Diabetic sweets are a good 'free-from' alternative for people who need to watch their sugar intake.
This is important for people with diabetes, as regular sweets are high in sugar which can cause a blood sugar spike.
This in turn can cause greater health problems for people with diabetes - even a bit of sugar just isn’t worth it.
This article will cover everything you need to know about diabetic sweets, as well as some low sugar alternatives.
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Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:
- Diabetic sweets are sugar free alternatives to regular sweets that you can buy in the supermarket.
- While they don’t contain sugar, these treats still give you a sweet hit as they use artificial flavours.
- Often made with sugar alcohols, diabetic sweets won’t cause blood sugar levels to spike, so they are safe to consume.
- Diabetics must watch their carbohydrate (sugars) intake as they can’t process them as non-diabetics.
Why do diabetics need to watch their sugar intake?
Diabetes is a condition that affects insulin production and function in response to certain foods.
Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas that is responsible for transforming glucose into energy for the body’s cells.
Problems with insulin production can cause high blood sugar which can have serious health implications if not treated.
People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have to monitor insulin levels, but for different reasons.
Types of diabetes recap
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas no longer produces insulin, so it has to be injected to control blood glucose levels.
In type 2 diabetes, insulin is overproduced and the body stops responding to it, developing an insulin resistance.
While type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, type 2 diabetes can develop over time due to obesity or genetic factors.
What causes high blood sugar?
For diabetics, the body’s inability to correctly produce and use insulin is what causes high blood sugar, or hyperglycaemia.
If you have high blood sugar levels you must carefully monitor your sugar intake, i.e. the carbohydrates that you eat.
While complex carbs are great for releasing energy over a long time, simple carbs cause your blood sugar to rapidly spike.
They also have a greatly reduced nutritional value and can cause weight gain when consumed regularly.
What happens when you have high blood sugar?
The effects of having high blood sugar are felt over a long period of time, rather than in the moment.
This is why high blood sugar levels need to be managed, as the effects can become more serious if left untreated.
Some people may experience symptoms while others won’t, but some signs of high blood sugar include:
- Increased thirst and a dry mouth
- Needing to pee frequently
- Blurred vision
What are diabetic sweets?
Diabetic sweets are candies such as hard boiled sweets, toffees and gummies that are made with sugar-free ingredients.
They don’t include the refined sugar that regular sweets contain, so are suitable for diabetics to eat in moderation.
Instead they are made with sugar-free alternatives such as sugar alcohols like maltitol, glycerol, erythritol and xylitol.
These are artificial sweeteners and safe for diabetics, but like any sweet treat should be consumed in moderation.
Are sugar alcohols safe for diabetics?
Sugar alcohols are a safe alternative for diabetics who enjoy treating themselves to something sweet.
Unlike refined sugars, artificial sweeteners don’t cause a dangerous increase in blood sugar – some do not affect it at all.
It’s worth noting that some of these artificial sweeteners can have a laxative effect – so moderating intake is advised.
Always read the label on diabetic sweets and note any side effects so you can avoid them next time.
Sugar free diabetic sweets you’ll love
In this next section, we’ll look at some tasty options for diabetic sweets that won’t affect blood sugar levels.
Try a few out and see which you prefer!
Diablo Strawberry & Cream Sweets
Give yourself a luxurious moment with Diablo Strawberry & Cream Sweets.
The silky flavours of strawberry and cream take you to those summer days, providing the perfect pick me up.
And the best part is that they can be enjoyed guilt free!
Original Sugar Free Chocolate Eclairs
The chocolate eclair is a family favourite for any occasion, but it gets even better with this sugar-free option from Berryman’s.
These jars of retro sweets are the perfect gift to give friends and family who enjoy a sweet moment.
The sugar-free chocolate eclairs are flavoured with maltitol – always check the label for full ingredients.
Diablo Mint & Cream Sweets
When in need of a refreshing hit, these Diablo Mint & Cream Sweets are the perfect solution.
The creamy base infused with minty tones will leave you feeling satisfied and ready to tackle the day!
Plus, each sweet contains just 12 calories.
Diablo Gummy Bears
Why miss out on a sweet shop favourite just because you’re going sugar free?
These free-from gummy bears are the perfect snack or to have as a treat.
Flavoured with maltitol and stevia – always check the label before you consume.
Henleys Sugar Free Sweets
Henleys sugar-free selection boxes make the perfect gift.
Take your taste buds back in time with one of their retro sweets collections or enjoy the luxurious toffee selection.
Always check the label for full ingredients.
Sugar Free Soft Fruit Sweets
Try these sugar-free Soft Fruit Gums from Hunter’s of Dundee.
These diabetic sweets are packed in an environmentally-friendly compostable bag and cardboard box.
So you’re looking after the environment as well as yourself!
Contains the artificial sweeteners maltitol and stevia which can cause stomach upset in some people.
Safety note about diabetic sweets
Diabetic sweets are, as we have discussed, free from sugar.
This means that they are unsuitable for diabetics who are experiencing symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
People experiencing a ‘hypo’ need to bring their blood sugar up with a sugary drink, snack or glucose tablets.
Diabetic sweets should not be used to help somebody having a hypoglycemic episode.
Are there any natural alternatives to artificial sweeteners?
If you don’t fancy sweet treats packed with artificial sweeteners, there are plenty of naturally low in sugar options.
If you like getting creative in the kitchen, baking low sugar treats is a fun activity that you can make free-from.
Using naturally sweet ingredients like agave or maple lets you achieve a lovely taste that has no added sugar.
What foods should diabetics eat?
It’s important to know about the right food for diabetics, so you can eat well and feel good while managing the condition.
People with diabetes will follow different diet plans to help them get the right nutrients in a safe way.
For example, low-carb diets are a popular way for type 2 diabetics to manage their blood sugar.
Let’s find out more about low carbohydrate diets for diabetics.
Low carbohydrate diets for diabetics
While carbohydrates are often branded as foods to avoid, it’s just not that simple to completely cut them out.
There are different types of carbohydrates, all of which provide the body with energy, albeit on different levels.
Following a low carb diet can help you lose weight and manage sugar intake as part of your diabetes plan.
But do ensure that you’re getting enough of the good carbs to keep you going throughout the day.
Dark chocolate is naturally low in sugar – the higher the percentage of cacao solids, the less sugar is used.
However, it does contain some sugar, so diabetics should always check the label to be on the safe side.
But if chocolate is your real weak spot, there are also options for diabetic chocolate which you have to try!
And it doesn’t just stop at dark chocolate, you can find sugar-free milk and white chocolate too!
It’s true that fruit contains sugar, but it’s not the type of sugar that diabetics should be avoiding.
Whole fruit doesn’t contain the free sugars, meaning those that are found in processed food and drinks.
Instead, fruit is a natural, healthy way to satisfy a sweet craving without added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Plus, eating fruit is essential for getting fibre, vitamins and lowering risk of other illnesses like heart disease and cancers.
What about fruit juice?
Unlike unprocessed, whole fruit, fruit juice can cause blood sugar spikes due to the broken down nature of the fruit.
You may end up drinking a lot and taking on far more carbohydrates than you think.
Plus, some fruit juices contain added sugar which means it’s calorific as well as unsuitable in a diabetes diet.
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