Should I Buy Sugar Free Products? Probably Not.

Should I buy sugar free products? is something I hear a lot from people when they’re first diagnosed with prediabetes (and diabetes.)

The grocery store shelves are really filling up with all sorts of products that claim to be “sugar free” on the label.

But it makes you wonder if these products actually are “better” in some way than a similar product that has sugar in it. Or are they the same…or worse?

Say, sugar-free ice cream vs. regular ice cream, or sugar-free chocolate vs. regular chocolate. Other common sugar-free products out there come in forms like granola bars, cookies, cakes and pies.

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Here’s what you need to know:

1.    “Sugar free” does not equal “carbohydrate free” (as in, the product still may raise your blood sugar). So for people with diabetes, consuming these products is not synonymous with “go hog wild”.

2.    Sugar free does not mean “healthy” (or “healthier” than an original brand).

3.    A “sugar free” title on the label often results in a false go-ahead in some people minds to eat more than they normally would.

4.    Sugar free products often have other sweeteners, like sugar alcohols that are only partially digested and can cause tummy trouble or bloating over 10 grams. Even Health Canada reports they can have “laxative effects”. Lovely! Sugar alcohols are listed separately on the Nutrition Facts Table.

Not to mention the price – sugar free products are often 2 times or more $chang-ching$ than the regular version of the same product.

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What to do?

Check those labels – if the product claims to be “sugar free”, check the carbohydrate count.

Also, compare the sugar-free version to the regular version of the same product. You may be surprised to find you ‘re better off foregoing the sugar-free version and have a small amount of the real thing. You’ll feel satisfied and not pay 3x the price.

And have you ever tried a sugar-free chocolate?

Survey says? Ick.

Bottom line: Prediabetes is something to be reversed. Not to eat strange foods and deprive yourself in the process. 

Does a person, particularly someone with prediabetes need special products like these? 

Short answer: no.

Actually, that’s the long answer too.

Want some chocolate? Go for it and enjoy it.

Dark chocolate gives you some antioxidants! 

Otherwise, fuel up with food that fills you up. Check out my advice for fueling with whole foods to reverse prediabetes here.

Bottom line: Prediabetes is something to be reversed. Not to eat strange foods and deprive yourself in the process. 

Now isn’t that sweet?

~April

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