Diabetic Chocolate has a Hidden Potentially Dangerous Ingredient by@melissaebrown

Diabetic Chocolate has a Hidden Potentially Dangerous Ingredient

May 23rd 2022 17,569 reads
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Hidden ingredient in diabetic chocolate and other sweet treats directed toward people with diabetes. Hidden ingredient, Maltitol, is a natural sugar found in fruit and veg. It can cause blood sugar instability due to its glycaemic index (a numerical value indicating foods' impact on increasing blood sugar levels). Maltitol is highly fermented in the colon, commonly causing digestive discomfort such as bloating, gas and diarrhea. It is essential to look at the ingredients of foods directed as diabetic-friendly to ensure there are no hidden carbohydrates such as Maltitol.
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Melissa Brown

I am a writer with a passion for health and wellbeing articles

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Navigating food options after a diagnosis of diabetes can be mind-boggling. Naturally, we trust the words 'diabetic-friendly' labeling on food packaging -but should we be taking a closer look at the ingredients? This article explores the hidden ingredient, Maltitol, in diabetic chocolate and other sweet treats directed toward people with diabetes.Β 

Diabetes Overview

The most commonly-known diabetes is Type 1, Type 2, and gestational: however, there are actually 11! Ranging in causation from autoimmunity to pregnancy, they all have one thing in common: difficulty utilizing insulin (a natural hormone that enables cells to use glucose for energy). The body's inability or difficulty to process glucose causes blood sugar levels to rise, which can lead to debilitating and serious health complications if unmanaged. Thus, it is essential for those with diabetes to keep their blood sugar levels stable long-term.

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Lifestyle Changes

It is essential for diabetics to monitor and manage their blood sugar levels continually: this usually requires some lifestyle changes. Alongside exercise, the types of food ingested have a huge impact on the body's ability to maintain a balanced blood sugar level. Navigating the world of diabetic-related nutritional advice and food can seem like a minefield, a process made even harder if faced with inaccurate labeling.

Diabetes UK provides essential diabetic advice in an easy-to-understand way. From encouraging a varied diet to limiting certain foods such as sugar, salt, and fat, one particular piece of advice seems baffling:Β avoidingΒ foods specifically marketed as 'diabetic-friendly'.Β 

Why on earth could this be? Often, these foods contain hidden high carbohydrates that cause blood sugar levels to rise rapidly.

The Hidden Ingredient in Diabetic Chocolate and other Sweet Foods

Some companies that direct their foods towards the diabetic-friendly market focus on 'sugar-free', specifically and intentionally advertising sugar substitute content such as 'Stevia' to grab the attention of buyers; however, lurking in the background can be the ingredient Maltitol.

Maltitol is a natural sugar found in fruit and veg; confusingly, this ingredient can also be listed as 'sorbitol', 'xylitol' and 'sugar alcohol'. Originating from a natural source, Matitol is also considered a carbohydrate that can cause blood sugar instability due to its glycaemic index (a numerical value indicating foods' impact on increasing blood sugar levels). While the glycaemic index is lower than usual sugar, it is higher than other sugar substitutes.

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Image Credit: ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Comparison-of-sucrose-with-polyols-in-terms-of-sweetness-glycemic-index-and-calories_fig1_326857473

In addition to Maltitol's impact on blood sugar levels, the carbohydrate is highly fermented in the colon, commonly causing digestive discomfort such as bloating, gas and diarrhea. The effect of this ingredient is definitely one to consider if diabetic, especially if you also have a digestive condition.

Final Thoughts

The role of diet analysis is paramount in managing blood sugar levels long-term. It is essential to look at the ingredients of foods directed as diabetic-friendly or emphasize sugar substitute content to ensure there are no hidden carbohydrates such as Maltitol. It should be noted that while Matilitol is a carbohydrate, the glycaemic index is lower than usual sugar but higher than other sugar substitutes. Additionally, the hidden ingredient can have undesirable digestive effects. Time to take a closer look at the ingredients behind the label -and spread the word!

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