Sugar-free sweets with artificial sweeteners are safe alternative

The next few days will perhaps be the most testing time of the year for diabetics around the country. With Deepavali around the corner and a regular flux of sweet boxes of mind-boggling variety, all dripping in ghee or screaming sugar, you cannot blame diabetics if they lose control.

Temptation comes in myriad edible forms during the season and moderation is the key to surviving the festival of lights in healthy fashion, note doctors. “We can permit diabetics with controlled blood sugar levels a little indulgence at this time of the year,” says M.S. Ashraf, Chairman, State Chapter, Association of Physicians of India.

Exercise discipline

However, he cautions diabetics with complications like eye complaints, kidney and heart disease and those on insulin to stay away from sweets or exercise discipline in overall dietary consumption. A tad bit too much of indulgence can upset blood sugar levels hovering on the borderline.

Sweets loaded with sugar are the major culprit as blood glucose levels can shoot up instantaneously, necessitating an insulin injection, says Ravindranath, managing director, Trichy Diabetes Specialty Centre.

One or two sweets at a time may not cause much harm, but taking it for more than a couple of days or consuming sweets in bulk can cause sugar levels to soar.

Sugar free sweets with artificial sweeteners are a safer alternative and can satisfy cravings, though they may not be as tasty as conventional sweets.

Not just sweets, but savouries high in calories also send blood sugar levels soaring, says Dr. Ashraf.

Rich food with high salt content should be consumed in moderation, notes Dr. Ravindranath.

There may be delay in absorption of these foods, which impact blood glucose levels later. The primary reason why diabetics lose control is ready access to sweets and temptation sown by family members consuming in their presence.

Children with stomach complaints due to over-eating dropping in at hospitals the day after Deepavali is not uncommon, says Dr.Ashraf. “Sampling sweets from various sweets shops prepared at different levels of hygiene can lead to stomach complaints. Home made sweets are thus safer alternatives. Sweets should be avoided at bed time.”

Patients lining up of for insulin shots the next day are common. Most diabetics avoid keeping up appointments with doctors, says Dr.Ravindran, fearing the doctor's reprimands.

“If a diabetic indulges, then they consult the doctor at once. Self medication is a strict no-no. Do not overdose prescribed medicines if sugar levels shoot up.”