Common sense tells us that regular sugar can cause spikes in your blood glucose. No doubt this is bad for managing diabetes. In this case, its substitutes mean a lot if you have diabetes. When it comes to an acceptable alternative to sugar, you can choose between the artificial and natural sweeteners. In comparison, the latter one is preferred. But it is worth mentioning that not all natural sweeteners are suitable since honey, brown sugar, corn syrup, and some others may still make your blood glucose spike. Instead, stevia, agave nectar, and xylitol are the best choice for you.
The history of Stevia as a sweetener and medicine can date back to centuries ago. It comes from Stevia rebaudiana, a plant grown in South America. Compared to regular sugar, this sweet source is much sweeter mainly thanks to the compounds of Rebaudioside A and Stevioside. As an added bonus, it is low in calories and, more importantly, it helps reduce oxidized LDL cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduce blood glucose levels in diabetics, reduce plaque buildup in the arteries, improve insulin sensitivity, and so on. Currently the recommended Stevia-contained sugar substitute product is Truvia. However, a lot of people find it hard to accept the taste of this natural sugar substitute. To be honest, this is one of its major drawbacks.
Agave nectar comes from several species of agave. In fact, the name agave syrup is more accurate. When it comes to consistency, it is similar to honey. This is one of ideal natural alternatives to sugar because it is healthier. Compared to honey or table sugar, it is considered a healthier sweetener mainly because of its relatively low glycemic index (GI), about 20 to 30. In comparison, the GI of the regular sugar ranges from 60 to 65. That’s to say, it causes blood glucose to rise more slowly than regular one. No wonder the Aztecs have used it as a popular sweetener for centuries even though they seemed totally unaware of this benefit of Agave nectar. It should be noted that some believe that Agave nectar is not a healthy sweetener at all and it is even worse than regular one.
When it comes to sweetness, xylitol and sugar are similar. But speaking of calories, xylitol contains less. However, xylitol has its own distinct health benefits, which include prevent osteoporosis, greatly reducing your risk of tooth decay, and improve bone density. In particular, it does not increase the likelihood of insulin levels or raise levels of blood glucose since it has a low glycemic index. In other words, compared to regular sugar, it is metabolized more slowly. Note, however, that overdose of xylitol may cause side effect like gastrointestinal distress. So keep xylitol away from a dog, or your dog will be poisoned by accidentally eating it.
As mentioned above, stevia, agave nectar, and xylitol are the best natural sugar substitute for people who have diabetes. So why not give them a try if you are looking to control your blood glucose?