When you have diabetes, it is important that you limit your sugar intake. However, it does not mean you should have nothing to 'sweeten' your life. You can always find some healthier, all-natural sweeteners and use them without having to worry about losing control of your blood sugar levels. A good option to consider is coconut sugar. Diabetes patients can have coconut sugar because it contains a fiber inulin. Let’s find out more about it.
Coconut nectar or coconut sugar contains a special type of fiber called inulin, which works by slowing glucose absorption, making coconut sugar a better alternative to regular, processed sugar. What you should also keep in mind is that coconut sugar may be a low glycemic sweetener, but it still contains calories. While its GI rating is 35, you still get 10 calories from a tablespoon of coconut sugar. Diabetes patients can certainly have it, but they should consume in moderation because too much of it can still cause a spike in blood glucose.
You cannot call coconut sugar a nutritional super food, but it is still a better alternative to white tablet sugar. It also contains trace amounts of potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, calcium, and copper. You also get small amounts of phytonutrients, such as flavonoids, polyphenols, and anthocyanidin.
One good thing about coconut sugar is that it contains less fructose. Your body can convert fructose to fat in no time. Your liver has to work hard to break down fructose, and the result of this process is triglyceride, which is a type of fat. Fresh fruit contains fructose, but you should not consume more than what you get from fruit. High-fructose corn syrup is 55% fructose, whereas agave nectar is 90% fructose. Coconut sugar is a better option because it is only 45% fructose, which is another reason why it is a better sweetener choice for diabetics.
White sugar is never a healthy option for anyone, so you can always opt for coconut sugar. Diabetes patients can have coconut sugar in moderation, but they can also try other types of sugars while keeping their blood glucose levels normal. Here are a few options:
In the United States, you can find more than 300 distinct varieties of honey. These varieties have unique flavors mainly due to the nectar source. If you opt for raw honey, like buckwheat, you will get antioxidants that work great to eliminate free radicals from the body. Your body can use honey quickly, which is why it may help improve athletic performance. Diabetics can have honey, if they consume in moderation.
Obtained from the fruit itself, date sugar is a good choice for diabetics because it contains fiber. You also get some other nutrients, such as iron, vitamin B6, and magnesium. You can certainly add to your food, but you may not like it when added to liquids like tea and coffee because it does not dissolve well.
When the white sugar is refined, what you are left with is called molasses. It is good because it contains all the nutrients as well as vitamins that are no longer there in refined white sugar. You can include molasses in your diet as a natural sweetener and get several nutrients, including calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, selenium, and magnesium. You can also find several grades of molasses, but you will be better off going with blackstrap molasses because of many nutritional benefits.
Besides coconut sugar, diabetes patients can also try maple syrup. Obtained from the sap of maple tree, maple syrup is laden with potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, and iron. You will also get B-vitamins as well as folic acid, biotin, and niacin. It is important to note that a tablespoon of maple syrup provides you with 50 calories, which is a bit less than corn syrup. You will be better off opting for the darker, grade B syrup because of several health benefits.
Most people think that they have to follow very strict food diet when they have diabetes, but that is not always true. You can have most of what you want to eat, so long as you eat in moderation. You just need to follow some specific principles and you can add a lot more to your diet.
It is always a good idea to add more plant-based stuff in your diet. Include veggies, fruits, and whole grains in your diet because they provide you with vitamins, fiber, and minerals. You can also include low-fat animal products in your diet. It is also fine to add some low-fat milk products in your diet.
However, it is important to understand that you will have to limit your intake of carbohydrates. You need to know what you can eat and how often. Your blood sugar levels will go up quickly if you opt for foods high in refined carbs. Therefore, you should avoid them and opt for healthier sources of carbs, such as beans, whole grains, lentils, and starchy veggies.
Similarly, you may want to limit your intake of pork, chicken, and beef – you can always swap in some fish because it provides you with healthy fats and is low in calories. Do not eat fried fish though – you will be better off sticking to baked, grilled, and seared fish.
Keep in mind that your diabetes diet should include enough healthy fats. Unsaturated fats provide you with energy and you can get them from seeds, nuts, oils, olives, and avocados. Avoid unhealthy saturated fats because they come from animal sources and can cause all sorts of health related problems.