It’s Sugar-Free -It must be Good! – Right? Wrong!

People concerned about the problems associated with diabetes are confused about the value or dangers of eating carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates are a major macronutrient and one of your body’s primary sources of energy. The key is finding the right carbs— not avoiding them altogether. There is general concensus that complex carbohydrates are safer than simple carbohydrates. How do we tell the difference? One of the problems is that labels don’t tell you if the carbohydrate content of foods is simple or complex.Carbohydrates are made up of three components: fiber, starch, and sugar. Fiber and starch are complex carbs, while sugar is a simple carb. Depending on how much of each of these is found in a food determines its nutrient quality. Adding to the confusion is the labelling of foods as being “sugar-free”. The following extract highlights the issue:

 

When we as diabetics are choosing foods for the menu or checking the ingredients of a recipe, sugar should be treated as just another carbohydrate. It is more concentrated than most carbs but my meter has repeatedly shown me it is the total carbs that count, not just the sugar content, when I test my blood glucose after eating.
 
Food products which are marketed as sugar-free are very rarely carbohydrate-free. In fact, more often than not they have just as many carbs as the sugared versions. I encountered a classic example of this a couple of days ago when I saw a large display in my local Aldi store promoting ‘healthy’ sugar-free products. 
 
These are photos of just some of the products. Sorry about the smart-phone quality of the pics; the carb counts are clear enough. I’ll let them prove my point.

99.5% Sugar-free Shortbread = 67.9% carbohydrates

99.5% Sugar-free Chocolate Digestive Biscuits = 61.3% carbohydrates

99.5% Sugar-free Wafer Biscuits = 62.4% carbohydrates

99.5% No Added Sugar Dark Chocolate = 57% carbohydrates

The piece-de-resistance. Sugar-free Mixed Fruit Drops:
  
I could not believe this one when I turned the can over. There was no added sugar, so it must be healthier than other fruit drops…yeah, right. 
It is 93% carbohydrates.
  
Always read those labels, folks.

Sources: This citation was taken from the article found here

More information on the subject will be found in the following references: http://www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/carbs_choosing.html and http://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/simple-carbohydrates-complex-carbohydrates#1.

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