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10 Diabetes Diet Myths

Myth 7: You Have to Give Up Desserts if You Have Diabetes.

False! Here are some ways that you can have your cake and eat it, too:

  • Use artificial sweeteners.
  • Practice portion control. Instead of two scoops of ice cream, have one. Or share a dessert with a friend.
  • Use desserts as an occasional reward for following your meal plan.
  • Make desserts more nutritious. Use whole grains, fresh fruit, and vegetable oil when preparing desserts. Many times, you can use less sugar than a recipe calls for without sacrificing taste or consistency.
  • Expand your horizons. Instead of ice cream, pie, or cake, try fruit, a whole wheat oatmeal-raisin cookie, or yogurt.

Myth 8: Artificial Sweeteners Are Dangerous for People With Diabetes.

Artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than the equivalent amount of sugar, so it takes less of them to get the same sweetness found in sugar. This can result in eating fewer calories than when you use sugar.

Artificial sweeteners have received much attention from the media and researchers. Opinions about them are conflicting. The American Diabetes Association approves the use of several artificial sweeteners in diabetes diets, including:

  • Saccharin (Sweet'N Low, Sweet Twin, Sugar Twin)
  • Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal)
  • Acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One)
  • Sucralose (Splenda)
  • Stevia/Rebaudioside ( A Sweet Leaf, Sun Crystals, Steviva, truvia, PureVia)

A dietitian can help you determine which sweeteners are best for which uses, whether in coffee, baking, or cooking.

Myth 9: You Need to Eat Special Diabetic Meals.

The truth is that the foods that are healthy for people with diabetes are also good choices for the rest of your family -- so there’s usually no need to prepare special diabetic meals.

The difference between a diabetes diet and your family's typical diet is that with diabetes, you need to monitor what you eat a little more closely. This includes the total amount of calories and the amounts and types of carbohydrates, fats, and protein you eat. A diabetes educator or dietitian can help you learn how to do this.

Myth 10: Diet Foods Are the Best Choices for Diabetes.

Just because something is labeled a "diet" food doesn’t mean it’s a better choice for people with diabetes. In fact, "diet" foods can be more expensive and no healthier than foods found in the regular sections of the grocery store, or foods you prepare yourself.

Read the labels carefully to find out if the ingredients and number of calories are good choices for you. When in doubt, ask your diabetes educator or a dietitian for advice.

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