Is sugar-free safe for a diabetic

Is sweetener recommended for diabetes?

Sweetening coffee or tea with sweeteners has long been a recommended alternative to sugar for people with diabetes. Recently, however, the media advised against using synthetic, calorie-free sweeteners, as they are said to even promote diabetes in the long term. Relevant national and European authorities and specialist societies, however, classify the permitted sweeteners in everyday consumption quantities as safe for human health. In the next expert chat, Sibylle Kapellen, a nutrition therapist at the University Clinic and Polyclinic for Children and Adolescents, explains whether sugar or sweeteners are more recommendable. Questions about the topic of sugar substitutes can be sent in with immediate effect.

From cola to jam to yoghurt and chocolate: many “light” versions of these products contain sweeteners instead of sugar. “The most common sweetener is aspartame because it doesn't have an unpleasant sweetener taste,” explains Kapellen. However, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), the German Nutrition Society (DGE) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) declare this sweetener, as well as the other ten sweeteners approved in the EU, to be safe. Sweeteners have the health advantage, especially for people with diabetes, in that they do not cause blood sugar to rise, they do not provide any calories or promote the development of tooth decay.

Nevertheless, Kapellen does not want to issue a free ticket for the unrestrained consumption of “light” products and sweeteners: “The sweetener-sweetened foods and drinks are usually even sweeter than sugar-sweetened products. This can lead to the habit of over-sweetening and increasing the desire for sweets overall. In addition, sweetener-sweetened products can lead consumers to believe that they are low in calories overall. But that is not always the case, after all, it usually contains other nutrients too, ”says Kapellen. Anyone who tends to eat too much in a compensatory manner, i. H. If the amount of food is increased because “everything is so low in calories”, then shouldn't be surprised why the weight loss does not work: “On the contrary: some people even gain weight,” warns the ecotrophologist. "The weight gain is then a risk factor for diabetes - not the consumption of sweeteners per se," says the expert.

Isolated reports of increased appetite after consuming sweeteners have not yet been scientifically proven. “It cannot be completely ruled out that individual people may react to sweeteners with an increased appetite. Every consumer should observe this for himself and act accordingly, "explains Kapellen.

Alternative sweeteners, such as honey or agave syrup, should be used with caution in the case of diabetes, because they increase the blood sugar level and must be taken into account when calculating bread or carbohydrate units.

This also applies to the sugar substitutes sorbitol and fruit sugar (fructose). These calorie-containing sweeteners were recommended for diabetics for a long time. Today, fructose is rather discouraged, as larger amounts of fructose promote the development of fatty liver. Both sugar substitutes also increase blood sugar, but their effects are difficult to assess. The "2nd generation" sugar substitutes erythritol and isomalt contain fewer or no calories and can be used in a similar way to sugar. They don't affect blood sugar.

In conclusion, it can be said that sweeteners and sugar substitutes offer an alternative to sugar. "But they should be used consciously and used sparingly," says the nutritionist.