A life with diabetes asks for many compromises. There are many restrictions on food habits, choices, everyday activities, and so on.
All of this is aimed to keep the body and its blood sugar levels healthy and within control. But there is no need to be in fear of missing out on many of your favorite dishes and foods because there is always a better and healthier alternative.
One such recommended healthy and safe alternate of sugar is – Aspartame. Have you used this sugar before?
Whether yes or no, are you wondering…?
- Does Aspartame raise blood sugar?
- What are its benefits?
- Are there any side effects?
Let us answer these questions now.
Can diabetic patients eat sugar or artificial sweetners?
Well, there is some confusion relating to many foods about if they are safe for diabetics or not. But when it comes to sugar, it is a strict no!
Sugar is a major restriction for diabetic patients. They are said to be the root of imbalanced blood sugar levels.
Sugar is a source of direct carbohydrate. This is the reason that the intake of sugar can increase blood sugar levels.
Diabetic patients are hence advised not to consume or take very minimal amounts of sugar.
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Do you miss out on your favorite desserts, sweets, and beverages?
Do not worry because the good news is – sugar has innumerable diabetic-safe substitutes that one can use.
These special diabetic sugars are very low in calories and are absent in calories as well. They do not harm the blood sugars.
In addition to that, diabetic-friendly sugars are often sweeter than regular white sugars. This enables a patient to use lesser amounts of sugar.
Therefore, you can easily include these sweeteners’ varieties without worrying about adding on calories or extra carbohydrates. It will still fulfill your sweet tooth.
And one such special diabetic sweetener is – Aspartame.
We will tell you all you need to know about it.
What is Aspartame?
Aspartame is a popular diabetic sugar. It is artificial and is a non-saccharide sugar or sweetener made especially to suit low-calorie diets.
Aspartame is sweeter than regular sugar that is sucrose. It is almost 200 times sweeter than sucrose sugar. This makes it a good choice for diabetics because it satisfies the sweetness and minimizes the total calories in the dish.
The calorie content in Aspartame is almost similar to that of regular sugar, but a lesser quantity of it is sufficient makes it a better choice over sugar.
Aspartame is made available in various varieties and brands. It is commonly found under the brand name –NutraSweet. This non-sugar sweetener is easily accessible.
It is also commonly used in diet sodas, flavored yogurts, candies, gums, baked goods made specifically low in calories, and other food products.
Aspartame sugar is not just limited to people diagnosed with diabetes. It is also good for those looking out for safe and healthy alternatives to switch to a better lifestyle.
Now let us move onto the more important question about this diabetic-safe sweetener.
Does Aspartame raise blood sugar?
There always revolve questions around diabetic-safe products. So is the case with Aspartame. There have been many experiments, observations, and conclusions conducted to come to a definite answer.
But the results have been in favor of diabetes patients. The effects of the artificial aspartame sugar zero on the blood sugar levels. It is safe for the body’s blood sugar and does not cause any fluctuations.
Raised blood sugars can cause issues for diabetic patients. But the presence of such blood sugar spiking elements has not been found in aspartame.
Apart from having no effects on the blood sugar levels, it also has zero alterations on others. Aspartame does not lead to any insulin or blood pressure levels.
Aspartame is a great way to cut off the empty calorie intakes that are a part of your diet.
As advised, diabetes patients must control and often even give up on the sweet consumption. But if needed, they can alter the sugar taken with considerably lesser amounts of aspartame.
Moreover, it is also said to be a good agent in promoting weight control.
Keeping body weight under control and maintaining a healthy weight is a solution to many health issues. Sugars are one of the major ingredients in the meal that contribute to weight gain. Switching to Aspartame is a healthy manner to keep the weight issues away, especially for diabetics.
It is good to follow our daily limitations when it comes to portion sizes. Also, make sure to consult your doctors about the inclusion of aspartame sweeteners in your diets. They have a better idea about what will suit your body and will be able to advise accordingly.
