Halloween is on its way, and of course, we PWDs are bracing ourselves for all that candy — in your face. It ain't easy to resist, even if you're not normally tempted, because suddenly there are the bowls-full of the stuff at home and work, at the mall and at the dentist's office. Yipes!
I noticed some chatter about how it might be good to swear off candy altogether, or to stick to the sugar free stuff. Somehow I felt an obligation to re-broadcast the warning that many "sugar free" candies have two problems:
1) they are engineered to be malabsorbed by your body. So your stomach gets upset by all those chemicals it can't break down
2) they often contain as many, or nearly as many, grams of carbohydrate as other sweets. This means they still make your blood sugar spike.
Actually, my doctor says it's better to eat a small amount of real chocolate than to indulge in the stuff with the big "sugar-free, diabetic-friendly" marketing labels. Because in the latter case, you really don't know what you're eating.
Out of this discussion and my ensuing research came some interesting tidbits from around the web:
* "Just in case you were not aware: Do you know how Splenda/Sucralose was discovered. Its scary, but it was discovered by accident when they were developing an insecticide." Yech!
* Indeed, according to this exposé:
"Almost every artificial sweetener has been a by-product of chemical experiments where the person doing the experiments accidentally tasted the chemical they were working with and noticed it was sweet. These sweeteners are the byproduct of chemical experiments and are not a food. These sweeteners are new chemicals and our bodies are confused about what to do with them."
* "I don't eat any artificial sweeteners and check everything for them. They are even in toothpaste. If you are curious about them this article provides some good info: 'Artificial Sweeteners Could Be Hidden in Your Foods and Medications.'"
In studies, artificial sweeteners have been linked to obesity, headaches, and other ailments. But we all know that plain ole sugar is bad for you too, and not just because it spikes your BG. Needless to say, we can't win.
A certain Dr. Scott Olson insists that our best choices for sugar substitutes are Stevia and Xylitol:
- Xylitol is a natural sugar that doesn't raise blood sugar as high as many sugars, and actually appears to help reduce cavities.
- Stevia is an herb that tastes sweet, but has no calories. There are research studies that show that Stevia can actually help with blood sugar control.
All good; I'm a Stevia user myself. But I'm also addicted to diet soda. With diabetes, you have to pick your battles! (It's impossible to not eat everything that could cause something you want to avoid.)
On that note, and to perfectly contradict myself on the "real chocolate" argument, I have recently discovered — and couldn't resist trying — Trader Joe's Simply Lite Dark Chocolate. Yum!
This "carb safe" stuff contains only 13 grams of carb per 3 chunky squares and tastes delicious, if a teensy bit mealy. It's still high-fat at 9 grams per serving. And it does contain maltitol, but hasn't upset my stomach (yet). I personally found that I don't need such a fancy extended bolus to cover it. Worth a try, in case you have trouble dosing for the real thing.
Oh and btw, Sweet N Low candy is on the way. I'm sure the natural foods pundits will have a field day with that.
Um... Happy pre-Halloween, All!
** UPDATE 10/25/09 **
I take it back: that "carb safe" Simply Lite chocolate has upset my stomach. Please refer to the initial portion of this post!