Diabetics Need to Learn How to be Smart Consumers When Shopping
With a diagnosis of diabetes, it may seem like having sweets will be a thing of the past. But, with education and some smart label reading, people can enjoy a treat now and then.
The Diabetes Support Group at Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca tackles issues like this and others at meetings on the first Tuesday of every other month. The topic of artificial sweeteners is often surrounded by “so much confusion and misinformation,” said Anne Menzies, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. “There are really no risks, per say. All have been proven safe by the FDA.”
At a recent meeting in February, the support group sorted through the sticky subject. “We wanted to review each of the sweeteners and some of the more research based evidence to help people make an educated decision about using artificial sweeteners,” said Menzies.
It is important for diabetics to be smart consumers when shopping, said Menzies. For instance, when comparing sweeteners, keep these in mind:
- Sugars are naturally occurring carbohydrates. These include brown sugar, cane sugar, confectioners’ sugar, fructose, honey, and molasses. They have calories and raise your blood glucose levels.
- Reduced-calorie sweeteners are sugar alcohols. Maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol are often found in sugar-free products. They have about half the calories of sugars and can raise your blood sugar levels, although not as much as other carbohydrates.
- Artificial sweeteners are considered “free foods.” They were designed in a lab, have no calories, and do not raise your blood sugar levels.
The Diabetes Support Group meets at 1 p.m. the first Tuesday of every other month in the Diabetes Education Department at Riverside Medical Center in the 900 Building in Waupaca. The next meeting on April 7 will feature a Wound Care nurse who will talk about skin and foot care to prevent problems. To register, or for more information, people should call (920) 258-1191.
ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of seven hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, ThedaCare Medical Center-New London, Shawano Medical Center, Riverside Medical Center, Berlin Memorial Hospital and Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare at Home. ThedaCare is the largest employer in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,800 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!