piece; if you omit the baked potato, it will come out even.

4. Sugar-free gelatin. Everyone has room for gelatin, or so the saying goes. Sugar-free gelatin, even in large servings, adds very few calories to the diet, but it feels like a real dessert. Topped with a little whipping cream, a large bowl has about the same calories as a slice of bread. Skip the bread or corn for a light but satisfying dessert.

5. Unsweetened yogurt. A cup of regular sweetened yogurt has about 250 calories, while unsweetened yogurt has 80 to 120 calories per serving. Although it can be enjoyed on its own, why not top it with some granola or a few slices of fresh, ripe peaches? Many varieties of yogurt and frozen yogurt are sweetened with artificial sweeteners or alcoholic sugars, or a combination of both. Whether enjoyed for breakfast or dessert, unsweetened yogurt can satisfy your sweet tooth and provide a serving of calcium and a bit of protein, too.

If your doctor doesn’t like sweets, they may not think to tell you about the many dessert options you can still enjoy.. But since I have a sweet tooth and knowing how many others share this trait, I think it is important to educate the diabetic population about the foods they can consume without risking hyperglycermia. Of course, portion sizes are still important and spending all your daily calories on sweets is not advisable. But everyone needs a treat from time to time, and a few hundred calories from sugar-free dessert, when substituted for another carbohydrate, will do little harm to your blood sugar and a lot of good to your spirit.

Copyright 2010 Cynthia J. Koelker, MD

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