The Best Candy for Diabetics – Sugar Free & Naturally Sweetened
According to the US Center for Disease Control, 25.8 million people in the United States – or about 9% of the country’s population – have been diagnosed with diabetes, with 2 million new cases last year alone. Millions are affected by diabetes, but there are ways to manage it and maintain your health. For those affected with diabetes, sugar intake should be minimal; sometimes curtailed entirely.
We’re all aware that too much sugar is bad for you – causing tooth decay, weight gain and blood sugar issues. There’s a variety of sugar substitutes available on the market which allow diabetics and people otherwise sensitive to sugar to be able to enjoy sweetness in their food and drink. Step into any grocery store, and you’ll find a plethora of sugar-free products including sugar free candy, snacks and beverages. But there’s a common misconception – just because something is ‘sugar free’ does not necessarily mean it’s actually GOOD for you.
When sugar is removed from a product, it typically has to be replaced with something. Many foods without sugars use fats to add flavor - which clearly isn’t a healthy alternative. Often, sugar is replaced with artificial sweeteners, including saccharin or aspartame. These products are not naturally derived, and there are some questions of the health risks with artificial sweeteners. Most people don’t know where artificial sweeteners come from.
The good news is that there’s another option… Xylitol. 100% natural, made in the USA under the strictest safety conditions, and tastes great; xylitol lacks the funky chemical aftertaste of many ‘diet’ and sugar-free products. It’s even good for your teeth!
Xylitol candy, sweetener and other xylitol products are already popular in Europe and Japan, and are swiftly gaining popularity in the United States. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol derived from birch trees, fruits and vegetable sources, and has 40% fewer calories than sugar. Because Xylitol has a low glycemic index of 7 (compared to a GI of 100 for table sugar) it is perfect for use in diabetic friendly sweets. Xylitol is absorbed into the body at a much slower rate than sugar, which helps prevent sugar rushes or crashes. An analysis published in the Journal of Dental Research shows that there is a significant link between a reduction in the incidence of cavities and tooth decay with the use of xylitol. Xylitol also increases saliva production, which helps to treat dry mouth, a common symptom of diabetes.
While not widely commercially available yet, many specialty stores and online retailers carry a selection of Dr. John’s Simply Xylitol products, allowing diabetics and those looking to avoid excess sugar to enjoy their favorite treats. Xylitol sweetener is available in pure form, to be substituted for sugar in cooking and baking, and other products such as flavored coffee sweeteners, hard candies, caramels and chocolate. Using Xylitol ensures that diabetics and sugar sensitive individuals can still enjoy all their favorite indulgences!