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I started this blog to reach out to others who might be in isolation about their diabetes still and to let them know that they are not alone and that their everyday struggles are not unique - there are others like us.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Diabetic Chocolate; a personal pet peeve!



Mmmmmmmm!
This is a huge pet peeve of mine; well-meaning people who want to buy people with diabetes that stuff called “diabetic chocolate”. If you are one of these people, who have their heart in the right place please read on. If you know someone who buys you this stuff forward the link for this blog post.

The truth is that diabetic chocolate is not all that’s it’s cracked up to be!


Why do people go in search of diabetic chocolate?

Well, I assume it goes back to the days of yore when people with diabetes were told they should not, under any circumstances, have sugar, as in sweets and treats and such.

But since then, there has been a lot of research published about this type of refined sugar and its relationship with blood glucose control. The new guidelines for people with diabetes, especially people with Type 1 who have healthy BMI’s, is that a little of what you fancy is grand.

However, we are slow to catch on to this fact. Even those of us who have Type 1 Diabetes have trouble with this concept.


Why is it not all that it’s cracked up to be? (That’s my attempt at a word play on Easter eggs).

Fact number 1; it’s a laxative!

Most of the diabetic chocolate out there is sweetened using alcohol sugars. This sweetener has been known to cause abdominal cramps and diarrhoea. On the up side; it doesn’t cause a huge swing in your blood sugars. (I would much rather have the blood sugar swing and take a bit of insulin to deal with it-thank you very much).

Fact number 2; it does have less calories but not a lot less.

The difference in calories between diabetic chocolate and regular chocolate is so miniscule that you still have to be portion conscience when you are watching your fat intake.

Fact number 3; it’s usually more expensive than regular chocolate.

Can’t really say any more than that!


So that’s my opinion but what do the professionals say;

Diabetes UK states;

” Diabetic' chocolate is not recommended. It is expensive and unnecessary. Diabetic chocolate contains fructose, sorbitol or a similar sweetener which can have a laxative effect. Diabetic chocolate is also just as high in fat and calories as ordinary chocolate, and can still raise blood glucose levels.”


American Diabetes Association states;

“When you’re considering foods with low- or reduced-calorie sweeteners, always check the Nutrition Facts on the label. Many of the food products containing these types of sweeteners still have a significant amount of carbohydrate, calories and fat, so never consider them a “free food” without checking the label. By comparing the calories in the sugar-free version to the regular version, you’ll see whether you’re really getting fewer calories.


You’ll also want to compare the fat content of the labels. There is often more saturated and or trans-fat in sugar free baked products.


Sugar alcohols can have a laxative effect or other gastric symptoms in some people, especially in children.

Diabetes Federation of Ireland states;

“The concept of ‘diabetic’ foods or a ‘diabetic’ diet has long since been replaced by guidelines on healthy food choices and individualized advice on eating habits for each person with diabetes. Like the rest of the population, people with diabetes are encouraged to eat a diet low in saturated fat, sugar and salt, with plenty of fruit and vegetables and meals based on starchy carbohydrate foods like bread and potatoes. There is no single food, which must be excluded from the diet of people with diabetes. Total avoidance of sugar is now considered unnecessary. Consequently, the idea of legitimizing so-called ‘diabetic’ foods has also been outmoded.”


Should anyone need further information on why you should rethink your plan to buy diabetic chocolate this Easter or anytime click on this link from BBC’s Watchdog.


My Conclusion

You should treat diabetic chocolate the same as regular chocolate and eat in moderation. But why would you even bother with the expensive stuff then!

Chocolate; please eat responsibly!

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