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is sugar-free chocolate much healthier?

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Food' started by dk10, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. dk10

    dk10 Approved members

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    My 9 year old has Type 1 - diagnosed about 4 months ago. We've had her on fairly strict diet control (no pump yet, still honeymooning) but she does have the occasional treat.

    There are so many sugar-free options available now, but I'm always a little afraid of these - research keeps finding stuff that was considered safe earlier not so ok now. So maltitol and sucralose seem to be the new favourites. My daughter's dietitian seems to think they're fine, but I'm not sure.

    I checked the nutrition info for a small serving of regular milk chocolate vs the sugar-free variety. The total calorie count was about half, but the carb content is reasonably similar (includes maltitol for the sugar free choc). The sugar-free variety claims to be low glycemic. My questions are:

    1. Should one include the sugar alcohols for the total carb count?
    2. Is it okay to give a small portion of the regular (with sugar) chocolate if one accounts for the carb count and total calorie count as well? In either case, we tend to give my daughter only small portions of these treats. Should I switch to mostly sugared (small quantities, with sugar adding less than 5 carbs, no more than 3 times a week) sweets or stick to sugar-free?

    Thanks
     
  2. KRenee

    KRenee Approved members

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    I tend to think as you do and before D we never had any artificial sugars in the house. But because liquid sugars affect my daughter so quickly and strongly, I have allowed her to use sucralose to make hot chocolate. I haven't researched sucralose and am reluctant to do so because I don't think I'd like what I find. Ignorance is bliss!

    At diagnosis, I was told that if an item had more that 10g sugar alcohol, then we could subract half from the total overall carbs.

    I think it would be okay to use regular sugar if you can keep your daughter's BS in range. Regular sugar is not bad, just hard to manage sometimes.
     
  3. StillMamamia

    StillMamamia Approved members

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    I'm not sure about the answer to your question, but just wanted to add that sugar-free doesn't always mean fat-free, and that sugar substitutes can cause belly bloating and diarrhea.
     
  4. Hollyb

    Hollyb Approved members

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    My son eats regular chocolate and desserts -- not huge amounts, but they are not off-limits. Also, chocolate in particular is not a particularly fast carb (you wouldn't use it to treat lows, for example) because of the fat that's added.

    The easiest way to include treats is with a meal -- for example, a Halloween mini-chocolate bar for dessert. It's only about 10 carbs and the carbs can just be added to the injection for her meal.
     
  5. Connie(BC)Type 1

    Connie(BC)Type 1 Approved members

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    Like these ladies said, moderation is the key, you don't need articial sweetners.
     
  6. Mike S

    Mike S New Member

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    With regards to your questions about using sugar alcohols,
    1) According to ADA teaching, one can subtract 1/2 of the total sugar alcohol content from the total carbohydrate amount (no matter the amount of sugar alcohol). So if a food had 6 grams of sugar alcohol, you could subtract 3 of those grams of alcohol from the total carbohydrate.
    2) Small portions of sugar alcohol should be fine to use, but please be careful because the sugar alcohols can cause diarrhea and bloating in some cases.
    As you have stated, when comparing carbs between regular and sugar free versions, most times there is negligable differences in values. I would steer you probably towards the regular version, just small amounts worked into a meal plan.
     
  7. dk10

    dk10 Approved members

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    thank you all!

    The answer seems pretty clear now. Thank you!
     
  8. maciwatt

    maciwatt Banned

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    Sugar free chocolates are low in calories which is very good for a diabetic patient. It contains more cocoa but less milk and sugar. A Sugar free chocolate contains about a quarter of the iron and magnesium we need in a day, and about half of the copper and manganese.
     

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