Healthy Cook
Central Florida Health News|November 2020
Sweet Treats Everyone Can Enjoy
CAROL CORLEY

WE LOVE SUGARY FOODS, and there is a good reason.

For one thing, glucose, a form of sugar, is needed to fuel every cell in the body, and the brain uses a large amount of it, according to Harvard Medical School Blavatnik Institute. And Havard evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman said, “Sugar is a deep, deep ancient craving.” It aided in our survival.

How it works is complicated, but according to Kaiser Permanente, and many sources, our digestive system takes food and breaks it down into glucose, which is absorbed by our bodies. Insulin is needed to make the system work correctly.

And while I’m happy to supply my body with all the sugary foods it desires, people with diabetes have to be much more careful. To oversimplify, without insulin, the body is not able to store glucose, and the excess can cause serious problems.

Evolution causes us to desire sweets, Lieberman wrote, and that craving continues today. So does a person with diabetes have to overcome that craving? Are there no sweet desserts to finish off a meal that would be safe for a diabetic?

Not so, according to many experts. Desserts may be tricky, but with planning, they can be enjoyed. There are ways to make desserts acceptable. One method to make sweets more easily tolerated is to count carbohydrates and balance the sweets with the rest of the meal, according to Mayo Clinic. In other words, if you are planning a sweet end to the meal, skip the potato or rice. Another way to make desserts safer is to use a non-sugary sweetener like Stevia, or another sugar substitute such as saccharin, aspartame, or sucralose. Also, you can eat smaller portions, as suggested by Medical News Today.

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