What are Artificial Sweeteners?

canderel-medicalguidesMany diabetic patients relish sweet taste. Such patient should use artificial sweetening agents. Artificial sweeteners let vou enjoy the sweet taste of sugar without its calories and without raising the blood glucose levels.

Two types of sweetening agents are commonly available, saccharin and aspartame. Saccharin often leaves a bitter after taste. Aspartame is better as it tastes just like sugar. When exposed to high temperatures (while cooking), it loses some of its sweet taste. Although artificial sweeteners are quite safe, pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid use of saccharin.
What is Glycaemic Index?

The glycaemic  index is measure of the rate at which carbohydrates from a particular kind of food breakdown and release glucose in to the bloodstream. The glycaemic index ranks carbohydraterich foods according to the rate at which they raise blood glucose level.

Foods that have a high glycaemic index, release glucose into the bloodstream quickly and blood sugar levels rise rapidly shortly after eating them. Foods with a low glycaemic index provide a slower and steady supply of glucose over several hours.

Pure glucose has a ranking of 100 on the glycaemic  index (scale 1 to 100) and all other carbohydrates are ranked in relation to glucose.

A person with diabetes should prefer low (slow glucose releasing) glycaemic index food as compared to a high (fast glucose releasing) glycaemic index food. Factors that affect the glycaemic index value are:

• The ease with which a food is digested
• The quantity of fibre
• The quantity of fructose (which converts slowly)
• The form in which the food is eaten.

Cooking makes the starch more digestible and thereby raises its glycaemic index.

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