Diabetic Foods and Snacks

The diabetic food available today is both tasty and may help to keep your blood glucose more balanced. The only way to find out the food’s influence on your body is to test your blood sugar before you eat it and about 2 hours later. The rise in glucose should be 50 points or less – use this as a guideline. Diabetic snack bars such as Glucerna or Extend are readily available on the market. They contain different starches that help to reduce the fluctuations in blood sugar.

These starches, along with sugar alcohols are used to help you. Sugar alcohol is a carbohydrate that has less of an impact on your blood sugar levels so you must still consider the portion that you are consuming. Nothing is free! Some people require a snack at night so they wake up with a healthy fasting blood sugar. If you go to sleep with a lower blood sugar reading of about 80 mg/dL, let’s say, and wake up with 160 mg/dL you may be experiencing the Somogyi Effect. This means that overnight your blood sugar levels are dropping and your liver secretes extra glucose into the bloodstream to protect you from dropping to dangerous levels. It tends to be too generous though! Therefore, by eating the diabetic snack bars it will release the glucose more slowly into your bloodstream over several hours and you can reduce the chance of this from happening.

There are many products created for people with diabetes. By reading the food label and looking at the “total carbohydrate” you will see the amount of grams that will turn into sugar. “Sugar” listed under the heading of “total carbohydrate” reveals the processed sugar and/or the natural fruit or milk sugar. Sugar alcohol will not be listed under sugar. It is not considered a sugar, it’s considered a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates turn 100% into sugar within about 1-2 hours. The sugar alcohol also turns into sugar but it does so more slowly – a benefit for people with diabetes. Another popular product on the “sugar free” market is the sugar free cookie.

Sugar free cookies taste good and will turn into sugar more slowly than an ordinary cookie. Please remember, if you eat twice as many, you will gain weight from consuming more calories and it will have more of an effect on your blood glucose levels. Sugar free simply means no processed or natural sugar in the product. It does not mean that it has zero carbohydrates. The sugar is removed from the cookie and replaced by sugar alcohol, however, the remaining carbohydrate, the flour, will still turn into sugar. Again, test your blood sugar to see the effect on YOUR body.