Expert Advice

Gestational Diabetes – Using Alternative Sweeteners

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By SP Turgon

Whether we speak of Type 1, Type 2, or juvenile diabetes, we’re talking about the inability of insulin to convert sugar into energy. For some women, pregnancy hormones inhibit the production or function of insulin and results in gestational diabetes.

Some people have a genetic family tendency toward diabetes. But for most of us, excess consumption of sugar and empty carbohydrates is at the heart of diabetic complications like heart disease, strokes, vision problems, kidney disease, nerve damage, or digestive issues.

But sugar is more addictive than cocaine.

Avoiding sugar in modern life means investigating every product’s ingredient list! Sugar is hidden everywhere—from foods to detergents to toothpaste. And it comes in many forms:

  • Barbados sugar
  • Barley malt
  • Barley malt syrup
  • Beet sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane juice
  • Cane juice crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Caramel
  • Carob syrup
  • Castor sugar
  • Coconut palm sugar
  • Coconut sugar
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Date sugar
  • Dehydrated cane juice
  • Demerara sugar
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Free-flowing brown sugars
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Glucose
  • Glucose solids
  • Golden sugar
  • Golden syrup
  • Grape sugar
  • HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • Honey
  • Icing sugar
  • Invert sugar
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltol
  • Maltose
  • Mannose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado
  • Palm sugar
  • Panocha
  • Powdered sugar
  • Raw sugar
  • Refiner’s syrup
  • Rice syrup
  • Saccharose
  • Sorghum Syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar (granulated)
  • Sweet Sorghum
  • Syrup
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado sugar
  • Yellow sugar

Have you ever tasted breastmilk?

To complicate the sweet vs. healthy problem even more, humans are designed to like sweetness. With its combination of lactose + 30 oligosaccharides, breastmilk is sugary enough to make your sweet tooth ache!

Parents are looking for healthy sweeteners from natural sources and that contain nutritional value.

Some doctor-approved examples include

  1. Raw honey
  2. Stevia
  3. Dates
  4. Coconut sugar
  5. Maple syrup

American Pregnancy reports the following non-caloric sweeteners are also approved for pregnant woman: Rebaudioside A (Stevia), Acesulfame Potassium (Sunett), Aspartame (Equal or NutraSweet), Sucralose (Splenda).

Stevia is plant with 110 varieties whose flavors range from downright bitter to sweeter than sugar. It’s been used for centuries by cultures around the world as medicine, tea, breath freshener, and sweetener for foods.

Stevia is on nearly every list of sugar substitutes. Stevia rebaudiana (also called Rebaudioside A, Reb-A, or rebiana) is considered the sweetest—100 times sweeter than table sugar (sucrose). Plus, it has no calories, carbs, artificial ingredients or glycemic response.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “Reb-A is “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) as a food additive and table top sweetener.[1]

Many healthy sweet substitutes can make food taste differently, and for some people, stevia has a licorice aftertaste. Various stevia products offset that by combining pure stevia with inulin, silica, and/or cane sugar. The combination reduces sugar consumption by 2/3, which contributes to both weight loss and overall health.

Eliminating sugar from your diet during pregnancy helps prevent or deal with gestational diabetes.

But more, it initiates dietary changes that will help keep you and your family healthy throughout your lives.

  You’ve Got This!

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

Recipe suggestions for healthy sugar substitutions abound:

When you plan your birth, include some of these delicious foods on your hospital bag checklist to munch on during labor and after baby is in your arms.

Changing your health and habits during pregnancy means building a new future, one mom and baby at a time.

[1] http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/artificial-sweeteners/?referrer=https://www.google.com/

 

To learn more about staying healthy, download our free Birth Plan eBook now. After three years of research, collaboration with more than 100 childbirth experts and resource centers from Healthy Child Healthy World to the American Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Best Ever Baby Birth Plan Guide is available for a free download.

This new resource for pregnant families is a compilation of top tips and advice from more than 20 nationally-recognized experts in the field including renowned pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene and GraceFull Birthing founder, midwife Elizabeth Bachner. These trusted experts offer thoughtful guidance for whatever type of birthing experience parents want, in whichever setting they choose.

Published: July 3, 2017 Reviewed by: The Best Ever Baby Expert Team | Last reviewed: July, 2017

Sabriga TurgonGestational Diabetes – Using Alternative Sweeteners

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