Many well-known organizations and medical associations have also given their approval favoring the safety of Aspartame. Some of them include:
- World Health Organization
- American Dietetic Association
- American Heart Association
- United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
- S. Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.)
Along with many supporting bodies, some prove the controversial side of this artificial sweetener. They present the problematic side effects that can be caused to the body. We will have a look at them in detail later in this article.
What is the Glycemic Index of Aspartame?
When it comes to categorizing food according to its diabetic safety, the Glycemic Index measure is the first test in line.
The Glycemic index of a food is measured on a scale from 0 to 100. It helps to determine the effect a particular food will have on the body’s blood sugar levels.
The Glycemic Index of foods is classified as follows:
|Sl. No.||Glycemic Index categories||Glycemic Index ranges|
|1.||Low Glycemic Index (safe for diabetics)||0 to 55|
|2.||Medium Glycemic Index (safe if taken in controlled quantities)||55 to 69|
|3.||High Glycemic Index (unsafe for diabetics)||From 70 and above|
The Glycemic Index of Aspartame is zero. Thus, it falls under the low and safest variety of Glycemic Index foods. Yes! That means that it will have no reactions to the blood sugar levels.
How much Aspartame can you have daily?
As we have already discussed, Aspartame sweeteners are around 200 times sweeter than regular table sugar. Thus, they have to be included in lower quantities in everyday food.
As per the FDA, the daily limit for consuming Aspartame by a healthy individual is 50mg/kg body weight.
For diabetics too, no doubt, this is a better choice. But it is recommended to have safer amounts of it to prevent overdoing anything leasing to health complications.
They can consume lesser than the stated amount for normal diet followers. For diabetics, a 40mg/kg bodyweight seems to be a proper measure.
Even though the amount of aspartame needed in a particular item is less, it does not mean that you can increase the portion of sweets you have in a day.
What are the benefits of Aspartame?
Now, let us have an in detail look at the benefits of using Aspartame.
The advantages of this sweetener are:
- The major benefit of aspartame is that it aids in efficient weight management. Many individuals who have substituted regular table sugar with Aspartame have reported an ability to keep off the extra pounds and lose weight.
- It is a safe choice for all. Aspartame sugar is good for all age-groups as well as many health conditions. Diabetes patients, children, breastfeeding women, obese individuals, heart patients, etc. It would not do any harm to these patients.
- It has zero carbs. Therefore, it does not harm the body’s blood sugars, and neither does it contribute to any fat, weight, or obesity issues.
- It is an excellent sweetener. It is sweeter, light on the stomach, and can be used in a wide variety of dishes.
What are the Side-effects of Aspartame?
Just as we said, there are a lot of controversies related to this product as well. Many studies have found out that improper consumption or over-consumption of Aspartame can be harmful to health.
This non-sugar sweetener is often mixed with other substances to make it easier commercially. These additives make it unhealthy and less safe for the body.
Let us look at 9 side-effects of eating Aspartame:
- Aspartame can lead to issues of indigestion and diarrhea in some individuals. If you suffer from such reactions, it is advisable to stay away from it.
- Aspartame contains – Phenylalanine. People who are diagnosed with ‘Phenylketonuria’ can’t effectively process it and should avoid aspartame.
- One can also feel dizzy or develop headaches with the intake of aspartame.
- Schizophrenic patients should be prevented from aspartame. The phenylalanine in aspartame can encourage the symptoms of schizophrenia.
- It is also said to give rise to mental and neural disorders such as – depression, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, seizures, etc.
- As aspartame is an artificial product, it can lead to some discomforts. It can cause inflammation in people who cannot tolerate artificial products.
- The difference in the type of calories in aspartame, compared to regular sugar, can mess up the body’s metabolism. It can lead to weight issues.
- One frightening side effect of consuming Aspartame is that it may lead to cancer. Many studies have observed that aspartame can give rise to some types of cancer. This hasn’t been confirmed yet.
- Increased and improper consumption of aspartame can lead to hypertension and risks to heart diseases.
It is recommended to consider all the drawback of aspartame and then add it to match your diet. This will ensure safety.