Artificial sweeteners: Any effect on blood sugar?

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Artificial sweeteners: Any effect on blood sugar?

Question

Can I use artificial sweeteners if I have diabetes?

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Answer

You can use most artificial sweeteners if you have diabetes, including:

  • Saccharin (Sweet'N Low)
  • Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal)
  • Acesulfame potassium (Sunett)
  • Sucralose (Splenda)

Artificial sweeteners, also called sugar substitutes, offer the sweetness of sugar without the calories. Artificial sweeteners are many times sweeter than sugar, so it takes a smaller amount to sweeten foods. This is why foods made with artificial sweeteners may have fewer calories than those made with sugar.

Artificial sweeteners don't affect your blood sugar level. In fact, most artificial sweeteners are considered "free foods" because they don't count as a carbohydrate, a fat or any other diabetes exchange. Remember, however, other ingredients in foods containing artificial sweeteners can still affect your blood sugar level.

Also, be cautious with sugar alcohols — including mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol. Sugar alcohols can increase your blood sugar level. And for some people, sugar alcohols cause diarrhea.

Last Updated: 2010-09-02
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