What Are the Best Sugar Substitutes for Diabetics?
Sugar substitutes are ideal if you have diabetes because they don’t have the same impact on blood glucose levels and insulin responses as traditional sugar does.
Choosing low-sugar foods and using sugar substitutes enables you to enjoy your favorite sweet treats without making it difficult to regulate your blood glucose levels and manage your diabetes.
There are lots of great substitutes for traditional sugar that add the same amount of sweetness and deliciousness to your snacks without compromising your health. Reducing your sugar intake can improve your diabetes-related symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, and excess thirst, too.
Below, we’ve covered some of the best sugar substitutes to use if you have diabetes.
As one of the most popular sugar substitutes, stevia has a very sweet and satisfying flavor. It doesn’t impact your blood glucose level anywhere near as much as traditional sugar, making it an ideal option if you have diabetes.
You can purchase stevia in powder, granule, or liquid forms to suit your needs. It tastes great in dessert recipes, on top of cereal, or sprinkled on top of waffles and pancakes.
Monk Fruit Sweetener
As the name suggests, monk fruit sweetener (also known as monk fruit extract or luo han guo) is derived from the monk fruit, a small green fruit. It has an intense sweetness that is sweeter than traditional table sugar, so you only need a small amount to achieve the same satisfying flavor in your dishes.
Like stevia, monk fruit sweetener has minimal impact on your blood sugar level, so it’s a safe option. You can find monk fruit sweetener in most grocery stores and general health stores, and it's available as a liquid, powder, or granules.
Liquid monk fruit sweetener is great for enhancing the flavor of smoothies, yogurt, and drinks. Powdered monk fruit sweetener is better as a sugar replacement in recipes, and granules are the most suitable alternative to sugar granules in tea or coffee.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol (polyol). It’s found naturally in some fruits, including grapes, pears, peaches, and watermelon, mushrooms, and fermented foods like soy sauce and cheese.
Erythritol travels from the small intestines into the bloodstream, only partially metabolized. The remaining sugars are filtered through the kidneys and excreted in the urine. Because of this partial metabolism, erythritol doesn’t cause a significant spike in blood glucose as table sugar does. However, it still offers around 70% of the sweetness as sugar, making it the perfect substitute for diabetics.
Another great substitute for traditional sugar is xylitol, which you can find in small amounts in many fruits and vegetables.
It has the same sweetness as sugar but has a lower glycemic index, meaning it doesn’t cause as big of an insulin spike. However, it’s important to note that xylitol can still influence your blood glucose levels ever so slightly (more so than stevia, monk fruit sweetener, or erythritol).
As with many other types of sugar substitutes, you can get xylitol in different forms. Most commonly, you’ll find xylitol as powder or granules.
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