Diabetes is a very common disease which has affected over a million people around the globe. This disease tampers with the body in a way which makes it unable to use the insulin produced in our body properly. Insulin is a hormone which is responsible for converting the sugar and other carbohydrates into energy. If insulin is unable to do that, it leaves too much sugar in the blood which is harmful for the system.
Because of the body’s inability to make use of the sugar, it is advised that diabetics avoid sugar as much as possible. However, nature has provided us with a bountiful supply of alternative sweeteners which may be used as an alternative to sugar. These sugar alternatives are proven to be safe for consumption and also safe for diabetics due to the low glycemic index they contain.
One such natural sweetener is Agave nectar which can be collected from the Agave plant. This nectar is very popular and has been used as a natural sweetener for ages, particularly by the Aztecs. Many have said that the texture of this nectar is very much similar to honey and is quite sweet. However, the reason Agave nectar is so much better is because it has a Glycemic Index (GI) of about 25 which is much lower than honey as well as sugar, which is about 65.
Agave Nectar is not as dissimilar to sugar as expected. They both have about the same amounts of carbohydrates and calories per gram. However, the difference lies in the GI value. As Agave nectar has a lower GI, it is potentially safer than sugar as it does not cause as high fluctuations in blood sugar.
Another plant that can provide a very healthy and natural sweetener is Stevia. It is thought that Stevia is one of the first sugar sources, probably discovered and used before sugar cane. The appearance is distinctly similar to mint leaves and these plants can be found in abundance in South America. The most important advantage of Stevia is that it is extremely sweet, much sweeter than sugar. This is an advantage because very small quantities of Stevia can make something taste sweet which quite easily means having much fewer carbohydrates and calories per serving.
Other recognized sources of natural sweeteners with low glycemic indices are Raw Honey, Barley Syrup, Rice Syrup, Blackstrap Molasses, Fructose, Maple Syrup, Pasteurized Honey, Refined White Sugar and Turbinado Sugar. The glycemic indexes of these natural sweeteners range from 15 to up to 80 in the cases of refined raw sugar. Diabetes patients must seek sweeteners of low glycemic index.
Stevia can be found in a number of sweeteners. One such sugar substitute is called Truvia. Inside each jar, there are a number of small packets and each of them contains enough sweeteners to equal two teaspoons of sugar. The major health benefit of Truvia when compared to sugar is that each packet contains about 3 grams of carbohydrates and no calories, whereas sugar contains 8.4 grams of carbohydrates and 32 calories in the same amount!
Stevia is thought to be a wonder sweetener by many. Firstly, it is completely harmless to diabetics. It is also proven to be tremendously beneficial to an individual’s health, and can possibly be used to treat diseases such as high blood pressure as well as obesity. However, it fell victim to a terrible and cruel controversy where numerous attempts were taken to prove Stevia was harmful to health. But it has been resolved with the results being Stevia is much healthier than sugar and possibly with fewer ill effects to one’s body. And because of natural sweeteners like Stevia and Agave nectar, diabetics can happily get back to munching sweet treats!